Preview: IBM z/VM V7.1 will adopt a Continuous Delivery release model to more rapidly support IBM Z advanced virtualization capabilities, and provide a foundation to deliver new function as service

IBM United States Software Announcement 218-150
April 10, 2018


Table of contents
OverviewOverviewDescriptionDescription
Key prerequisitesKey prerequisitesProduct positioningProduct positioning
Planned availability datePlanned availability dateStatement of general directionStatement of general direction


At a glance

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IBM® z/VM® V7.1 will:

  • Implement the z/VM Continuous Delivery model.
  • Withdraw the Single System Image (SSI) feature and integrate the SSI function in the base, at no additional cost.
  • Increase the level of engagement within the z/VM user community.
  • Enhance the dump process to reduce the time required to create and process dumps.
  • Upgrade to a new Architecture Level Set. This requires IBM zEnterprise® EC12 or BC12, or later, IBM Z servers.



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Overview

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The announcement of Version 7 ushers in a new era for delivering enhancements to z/VM advanced virtualization technology on IBM Z servers. With the adoption of the z/VM Continuous Delivery model for new function, IBM will offer z/VM V7 clients timely support for new technology between releases. Because the z/VM Continuous Delivery model is not centered around a release date, it allows IBM schedule flexibility as IBM partners with the z/VM community in the development and delivery of new function.

To help z/VM users reduce planned outages of their Linux® workloads as they adopt the z/VM Continuous Delivery model, z/VM V7.1 will include SSI function as part of the z/VM V7.1 base at no additional cost. SSI is a priced feature of z/VM V6 and offers Live Guest Relocation and single system maintenance. It gives IT professionals a mechanism to operate Linux virtual server images without suffering planned interruptions as they apply updates to their z/VM system.

z/VM V7 will offer a new release delivery and new function support cadence that provides clients a new level of predictability for lifecycle management of their z/VM systems.



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Key prerequisites

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Operating environment

z/VM V7.1 is planned to support the following IBM Z servers:

  • z14 Models M01, M02, M03, M04, M05, and ZR1
  • LinuxONE Emperor II
  • LinuxONE Rockhopper II
  • z13®
  • z13s®
  • LinuxONE Emperor
  • LinuxONE Rockhopper
  • IBM zEnterprise EC12
  • IBM zEnterprise BC12



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Planned availability date

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Third quarter, 2018

Previews provide insight into IBM plans and direction. Availability, prices, ordering information, and terms and conditions will be provided when the product is announced.



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Description

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Enhancements planned for z/VM V7.1 include:

  • z/VM Continuous Delivery model

    By adopting this model, IBM intends to help clients experience higher levels of satisfaction with the z/VM product. With this model, IBM will change how z/VM function and service is delivered

    • IBM will deliver most new z/VM function as Small Programming Enhancements (SPEs) in the service stream of the current Version 7 release. When a new release is introduced, SPEs will be delivered on that release going forward and, with a few exceptions, the earlier release will receive corrective service only and no new function. When z/VM V7.1 becomes available, z/VM V6.4 will receive only corrective service.
    • Beginning with Version 7.1, IBM will deliver z/VM releases on a fixed 24-month cycle. These releases will be a roll up of:
      • Previously-released SPEs
      • New function that is too disruptive or pervasive to ship in the z/VM service stream
      • Fixes that were shipped in the service stream of the earlier release
    • IBM will service each z/VM release for 54 months.
    • A z/VM release will remain orderable for 18 months after the general availability of its follow-on release. This allows clients who are running older levels of z/VM the option of:
      • Moving to the most current release, which will receive new function SPEs
      • Moving to the prior release, which will receive corrective service only
      This affords clients the flexibility of moving from one "service-only" release to another if they prefer not to receive new function in the service stream. For example, a z/VM V6.4 client will have the option of moving to z/VM V7.1 up to 18 months after the general availability of z/VM V7.2. IBM intends to keep z/VM V6.4 orderable for 18 months after the general availability of z/VM V7.1.

      For planning purposes, z/VM V6.4 users will receive corrective service for 30 months after the general availability of z/VM V7.1. The planned release cycle for z/VM V7 means z/VM V6.4 service support will overlap the planned availability of z/VM V7.2 by six months.

  • Integration of z/VM SSI

    SSI, a priced feature of z/VM V6, will be withdrawn and its function will be included in the base of z/VM V7.1 at no additional cost. Integrating and making SSI available at no charge is intended to help more clients reduce planned outages of their Linux workloads as they adopt the z/VM Continuous Delivery model for their z/VM systems. SSI includes Live Guest Relocation and single system maintenance to give clients a mechanism to host Linux virtual server images without suffering interruptions as they apply updates to their z/VM system. For additional information on SSI and setting up an SSI environment, see the IBM Knowledge Center.

  • Improvements to the z/VM Dump process

    Dump processing will be enhanced to reduce the time required to create, process, and transmit data from SNAPDUMP and hard Abend dumps. By default, these dumps will be considerably smaller, thus requiring less space in both the system SPOOL and CMS file system. The increased efficiency of dump processing can help save time and resources, and removes an inhibitor to the deployment of z/VM configurations with large amounts of memory.

  • New Architecture Level Set

    z/VM V7.1 will include an Architecture Level Set and will require IBM zEnterprise EC12 or BC12 or later systems.

  • OpenStack support for z/VM

    As announced in Software Announcement 217-516, dated October 10, 2017, the z/VM V6.4 Cloud Manager Appliance (CMA) is no longer available when ordering z/VM and will not be available on z/VM V7.1. The IBM z/VM Cloud Connector is a development toolkit for managing z/VM host and virtual machines. It provides a set of RESTful APIs to operate z/VM resources. Upper layer cloud management solutions can consume these RESTful APIs directly to manage z/VM. For additional information, see the IBM z/VM Cloud Connector webpage.

  • Interaction with the z/VM community
    • IBM has a long history of working with clients to deliver capabilities to improve z/VM. IBM intends to take this interaction to a new level:
      • z/VM clients are enlisted as "Sponsor Users" to advise IBM throughout the design process for many z/VM development projects. These clients may also test early versions of the new support before its delivery to the marketplace to ensure their expectations are met or exceeded. IBM finds the Sponsor User relationship to be beneficial and is soliciting more z/VM clients to become involved in this process. To learn more about the z/VM Sponsor User program, see The z/VM Sponsor User program webpage.
      • IBM publishes information about many of its z/VM development projects to help users decide if they want to volunteer as Sponsor Users and also to help the community at large plan for the introduction of new z/VM function. This new level of communication between IBM and the z/VM user community facilitates discussion regarding implications of the planned support, such as operational incompatibilities, changes to system behavior, and software vendor impacts.

        These plans are posted and updated on the z/VM website.

  • Recent capabilities delivered as z/VM V6.4 service
    • The PTFs for APARs VM66105 and VM66109 provide support for the IBM Z Hypervisor Performance Manager for z/VM (IBM ZHPM), which enables goal-oriented CPU management. The combination of z/VM and IBM ZHPM support enhances the capability to control access to CPU resources to achieve workload goals. IBM ZHPM executes within a Linux service virtual machine. IBM is currently soliciting sponsor users interested in exercising IBM ZHPM as part of a beta test program. For further details and for how to contact IBM if interested, see the z/VM website.
    • The PTFs for APARs VM66098 and VM66108 provide support for DS8880 z-Thin Provisioning and Extent Space-Efficient (ESE) volumes. This enables guest support for thin-provisioned volumes and removes the restriction that CPOWNED volumes cannot be defined on thin-provisioned volumes.
    • The PTF for APAR VM66095 provides new monitor records for the z/VM SCSI subsystem. The new information relates to the utilization of FCP devices (subchannel) and CHPIDs (physical channels) for EDEVICE activity. This provides z/VM clients with information that can be used to determine if their existing EDEVICE configuration is optimal or should be altered for better performance.
    • The PTF for APAR VM66085 provides new and updated performance reports within the Performance Toolkit Feature in support of HyperPAV Paging. These new reports include information that will help clients tune the z/VM HyperPAV Paging Subsystem.
    • The PTF for APAR VM66120 provides new System Management APIs to perform the following functions:
      • Pause a running virtual machine and restart a paused virtual machine.
      • Obtain virtual machine performance data.
      • Manage the reader files of a virtual machine.
      • Query the reader files of a virtual machine.
      • Automatically execute SMSTATUS and send notification to the system operator for specific SMAPI error conditions.

    For a detailed description of z/VM capabilities, see the z/VM website.

  • Installation support
    • Installation of z/VM on 3390 Model 3 DASD volumes will no longer be supported in z/VM V7.1. Storage devices to be supported for installation include:
      • 3390 volumes with a minimum size of 10016 cylinders
      • SCSI volumes with a minimum size of 6 GB
  • National languages support
    • Messages and Help files will no longer be translated into Japanese Kanji in z/VM V7.1.
    • American English and Uppercase English are the supported languages.



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Product positioning

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The z/VM hypervisor extends the capabilities of the hardware from the standpoint of sharing hardware, virtualization, and communication resources. Together with IBM Wave for z/VM (IBM Wave), the comprehensive management solution for z/VM-based, virtual Linux server environments, the z/VM hypervisor makes it easy to extract the maximum value from IBM Z hardware capabilities

  • Virtualization savings
  • Operational efficiency
  • Power savings
  • Optimal qualities of service

This virtualization technology is designed to enable organizations to run hundreds to thousands of Linux servers on a single mainframe, by running with other IBM Z operating systems, such as z/OS® and z/VSE®, or as a large-scale enterprise LinuxONE server solution.

With z/VM and its management of the infrastructure for Linux, clients can reduce the time between deciding on the acquisition of new servers and then implement them because new servers can be easily deployed in a matter of minutes. With this powerful capability, clients can launch new products and services without the exhaustive planning for, purchasing, installing, and configuring new hardware and software that can be associated with conventional discrete hardware servers. Development groups that need test environments, which are built and rebuilt rapidly to enable them to efficiently deliver their projects, while handling change management in the process, can also benefit from this unique advantage.

The following capabilities are several key strengths of IBM Z or LinuxONE servers and z/VM:

  • Virtualization capabilities are more mature and robust than for other combinations of hardware and hypervisor.
  • SSI allows users to share all system resources with high levels of resource utilization. This extends the pool of resources that can be managed by administering multiple instances of z/VM as if they are one integrated system.
  • Live Guest Relocation allows movement of a running Linux guest from one member of an SSI cluster to another without the need to shut down the server. This allows maintenance of the z/VM hypervisor without having to shut down Linux servers. This extends the availability of IBM Z and LinuxONE servers to the z/VM environment.
  • Exploiting z/VM Virtual Switch technologies can make Linux networking simpler and reduce the physical resource requirements.
  • Full-volume disk backup enables complete disaster recovery when another data center is available.
  • z/VM is easy to customize at the base installation level with only a relatively small number of configuration files. When z/VM is configured properly, longer periods of time between planned outages may be achieved.

Advanced virtualization features like live guest relocation with IBM Z, Linux ONE, z/VM, and Linux on IBM Z or LinuxONE help to provide an efficient infrastructure for deploying private clouds to support workloads that scale both horizontally and vertically at a lower total cost of ownership.

With the z/VM and IBM Z or LinuxONE security-rich environment, clients' most valuable information can be protected. This helps to reduce organizational and reputational risk. Designed to work with IBM Z and LinuxONE servers, z/VM provides advanced security features that can deliver client value. The security certification of z/VM helps ensure the security of sensitive data and business transactions with appropriate isolation between virtual machines.

To help ensure data-at-rest stays safe and secure, z/VM supports the use of the IBM Full Disk Encryption (FDE) feature of the IBM DS8000®. z/VM also supports the ability of guests to use encrypted tape. z/VM also supports encrypted paging. Ciphering will occur as data moves between active memory and a paging volume owned by CP. Encrypted paging can be enabled and disabled dynamically.

The TCP/IP for z/VM TLS/SSL server facilitates security-rich and private conversations between z/VM servers and external clients. With z/VM support for TLS 1.2 and SHA-2 hashing, a z/VM server can use the latest cryptographic protocols in a FIPS 140-2 compliant mode to communicate securely with a client without a change to the server itself.

z/VM makes the Crypto Express6S feature, a tamper-resistant cryptographic coprocessor, available to guests with either dedicated access for use in both secure-key or clear-key operations or shared access for clear-key operations. z/VM can virtualize IBM Z cryptographic devices so they can be shared by many Linux systems and supports the z13 and z14 limit for greater than 16 domains for the Crypto Express6S feature. With shared access, z/VM can also balance the workload across multiple cryptographic devices. Should one device fail or be brought offline, z/VM can transparently shift Linux systems using that device to an alternate cryptographic device without user intervention.



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Statement of general direction

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Stabilization of z/VM support for the IBM EC12 and BC12 server family

z/VM V7.1 is the last z/VM release that is planned to support the EC12 or BC12 family of servers. Consequently, either an IBM z13® or an IBM z13s® will be the required minimum level of server for future z/VM releases. See the IBM Support Portal for the most current support lifecycle information for z/VM.

Dynamic memory downgrade

IBM intends to provide support in a future z/VM deliverable to increase flexibility in managing z/VM configurations by enabling real storage to be removed from a z/VM LPAR without requiring an outage. This support will complement existing functionality to add real storage to an active z/VM system.

More than 64 logical processors

IBM intends to provide support in a future z/VM deliverable that will increase the number of supported logical processors beyond the current limit of 64. This will allow clients to run a z/VM LPAR with more than 64 cores or threads to accommodate workload growth demands.

Discontinuance of support for Environmental Record Editing and Printing Program (EREP)

z/VM V7.1 is planned to be the last z/VM release to support EREP as a separately orderable and serviceable IBM Licensed Program Product.

Statements by IBM regarding its plans, directions, and intent are subject to change or withdrawal without notice at the sole discretion of IBM. Information regarding potential future products is intended to outline general product direction and should not be relied on in making a purchasing decision. The information mentioned regarding potential future products is not a commitment, promise, or legal obligation to deliver any material, code, or functionality. Information about potential future products may not be incorporated into any contract. The development, release, and timing of any future features or functionality described for IBM products remain at the sole discretion of IBM.



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Reference information

Top rule

For information on z/VM V6.4, see Software Announcements:

For information on the z14 Model ZR1, see Hardware Announcement 118-018, dated April 10, 2018.

For information on the LinuxONE Rockhopper II, see Hardware Announcement 118-019, dated April 10, 2018.

For information on the z14, see Hardware Announcements:

For information on the Emperor II, see Hardware Announcements:

For information on the z13s, see Hardware Announcements:

For information on the z13, see the following announcements:

  • Hardware Announcement 116-058, dated June 7, 2016
  • Services Announcement 615-006, dated March 24, 2015
  • Hardware Announcement 115-001, dated January 14, 2015


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Statement of good security practices

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IT system security involves protecting systems and information through prevention, detection, and response to improper access from within and outside your enterprise. Improper access can result in information being altered, destroyed, or misappropriated or can result in misuse of your systems to attack others. Without a comprehensive approach to security, no IT system or product should be considered completely secure and no single product or security measure can be completely effective in preventing improper access. IBM systems and products are designed to be part of a comprehensive security approach, which will necessarily involve additional operational procedures, and may require other systems, products, or services to be most effective. IBM does not warrant that systems and products are immune from the malicious or illegal conduct of any party.

Trademarks

IBM, z/VM, zEnterprise, z13, z13s, z/OS, z/VSE, DS8000, IBM z13 and IBM z13s are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both.

Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both.

Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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