The 2000s

In late 1999, the S/390 Multiprise 3000 (based on G5 technology) replaced the earlier Multiprise 2000. The Multiprise 3000 offered 1 or 2 processors (the second processor could be configured as either a CP or as an Integrated Facility for Linux – IFL) and up to 216 GB internal disk (with 3380/3390 ECKD format) in a single frame. The Multiprise 3000 was popular among VSE customers. In fact, at the time of this article (early 2005), many VSE customers still have these systems installed.

An IBM TotalStorage ESS (Shark)

In late 1999, IBM also introduced the innovative IBM TotalStorage Enterprise Storage Server (also known as Shark). With fast channels and large cache memory, ESS yielded superb I/O performance. ESS delivered impressive capacity and scalability as well. The ESS design featured redundant components and RAID options for high availability. Finally, advanced copy features such as FlashCopy and PPRC helped improve operations. Shark set a new standard in mainframe disk storage.

On New Year’s Eve 1999, the lab had extra staff available to handle whatever emergencies might arise as midnight on January 1, 2000 began in the Pacific and then circled the globe. The critical moment came and went. Nothing much happened. After a while, the extra staff simply went home to their families. Apparently, customer efforts in the last years of the 1990s actually worked.

In the early 2000s, IBM introduced the IBM eServer zSeries 900 and 800 mainframes. Later, the z990 (2003) and z890 (2004) were added to the zSeries family. zSeries servers offer ESCON, FICON, and Fiber Channel Protocol (FCP) channels.

The IBM System z9 Business Class (z9 BC) is the latest in a distinguished line of VSE mainframes. The z9 BC is a cost/effective offering with greater capacity, added granularity, and new connectivity options and hardware-assisted encryption capabilities when compared with the z890. The z9 BC offers up to seven processors and 73 capacity settings, along with 8 – 64 GB main memory. The z9 BC Model R07 can have 1 - 3 central processors (CPs) and 0 - 6 Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) specialty engines. The z9 BC Model S07 can have 0 - 4 CPs and 0 - 7 IFLs. CPs can run z/VSE and z/VM, IFLs run only Linux plus z/VM. In all cases the sum of CPs and IFLs cannot exceed 7.

An IBM eServer zSeries 890

In 2000, few customers have VSE and nothing else. Most have several kinds of server platforms installed. Hybrid applications (involving one or more platform) use data and/or processing logic from a number of local or remote platforms. As a result, interoperability between VSE and other commonly used platforms became a key requirement.

With the introduction of VSE/ESA V2.5 in 2000, VSE added interoperability to the VSE objectives of quality, capacity, and z/OS affinity. VSE/ESA V2.5 included e-business connectors at no extra charge. These connectors have components that run on VSE, plus Java-based components designed to run on another platform. Because they are based on open and industry standards, VSE connectors allow each VSE customer to construct hybrid solutions using their platform(s) of choice. Hybrid solutions can involve VSE plus Linux on zSeries, VSE plus Linux on xSeries, VSE plus AIX on pSeries, etc.

Linux on zSeries emerged as a serious option for cost-effective, industrial-strength on demand solutions as well as infrastructure simplification. Some VSE customers began to exploit Linux on zSeries to supplement the capabilities of their basic VSE environment. VSE connectors and IBM Middleware supply programming interfaces based on open and industry standards. zSeries HiperSockets provide high bandwidth. IFLs can offer robust, low cost servers. Finally, z/VM brings it all together by providing a flexible and manageable environment for multiple Linux images.

An IBM TotalStorage 3494 Virtual Tape Server

In 2005, VSE/ESA V2 became z/VSE V3. Like z/VM and Linux on zSeries, z/VSE V3.1 supports FCP-SCSI disks. New or enhanced storage support includes IBM TotalStorage 3494 Virtual Tape Server, 3494 Tape Library, plus DS8000 and DS6000 series disk. z/VSE V3.1 also supports new Advanced Copy functions. z/VSE can execute in 31-bit mode only. It does not implement zArchitecture, and specifically does not implement 64-bit mode capabilities. z/VSE is designed to exploit selected features of IBM System z hardware.

In 2005, an imaginary z/VSE V3.1 customer might have an IBM eServer zSeries 890 with 8 GB of main memory, an IFL, IBM TotalStorage ESS (Shark) with 1 TB or more of ECKD and/or SCSI disk, and an IBM 3494 Virtual Tape Server.

In March 2007, IBM delivered z/VSE V4.1. z/VSE V4.1 continued the emphasis on SOA, interoperability, and integration with Linux on System z. z/VSE V4.1 is designed to support z/Architecture and 64-bit real addressing. It does not support 64-bit virtual addressing. z/VSE V4.1 exploits IBM System z9 Enterprise Class (z9 EC - formerly IBM System z9 109) and z9 Business Class (z9 BC) servers, as well as z990, z890, z900, and z800 servers. In addition, z/VSE V4.1 introduced an attractive new pricing metric called Midrange Workload Licence Charge (MWLC) for V4 users running on z9 BC or z9 EC servers.

In 2007, an imaginary z/VSE V4.1 customer might have an IBM System z9 BC server with 16 GB of main memory, Linux on System z running under z/VM on an IFL, an IBM Systems Storage DS8000 with more than 1.1 TB of ECKD and/or SCSI disk attached via FICON Express4/FCP and shared between z/VSE, Linux on System z, and other servers, TS 1120 encrypting tape, and an IBM 7700 Virtualization Engine.

IBM System z10 Busines Class

In October 2008, IBM delivered z/VSE V4.2. z/VSE Version 4 Release 2 is the latest release in the ongoing evolution of z/VSE. z/VSE V4.2 continues the z/VSE focus on scalability, security, interoperability, and service-oriented architecture. It is designed to help protect and leverage existing investments in VSE information assets. At the same time IBM announced the IBM System z10 Business Class (z10 BC), the smaller sister of the IBM System z10 Enterprise Class (z10 EC) announced in February 2008.

In 2008, an imaginary z/VSE V4.2 customer might have an IBM System z10 BC server with 64 GB or more of main memory, thereof 32 GB dedicated to a production z/VSE in one LPAR, as well as additional z/VSE images under z/VM in another LPAR. On the IFL processors, multiple Linux on System z under z/VM may serve Web applications, an Information Warehouse, and other consolidated Linux application servers.

z/VSE V4.3 has shipped in November 2010, and z/VSE V5.1 has shipped about a year later, in November 2011. Where does z/VSE go from here?

The vision embraces a robust z/VSE that helps protect customer investments in core z/VSE applications, a z/VSE that uses standards to help integrate z/VSE and the mainframe into the customer’s network, and a z/VSE that can be extended by exploiting other platforms – including Linux on System z. It also includes support for selected IBM System z features as well as selected IBM System Storage products and features.

For more, I suggest you read the section on z/VSE strategy.


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