WLM-Managed Initiators And zIIP

One item in the z/OS 2.5 announcement caught my eye. Now 2.5 is becoming more prevalent it’s worth talking about it. It is zIIP and WLM-Managed Initiators.

WLM-Managed Initiators

The purpose of WLM-Managed Initiators is to balance system conditions against batch job initiation needs:

  • Start too many initiators and you can cause CPU thrashing.
  • Start too few and jobs will wait for an excessive period to get an initiator.

And this can be used to both delay job initiation as well as choosing where to start an initiator.

Prior to z/OS 2.5 General-Purpose Processor (GCP) capacity would be taken into account but zIIP capacity wouldn’t be. With z/OS 2.5 zIIP is also taken into account.

What WLM Knows About

But this raises a question: How does WLM know how zIIP intensive a job will be – before it’s even started?

Well, WLM isn’t clairvoyant. It doesn’t know the proclivities of an individual job before it starts. In fact it doesn’t know anything about individual job names. It can’t say, for instance, “job FRED always burns a lot of GCP CPU”.

So let’s review what WLM actually does know:

  • It knows initiation delays – at the Service Class level. This shows up as MPL Delay.1
  • It knows the usual components of velocity – again, at the Service Class level. (For example GCP Delay and GCP Using.)
  • It knows system conditions. And now zIIP can be taken into account.
  • It knows – at the Service Class level – resource consumption by a typical job. And this now extends to zIIP.

How Prevalent Is zIIP In Batch?

zIIP is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Batch Window, often in quite an intense manner. Examples of drivers include:

  • Java Batch
  • Db2 Utilities
  • A competitive sort product

When we2 look at customer systems we often see times of the night where zIIP usage is very high. (Often we’re not even focusing on Batch but see it out of the corner of our eye.)

(Actually this usage tends to be quite spiky. For example, Utilities windows tend to be of short duration but very intensive.)

So, it’s worth looking at the zIIP pool for the batch window to understand this.

(I’ll say, in passing, often coupling facility structures are intensively accessed in similar, sometimes contemporaneous, bursts. As well as GCP and memory.)

I’m labouring the point because this trend of zIIP intensiveness in parts of the batch window might be a bit of a surprise.


If we accept WLM will now manage initiators’ placement (in system terms) and starting (in timing terms) with regard to zIIP we probably should classify jobs to service classes accordingly.

It’s suggested zIIP jobs should be in different service classes to non-zIIP ones. With the possible exception of Utilities jobs I don’t think this is realistic. (Is java batch businesswise different from the rest?) But if you can achieve it without much distortion of your batch architecture WLM will take into account zIIP better in z/OS 2.5. One reason why you might not be able to do this is if the zIIP-using jobs are multi-step and only some of the steps are zIIP-intensive.

  1. Not to be confused with MPL Delay for WLM-Managed Db2 Stored Procedures Server address spaces, which is generally more serious. Metapoint: It pays to know what a service class is for. 

  2. Teamly “we”, not “Royal We”. :-) 

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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