z/OS V2.5 and how it will install

(Repost from April 20, 2021)

Join the pool party. Now's the time to dive into z/OSMF, if you haven't done it yet.


Since we've announced our next big release of z/OS, V2.5, and Martin and I had done a podcast of some highlights ( Episode 28 The Preview That We Do Anew ), there have been some excellent questions. I think now may be a good time to put them in an article for those that might have a sea of questions.

Q1: I see that z/OS V2.5 will be installable as a z/OSMF ServerPac (also know as a portable software instance). Can I order z/OS V2.4 right now as a z/OSMF ServerPac?

A1: No. z/OS V2.5 will be available as a z/OSMF ServerPac, but z/OS V2.4 will not be a z/OSMF ServerPac. In fact, no Z038 SREL product today is available as a z/OSMF ServerPac. For instance, today, MQ is not available a z/OSMF ServerPac. 

Q2: Must I get z/OS V2.5 as a z/OSMF ServerPac?  
A2: If you order z/OS V2.5 (or CICS, Db2, or IMS) after January 2022 as a ServerPac, then yes, you can only receive a z/OSMF ServerPac. However, let's look specifically at all the IBM products available as a ServerPac on Shopz:

  • Today, CICS, DB2, and IMS are available as a ServerPac which can install either as a CustomPac dialog -or- z/OSMF, your choice. If you want to install any of these today, you have a choice, and I'd encourage you to select z/OSMF as that will be how it will only be available after January 2022. But also because it will be a very good way to learn how to install a z/OSMF portable software instance if you haven't done that already, right now. 
  • For z/OS V2.5 (and the rest of the Z038 SREL, like MQ). Between z/OS V2.5 GA of September 2021 and January 2022, you will have the same choice as you see for CICS, Db2, and IMS today: CustomPac or z/OSMF ServerPac. This means you have to take into consideration your ordering choices when you choose to order z/OS V2.5. This might make you order z/OS V2.5 sooner than you might have wanted to - or not. But do take these dates into consideration.

Q3:  What exactly is happening after January 2022?
A3: z/OS V2.4 will go End-of-Market. But even bigger than that, the CustomPac ServerPac option will be removed across the catalog, leaving only the z/OSMF ServerPac as the sole ServerPac choice. CBPDO will still remain. CBPDO is not being removed.  Remember, though, CBPDO might be harder install for a product as large as z/OS V2.5. If you've always loved doing a CBPDO for CICS or DB2, then this really will have no affect on those products. 

Q4: If I install z/OS as a z/OSMF ServerPac, what will the resulting system look like?
A4: It will look exactly like what you had when you installed z/OS as a CustomPac ServerPac. You will have SMP/E CSIs, you will have target libraries, you will have DLIBs, you will have sample libraries. You will have run batch jobs (from a Workflow) which did configuration of the products you ordered. You will have full access to do SMP/E maintenance on the resulting system. Just as a ServerPac fit into your existing enterprise's environment, this z/OS portable software instance will fit into your environment. Your existing deployment tooling should be able to be used, as is. Although I would hope that you would use the z/OSMF tooling for deploying, should you wish to.  

Q5: If I install z/OS V2.5 with a z/OSMF ServerPac, must I use z/OSMF Software Update to install PTFs on it?  
A5: Not at all. You can use the SMP/E batch JCL jobs you've always used for z/OS. I'd like you to try to use z/OSMF Software Update, though, just to see if you'd like it ( z/OSMF Software Update). We do welcome feedback and we have several customer requirements which we know we need to do for z/OSMF Software Update.

Q6: What are the driving system requirements for z/OS V2.5, as a z/OSMF ServerPac?
A6: The requirements are provided in the z/OS V2.5 Planning for Installation (which hasn't been released yet), but you can also find the list on this website (although one more PTF will be required which we haven't identified yet):  z/OSMF ServerPac Overview . The one PTF that is missing will be made available for installing a z/OS z/OSMF ServerPac. You do not need that PTF right now for CICS, Db2, or IMS z/OSMF ServerPac. All the z/OSMF PTFs you need have been rolled back to z/OS V2.3, or in many case, much earlier than that.  

Q7: What if I can't get z/OSMF active on my driving system before I have to install z/OS V2.5?
A7: If you can't get z/OSMF active on your driving system (remember, it automatically starts when IPLing z/OS V2.3 -and- the z/OSMF quick start instructions really do help to get just the minimum driving system activated), then you can get a Customized Offerings Driver (COD). At z/OS V2.5 GA, the COD will have z/OSMF active and will be able to install a z/OS V2.5 z/OSMF ServerPac.  

If you are apprehensive about such a change in the installation of z/OS software, I strongly encourage you to prepare now. We are ten months away from the planned removal of the traditional CustomPac ServerPac. Today there are non-Z038 SREL portable software instances available. There is a trial package you can try for free here, under the "Try It" tab. There are several ISVs that have z/OSMF portable software instances available for their software products. 

It's time! Jump right on in the z/OSMF waters, if you haven't been there yet.