IBM Systems Lab Services

Can Lab Services help me migrate release levels for z/OS?

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Are you an IBM Z client that needs help keeping your z/OS release levels up-to-date?

Perhaps your production systems are running version or maintenance levels at, near or past their end-of-support date. Or maybe you’re challenged with staying ahead of the latest software vulnerabilities or have regulatory requirements to patch frequently.

If you fit any of these descriptions, you likely understand that having z/OS migration processes and practices in place is key to keeping your environment stable and current. Without a sound maintenance strategy, it can be difficult to stay ahead of critical software fixes. Plus, maintaining currency reduces your risks, as it is critical for obtaining support from software vendors, exploiting new hardware and maintaining compliance with government and industry regulations.

You can migrate from any operating system release the IBM Z mainframe supports to the current version of z/OS (such as z/OS 2.3), and you should do so in a reasonable time frame.

IBM releases a new version of z/OS every two years so that clients no longer need to decide whether to skip a release or be on an “odd” or “even” release. Most clients keep up-to-date with their z/OS release levels, and that’s our recommendation based on years of experience with businesses and organizations across industries.

So, our best advice is:

  • Migrate to the current supported release whenever you can, and
  • Migrate to every new release from that point forward.

What exactly does being “in support” mean?

Simply put, being “in support” means that IBM will provide support for the current version of select products plus the two previous versions (N–2). As of this writing, the currently supported release of the z/OS operating system is Version 2.3 (generally available as of September 2017), which means that both V2.1 and V2.2 are in support. You can find out more on the IBM Software Support website.

When a product is “out of support,” that is, older than “N–2,” you can purchase what is called a Support Extension (SE) to continue using that product. While purchasing an SE will maintain the status quo for you, not keeping up-to-date has several detrimental effects:

  • SEs are very expensive.
  • You’ll start falling behind the curve, unable to take advantage of the new enhancements in each release that your competitors may be exploiting.

Lab Services can help you migrate release versions

In order to successfully execute upgrades to your z/OS, first you need to have a solid plan. Migrating to newer release versions of IBM Z software is one of your most important investments. Lab Services IBM Z and LinuxONE consultants have vast experience in this area and can not only assist you with your z/OS migration initiatives but also provide a number of other services. We provide currency and migration services that cover base z/OS operations, Linux for IBM Z and z/VM operations, applications and cross-platform integration. IBM Systems Lab Services can also provide custom services to assist or perform the migration.

IBM Systems Lab Services offerings are designed to address your evolving business needs, allowing you to take advantage of product improvements, and most importantly, keeping you in support. Staying current means you’re always fully supported by IBM.

Contact us if we can support your next version upgrade or other IBM Z project.

Senior Certified IT Management Consultant, Lab Services IBM Z and LinuxONE

Frank Hagerty

Senior Consultant and z/OS team lead for IBM Systems Lab Services IBM Z and LinusONE

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