z/VSE Network Appliance on IBM z13 and z13s
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As mentioned in my blog entry on Tuesday related to the z13s and z13 enhancements announcement, the new processors provide an infrastructure for a new z/VSE Network Appliance. The z/VSE Network Appliance (VNA) can be exploited with z/VSE's Linux Fast Path (LFP) function.
Before I go into more VNA detail, I will give some background about the Linux Fast Path:
With LFP a TCP/IP application on z/VSE can communicate with a small program (LFP daemon) running on Linux on z Systems. The daemon communicates through the Linux TCP/IP stack with the network or application on the same Linux. LFP may communicate between LPARs or z/VM guests. A Linux instance (distribution) is required. LFP does not require a TCP/IP stack on z/VSE, however.
The z/VSE Network Appliance (VNA) for z13 and z13s is planned to be available on June 30, 2016.
The z/VSE Network Appliance (VNA) builds on the z/VSE Linux Fast Path (LFP) function and provides TCP/IP network access without requiring a TCP/IP stack in z/VSE. The appliance utilizes the new z Appliance Container Infrastructure (zACI) introduced on z13 and z13s servers. zACI is a new LPAR (partition) type which, along with an appliance installer, enables the secure deployment of software and firmware appliances. The zACI LPAR requires CPU resources (e.g. (shared) Intergrated Faciliy for Linux (IFL)) and disk storage. Compared to a TCP/IP stack in z/VSE, the VNA can support higher TCP/IP traffic throughput while reducing the processing resource consumption in z/VSE. z/VSE systems connecting over HiperSockets to VNA need to run in an LPAR. It can not be accessed from a z/VM guest. For z/VM environments we provide the z/VM IP Assist (VIA).
When available (June 30), the z/VSE Network Appliance will be provided as a downloadable package (download from the web). It can then be deployed with the zACI appliance installer.
In summary, the VIA function is available for z/VSE systems running as z/VM guests. The z/VSE Network Appliance is available for z/VSE systems running without z/VM in LPARs. Both provide network access for TCP/IP socket applications that use the Linux Fast Path; however, no TCP/IP stack is required on the z/VSE system, and no Linux on z Systems need to be installed.
The main benefit of VNA is that you can communicate with applications, that aren't running on Linux on z Systems, e.g. with z/OS, z/VSE, applications on the network, ... In that case you get the performance benefits, save CPU cycles on z/VSE, avoid the installation of a Linux on z Systems distribution, etc. You just need to provide CPU resources (a (shared) IFL) and a small amount of disk space for VNA.
If your z/VSE system need to communicate with an application on Linux on z Systems over LFP within the same processor, I would directly connect to that Linux. Then you have similar performance benefits as with VNA.
VNA will be supported by z/VSE 5.1, 5.2 and 6.1. VNA will be available at no additional cost.