July 16, 2018

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.5 released

RHEL logo
On April 10th, 2018 Red Hat announced the next regular update to their flag ship operating system.

The kernel level for 7.5 is kernel-3.10.0-862.el7. The kernel level for 7.5-alt is kernel-4.14.0-49.el7a.
And this is actually the largest change. There is an alternate DVD with very interesting stuff. As Red hat wrote in their announcement: "This release also brings support for single-host KVM virtualization and Open Container Initiative (OCI)-formated runtime environment and base image to IBM z Systems."

On top the classic kernel got a lot of bug fixes and security & crypto enhancements

Here is my usual summary of links to more information:

July 15, 2018

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 3 (SLES 12 SP3) released

SUSE logo

On September 7th 2017 eleven months after the last service pack  SUSE has released the latest updated to their flag ship server distribution.

The kernel level for 12.3 is kernel-4.4.73-5.1. So the major kernel level stayed the same, which allowed for a large amount of bug fixes to be included.

Here is my usual summary of links to more information:

July 14, 2018

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.4 released

On August 1st, 2017 Red Hat announced the next regular update to their flag ship operating system.

The kernel level for 7.4 is kernel-3.10.0-693.el7.

Here is my usual summary of links to more information:
From a Linux on Z Systems perspective the major enhancements are the support for the zEDC (genwqe tools) card, the new RoCE 2 card of the z14 (mlx 5 driver) and the usual set of cryptographic enhancements in libica, ibmca and opencryptoki.

May 17, 2018

Determining LPAR CPU assignment on a running System Z

LPAR CPU assignment view

A frequently question in the past was: which physical CPUs is my LPAR using right now? Since z14 the Hardware Management Console provides this for authorized users. The task is called "View partition Resource Assignments".
The Washington System Center has provided a short whitepaper "IBM Z: Accessing the LPAR Resource Assignment Task" with the details. 

July 17, 2017


Today July 17th 2017 IBM announced the new mainframe called IBM z14. Planned availability date is September 13, 2017.

I will update this page frequently - so please come back and check. The time of the last update is at the bottom of the page.

z14 glas model
IBM z14 glass model

From a Linux perspective the IBM tested platforms has been updated to include z14. The following minimum levels are required:
  • Red Hat (certifications)
    • RHEL 7.3 - GA kernel
    • RHEL 6.9 - tbd
  • SUSE
    • SLES 11.4 (certification) -minimum kernel 3.0.101-108.10, RoCE Express2 not supported
    • SLES 12.2 (certification) -minimum kernel 4.4.74-92.35.1
  • Canonical
    • Ubuntu (certification) 16.04.3 LTS - minimum kernel level LTS 4.4.0-96-generic
  • If you are using secure key with the new cards, updates are required to the respective libs you use and the TKE. Minumum levels
    • TKE 9.0
    • csulcca-5.2.23-12, ep11-host-1.3.0-3, ep11-host-devel-1.3.0-3, libep11-dev_1.3.0-3, libep11_1.3.0-3
z14 exploitation of new features:
  • Red Hat
    • DTS 7.0 with new compiler and binutils 
  • SUSE

Useful links:

(updated 11/28/2017)

 Assembling the IBM Z mainframe in 120 seconds

May 12, 2017

Oracle 12c R1 and R2 now certified on RHEL 7.1 and SLES 12 SP1 for Linux on z / LinuxONE

Oracle Databasse 12c Release 1 and Release 2 are now certified on the latest Linux versions for Linux on z Systems and LinuxONE. Details can be found here:

  • Oracle 12c R1:
    • RHEL7 certification: IBM Flash, Oracle Note  2213265.1
    • SLES 12 certification: IBM Flash, Oracle Note 2196637.1
  • Oracle 12c R2: 
    • RHEL 7 certification: IBM Flash, Oracle certification in My Oracle Support
    • SLES 12 certification: IBM Flash, Oracle certification in My Oracle Support
As usual you have to log into My Oracle Support first before searching for the documents. The documented levels there are the minimum required levels.

There are also two newly published Redbooks titled "Oracle on LinuxONE" and "Oracle on IBM z Systems".

(updated 7/17/2017)

May 2, 2017

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.9 released

On March 21, 2017 Red Hat has announced the availability of RHEL 6.9. This marks the transition into what in Red Hat's product life cyle is called production phase 3 (starting May 10th 2017). This means that only critical security updates and urgent functional fixes will be delivered.The kernel level is now kernel-2.6.32-696.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.

This is mainly a bug and security fix release.

April 27, 2017

z/VM 6.3, z/VM 6.2 and z/VM 5.4 are approaching end of service

Screenshot from https://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycleapp/PLCDetail.wss?q45=D799503N87101H83
Screenshot from https://www-01.ibm.com/software/support/lifecycleapp/PLCDetail.wss?q45=D799503N87101H83

Many Linux clients are running under z/VM as the hypervisor. This year three of the older versions are reaching end of service: z/VM 5.4 (12/2017), z/VM 6.2 (06/2017) and z/VM 6.3 (12/2017). As I know that many of you are still running one of those versions, it's time to move to z/VM 6.4 and/or talk to IBM with respect to extended service.
On the Linux-390 mailing list Bill Bitner thankfully offered his help if you've got any migration questions. So take him up on that offer! 

Also take a look at Bill's presentation "z/VM 6.4: Preparation & Use". It's quite useful to see what changed for the better.

(updated 9/12/2017)

April 3, 2017

RHEL 5 end of service

Red Hat logo
Red Hat announced the end of service for RHEL 5. They will offer another three and a half years of security patches and critical fixes if a customer has bought the Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS).

This enterprise distribution has been in the market now for more than ten years. Now it's time to move on. Best of course would be the RHEL 7 stream, which right now is at RHEL 7.3. Every day you stay on the old release without security updates is increasing the risk of being hacked!