September 08, 2009

z/OS Next Generation: Learning the Basics

I recently blogged about "The Next Mainframe Generation." I think this topic resonates with many who are experiencing "right-sizing" in this down economy. I've heard some people say that IBM is providing a path only for young college students as opposed to helping experienced IT professionals who would love to learn and work on a z/OS platform.

As a consultant, I know that getting access to working software to learn the product makes getting that next job much more likely. I wish I could tell everyone how to get their hands on a free "training" environment hosting z/OS. But the next best thing, in my opinion, are IBM Redbooks publications.

Redbooks publications really are free training. Though I've long said that the IBM Redbooks library is rich with technical information, lately some readers have pointed me to some recently published Redbooks publications covering z/OS topics.

Let's start with "Introduction to the New Mainframe: z/OS Basics." Published just a few weeks ago, this Redbooks publication is designed to help students of information systems technology learn the basic concepts and prepare for a career in mainframe computing. The material introduces the mainframe environment, application and system programming on z/OS, online workloads for z/OS and much more.

Another very good series of Redbooks produced for z/OS is the "ABCs of z/OS System Programming." This 11-volume set is useful for beginning or experienced sytems programmers. Here's the list of volumes:

Volume 1: Introduces z/OS and storage concepts, TSO/E, ISPF, JCL, SDSF, and z/OS delivery and installation.

Volume 2: Covers z/OS implementation and daily maintenance, defining subsystems, JES2 and JES3, LPA, LNKLST, authorized libraries, SMP/E and Language Environment.

Volume 3: Introduces DFSMS, data set basics storage management hardware and software, catalogs and DFSMStvs.

Volume 4: This is an older volume that covers configuration in System/390 environments.

Volume 5: Covers Base and Parallel Sysplex, System Logger, Resource Recovery Services (RRS), global resource serialization (GRS), z/OS system operations, automatic restart management (ARM) and GDPS.

Volume 6: Introduces security, RACF, digital certificates and PKI, Kerberos, cryptography and z990 integrated cryptography, zSeries firewall technologies, LDAP and enterprise identity mapping (EIM).

Volume 7: Covers printing in a z/OS environment, Infoprint Server and Infoprint Central.

Volume 8: Covers z/OS problem diagnosis.

Volume 9:  Covers z/OS UNIX System Services.

Volume 10: Introduces z/Architecture, zSeries processor design, zSeries connectivity, LPAR concepts, HCD and HMC.

Volume 11: Covers capacity planning, performance management, WLM, RMF and SMF.

This extensive list of Redbooks publications covers practically every aspect of mainframe administration. I find them useful in my day-to-day job and I hope you will look into them.