Skip to main content

Mainframe project news

This is going to be a short update to share some good developments in the project.

First of all: the mainframe has cleared customs and has been received by the datacenter. Customs caused a bit of a headache as eBay lists the sale price as the "Buy it now" price even if an agreement was put in place. This is usually fine as they values do not diverge a lot but in this case it was $300,000 vs $12,000 which would mean a significant difference in taxes to be paid. Thankfully the customs department listened to my arguments and they agreed that the accepted offer is what I should be taxed on. I must say that I am very pleased in the help UPS provided me with here, I assumed all logistics companies had gone sour but UPS redeemed themselves in my eyes with this delivery.

Mainframe being delivered
Mainframe being unloaded in the Swiss Alps at datacenterlight. Photo by Ungleich.

The next issue was that the datacenter told me they discovered the mainframe would not fit the elevator they had to take for the spot they had planned for. They are still processing alternatives, but I am not too worried about that - there is plenty of space so it just a question of time.

I have also started a project to create a software defined Fibre Channel SAN with FICON support. I call it Fikonfarm (Translates to "Fig farm" in Swedish) and it is available on Github. I am also writing protocol Golang marshaling / unmarshaling for Fibre Channel here. I am still working out the details but I am considering having it act as a SAN switch that is able to link FCoE and FCIP with external devices at first and maybe raw FC from classic Qlogic HBAs in the future if somebody steps up to help. I purchased some Brocade 7800 that I hope can be used to link both my mainframe with other mainframes out in the world, but also to my emulated SAN network.

SAN block diagram
How the initial SAN will likely look like

Finally, the power cables have been professionally assembled by an electrician now. We have to guess which phases are used for which PSU but fingers crossed we got it right. Worst case should be that nothing happens and then we need to start to start opening connectors up, but hopefully it will not come to that.

This weekend I plan to boot the support equipment like the DS6800 and figure out what state they all are in, I am pretty excited about that :-).

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Buying an IBM Mainframe

I bought an IBM mainframe for personal use. I am doing this for learning and figuring out how it works. If you are curious about what goes into this process, I hope this post will interest you. I am not the first one by far to do something like this. There are some people on the internet that I know have their own personal mainframes, and I have drawn inspiration from each and every one of them. You should follow them if you are interested in these things: @connorkrukosky @sebastian_wind @faultywarrior @kevinbowling1 This post is about buying an IBM z114 mainframe (picture 1) but should translate well to any of the IBM mainframes from z9 to z14. Picture 1: An IBM z114 mainframe in all its glory Source: IBM What to expect of the process Buying a mainframe takes time. I never spent so much time on a purchase before. In fact - I purchased my first apartment with probably less planning and research. Compared to buying an apartment you have no guard rails. You are left

Brocade Fabric OS downloads

Fabric OS is what runs on the SAN switches I will be using for the mainframe. It has a bit of annoying upgrade path as the guldmyr blog can attest to. TL;DR is that you need to do minor upgrades (6.3 -> 6.4 -> 7.0 -> ... > 7.4) which requires you to get all  Fabric OS images for those versions. Not always easy. So, let's make it a bit easier. Hopefully this will not end up with the links being taken down, but at least it helped somebody I hope. These downloads worked for me and are hash-verified when I could find a hash to verify against. Use at your own risk etc. The URLs are: ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software13/COL59674/co-168954-1/v7.3.2a.zip ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software13/COL59674/co-157071-1/v7.2.1g.zip ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software13/COL59674/co-150357-1/v7.1.2b.zip ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software12/COL38684/co-133135-1/v7.0.2e.zip ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/softlib/software13/COL22074/co-155018-1/v6.4.3h.zip ftp://ftp.hp.c

Updating a Mainframe

I have done systems administration for as long as I remember, and while I have set up countless of services and servers - I have quite limited experience working with the full life-cycle of truly enterprise software. Therefor, I thought it would be interesting to understand more on how one would plan for and execute updates on an IBM Z Series mainframe.