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!

March 21, 2017

SHARE San Jose 2017

SHARE San Jose 2017 poster
Source: picture by E. Pasch
From my perspective this spring SHARE in San Jose was a "normal" SHARE. It was small enough to run into people to talk but large enough to have good technical content. The "hype" themes this time from a Linux perspective have been Blockchain - more precise Hyperledger - and Docker. The exhibition was also good - from a Linux perspective we had all three distributors partners there.

Here is a completely biased list of presentations that you may want to look at. I've only included the ones with handouts. Several good presentations did not have handouts.

Linux / VM / KVM
Besides my three presentations I'm glad that I could help a few people solve there performance problems.  Thanks for all the discussions I had there with clients and IBMers and friends from around the US!

February 22, 2017

SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 Service Pack 2 (SLES 12 SP2) released

SUSE logo

On November 8th 2016 eleven months after the last service pack  SUSE has released the latest updated to their flag ship server distribution. SUSE also has a blog post with some more details.

The kernel level for 12.2 is kernel-4.4.21-69.1. This is a jump in the kernel version from the old 3.12 based kernel. It's the same major kernel level that's being used by Canonical for Ubuntu 16.04. And with that kernel a lot of new functionality is delivered. SUSE and IBM worked hard to ensure that for applications it behaves the same.

What's new (details see documentation and release notes):
Here is my usual summary of links to more information:
(updated 5/2/2017)

February 16, 2017

IBM z Systems Processor Optimization Primer

For z Systems optimizations are essential to keep the consolidation ratio high and make the best use of the hardware. As more and more open source software is ported to Linux on z / LinuxONE Kevin Shum has posted his excellent "BM z Systems Processor Optimization Primer" on developerworks.

There is a long version with all the details and a shorter summary presented at last SHARE.

This is a "must read" for everyone working on compilers and inline assembly on z.