IBM Unveils Latest Operating System for zSeries eServers

IBM Monday unveiled the the latest version of its flagship operating system for the eServer mainframe.

According to Big Blue, z/OS 1.4 will offer advanced workload management capabilities and new migration tools for current OS/390 customers. The release also presents a variety of changes with regard to IBM’s z/OS strategy, Mary Moore, zSeries z/Os marketing manager told ServerWatch.

The release is scheduled to ship later this month.

The main distinction of the z/OS 1.4 is that it has set a new speed record by simultaneously processing up to 7,000 Secure Socket Layer (SSL) transactions, rendering it more than 60 percent faster than the previous release of z/OS. Moore noted that Sun Microsystems, whose server has come closest to reaching this benchmark, has been able to achieve only 4,300 simultaneous SSL transactions.

IBM achieved its record when running z/OS 1.4 on a 16-way IBM eServer z900 Turbo.

Other key enhancements to z/OS 1.4 were made to the mainframe’s workload
management capabilities, including improved dynamic balancing of batch workloads across a Parallel Sysplex, improved workload monitoring and reporting for WebSphere transactions, TCP/IP IPv6 support. A variety of availability and ease-of-use improvements have also been implemented, Moore said.

As no future versions of the OS/390 are scheduled to be released, and support for the operating system will be discontinued in September 2004, IBM is encouraging customers to migrate to its successor — the z/OS. To ease the transition, IBM at this time announced a several tools to help OS/390 customers accelerate their move to z/OS.

Beginning September 27, enterprises that migrate from OS/390 2.10 (the final release of OS/390) to z/OS will receive the z/OS Bimodal Migration Accommodation Offering, which provides a six-month “fall-back” option to 31-bit mode during the initial phase of migration to z/OS in 64-bit mode on the eServer zSeries. In addition, IBM has made available online an OS/390 2.10 to z/OS 1.4 Migration Workbook, which covers migration planning considerations when moving from OS/390 2.10 to z/OS 1.4.

To offer further incentive for enterprises to move to the new operating system, IBM announced two new z/OS Workload Licensing Charge (WLC) pricing levels that further reduce price-per-seat for volume customers. The pricing levels (Level 6 and Level 7) will apply to the z/OS operating system only.

Level 6 begins at 1,316 MSUs and will be priced 25 percent lower than Level 5 on a per-seat basis; Level 7 begins at 1,976 MSUs and will be priced 20 percent lower than Level 6 on a per-seat basis.

Finally, in response to customer and ISV requests, beginning with z/OS 1.4, IBM will transition from a semi-annual release cycle to an annual release cycle. An annual release cycle more closely mirrors typical customer migration schedules, which are typically 12 to 18 months, Moore said. New z/OS and z/OS.e updates will continue to be delivered between releases through normal maintenance and over the Web.

z/OS and z/OS.e 1.4 and the Bimodal Migration Accommodation Offering are scheduled to hit the streets on September 27, 2002. Enterprises can begin placing their orders as soon as September 13.

General availability of the next release, z/OS and z/OS.e 1.5, is planned for the first quarter of 2004.

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