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IBM's z/OS update for mainframes about to land – on last day of predicted launch window

Version 2.5 adds lots of love for hybrid cloud, Linux containers, and even a COBOL/Java combo

IBM has made it official: a major update to its z/OS operating system for mainframes will debut in September.

IBM teased a z/OS upgrade in March 2021 in a document that predicted delivery in September.

Big Blue has now confirmed the debut of z/OS 2.5 – the first upgrade of real significance since 2019. The product is "expected to be generally available on September 30, 2021".

Among promised features not mentioned in the March teaser are speedy installs.

IBM's announcement claims the new OS is "expected to be faster and easier to install and upgrade, with one client trial demonstrating the ability to install z/OS more than 30 per cent faster than compared with IBM z/OS 2.3 and 2.4.[2].”

There's also a new "simplified management experience supplied by streamlined and automated tasks" that means "specialty skills may not be required".

Which may not mean you can prise the kids away from their gaming consoles and ask them to upgrade the mainframe — but still sounds promising.

Another item of interest is enhanced interoperability between Java and COBOL that IBM states "extends existing application programming models with support for parallel 31-bit and 64-bit addressing, simplifying enterprise application modernization."

IBM has also offered a little more detail on predictive failure analysis (PFA) features, stating "Runtime Diagnostics, Workload Manager (WLM), and JES2 to help further detect anomalous behaviour in near real-time, letting clients proactively address potential problems."

IBM has touted the PFA feature as just the thing that's needed to make life hard for ransomware-slingers, as are new encryption capabilities that allow z/OS to encrypt more data sets and do so without disrupting existing applications.

Big Blue's current hybrid cloud obsession is addressed with more support for cloud storage, plus inclusion of z/OS Container Extensions (zCX) that integrate Linux applications and utilities into z/OS.

In its March teaser, IBM said z/OS V2.5 was due to land in September. Today's announcement confirms that timeframe, but adds that IBM has given itself until the very last day of that month – September 30, 2021 – to get the OS out the door. ®

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