Evangelizing Mainframe
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zEC12: More Than Just a Refresh

Late this summer, on Aug. 28, IBM announced the next generation system of systems, the zEnterprise EC12 (zEC12). Besides the snazzy new front panels, at first glance this may look like a newer version of the z196, but with more than $1 billion in IBM R&D investment with client input on today’s challenges, this system is much more than just a refresh.

This new zEC12, model number 2827, continues to bring industry-leading processor speeds (5.5 Ghz), a 25-percent performance improvement over a z196 uniprocessor, and brings up to a 50-percent total capacity improvement, allowing up to 78,000 MIPS and 101 user configurable cores. While the core speed only makes up approximately a 5-percent increase in core running frequency, the processor was significantly optimized for software performance with the second-generation out-of-order execution, superscalar instruction execution, and enhancements to the Java and PL/I compilers, DB2 and improvement in CPU-intensive and float C/C++ applications. With a hex core design built with 2.75 billion transistors, the new architecture also brings improvements in cache while reducing latency. The L2 per core is 33 percent bigger, the on-chip shared L3 cache is 100 percent bigger, and the private L2 is designed to reduce L1 miss latency by up to 45 percent. Additionally, a Runtime Instrumentation Facility to help reduce Java overhead and a Transactional Execution Facility for parallelism and scalability are new hardware functions optimized for software performance, further bringing efficiency to the processing improvements of the new machine.

In addition to processing power, the zEC12 also introduces two major new components to enhance System z business application availability. The first is Flash Express, which is a pair of flash SSD, 1.6 TB, installed in the PCIe I/O drawer to help improve availability and maximize performance. The Flash Express will be fully exploited by z/OS to streamline memory paging. This will be dynamically monitored and will eliminate the need to page, assisting with performance. Additionally, future uses will be to support large pages for DB2 for z/OS V10, Java SDK7 SR3, and IMS V13.

The second new component is IBM zAware, an LPAR designed to monitor messaging for out-of-band, high-speed analytics to review system messages and provide near real-time monitoring. These messages are self-learned from the data collected on any z/OS LPAR that is in a Sysplex with IBM zAware running on a zEC12, and recognizes patterns while delivering a user-friendly interface that allows simple monitoring of the current system state. This delivery of information can be provided in XML, so that it can feed other processes or tools.

The IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension (zBX) was also enhanced to Model 003 (model 2458) that is built with integrated IBM certified components and now allows up to 112 blades to be supported to run AIX, Linux and Windows. These can be IBM HX5 System x Blades (max 56), IBM PS701 Express POWER7 Blades (max 112), DataPower XI50z Blades (max 28). Any blade installed in a zBX will assume the System z warranty and maintenance.

Overall, the new IBM zEC12 is a very capable and powerful machine designed to continue to enhance the availability, performance, reliability, and security features that System z has become synonymous with. The new server also continues to reiterate the strengths and direction of Hybrid computing with the enhanced zBX and IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator offerings. With an enhanced price-performance improvement this is a worthy system to be considered as workloads are modernized and proves that System z is alive and well. Additional zEC12 highlights include:

• Hardware System Area (HSA) has been increased to 32GB
• Overhead Power Option to allow a raised floor to be optional
• Air cooled with a “radiator” design to replace refrigerant (airflow increased approximately 4-5 percent)

The zEC12 past and planned availability and reference dates are:

Sept. 19, 2012
• Features and functions for the zEC12
• zEC12 Models H20, H43, H66, H89, and HA1
• z10 EC upgrades to zEC12 radiator-based air cooled
• z10 EC upgrades to zEC12 water cooled
• z196 air-cooled EC upgrades to zEC12 radiator-based air cooled
• z196 air-cooled EC upgrades to zEC12 water-cooled
• z196 water-cooled EC upgrades to zEC12 water-cooled
• IBM zEnterprise BladeCenter Extension Model 003 (FC 0502)
• zBX Model 002 upgrades to zBX Model 003 to a new IBM zEnterprise EC12
• z196 with zBX Model 002 upgrades to IBM zEnterprise EC12 with zBX Model 003
• IBM zAware (FC 0011, FC 0101, and FC 0102)
• Flash Express (FC 0402)—hardware orderable Aug. 28, 2012, and deliverable starting Sept. 19, 2012; Planned availability of z/OS exploitation of functionality is Dec. 14, 2012
• TKE 7.2 LIC (FC 0850) on z196 and z114

Nov. 7, 2012
• Features and functions for the IBM zBX model 003
• zBX Model 002 upgrades to Model 003 on an existing zEC12
• 14 ft 380-415V 3PH line cord (FC 8976)
• 380-415V 3PH Top Exit line cord (FC 8977)

Dec. 7, 2012
• Model conversions for zEC12

Dec. 14, 2012
• z/OS V1.13 support for Flash Express, available at: http://www.ibm.com/systems/z/os/zos/downloads/

Dec. 31, 2012
• MES features for Models H20, H43, H66, H89, and HA1

Q1 2013
• zBX Model 003 move from one zEC12 to another zEC12
• DataPower Blade remove or move from one zBX to another zBX
• z/OS support for 2 GB large pages and dynamic reconfiguration for Flash Express

Dustin Shammo is a System z client architect with IBM Sales and Distribution.

Posted: 11/6/2012 1:34:03 AM by Dustin Shammo

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