With the recent release of z/VM 7.1 for IBM z and LinuxOne, IBM has made changes to how z/VM will implement new enhancements and how the release cycle will flow from release to release. Another of the new enhancements, with z/VM 7.1, will be the inclusion of the Single System Image / Live Guest Relocation feature, as a no charge feature included with z/VM 7.1. There have been some additional changes to the z/VM website, which will allow users to keep track of new features being worked on and implemented, as part of the new z/VM continuous delivery model.
New schedule for releases
With the continuous delivery model, customers have more choices on how they implement z/VM. In the past, IBM put out versions and releases of z/VM, with corrective service and cumulative corrective service called RSUs (recommended service updates), on more of a random schedule, based on hardware requirements and other major enhancements. Most major enhancements revolved around a new version, and sometimes between point releases. The new schedule for releases will be on a two-year cycle, with the release coming in the third quarter of even numbered years. The releases will be supported for four and half years, and it will be orderable for up to eighteen months, after the next release is available.
Small Programming Enhancements (SPE)
New features will be added to the newest generally available release, through Small Programming Enhancements (SPE), and will be delivered as they become available for the current release. As the current release moves through its life cycle, it will receive cumulative service, as well as RSUs, and toward the end, it will not receive any small program enhancements. This allows for a couple of efficient strategies around how you implement z/VM. If you need to take advantage of new features as they become available, then you can simply add these new small program enhancements to your existing system. If you need a more consistent release, you can opt to just apply the corrective service and stay on a specific release for its entire supported life cycle. You would then upgrade to a newer release, on a scheduled basis, that fits your needs.
Single System Image feature
Since the Single System Image feature is included in the base of z/VM 7.1, at no additional charge, this makes it very easy to do in-place upgrades when you set your system up on an SSI cluster. For example, if you have a four-member cluster, and that cluster contains two production and two test z/VM systems, you can upgrade each member individually without affecting the other members in the cluster, by upgrading the test systems first and then the production systems. This allows you to perform and test your upgrades, on your schedule, all without having to shutdown running Linux guests, if you use Live Guest Relocation.
z/VM Websites and Materials
Along with continuous delivery, IBM has made changes to its z/VM online websites and materials, including this web page that lists the new features being worked on, as well as new features that have been released, along with explanations of what these features will do. From this page you can also find information on how to become a sponsor user for a new feature, which will allow you to participate in the design review and possible testing of this new feature. For further information on IBM z/VM, you can visit these two websites, which will give you more information about z/VM. A more general overview of z/VM can be found here, and more detailed information can be found here.
As a Platinum IBM business partner, Mainline has extensive experience with IBM mainframe systems, and we can help you with z/VM and Linux on IBM Z, as well as LinuxOne. To set up a more in-depth discussion about how to get started using these technologies, please contact your Mainline Account Executive directly or click here to contact us with any questions.