In the course of delivering his prepared remarks on IBM’s first quarter 2017 financial results, IBM Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeter said, “And we expect a new mainframe late in the year.” He also reported seven new customers joined the mainframe family during the quarter.
z/OS is IBM’s flagship operating system for its mission critical z System enterprise servers. Earlier this week IBM lifted the veil on the upcoming z/OS 2.3 release, with general availability planned for September, 2017. IBM’s Early Support Program is potentially available to those z/OS licensees who can’t wait that long. (Ask “your friendly IBM representative” if you’d like to join the ESP.) The preview announcement is chock full of interesting new features. I am particularly interested in these items:
- z/OS 2.3 will require an IBM zEC12, zBC12, or higher model machine. That’s a fairly aggressive leap forward, but in my view it’s a sensible one. Setting a higher baseline means that z/OS can do more to exploit newer instructions and other newer model features.
- z/OS and its predecessor, OS/390, have included encryption services for decades, but this release makes encryption of data sets, zFS, and CF structures much easier to implement because there’s no need to change applications.
- Communications Server will incorporate a network security “sanity check” (my term) feature, to warn administrators if they’re not being at least reasonably careful to encrypt network connections. (Philip Young might appreciate this new feature.)
- z/OSMF will support a standard software installation package for z/OS, based on some recent vendor consensus. Consequently z/OSMF will support both SMP/E and non-SMP/E (but also standard) software installation.
- z/OSMF will integrate the z/OS incident log with IBM’s support database to find likely APARs (fixes or documented workarounds) automatically.
- XML System Services will use 64-bit address spaces, to handle larger XML documents.
- Eight character TSO/E user IDs!
- IBM Knowledge Center for z/OS will include a message lookup feature.
- The Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT) is moving into the base operating system, and IBM is opening it up to software vendors.
- Workload Manager will have a “maximum zIIP” control (my term) that can be applied to particular service classes. WLM will require all zIIP-eligible work within these controlled service classes to execute only on zIIPs, never on general purpose engines.
- Online migration of HFS to zFS, and online repair of zFS. (IBM expects that the z/OS release after Version 2.3 will be the last to support HFS.)
- RACF user ID to e-mail conversion and mapping.
- JES2 job notifications and z/OSMF event notifications via e-mail.
- Although z/OS 2.3 will still be available on tape media, IBM says it’ll discontinue tape media deliveries of z/OS and related products in the future. Electronic delivery (Internet downloads) and DVD media will continue to be available.
Looking for the most highly available, most mission critical way to run your current and future SAP applications? Tired of planned and unplanned outages, and the increasing costs and risks when your SAP applications are down? SAP and IBM have you covered with the new “SAP Zero Downtime Option.” SAP’s new reference architectures illustrate the world’s most continuous, most secure SAP services.