z/OS Release Boasts Scalability, Manageability Enhancements

Enhancements should improve z/OS’ workload management capabilities.

In addition to beefed up e-business security and new support for IP version 6, Big Blue says the new release of its z/OS operating system, named R4, boasts several enhancements that should improve z/OS’ workload management capabilities.

According to John Phelps, vice president and research director of servers and storage with consultancy Gartner Inc., many of the new performance enhancements in R4 are enabled by virtue of the introduction of self-healing or self-managing technologies developed under the auspices of IBM’s Project eLiza program.

To that end, z/OS R4 exploits Project eLiza technologies to facilitate self-optimization of Parallel Sysplex performance with Workload Manager (WLM) balancing of batch initiators across systems in a sysplex. z/OS R4 makes further use of Project eLiza technologies to enable better self-optimization of WebSphere Application Server and enhance Security Server PKI.

z/OS R4, which will begin shipping Sept. 27, introduces several other self-tuning enhancements, including new Web-based wizards for use with z/OS’ Intelligent Resource Director and IBM’s eServer Security Planner. In addition, Big Blue reports R4 makes it easier to add systems to a sysplex in JES2 and JES3 environments.

Additional enhancements include improved management of z/OS Unix System Services identities for users and groups; new clock synchronization between clients and servers by means of a TCP/IP daemon that supports the Simple Network Time Protocol (SNTP); simplified configuration and improved diagnostic capability and serviceability in SNA networks by means of Enterprise Extender and SNA enhancements; and improvements to TN3270.

Security enhancements include support for Cryptographic Services-System SSL, Security Server-LDAP, and Security Server-Firewall Technologies.

Finally, z/OS R4 is bolstered by a new fall-back licensing feature—dubbed "z/OS Bimodal Migration Accommodation"—that enables z/OS to run for up to six months in 31-bit mode, rather than its 64-bit mode. This feature—which IBM positions as a tool to help customers migrate away from OS/390—is supported only up to z/OS R4, and begins as soon as a customer licenses z/OS.

Notwithstanding R4’s bevy of new features, Gartner’s Phelps speculates that IBM also incorporated a number of availability enhancements into z/OS R4.

"There are different things for availability, to avoid unnecessary IPLs, such as a coupling recovery [feature] that allows the system to be rebuilt up to 33 percent faster," he says.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.