Not sure if you already knew, but back in 2000, SUSE had been the first Linux Distro to provide the very first version of an Enterprise Linux Server, which was SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM s/390 – a fully maintained and supported enterprise-ready operating system for IBM mainframes. Since that time, we have always been proud to be at the forefront of Linux for mainframe development.
As you might have expected, SUSE again has been first to take advantage of the Linux capabilities of IBM’s new System z hardware, and we have worked closely with IBM to make those advancements available in the mainstream Linux kernel.
In consequence, with Service Pack 2, we have implemented more than 75 new features that enhance SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z. Many of them were created in direct response to our customers requirements. Leading organizations from around the world participated in our beta program, and were deeply involved in testing and usability assessment. Thus, the advances and improvements in SP2 are a direct result of customer collaboration and SUSE’s commitment to meeting our customer requirements.
Service Pack 2 delivers significant advances in performance and I/O throughput, systems management, system diagnosis and problem resolution. But there is also a big focus on special features for the exploitation of the latest IBM zEnterprise hardware – not only for the mainframe part, but also for the zBladeCenter Extension. With the hybrid IBM zEnterprise System, customers get the choice where to host their specific workload – on the System z side or on x86. Often the ISV application support might also mandate the platform, and now it is possible to choose the right environment for the right workload. Let me emphasize it again: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is supported on both hardware platforms that form the zEnterprise System (the zEnterprise 196/114 and the zBX running Linux). Service Pack 2 makes SUSE Linux Enterprise Server even more be the optimal choice for this hybrid platform. (And just as a side note, we do have a phenomenal offer in place for customers that already run SLES for System z on their IBM zEnterprise 196 or 114, and want to use SLES also on the connected zBladeCenter Extension running Linux, see: http://www.suse.com/partners/alliance-partners/ibm/mainframe/zbx.html)
Did I finally pique your curiosity? Well – here are some of the highlights of our latest release:
- With Service Pack 2, we introduced a new forward-looking software development model, that made us include the Linux 3.0 kernel. This allows for enablement of the most recent hardware, and provides massively improved I/O throughput and performance.
- FICON Dynamic PAV toleration: The DASD device driver tolerates dynamic Parallel Access Volume (PAV) changes for base PAV. PAV changes in the hardware configuration are detected and the mapping of base and alias devices in Linux is adjusted accordingly. This improves the flexibility and availability of SLES for System z, by allowing changes in the PAV infrastructure without the need to restart the system.
- FICON DS8000 Solid State Drive support: Transparent to the DASD device driver, no change is needed to use solid state disks. A new flag in the device characteristics will show the administrator if a device is a solid state disk. Thus workloads can be placed on the storage which support best their I/O characteristics, random I/O is accelerated, and sequential I/O can be placed cost effectively.
- Enhanced CPU node affinity support for z196: This feature allows the Linux kernel scheduler to optimize its decisions based on the z196 processor, cache and book topology, and provides for increased application workload density per system and much better performance.
- z196 exploitation via alternate GCC: This feature provides for performance improvement for applications through the exploitation of new z196 processor instructions and optimized alignment of code. This increases the application workload density per system, so less time and cycles are used for the same workload.
Even more curious now? Check it out yourself and download your evaluation copy of SLES for System z 11 SP2. And if you want to learn more about SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for System z in general, just have a look at our product page, or see us at one of the upcoming events like SHARE Atlanta/Georgia, WAVV Conference in Covington/Kentucky, or the spring conference of Guide Share Europe in our “hometown” Nuremberg/Germany.
More news about SUSE here: http://www.suse.com/blogs/