November 14, 2014

New Whitepaper "IBM Cognos Business Intelligence 10.2.1 for Linux on System z - Performance and z/VM Resource Management"

IBM Cognos Business Intelligence is an interesting workload for zLinux environments. This new whitepaper covers setup and some of the performance and tuning aspects for this in a zLinux / z/VM environment.
As an add on it also takes a look at the z/VM resource manager (VMRM) for helping to distribute the CPU capacity between competing workloads.

October 15, 2014

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 released

It's been an unusual long time between releases - but now nearly eleven months after the last release Red Hat has announced the availability of RHEL 6.6. The kernel level is now kernel-2.6.32-504.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.

For System z this has been a mainly a fix release. Only a few small enhancements have been added all described in the technical notes. Here are some of them:
  • libhugetlbfs support for System z
  • crypto updates: libica, opencryptoki
  • read only sequential data set access avoiding ftp/nfs transfers from z/OS using the zdfs file system
The IBM documentation for RHEL 6.4 on developerworks still applies for this release.

October 14, 2014

New article: Using Linux on System z Hardware Cryptography with the PKCS#11 Cryoptography Stack

As a follow on to the Java crypto article there is a new one covering PKCS#11 and the System z hardware stack published in the EnterpriseTech Journal.
It explains what PKCS#11 is and how the API works and what methods are supported. Then it covers OpenCryptoki the open source implementation of PKCS#11 and how it's configured and used. This article is for everyone who is seeking better understanding of the exploitation of the hardware crypto facilities from Linux on System z.

October 7, 2014

IBM General Parallel File System (GPFS) available for Linux on System z

IBM has announced the availability of the General Parallel File System (GPFS) aka Elastic Storage for Linux on System z. It's the new 4.1 version and for zLinux the minimum distribution requirements are
  • RHEL 6.5 + latest z stream patches
  • RHEL 7.0
  • SLES 11 SP3 + latest maintenance patches 
 There is also a short Redbook solution guide available.

September 17, 2014

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.11 released

Red Hat has announced the availability of RHEL 5.11. You can find more information on this here:
This update is the last update for the great RHEL 5 and the support will finally end in March 2017 (see life cycle page from Red Hat). Even though this seems to be far away right now, please mark your calendars for migration planning!

From a System z perspective this is a pure bug fix release. No new features have been added.

(updated 10/12/2014)

August 13, 2014

MongoDB on zLinux

MongoDB is being requested for zLinux  quite a lot. With the v8 engine now available it can be build on zLinux. Andrew Low and Joran Siu have created a short writeup on "How to build MongoDB on Linux on System Z".

So this is a start!

July 16, 2014

IBM SDK for Node.js Version 1.1 for Linux on System z is generally available

IBM has published a version of the server side Javascript engine node.js for Linux on System z on developerworks. This gives you a stand-alone JavaScript engine also on System z.

You can also download the current development source for the components node and the Javascript engine v8 from github.

Hopefully the final version will be released later this year!

(updated 8/16/2014)

July 4, 2014

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) released

After a long development phase Red Hat has finally announced the next major release of their enterprise distribution. Everything is new and updated, so it will take time to get familiar with the new distribution.

The kernel level of the GA version is kernel-3.10.0-123, however as this is a new release I strongly recommend everyone to apply the updates from Red Hat to get the bug fixes that didn't make the DVD! As of 7/4 the latest update kernel is kernel-3.10.0-123.4.

Here is my usual summary of links to more information:
As this is a brand new release there are some hick ups aka bugs to be expected. If you are hitting one, please open a bug report with Red Hat and/or IBM.

(updated 10/31/2014)

June 5, 2014

Linux bonding active_backup problem with new microcode

A recent System z microcode update for the OSA cards in zEC12 / zBC12 may require an adaptation of the bonding setup in Linux. If you are using Linux bonding in active_backup mode and you are using the same MAC address for all the slaves (fail_over_mac=0 or not specified) and your are on the lastest machines you probably want to check if you need to change your setup.

You can find the complete details in the restriction list on Developerworks.

April 10, 2014

Linux performance guides for distributions

I'm often asked for the performance guides from Red Hat and SUSE. So here are the links for that:
(updated 7/72014)

April 7, 2014

Request for Enhancement (RFE) community launched including Linux on System z and z/VM requirements

The Request for Enhancement (RFE) community has been used for IBM Software products for a while. Now also the Systems and Systems Software including Linux on System z and z/VM have been included there. Up to now requirements have only been discussed internally - this is now open to everyone with an IBM ID. In my opinion this is really good.

This community is meant for submitting and discussing requirements and feature requests for specific products. In the community please select "Linux on System z"  for zLinux requirements and "z/VM" for z/VM requirements.
Also feel free to comment and vote for already existing requirements!

Who is going to submit the first one in the categories?

February 13, 2014

IBM XL C/C++ for Linux on System z beta program

IBM has launched a beta program for a new compiler for Linux on System z. If you've been working with IBM platforms you may already know the xlc compiler. This compiler is now also available as a beta for Linux on System z as well.
Interested customers and software vendors should register for it at this registration link (free IBM ID required).

The key difference to the gcc included in the distributions is that this compiler is independent of the distribution. So as a software developer you can use this compiler and more important the generated binaries on all the supported Linux distribution. By that you can get improvements like zEC12 exploitation earlier than waiting for the next gcc in a distribution.

And my personal hope is that the performance will also be good as well. We will know this when the compiler is generally available.

January 20, 2014

Oracle Database 12c R1 and fixpack available for Linux on System z

Oracle has released the new 12cR1 version of their database for Linux on System z. With the appropriate license you can download it from Oracle. There is a also a blog entry in the Oracle blog. For more details see this IBM Flash.
The Redbook "Experiences with Oracle Database 12c Release 1 on Linux on System z" is a "must read" if you want to start with Oracle 12c on System z.
In the IBM Germany Lab in Boeblingen there has been a class called "Oracle Bootcamp". The presentations can be downloaded here.

Also for the older version 11R2 Oracle released the patchset. There is also a new Redbook available for Oracle 11: Experiences with Oracle 11gR2 on Linux on System z.

(updated 3/26/2014)

January 14, 2014

Fedora 20 for IBM System z released

The new Fedora 20 for System z / s390x was released 1/8/2014. Thanks to the Fedora team keeping the distribution going!

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