Mainframe Performance Topics Podcast Episode 9 “Back In Black”

(Originally posted 2017-02-17.)

It's been a long time since I…

… recorded a podcast episode.

But Marna and I have had lots of commitments since we last did. But we're back, and intend to stay that way. Indeed we have bits of Episode 10 “in the can”.

And such a lot has happened in the meantime.

Note: This is actually our tenth episode, though you might count Episode 0 as a pilot and Episode 10 as the real 10th episode. Frankly I don't, as I think Episode 0 is entirely valid. We were certainly learning our craft. What is nice is that people don't seem to have given up on us after that one. 🙂

So, to Episode 9:

In a “packed show” :-), we had all the usual ingredients:

  • We had follow up on Continuous Delivery.
  • Marna interviewed John Eells on new initiatives in software installation.
  • We talked about enhancements to my Parallel Sysplex Performance Topics presentation. (The show notes contain a link to the presentation on SlideShare.)
  • Marna indulged me in talking about Voice-Operated Digital Assistants. I've gone “all in” on these.
  • She also had a couple of nice requirements.

So I hope you enjoy the show; We had fun making it!

Below are the show notes.

The series is here.

Episode 9 is here.

Episode 9 “Back In Black” Show Notes

Here are the show notes for Episode 9 “Back in Black”. The show is called “Back in Black” because:

  • We've been away for a long time, traveling for Martin and on vacation for Marna.

  • A vague reference to a BBC tv show about British fantasy author, Terry Pratchett

We are very happy to be resuming our episodes, and the next isn't far behind this one!

Continuous Delivery Follow-up Announcements

Where we've been

Martin has been all over since our last podcast! Whittlebury UK (with Marna), Amsterdam, Johannesburg, Toronto, Chicago, and the IBM Silicon Valley Lab.

Marna has been to the IBM Technical University in Austin, TX.


Our “Mainframe” topic was an interview with John Eells, z/OS System Test and lead on the Software Installation Strategy.

This topic is very important for z/OS system programmers to understand. IBM and ISVs have been working on a common install method, that handles both SMP/E and non-SMP/E. This would go beyond laying down code, and would eventually hook seamlessly into doing configuration tasks (via z/OSMF Workflow). It would even be able to package software, if you wanted to, and all delivered within the base z/OS operating system.

The common install method would be provided through z/OSMF's Software Management plug-in, so make sure you are setting up and becoming familiar with z/OSMF now.

John and Marna also talked about some of the wishlist items we'd like to see in this solution.


Our “Performance” topic was about some about additions and changes to Martin's Parallel Sysplex Performance presentation that he's been presenting over the years. Somehow this presentation never seems to get any shorter.

This presentation has several sections: Structure-Level CPU, Matching CF and PR/SM views of CPU, Structure Duplexing, XCF traffic, CF link information, and CF Thin Interrupts.

The new parts and changes he has made in this presentation are:

  • Asynchronous Duplexing for lock structures. You can also find a good Mainframe Insights article about this by David Surman here.

  • XCF traffic and Data Sharing Group topology


  • CF Thin Interrupts and CPU.

The updates have been presented in both Munich (at the System z Technical University) and at GSE Annual Conference. Slides are found on SlideShare's Parallel Sysplex Performance Topics from Munich 2016.


Ahoy! In our “Topics” section we discuss voice-activated assistants that have been hitting the market for a while now.

Martin has a good amount of experience in Siri from Apple and Alexa (Amazon) Echo and Dot. A third one is Google Home.

Martin talks about the various pros and cons on each. Considerations for using these include: inadvertent waking, integration with household devices (such as Philips Hue lights and Wemo switches), extendable capabilities (for Alexa they're called “Skills”) that you can create yourself, what tasks you want it to do, future growth (where competition will help), and country availability.

Customer Requirements

Marna talked about two customer requirements that caught her eye:

Where We'll Be

Marna will be at SHARE in San Jose, California March 6 through March 10, 2017.

On The Blog

Martin has published three blog posts recently:

Marna has written one: Trying out the new z/OSMF Workflow Editor

Contacting Us

You can reach Marna on Twitter as mwalle and by email.

You can reach Martin on Twitter as martinpacker and by email.

Or you can leave a comment below.

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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