Impact of z14 on Processor Cache and MLC Expenses

Todd Havekost

By Todd Havekost

Expense reduction initiatives among IT organizations typically prioritize efforts to reduce IBM Monthly License Charge (MLC) software expense, which commonly represents the single largest line item in the mainframe budget.

On current (z13 and z14) mainframe processors, at least one-third and often more than one-half of all machine cycles are spent waiting for instructions and data to be staged into level one processor cache so that they can be executed. Since such a significant portion of CPU consumption is dependent on processor cache efficiency, awareness of your key cache metrics and the actions you can take to improve cache efficiency are both essential.

This is the final article in a four-part series focusing on this vital but often overlooked subject area. (You can read Article 1, Article 2, and Article 3.) This article examines the changes in processor cache design for the z14 processor model. The z14 reflects evolutionary changes in processor cache from the z13 in contrast to the revolutionary changes that occurred between the zEC12 and z13. The cache design changes for the z14 were particularly designed to help workloads that place high demands on processor cache. These “high RNI” workloads frequently experienced a negative impact when migrating from the zEC12 to z13.

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An Effective Solution to the Mainframe Skills Shortage for z/OS Performance and Capacity Professionals


By Todd HavekostMainframe Skills Shortage

The mainframe skills shortage for z/OS performance analysts and capacity planners has left many organizations struggling to ensure availability. Current experts are often overworked and lack the manpower, resources, or tools necessary to effectively perform their jobs. This is often caused by a reliance on manual processes and the limitations of in-house developed solutions, rather than leveraging the built-in, automated capabilities provided by an effective performance solution.

This can put the availability of the infrastructure and applications at risk. Many enterprises are finding it to be difficult to replace or supplement z/OS performance skills that are becoming increasingly scarce.

In his blog, “Bridging the z/OS Performance & Capacity Skills Gap,” Brent Phillips wrote about the availability and efficiency benefits that can be gained from modernizing the analysis of the mainframe infrastructure using processes that leverage artificial intelligence.

Modernized analytics can also help solve the skills shortage by making current staff more productive and getting newer staff up to speed more rapidly. An effective analytics solution that will expedite the acquisition of skills for z/OS performance analysts and capacity planners needs 5 key attributes. These attributes are covered in detail with illustrations in the paper at the link at the bottom. In this blog I will briefly introduce 3 of the key attributes.

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Where art thou, Standards?


By Brett Allison

Enterprise-wide reporting across the IT stack and IT domains is a nightmare to develop and maintain.

iStock_000026008843SmallIn 2009, I developed a storage chargeback system for a customer using 17 different data sources.  The data collection was mostly automated but admittedly it wasn’t very robust.  The data was from different sources including native CLI, manual input, database queries, and automatically generated reports.  It was fairly modest but effective, however it took a part-time developer 20 to 40 hours per month to generate the reports and maintain the system after I turned it over.

Even within the storage domain there wasn’t one single interface for communicating with the devices.  Other systems, such as change management and asset management databases, had standard SQL query interfaces but some systems were inaccessible and required someone to update a flat file. Continue reading