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Add Some zIIP to Your Mainframe

Getting to know the System z9 Integrated Information Processor specialty engine

Getting to know the System z9 Integrated Information Processor specialty engine
Illustration by Harry Campbell

Now there's a way to free up your mainframe's general computing capacity and lower overall total cost of computing for select data and transaction-processing workloads: the speciality engine System z9* Integrated Information Processor (zIIP). Because IBM doesn't impose software charges on zIIP capacity, you can move eligible business intelligence (BI), ERP, customer-relationship management (CRM) and encryption workloads to zIIP without incurring additional charges, potentially lowering your mainframe's total cost of ownership (TCO).

Application of zIIPs

DB2* for z/OS* V8 (or higher) exploitation of zIIP is achieved through three types of DB2 workloads, including:

  • ERP or CRM application serving - For applications running on z/OS, Linux*, UNIX* or Windows* Vista that access DB2 for z/OS on a System z* via DRDA* over a TCP/IP connection, DB2 gives z/OS the necessary information to have portions of these SQL requests directed to the zIIP.
  • Data warehousing applications - Requests that utilize DB2 for z/OS for long-running parallel queries - including complex star schema parallel queries - may have portions of these SQL requests directed to the zIIP when DB2 gives z/OS the necessary information. These queries are typical in data-warehousing implementations. The addition of these queries may provide more opportunity for DB2 customers to optimize their environments for data warehousing while leveraging the qualities of service provided by System z and DB2.
  • Some DB2 for z/OS utilities - A portion of DB2 utility functions used to maintain index maintenance structures (such as LOAD, REORG and REBUILD INDEX) that typically run during batch, can be redirected to the zIIP.

The Communications Server for z/OS allows portions of IP Security (IPSec) processing (the most recently announced zIIP eligible workload) to take advantage of the zIIPs, specifically end-to-end encryption with IPSec. The zIIP Assisted IPSec function moves a portion of the IPSec processing from the general-purpose processors to the zIIPs. In addition to performing the encryption processing, the zIIP also handles cryptographic validation of message integrity and IPSec header processing. This capability was made available August 2007 with z/OS V1.8 and PTFs and will be native when z/OS V1.9 is available. See "zIIP and Other Specialty Engines" sidebar.

The zIIP is designed so that a program can work with z/OS to have a portion of its enclave service request block (SRB) work directed to it. The aforementioned DB2 workloads are those executing in enclave SRBs, a portion of which is eligible for zIIP. DB2 stored procedures and user-defined functions don't use SRBs and aren't eligible. The Communications Server for z/OS IPSec interacts with z/OS Workload Manager (WLM) to have enclave SRB work associated with IPSec processing directed to zIIP.

DB2 for z/OS (versions 8 and 9) configures an enclave SRB. WLM then determines what eligible workload should be scheduled to the zIIP. The application will have no idea if part of its work is being run on the zIIP specialty engine or on a general-purpose processor.

When the workloads use the zIIP engine, they're running on an engine that doesn't affect the pricing of the software running on the System z platform. Although you're adding processors to assist the work in your System z platform, you're not changing the model number or MSU rating of your System z platform. By not changing the model or increasing the number of MSUs you've installed, your software costs don't increase. Because the zIIP processes specific work, capacity is freed up on the CPU to do other tasks, a win-win situation. No changes need to be made to an application to take advantage of zIIP specialty engines except the activation of the engine itself. DB2 for z/OS and z/OS - or more specifically WLM - are responsible for getting the right work to the zIIP engine.

The tasks that DB2 identifies to possibly take advantage of the zIIP use an enclave SRB. DB2 network processing using DRDA across TCP/IP uses an enclave SRB, which makes it a perfect match. Many purchased ERP and CRM applications (e.g., SAP, PeopleSoft, Siebel and Lawson) can use DB2 Connect to access data on DB2 for z/OS using DRDA via TCP/IP. That's the type of work eligible for processing on the zIIP specialty engine. The list of applications can be extended to WebSphere* running on Linux for System z (and accessing DB2 using HiperSockets*), and WebSphere running on Windows Vista, Linux or UNIX. In fact, any application - even a desktop app running on these platforms - is eligible to use zIIP.

Because the zIIP processes specific work, capacity is freed up on the CPU to do other tasks, a win-win situation.

Ashraf Kamel is a database solutions architect with the IBM Advanced Technical Support (ATS) Solutions Center. He focuses on database solutions, data warehousing and BI solutions for the System z platform internationally.

Ollie Jones is a senior IT specialist with the IBM Advanced Technical Support (ATS) Solutions Center. He's provided support for customers for z/OS and distributed Linux, UNIX and Windows environments.

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