May 20, 2016

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.8 released

On May 11 2016 Red Hat has announced the availability of RHEL 6.8. This marks the transition into what in Red Hat's product life cyle is called production phase 2. The kernel level is now kernel-2.6.32-642.el6, for the main bug fixes see the kernel update description.

As usual there are the release notes and the technical notes in two separate documents. The complete documentation can be reached from the Red Hat documentation page (you need to select "6" on the left bar).

The IBM documentation for RHEL 6.4 on developerworks still applies for this release.

May 4, 2016

dasdfmt performance

This week I got asked multiple times on how to speed up the formatting of classical ECKD DASDs. The command to use is dasdfmt which is part of the s390-tools package. In the newer distributions there is an option called --requestsize=..... which allows to specify the number of cylinders to use in each format step. Basically it's the amount of parallelism that should be used.
The drawback is that on classical ECKD devices you can only have one outstanding IO. So to take advantage of this you need (Hyper)PAV installed and enabled for the DASD you want to format. For the comparison here I used one base device and 16 aliases and a 3390 mod 9 DASD with 10017 cylinders. Varying the requestsize from 1 to 16 on Ubuntu 16.04 I got the following throughput:

As you can see you can get a decent speedup. You can get well under 10s in my example. So give it a try. 

April 21, 2016

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS available for LinuxONE and z Systems

Today Canonical announced the availability of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS including full support for z Systems and LinuxONE. Welcome to the platform!
Besides bringing tons of packages there is a fundamental change in pricing. It's no longer IFL based but rather based on a drawer. See the Ubuntu blog entry below.

Link collection to useful information:
Video "Ubuntu + IBM LinuxONE™ explained by Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical "

(updated 5/6/2016)

April 6, 2016

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS beta is available for z Systems

Canonical made the beta of the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 distribution available. So feel free to download and try.

March 21, 2016

KVM for IBM z Systems - version 1.1.1 GA

After the announcement in February, KVM for IBM z Systems 1.1.1  is now generally available. This is the second release, and it is expected that a new update is going to be released every half year.   

Here are a few links for further details:
Note: there is already the first fixpack available on Fix Central. When you start, please install the latest fixpack!

If you encounter any problems, please open a PMR with IBM. 

(updated 3/23/2015) 

March 3, 2016

New Open source packages for Linux on z

One of the FAQs after launching LinuxONE is the question: what of the currently popular applications stacks etc has been ported to Linux on z?
There is a community called "IBM LinuxONE and Linux on IBM z Systems Open Source Ecosystem" that in the forum has a list of projects ported/tested. Don't get confused by the date of the entry, look at the bottom for the latest update.
If you are missing something, feel free to ask the question in the forum.

Best session at Winter SHARE 2016: "I Just Bought an IBM z890 - Now What?"

Today at SHARE I had the remarkable experience to listen to a session Connor Krukosky. He's a 18 year old student that bought a z890 on eBay. Here is his story. The first operating system he got running was Linux. Some of the stumbling blocks (e.g. writing a IOCDS) he mentions reminded me from the time 17 years back, when I learned the same things the same way. SHARE has recorded the session. The video is now on YouTube:

(updated 3/29/2016)

February 26, 2016

IBM Interconnect 2016 news

This week at Interconnect in 2016 there were some good demos that I want to share. In the key note presentation from Ross Mauri "Master Hybrid Cloud, Defend Against Cyber Threats with IBM z Systems and IBM LinuxONE"

there are some interesting demonstrations: the "shopping experience" demo for LinuxONE starts at 25:15 and blockchain demo for LinuxONE starts at 51:22.

February 24, 2016

New whitepaper: "High Availability with KVM for IBM z Systems"

There is a new white paper on IBM Techdocs that covers High Availability aspects for KVM on z.
From the abstract: "This white paper focuses on considerations for setting up a highly-available KVM for IBM z environment hosting your business applications. With IBM’s investments in z Systems reliability, availability and serviceability, z Systems is an excellent platform to host a High Availability KVM for IBM z environment."