Two, ... Two, ... Two Conferences in One
The VM and Linux Workshop is coming up next week. This year, it will be at NC A&T on June 26, 27, and 28.
Just prior, Velocity Software will present their performance seminar for z/VM and zLinux systems. Attendance to the Velocity seminar is free for those attending the workshop.
As Timothy Sipples mentioned, there is a lot of mainframe traffic in other fora. With respect to the workshop, I blogged about it myself ...
Kind of late notice, but I wanted to mention it. The workshop has seen steady growth so it's likely to happen again next year. Y'all come!
-- R; <><
|by sirsanta||June 16, 2014 in Events, Linux, z/VM |
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Free Stuff for Your Mainframe: 2013 Edition
FREE! That's a word we all like to hear, though maybe "no additional charge" is more truthful since nothing in life is truly free. In the past I've listed many of the mainframe freebies available, and those posts have been popular. This post is an update since there are so many more mainframe freebies now. Please do grab these freebies, explore, and put them to productive use. After all, the price is right.
Free mainframes? Did you say free mainframes? Yes, you can get access to mainframes free of charge with certain caveats. Here are some examples:
- IBM's Master the Mainframe Contest offers free access to z/OS for students (and perhaps others) competing in a series of educational challenges. If you're among the top finishers you might even land a job offer from IBM or from other employers.
- Want to bring your commercial or open source application to z/OS and/or Linux on zEnterprise? No problem! Sign up for IBM's Validation Program for z/OS and/or Linux on System z Test Drive.
Free Mainframe Operating Systems
Linux is an open source operating system licensed per the GNU Public License (GPL). This type of license means that you don't have to pay a license fee to obtain and to use Linux, though Linux distributors (such as Novell and Red Hat) charge fees if you want their optional support services. Here are some examples of Linux distributions and other operating systems available for zEnterprise:
- Novell offers its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for zEnterprise for download to evaluate. If you like it, you're encouraged to subscribe to Novell's support services.
- Red Hat offers its Enterprise Linux for zEnterprise for evaluation, too.
- Other Linux distributions for zEnterprise include Debian Linux and Fedora Linux.
- An older release of z/VM is available from IBM for evaluation.
- A release of the discontinued OpenSolaris is available for zEnterprise from Sine Nomine Associates.
- ZZSA is not actually an operating system. However, it doesn't need an operating system to run. It's a useful set of tools that can start up on a "bare" LPAR on its own. You can display and edit data on disk, and it's helpful to diagnose IPL problems.
- IBM's Customized Offerings Driver (5751-COD) is a miniature version of z/OS that can help support new z/OS installations.
IBM Freebies for z/OS, z/TPF, z/VSE, and z/VM
- IBM makes its Java Software Development Kit (SDK) releases for z/OS available at no additional charge. JZOS is included which provides Java methods for accessing many z/OS resources along with a batch launcher and toolkit. You may also be interested in the Java technologies available from Dovetailed such as Co:Z and Tomcat for z/OS.
- The DB2 Accessories Suite for z/OS (5697-Q02) includes many useful tools and accessories to make DB2 for z/OS more powerful and more useful. Examples include IBM Data Studio, SPSS Modeler Server Scoring Adapter, Spatial Support, International Components for Unicode, and Text Search.
- Go graphical! You can manage your z/OS system much more easily with graphical interfaces for every major subsystem and component. Grab the z/OS Management Facility and the Explorer for z/OS first. From the Explorer for z/OS you can then use (or directly install) plug-ins for CICS, IMS, IBM's application development tools, IBM's problem determination tools, and other products.
- The XML Toolkit for z/OS (5655-J51) adds to the XML System Services that's already part of z/OS.
- IBM offers many more z/OS-related downloads including the IBM Encryption Facility for z/OS Client, Logrec Viewer, LookAt, z/OS UNIX System Service Tools and Toys, and many others.
- Be sure to install the Alternate Library for REXX to run compiled REXX programs on your z/OS and z/VM systems. Compiled programs won't run as efficiently as when the regular licensed REXX library is installed, but at least they'll run.
- The z/OS Ported Tools (5655-M23) include OpenSSH, IBM HTTP Server, and many other useful products. (Rocket Software also offers several ported tools.)
- Got z/TPF? IBM has you covered. How about z/VSE? Yes, there are freebies for you, too. Or maybe z/VM? Covered.
Other Freebies (Mostly for z/OS)
- You can find oodles of interesting tools, utilities, and applications for z/OS in the CBT Tape collection.
- David Alcock offers some interesting z/OS tools at Planet MVS.
- The recently departed Gilbert Saint-Flour leaves behind some great z/OS freeware.
- Here's Mark Zelden's collection.
- ColeSoft has some handy tools.
- Doug Nadel has lots more. (The latest version of TASID is normally found at IBM's Web site, though.)
- AT&T Research offers a z/OS version of ksh (the KornShell).
- Dignus offers some freebies.
- Stanford University's WYLBUR for MVS (z/OS) is freely available.
- Rizzuto IT has many tools available.
- Lionel Dyck has more.
- Andy Robertson has got a collection.
- Leonard Woren offers lots of free tools.
- Michael Joseph Cleary has a few tools in his catalog.
- Nicholas Sun offers the MVS Workbench and Files Organizer.
- Cardett Associates has a couple free tools for DB2 for z/OS.
- DCMS offers their TBOX Power Tools for z/OS free of charge.
- Nigel Pentland has some RACF-related downloads. (So does IBM.)
- SimoTime Enterprises has lots of sample code for z/OS available.
- "Taltyman" has more freebies, including a version of the game Yahtzee for z/OS.
- Dovetailed Technologies hosts an open source software directory for z/OS. The directory is still in the draft phase but may be useful. Contributors to the directory are welcome.
I'm sure I'm only providing a partial list of mainframe freebies, but it's a start. Have fun!
|by Timothy Sipples||August 29, 2013 in Application Development, Economics, Linux, z/OS |
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IBM Announces the OpenPOWER Consortium
IBM's Tom Rosamilia describes IBM's OpenPOWER Consortium announcement. IBM is sharing the complete blueprints for its POWER microprocessors with several major industry partners: Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox, and TYAN. Others are welcome to join. Yes, that Google, the search giant that buys many thousands of bespoke servers but which also has some of the most challenging data center-related problems in the world. Now Google gets an entire, more advanced microprocessor design to use as it pleases.
It's no secret that the traditional RISC UNIX market has struggled. IBM has been steadily gobbling up UNIX server marketshare for several years as other UNIX vendors, lately HP and Oracle/Sun, collapsed. But it's not good enough to dominate a (probably) declining market, so IBM is wisely trying to expand the whole market and go all-in on Linux cloud infrastructure. IBM has got some superb launch partners in that effort.
I think it's a bold IBM move but a calculated one. IBM is basically trying to replicate ARM's success in the processor licensing business but in a much different market, a market Intel currently dominates with its proprietary X86 architecture. I'm referring to massive, horizontal scale-out computing architectures in remote (typically) data centers: large Linux-based public clouds, notably Google's, but also with NVIDIA-infused GPU technologies for supercomputing (as another example). Not competing with ARM at all which, despite a few rumblings, isn't charging into data centers. Optimizing microprocessors for mobile use cases is quite different than optimizing for public cloud backends.
So will Intel get "squeezed" in the middle? The middle has proven to be a dangerous place to be in the server processor business. Which is why I also remain extremely bullish on zEnterprise, by the way (and which is doing very well indeed). It's certainly an interesting development, and it's really good news for customers. Frankly IBM had to do something bold, and this move definitely qualifies.
It also puts IBM's acquisition of SoftLayer into better focus. I was a little unclear how SoftLayer would fit into IBM's strategy, but now it makes a lot more sense. It also makes complete sense for IBM's launch partners to join the OpenPOWER Consortium.
I like this.
|by Timothy Sipples||August 7, 2013 in Cloud Computing, Linux, Systems Technology |
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Canonical (Ubuntu) Needs a Mainframe (and zBC12 Post #3)
In my previous blog post I wrote "stay tuned," because I'd have a lot to write about the new software solutions IBM is announcing with the new zEnterprise BC12. In this post I'll start with some general observations on important foundational software capabilities that IBM is either improving or introducing for the first time. And as I've written many times (and as Canonical has perhaps realized), the marriage of hardware and all the software layers must be harmonious into order to achieve particular business outcomes and in order to deliver the best qualities of service. I'm also seeing IBM develop and ship new top-to-bottom solution packages which include zEnterprise server hardware and storage, operating systems, middleware, applications, maintenance, and services with simple, competitive, multi-year "no surprises" pricing. Inevitably there's always some customization involved in enterprise computing, but these zEnterprise solution kits greatly simplify the time-to-value.
Here are some examples of the new/improved foundational capabilities and associated solution packages:
- IBM is introducing new hardware-based/software-exploited cryptographic algorithms, notably elliptic curve cryptography (ECC). IBM is seriously positioning zEnterprise as the enterprise security hub, with solutions for managing digital certificates across the enterprise, for example. The IBM Enterprise Key Management Foundation solution, introduced shortly after last year's zEC12 announcement, has been updated to include a zBC12 option and the new cryptographic algorithms.
- IBM has formally announced z/OS 2.1. There's a lot to unpack in that announcement, and I might have to do that in a separate blog post, but one of my favorite areas of improvement is in z/OS UNIXTM System Services. As HP-UX and Solaris fade to black, IBM keeps improving z/OS UNIX as a warm and welcoming target environment for those workloads and for other applications. In particular IBM has adopted more of the new GNU conventions, and the z/OS C/C++ compiler picks up more of the latest C/C++ language standards, not to mention deeper exploitation of zEC12/zBC12 processor features for performance and scalability. Relatedly IBM has updated its Cognos business intelligence solutions to the latest version on z/OS so that customers can minimize data movement, keep their information most secure, and access reports from Web and mobile devices directly on zEnterprise. And if you want everything in one simple package, including a zEnterprise server, IBM enterprise storage, z/OS, DB2, the IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator — with or without Cognos and SPSS — IBM's updated Smart Analytics System 9710 is perfectly packaged and ready to roll.
- What about COBOL and PL/I which power, among other things, most of the world's large financial systems? IBM thinks its new Enterprise COBOL Version 5.1 is so attractive that it wants everyone to try it. Thus there's a new "developer trial" edition. You can order V5.1 and kick the tires without starting the 12 month single version charge (SVC) period. Enterprise COBOL V5.1 is the first COBOL compiler that can exploit specific processor models at compile time. IBM had to do a great deal of "plumbing" work to make this happen, and this version is but the opening salvo in a series of new COBOL compiler releases. IBMers on the forums are now openly discussing their COBOL roadmap to a 64-bit compiler, something they were hesitant to do until they got this new compiler technology in place. Go grab it. You'll like it. (And let's not forget the new PL/I V4.4.) But while a new compiler is an important foundational capability, IBM is doing a lot of work above that layer. A good example is IBM's Business Rules for z/OS which, in simple terms, means that application developers don't have to write or modify code to change business rules — those kinds of business changes can now be made much more easily in a graphical, code-free way. If you think the first and only way to solve a particular business problem is to program, think again. To borrow from Strunk and White, omit needless coding.
- There are lots of new mainframe "freebies" — I'll have to update my list. Perhaps my favorite is the new z/OS Management Facility Version 2.1, and one of the big headlines there is that it's much easier to deploy and even less resource-intensive thanks to the new WebSphere Liberty Profile packaging. IBM is also letting everyone know that it expects to release a new Encryption Facility for z/OS that'll exploit the new zEDC hardware, so both compression and encryption will be turbocharged. zSecure Version 2.1 is also newly announced, to make security administration and auditing simpler and more reliable.
- IBM is pushing its zEnterprise cloud credentials hard, and rightly so. The mainframe is the original and best cloud platform, particularly for secure private clouds. IBM announced z/VM Version 6.3 which now incorporates integration with the industry standard "OpenStack" initiative. You'll be able to manage z/VM-based cloud environments via OpenStack-compatible solutions. There are new z/VM features to reduce or eliminate planned outages of individual z/VM LPARs, notably "upgrade in place." Previously it was necessary to carve up system memory into 256 GB LPARs for z/VM, but now 1 TB z/VM LPARs are supported. (Memory scalability is often the limiting factor in cloud deployments, so this is an important increase.) Of course IBM has updated its Enterprise Linux Server (ELS) solution and application solutions based on ELS to incorporate these new capabilities.
That's just a sampling of core infrastructure capabilities and how they map to new and updated, packaged zEnterprise solutions. I expect to have more to say about this week's "announcement deluge" as I keep finding more and more gems, and I'll try to provide some more perspective on trends and directions.
Welcome to the future.
|by Timothy Sipples||July 24, 2013 in Innovation, Linux, Security |
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