Mainframe Performance Topics Podcast Episode 31 “Take It To The Macs”

This is the first blog post I’ve written on my new work MacBook Pro. While it’s been a lot of work moving over it’s a better place as it’s an Apple Silicon M1 Max machine with lots of memory and disk space.

That’s nice, but what’s the relevance to podcasting?

Well, it’s very warm here in the UK right now and I’ve been on video calls for hours on end. Yes, the machine gets warm – but possibly not from its load. But, importantly, there has been zero fan noise.

Fan noise has been the bedevilment of recording audio. Hopefully that era is now over – and just maybe the era of better sound quality in my recordings is upon us. (See also the not-so-secret Aftershow for this episode.)

As usual, Episode 31 was a lot of fun to make. I hope you enjoy it!

Episode 31 “Take it to the Macs” long show notes.

This episode is about our After Show. (What is that?)

Since our last episode, we were both in person at SHARE in Dallas, TX.

What’s New

  • More new news for CustomPac ServerPac removal date, which has been extended past January 2022. The CustomPac (ISPF) ServerPac removal date
    from Shopz for all ServerPacs will be July 10, 2022. Make sure you order before that date if you want a non-z/OSMF ServerPac. CBPDO is still available and unaffected

  • Data Set File System released OA62150 closed April 28th, 2022 only on z/OS V2.5,
    which we talked about in Episode 30.

  • IBM z16 – lots of great topics we are do on this in future episodes.

  • IBM z/OS Requirements have moved into the aha! tool, and they are called Ideas .

Mainframe – z/OS Management Services Catalogs: Importance of z/OSMF Workflows

  • z/OS Management Services Catalog, zMSC, allows you to customize a z/OSMF
    Workflow for your enterprise, and publish it in a catalog for others to “click and use”.

    • zMSC Services can be very useful, as you can encode specific installation’s standards into a Service.

    • As you can guess, there are different role for these zMCS Services: Administrators and Users.

      • Administrators are those can customize and publish a Service (from a z/OSMF Workflow definition file), and allow Users to run it.
    • To get you started, IBM provides 7 sample Services which are common tasks that you might want to review and publish. These samples are:

      1. Delete an alias from a catalog
      2. Create a zFS file system
      3. Expand a zFS file system
      4. Mount a zFS file system
      5. Unmount a zFS file system
      6. Replace an SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER certificate
      7. Delete a RACF user ID
    • More are likely to be added, based on feedback.

    • Note, however, someone could add their own from a z/OSMF Workflow. The z/OSMF Workflows could come from:

      • The popular Open Source zorow repository.

      • Created from your own ecosystem, perhaps even using the z/OSMF Workflow Editor to help you create it.

    • zMSC Services are based on z/OSMF Workflows. You can see why the discussion on knowing z/OSMF Workflows is important.

    • Customers can grab workflows and make them services, and provide more checking and control than just a z/OSMF Workflow can do. They can also be run again and
      again from published Services meaning that the tasks of Workflow creation, assignment, and acceptance are not necessary.

    • Without z/OSMF Workflows none of zMSC is usable, so get your Workflows ready to make appropriate ones into Services.

Performance – System Recovery Boost (SRB) Early Experiences

  • System Recovery Boost
    provides boosts of two kinds:

    • Speed Boost – which is useful for those with subcapacity servers to make them full speed. Won’t apply to full speed customers.

    • zIIP Boost – which allows work normally not allowed to run on a zIIP, to run on a zIIP.

      • You can purchase temporary zIIP capacity if you like.
  • There are basically three major stages to the SRB function:

    1. Those on the IBM z15, to reduce outage time:

      • Shutdown – which allows you to have 30 minutes worth of boosting during shutdown. This function must be requested to be used each time.

      • IPL – which allows you to have 60 minutes worth of boosting during IPL. This function, provided by default, is on.

    2. Additional functions for Recovery Process Boost, provided on IBM z15. Extends to structure or connectivity recovery, for instance.

    3. Newer additional functions for Recovery Process Boost, specifically on IBM z16, for stopping and starting certain middleware.

  • Martin has several early field experience, which he has summarised in four blog posts:

    1. Really Starting Something

    2. SRB And SMF

    3. Third Time’s The Charm For SRB – Or Is it?

    4. SRB And Shutdown Martin has noticed that Shutdown boosts might not be used as much.

  • It is important to know that SRB new function APARs have been released, and all have the SMP/E FIXCAT of IBM.Function.SystemRecoveryBoost.
    Some of these functions may or may not go back to the IBM z15.

  • Martin’s SMB conclusions are:

    • “Not one and done”. We’ve seen updates to this technology, which is a great thing to see expanding!

    • Good idea to run a small implementation project. Know what kind of advantage you are receiving from this function, which probably entails doing a “before” and “after” comparison.

    • Pay attention to your zIIP Pool Weights. An LPAR undergoing a boost might use a lot of zIIP; Make sure other LPARs have adaquate zIIP pool weights to protect them.

    • For Shutdown consider automation. This allows you to leave no SRB offering behind.

    • Take advantage of the available monitoring for effective usage.

  • Tell us of your SRB experience!

Topics – Stickiness

  • This topics explores what makes some technologies sticky, and some not, which Martin started in one of his blogs. Almost went with this as the podcast episode title.

  • Martin and Marna discuss some of the attributes that are important for continuing to be used, and what makes a function fall away over time.

    • Value – Needs to a balance between making your life better, valid, and (somewhat) financial. Important points are productivity , reliability, value in doing something it is hard to do. Familiarity is nice value.

    • Completeness – What features are there and missing. Example of this is Shortcuts, which has added a lot of functions over time. It can be a journey, and have lots of competitors.

    • Usability and immediacy – An unsuccessful attempt was Martin’s numeric keypad without the ability to know what the keys were for with some fumbling. Streamdeck was programmatic and helped by showing what the keys were for.

    • Reliability – How infrequently must it fail for it to be acceptable? 1%? 10%? It depends.

    • Setup complexity – Most people want them simple to set up. Martin likes to tailor capability. Marna likes it to be easy.

Out and about

  • Marna and Martin are both planning on being in SHARE, Columbus, August 22–26, 2022.

  • Martin will be talking about zIIP Capacity & Performance, with a revised presentation. Marna has a lot of sessions and labs, as usual – including the new z/OS on IBM z16!

On the blog

So It Goes

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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