Posts Tagged ‘DB2 10’

Updated Software for IBM zEC12

October 11, 2012

Everyone gets excited by a new piece of hardware, but it is the software that enables the new machine to work its magic. This certainly is the case with the zEC12. On Oct. 3 IBM announced  upgrades to zEnterprise workhorse software like CICS, Omegamon, Cognos, and zSecure intended to better tap the capabilities of zEC12. Even IMS and Sterling are getting a refresh.

Also getting increased attention is Netezza, which has emerged as a key component of IBM’s data analytics approach. Netezza enables IBM to counter Oracle’s Exalytics, another in-memory data analytics appliance. In fact, IBM’s announcement of the newest PureSystems, the PureData System, earlier this week gives IBM another counter punch.

For the zEnterprise IBM adds a flexible storage capability that provides the performance of the IDAA while removing the cost of storage from the z. Netezza will work with whatever IBM storage the organization prefers.  A new incremental update capability propagates data changes as they occur, making it possible to analyze activity almost immediately. This resolves the problem of the data currency, in effect providing as close to real-time analytics as most organizations will get or need.

CICS, which already had become a mainframe workhorse through SOA and web services, now adds rich cloud capabilities too. CICS v5.1 brings new web app capabilities built on the WAS Liberty Profile. New PaaS capabilities enable it to host SaaS apps based on CICS applications. It also employs a new lightweight Java web container that combines Java Servlets and JSPs with fast local access to CICS applications.  IBM reports the enhanced CICS v5.1 delivers a 25% performance gain.

Various online discussion groups are buzzing about the zEC12 software enhancements.  A sampling:

  • IBM provides DB2 10 performance enhancements for z/OS. As importantly for mixed platform (hybrid) shops DB2 10 LUW (Linux UNIX Windows) also will provide similar performance improvements.
  • There is added support for Oracle’s PL/SQL for DB2 10 for stored procedures and Oracle application interfaces for Java, Pro*C, Pro*COBOL, and Forms.
  • IBM also announced significant transactional performance improvements when running WebSphere on the zEC12.
  • IBM has started a Beta Testing Program for the new CICS Transaction Server 5.1 release that has a significant number of enhancements to support Web Applications and CICS application modernization, mainly through IBM’s Rational HATS.
  •  IBM has also improved performance of the C/C++ V1.13 compiler, Metal C feature of the IBM z/OS XL C/C++ compiler; and PL/1 V4.3 compiler for the zEC12.

Maybe less of a buzz generator but IBM Sterling gets a boost with the Sterling B2B Integrator V5.2.4 and Sterling File Gateway V2.2.4 for integration and file-based exchanges. IBM’s zSecure suite V1.13.1 brings new integration with QRadar, expanded integration points with DB2, enhanced RACF database cleanup capabilities, and support for the new enhanced CICS Transaction Server.

IBM also used the announcement to promote the relaunch of zEnterprise Analytics System 9710 (previously called IBM Smart Analytics System 9710) an unusual combo data decision system for analytics. It joins high performance data warehouse management with System z availability and recoverability using the z114. When the IDAA is added the result is a hybrid system of MPP and SMP technologies that combines mixed workload capabilities—both transaction and high speed analytical applications—on single platform tuned for operational business analytics.

Independent Assessment, publisher of DancingDinosaur, has finally released its newest white paper, zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX): the Case for Adopting Hybrid Computing. It is the most updated look at the zBX yet, including details on the zEC12. Available for free. Click here.

Dynamic Data Warehousing and System z

June 20, 2011

Data warehousing should be an ideal workload for the System z. It already houses the production data that mostly populates the data warehouse. It can run Cognos on Linux on z for BI and with a zEnterprise (z196 and zBX) it can run the Smart Analytics Optimizer, either as a zBX blade or as an appliance. And do it all with scalability, reliability, and performance.

But IBM is moving beyond conventional data warehousing, which entails an enterprise data store surrounded by myriad special purpose data marts. Data warehousing as it is mainly practiced today in the distributed environment is too complex, difficult to deploy, requires too much tuning, and too inefficient when it comes to bringing in analytics, which delays delivering the answers business managers need. And without fast analytics, well, what’s the point? In addition, such data warehousing requires too many people to maintain and administer, which makes it too costly.

On top of these problems, the world of data has changed dramatically since organizations began building enterprise data warehouses. Now a data warehouse should accommodate new types of data and rapidly changing forms of data.

IBM’s recommendation: evolve the traditional enterprise data warehouse into what it calls the enterprise data hub. This will entail consolidating the infrastructure and reducing the data mart sprawl. It also will simplify analytics, mainly by deploying analytics appliances like IBM’s Netezza. Finally, organizations will need to data governance and lifecycle management, probably through automated policy-based controls. The result should be better information faster and delivered in a more flexible and cost-effective way.

Ultimately, IBM wants to see organizations evolve the enterprise data warehouse into an enterprise data hub with a variety of BI and analytics engines connected to it along with engines tuned for analyzing streamed data and vast amounts of unstructured data of the type Hadoop been shown to be particularly good at. DancingDinosaur wrote about Hadoop on the z196 back in November.

The payback from all of this, according to IBM, will be increased enterprise agility and faster deployment of analytics, which should result in increased business performance. The consolidated enterprise data warehouse also should lower TCO and speed time to value for both the data warehouse and analytics. All desirable things, no doubt, but for many organizations this will have require a gradual process and a significant investment in new tools and technologies, from appliance to analytics.

Case in point is Florida Hospital, Orlando, which deployed a z10 with DB2 10, which provides enhanced temporal data capabilities, with a primary goal of converting its 15 years of clinical patient data into an analytical data warehouse for use in leading edge medical and genetics research. DancingDinosaur referenced the hospital’s plans recently.

The hospital calls for getting the data up and running on DB2 10 this year and attaching the Smart Analytics Optimizer as an appliance connected to the z10 in Q1 2012. Then it can begin cranking up the research analytics.  Top management has bought into this plan for now, but a lot can change in the next year, the earliest the first fruits of the hospital’s z-based analytical medical data exploration are likely to hit.

IBM does not envision the enterprise data hub exclusively as a System z effort. To the contrary its Power platform is as likely to be the preferred platform as any. Still, a zEnterprise loaded with Smart Analytics Optimizer blades might make a pretty good choice too. Florida Hospital probably would have gone with the z196 if it had known the machine was coming when it was upgrading from the z9 to z10.

The point here: existing data warehouses probably are obsolete. In a recent IBM study, half the business managers complained that they don’t have the information they need to do their jobs and 60% of CEOs admitted they need to do a better job of capturing and understanding information rapidly in order to make swift business decisions. That should be a signal to evolve your existing data warehouse into an enterprise data hub now and the z you have sitting there is just the vehicle for doing that.

System z (Mainframe) Census

April 11, 2011

The LinkedIn group, IBM Mainframe, has been cheerleading an effort to assemble a list of all organizations with an IBM System z. Here is what they have come up with so far.

This takes the form of a wiki, so readers can add mainframes they are aware of that have not been included. Joe Cotton at the LinkedIn IBM Mainframe group explains how it works if you want to register and add names to the list. The process is pretty straightforward; the instructions can be clicked on the left column of the wiki page. By the way, you can find me there as, what else, dancing dinosaur.

The list is far from comprehensive.  A quick glance immediately reveals a number of widely recognized mainframe shops missing from the list. The hope must be that others will participate in the wiki and add names they know should be included. In that way, the list can grow and become more comprehensive. There probably are about 3000 mainframe shops today so this list has a long way to go, but it is a good start. Appreciative thanks everyone who contributed to this effort.

In the past, IBM generally has played coy when it came to identifying customers. The company, however, has gotten better at it in recent years as it battles to counter the mainframe-is-dead FUD. Of course, the best way to do that is to show successful companies using mainframes and growing their mainframe footprints.

For example, two years ago, mainframes were being pushed out of Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND). Nobody had any complaints about the mainframes but interest simply had shifted to the distributed world, which seemed to be where the action was heading. A small dedicated mainframe group, however, thought this was a bad idea and made a compelling case for the mainframe.

This fiscal year, the DND mainframe team received funding for unprecedented mainframe growth, including virtualized Linux, model upgrades, increased redundancy and the upcoming purchase of a fourth mainframe. The DND now has a new z196 and is expecting a zBX imminently and intends, before the end of this year, to order two more z196 machines and two more zBX devices as it upgrades its existing z10 machines to run mixed z/OS, Linux, and AIX workloads. Independent Assessment recently completed the DND case study and will be posting a link to it shortly.

The initial reason to compile the wikidot list of mainframe shops, apparently, was to create a resource for mainframe people looking for jobs. Who is more likely to hire unemployed mainframers than shops that have a mainframe? Still, you can understand IBM’s reticence in revealing customers.

The real growth for the mainframe will come from new workloads. Companies will turn to the hybrid zEnterprise (z196, zBX) for the same reason as the DND—to host and manage multi-platform workloads as a single virtual consolidated system managed by the System z. Others will be looking to run IBM’s specialized software, such as the Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 10. DancingDinosaur will be taking up one company’s plans for the Smart Analytics Optimizer for DB2 10 on its z10 for its data warehouse soon—yet another new kind of workload for the System z.


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