July 6, 2016

z13 feature exploitation - which distribution levels are required

In this post I'll try to summarize which distribution levels, packages, APARs, PTFs etc are needed to exploit a given z13 (performance) function. I expect this to change over time, so please revisit for updates.

For the virtualization layers I use the label "(guest)" for enablement of guest exploitation. So you need at least the given version of the Hipervisor to exploit a certain function in the guest. Of course you also need the respective guest support.

All version levels in the table are minimum levels.

 Feature  Red Hat  SUSE  Ubuntu  z/VM
SMT 7.2 12 SP1 16.04 6.3+
SIMD: kernel support – compiled SIMD apps can run 7.2 12 SP1 16.04 6.3+(3) 1.1.1 1.1.1
z13 tool chain support (compiler, binutils) 12 SP1 16.04 6.3+ 1.1.0
PCI: RoCE 10 Gb Ethernet 7.2(1) 12 SP1 16.04
PCI: RoCE 10 Gb OFED stack 7.2(1) 16.04
PCI: zEDC Java 7.2(1) 12 SP1 16.04
PCI: zEDC zlib preload library (1)(2) (2) 16.04

(1) fixes coming
(2) RYO lib from https://github.com/ibm-genwqe/genwqe-user
(3) z/VM APAR VM65733 required

(updated 7/7/2016)

June 25, 2016

Fedora 24 for IBM z Systems and Linux ONE released

The new Fedora 24 for z Systems / s390x / LinuxONE was released 6/21/2016 together with the Intel version. Thanks to the Fedora team for closing the time gap between the architectures! The kernel level is kernel-4.5.5-300.

As usual the download is available from the Fedoraproject site and the respective mirrors and known issues  are covered in the wiki.

June 9, 2016

How to submit requirements for LinuxONE, Linux on z Systems, z/VM and KVM on z Systems

KVM as well as LinuxONE is now part of the " Request for Enhancement (RFE) Community". So as described in my earlier post you can now also submit requirements for LinuxONE and KVM to IBM. To do this open the  community start page and then select  the "Submit" tab.
After entering in your IBM ID, you can fill in your requirement. In the product pull down please select one of:
  • Linux on System z
  • IBM LinuxONE
  • KVM for IBM z Systems
  • z/VM
Fill in the other fields as good as you can and then click on submit.

Canonical is handling requirements for the Ubuntu distribution through Launchpad. Open a bug there, put requirement in the title and tag it with s390x.

Red Hat has a defined RFE process for their customers. So after logging into RHN follow the instructions to submit a request.

SUSE requirements can be submitted to their sales reps as well as using  the "feedback" button at the bottom of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z web site.

(Updated 6/28/2016)

June 1, 2016

The Ubuntu Mainframe Cookbook

If you liked the Virtualization Cookbooks for Red Hat and SUSE and you are looking at Ubuntu right now then maybe you are interested in Mike MacIsaac's latest book: The Ubuntu Mainframe Cookbook.

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.

From a technical perspective the most important part are the z13 performance patches, which will make certain workloads run faster than on previous releases.

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 6/5/2016)

April 6, 2016

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)