IBM Wave for z/VM: Changing the Way We Work with Linux on z Systems

September 27th, 2016
Marianne Eggett
z Systems Solutions Consultant

For decades, mainframe Systems Administrators used “green-screen” and command lines to manage z/VM. For the talented administrators, this is second nature. But for the upcoming, young administrators, who know ICONS and touch screen technology, this is cumbersome and hard to learn. A number of years ago, IBM purchased a product to address this learning curve for the younger administrators and have enhanced it ever since. This product is called IBM Wave for z/VM.

IBM Wave for z/VM (aka IBM Wave) is a provisioning and productivity product for simplifying the management of the virtual Linux servers and z/VM. This tool is included on a LinuxONE server, and can be purchased for a Linux on z Systems on a hybrid mainframe. IBM Wave significantly reduces the learning curve needed to manage and control z/VM environment by utilizing a simple graphical user interface. Linux servers can be started or stopped with a few clicks, or moved between domains by a simple click, drag and drop, as well as cloned by clicking on a prototype and populating a few defined fields. The tool supports Ubuntu, Red Hat and SUSE Linux distributions.

IBM Wave is designed to manage even the largest z/VM environments. Large environments can contain thousands of virtual servers and storage volumes, dozens of virtual networks, and more. To aid in this, there is an Enterprise Viewer and a Hardware Viewer. The Enterprise Viewer shows all the z/VM system servers across the z/VM hypervisors, which are clustered using the Single System Image facility. The Hardware Viewer only shows the servers for the selected z/VM hypervisor. Easy graphical notation distinguishes the servers in their respective cluster.

In this mass of servers, how do you find your own servers? Answer: by tagging the server. Through tagging the servers, you can view only your servers, and are able to perform actions on the tagged set of servers displayed in the window. It’s an intuitive way to find and work with your servers in the Wave viewers. The Filter function adds more flexibility, by offering ways to filter out servers from viewing, i.e. filtering to only the servers within a virtual network. Servers can be grouped together for easy viewing within a graphical file cabinet drawer, whose color shows the status of the servers within that cabinet. There is also an easy set of steps to export server information by clicking on a “table” ICON and selecting the columns in the viewer to be exported to a CSV file. All of these viewing characteristics can be created, then saved for reuse.

IBM Wave is used to monitor the z/VM systems. Through the Dashboard viewer, a graphical view shows the status of the CPU utilization, real memory, page space and spool space. There is also a view that shows status where attention is required via colors indicating severity of the incident. Each of these views allow you to drill down to more information. Through the Storage viewer, you will see storage utilization via a pie chart. Also, there is a view to the specific defined storage group, where you have the ability to manage that storage.

Prototypes can be created and used for rapid provisioning. Cloning dialogues are simple, and new users can be online in minutes. The new servers can automatically be put into predefined project views.

Network viewer shows the graphical diagram of the virtual networks, including Guest LANS and VSwitches. Administrators can create, update and delete virtual networks, as well as connect and disconnect objects, i.e. guests, within the network, via a “magic wand.”

Predefined scripts can be written and replayed through the Background Task Scheduler, BTS viewer. These BTS Workunits are even used by IBM Wave, i.e. during the cloning process. The BTS viewer provides the status of the BTS Workunit’s execution.
All these viewers are subject to the permissions provided to you by the IBM Wave Administrator. The IBM Wave Administrator controls what resources IBM Wave users can access and what operations they can perform by defining resource scope and permissions for each IBM Wave user. Site and network administrators would have different permissions than a project administrator. Specific resources can be defined to specific project teams. Project teams can have their own self service environment without having to go back to the Linux Administrators. They are “fenced-in” to using only the resources that the IBM Wave Administrator has defined for them.

IBM Wave is an innovative technology that enables communication, collaboration and management of the Linux servers running on z Systems. It solves the learning curve challenge for the young administrators, provides operations teams an “at-a-glance” view into the status of the Linux servers, and it improves productivity for all staff supporting the IBM Linux on z Systems platform.

Please contact your Mainline Account Executive directly, or click here to contact us with any questions.

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