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z/OS V1.7: IBM offers sneak peek

z/OS V1.7: With the official release still a month away, Big Blue offers attendees at this week's SHARE User-Driven Training Event and Expo a glimpse of what z/OS V1.7 will offer.

BOSTON -- Less than a month before the release of z/OS V1.7, IBM offered a sneak peek at the newest version of its mainframe operating system Monday at the SHARE User-Driven Training Event and Expo.

Though Big Blue failed to delve into specifics, IBM said it will offer customers a new z/OS user interface for automating management tasks and a new tool, Server Time Protocol, for time synchronization.

The z/OS V1.7 release, slated for September, is in conjunction with IBM's July launch of the new z9 mainframe. IBM said z/OS V1.7 will be designed to leverage the new functions of the z9 and will provide improved overall performance by increasing I/O device addressability and bandwidth and extending system limits to support 32-way, single-system images, along with larger sequential data sets.

"We are positioning the zSeries and z/OS to be the hub of your enterprise … [that] will basically control the entire environment," said Mary Beth Bradley, z/OS software development manager.

The goal of the new user interface, IBM said, is to make life easier for its users by automating, eliminating and simplifying many z/OS management tasks. The first piece of this puzzle will be a tool that will provide real-time health check information -- executed by IBM Health Checker, a new base function -- for z/OS and configuration status information for z/OS systems and sysplex resources. Big Blue said the user interface will contain built-in automation and expert advice capabilities that will provide detailed contextual information and corrective actions.

The user interface will be offered to existing z/OS users for free. IBM said it will be available in Q4 2005.

A follow-up to the Sysplex Timer, Server Time Protocol (STP) was built so multiple zSeries servers can maintain time synchronization with each other. It is designed for servers that have been configured to exist in a parallel sysplex, a sysplex without a coupling facility, and boxes that aren't in a sysplex but need to be synchronized.

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As a result of this new tool, IBM said it plans to withdraw Sysplex Timer from its marketing plans in 2006.

"Development has been very busy [on z/OS]," said John Eells, spokesman for IBM zSeries software technical marketing. "We continue to invest in things like availability and scalability."

In addition to the expected launch of z/OS 1.8 in September 2006, IBM also announced plans for phasing out of older versions of z/OS. It said it plans to end service for versions 1.4 and 1.5 in March 2007, and 1.6 in September 2007.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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