IBM DS8880 zHyperLink: Built on a strong foundation

By and Harry Yudenfriend | 3 minute read | February 9, 2017

In my previous blog post, I introduced zHyperLink, which is the latest technology that can be installed on existing IBM DS8880 storage systems. The hardware capability is already included in DS8880 R8.2 storage systems and is intended to speed up DB2 for z/OS transaction processing and improve active log throughput. Now, I’m going to talk about the strong foundation that zHyperLink is built on.

New technologies for storage

Over the last few years, IBM storage has delivered a cadence of new technologies to address the need for improved input/output (I/O) latency for storage, including:

  • Advances in High-Performance Flash Enclosures Gen2.
  • Fibre Channel 16 Gbps host adapters with forward error correction codes to reliably reduce most I/O latency by 20 percent.
  • Enhanced write protocols for High Performance FICON (zHPF).
  • SuperPAV-Alias Tuning to reduce input/output subsystem (IOS) queueing times.
  • The DS8000 DB2 Cast Out Accelerator for up to 5 times I/O service time reduction for DB2 cast out and all z/OS scattered write operations.
  • IBM zHyperWrite technology designed to mitigate the elapsed time impact of synchronous replication technologies, reducing DB2 commit latency by up to 66 percent.
  • FICON Dynamic Routing support in the DS8000 for the z13 and improved caching algorithms that can improve the average I/O service times by increasing read cache hit ratios.

As these new technologies are deployed in transport, memory and devices, new opportunities are created for innovative system architectures to deliver value to IBM mainframe clients.

The technology behind IBM zHyperLink

The zHyperLink technology is a new mainframe attach link designed to deliver extreme low latency I/O access for DB2 for z/OS transaction processing and improve active log throughput. It is the result of collaboration between DB2 for z/OS, the z/OS operating System, z Systems processors and DS8880 storage.

IBM zHyperLink technology provides a new short distance link from the mainframe to storage to read and write data up to 10 times faster than FICON or zHPF.

zHyperLinks blog img2The DS8880 R8.2 (models 984, 985, 986 and 988) available in the last quarter of 2016 contains the hardware intended to support this technology. IBM is also ensuring that DS8880 models that shipped before December last year get concurrently field upgradeable for zHyperLink.

IBM zHyperLink is a point-to-point optical connection between the mainframe and storage. The link length is limited to 150 meters, which is the same distance supported by the z Systems short distance coupling technology.

The value inherent in IBM zHyperLink

Response times for I/O as seen by middleware, such as DB2, can be reduced by up to 10 times and transaction elapsed times for DB2 can be reduced up to 80 percent.

zHyperLinks blog img3

Here are some other benefits of the zHyperLink technology:

  • Accelerates transaction processing on the mainframe.
  • Reduces batch elapsed times by providing faster index splits for DB2 for z/OS. Because index split performance is the main bottleneck for high volume INSERTs, this improvement results in faster batch processing.
  • Decreases additional application development cost often required to meet scalability requirements.
  • Avoids additional hardware cost and data sharing instances to meet scalability requirements.
  • Uses industry leading I/O latency with an easy to deploy and manage I/O technology.
  • Enhances system resilience through better handling of unpredictable workload spikes and hardware failures.

Find out for yourself

The IBM DS8880 is designed from the casters up for extensibility, client invest protection and availability. IBM zHyperLink technology is intended to make z/OS a more attractive platform for deploying new workloads, growing heritage workloads with improved scalability and leveraging reuse of existing storage assets. Clients can plan their machine rooms, disaster recovery strategies, and application deployment choices in anticipation of this new technology.

Learn more about IBM zHyperLink and the IBM DS8880 family today.

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