Summer 2008 [Number 241] Printable version (598KB PDF) Download Adobe Reader Please note that this issue of Interface is an archived issue. Therefore, the information contained in each article may no longer be current.
The zSeries for Economy, Reliability, Scalability and Security
When you need a server to host your application, what do you look for? How about reliability, security and scalability? If these issues are important to you, consider using the Titan System. Titan uses an IBM z9-BC (Business Class) zSeries server known for reliability, availability, serviceability, scalability, virtualization, security and lower power consumption.
Reliability - Titan’s z9-BC hardware components have extensive self-checking and self-recovery capabilities. The system’s software reliability is a result of extensive testing and the ability to make quick updates for detected problems.
Availability – Customers using zSeries servers experience months or even years of system availability between unscheduled down times. Titan can recover from a failed component without impacting the rest of the running system. This applies to hardware recovery (the automatic replacing of failed elements with spares) and software recovery (the layers of error recovery that are provided by the operating system).
Serviceability - The zSeries z9-BC server can determine why a failure occurred, allowing for the replacement of hardware and software elements while minimizing the impact on the operational system.
Scalability – In the IT industry, the only constant is change. Increased customer demands can often trigger a growth in IT infrastructure to cope with increased demand. The degree to which a data center can add capacity without disruption to normal business processes or without incurring excessive overhead (non productive processing) is largely determined by the scalability of the particular hardware architecture. The z9 provides scalability in both hardware and software with the ability to run multiple copies of the z/OS, z/VM, and zLinux operating systems all on the same processor complex.
Virtualization - The concept of running many independent logical machines on one physical machine is not new to a large scale system environment. Mainframe operating systems have been doing virtualization since the mid-1970’s. Due to its maturity, the zSeries server can take virtualization to its logical limit, running dozens or even hundreds of server applications in a single physical machine. The zSeries server offers full virtualization at the hardware level and is optimized to have load leveling and resource sharing managed by the hypervisor, not the guest operating system or applications. The zSeries processor architecture is now capable of running logical RedHat and SUSE Linux servers all in one physical zSeries server (see also the “Linux Virtual Server Free Pilot Test” article in this issue of Interface). This capability can result in decreased provisioning time and network savings for any application user who chooses this computing alternative.
Security - The security-rich holistic design of the zSeries Server mitigates the risk of security breaches and strengthens NIH’s mandate for data protection. Originally designed to be shared by thousands of users, the zSeries Server has security built into nearly every level of the computer - from the processor level, to the operating system, to the application level. This design helps protect System z from malware, viruses and threats from insiders. System z security features enable applications to meet regulatory reporting needs with confidence. These include encryption solutions to secure data from theft or compromise, access control management and extensive auditing features - with the simplicity of centralized management. System z security is one of the many reasons why the world's top data centers rely on the zSeries Server to help secure sensitive business transactions.
Today, the zSeries server is ideally suited to process a wide range of applications running in either the traditional z/OS environment or in the zLinux environment.
Today’s mainframe is literally a data center in a box.
z/OS Titan applications
The zSeries server is also ideally suited to process workloads that fall in two categories: batch processing and online transaction processing. The transaction processing can be either web-based or non-web-based.
Titan batch applications can be used to process terabytes of data from high-storage devices and provide valuable output that may include financial reports, files for network transfer or input into databases supported by DB2 and Oracle. Titan batch applications can process up to millions of records reliably and efficiently due to the machine’s hardware architecture. To support batch processing on Titan, CIT is equipped with sophisticated web-based job scheduling software that allows either the customer or Data Center staff to schedule, submit, manage and track the execution and output of batch processing.
Titan batch processing should be considered by customers processing and storing large amounts of input data or producing (or planning to produce) a large volume of output. Titan batch applications may include general file utilities, DB2 database management system applications, REXX and SAS applications, reporting applications or the backup of critical files and databases before and after a batch window. Some of the most popular batch jobs currently running on Titan are DB2, REXX, and SAS applications. REXX stands for Restructured eXtended eXecutor and is an interpretive programming language that is designed to be both easy to learn and easy to read. SAS stands for Statistical Analysis System and is an integrated system of software products that support data management, report writing and a host of other functions.
Future issues of Interface will present a few more in-depth articles on how REXX, SAS and other tools may be used to meet your information processing requirements.
Online transaction processing
Titan’s high reliability, availability and scalability make it a great platform for hosting online applications. Titan already hosts a vast number of transaction systems including Web Sponsor (run via Shadow Web Server and DB2), CIMS chargeback billing reports, Model 204, TSO, Wylbur, CICS, the Administrative Database via IMS, and many other DB2 applications.
Shadow Web Server is a native Titan web server that provides controlled access to Titan data and applications using a web browser. Shadow Web Server “listens” for web client sessions (URLs). Each inbound session is assigned a thread and matched against pre-defined rules, or event procedures, to enforce a controlled transaction process. Rules can perform a variety of functions that include presenting html, processing SQL or running a REXX-language script.
Look for future Interface issues that will present more in-depth articles on how to use the many online tools currently available on Titan.
We are here for you, our customers
The zSeries server has undergone a resurgence because of its competitive cost of ownership advantages and the new technologies available that can support Internet applications. An exciting feature of the new release of DB2 is the capability to store and retrieve audio, video, and imaging data into a DB2 database. This version of DB2 is scheduled to be installed at NIH in the near future.
Our goal is to help contribute to more efficient utilization of server capacity, higher people productivity and lower cost of ownership with reduced IT complexity for our customers.
We are eager to help you and look forward to your feedback. If you have any questions or concerns about using this technology, we want to hear from you! Please call the Help Desk at 301-496-4357, 301-496-8294 (TTY) or toll free at 866-319-4357 to arrange for a zServer consultant to contact you. In the future we will be providing more information through Interface, Titan News, CIT classes and other means to present additional details on a variety of subjects – to show how you can use the services available on this remarkable architecture to achieve your information processing goals.
|Published by Center for Information Technology, National Institutes of Health|
NIH...Turning Discovery into Health