New Blog Banner – In Honour Of The New zEnterprise EC12 (zEC12)

(Originally posted 2012-09-06.)

I hope you like my new blog banner – in honour of the new zEnterprise EC12.

We actually announced the zEC12 (for short) the day I returned from vacation. Great planning, IBM! 🙂 It’s taken me a while to catch up – and changing the banner was an important step. 🙂

I’ve known about the soon-to-be-announced processor range for quite some time, as I think you’d expect. And tracked what was going to be announced quite carefully. The trouble with tracking something to announcement is you lose some of the “surprise!” factor – which I used to quite like back in my younger days.

I won’t precis the announcement details here. But suffice it to say the zEC12 is improved compared to the z196 in almost every area.1.

You could call it “evolution” rather than “revolution” but there have been a multitude of changes in places that matter. I’d like to highlight, though, a few qualitatively new features:

  • zAware – which runs in a special LPAR and uses analytics capabilities to analyse system messages, providing an almost real time view of systems’ health. It learns from the message traffic patterns, using the information to identify unusual system behaviour and minimise its impact. It’s based on technology from IBM Research.
  • Flash Express – which some people have commented looks like a rerun of Expanded Storage. Personally I’ve seen a number of nasty customer situations where this would’ve really helped out. I’m thinking of when systems have to capture a dump at just the wrong moment – or into already over-committed memory/paging subsystem configurations. I’d like to think it would be equally useful for the happier times, too – such as workload bursts and batch/online transitions.
  • CFLEVEL 18 – which has many enhancements. For me the one that caught my eye was the enhancements to path statistics, externalised through RMF. I’m going to write a post on this some time. (I believe this one, though part of the announcement, is retrofitted to z196. I hope so because I’d like to see customer data with these new fields in from older machines than the zEC12.
  • Transactional Memory – which is aimed at increasing concurrency for applications that use a shared set of data. As we go to higher numbers of processors and degrees of concurrency this sort of thing becomes increasingly important.

This obviously isn’t an exhaustive list but it gives you a flavour: Each new processor range is more than just faster / higher capacity / better environmentals.

For much more detail read the two Redbooks:

The team that wrote these excellent Redbooks includes a number of friends of mine. I found the books a very enjoyable read. Note: They are still in draft.

  1. One exception – which I really don’t think will affect many customers – is maximum memory: It stays at 3TB.

Published by Martin Packer

I'm a mainframe performance guy and have been for the past 35 years. But I play with lots of other technologies as well.

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