All Access Pass


You might have been reading in several locations about some new IBM handy products which are now Shopz Bypasable Requisites on Shopz.  What does this all mean?  I'd like to look at this topic a little more in depth and explain why this is such interesting news.

Level set on Shopz

As you know, Shopz is one of the ordering systems for IBM z/OS software.  (Passport Advantage is the other, but that is outside the scope of this topic.)  Shopz contains most of the enterprise z/OS platform  software products that customers order.  Shopz products for z/OS are customized specifically for you, when you order them.  Meaning, you logon to Shopz, select what products you want, and then your order is created in IBM Manufacturing just for you.  That is why you don't receive your software in seconds.  It has to be built (and service installed!) for you. 

Shopz will take you through a series of steps to gather some information for your order. Some of these steps are quite powerful.  For instance, you can upload your current system's inventory (that is, your installed z/OS platform software in your SMP/E CSI target zone) so that Shopz can pre-select the same products but at a higher release level.  This is quite handy.  

Another thing that Shopz can do is to show if you are entitled to software. This is done with little icons next to each product.  If you hover over them, you can see what they mean.  The important thing to note is if you are entitled to all the software in your order, you can sail through directly to manufacturing.  As many folks know, if you aren't entitled to something, you end up taking a stop to a human (called "Techline") where you can discuss entitlement.  In my experience, I can order a customized package on Shopz, and if I'm entitled to everything in it, I've found I get the package usually in a matter of hours.   Of course, your experience may vary with what you order and what else is happening with other customer orders in Manufacturing.  

Shopz icons.  Note the solid triangle means fully licensed (entitled).
Shopz icons.  Note: solid circle means fully licensed (entitled). 

For z/OS platform software on Shopz, you likely will order one of two types of packages.  (There is a third type, but this is not in scope for this topic.)

  1.  CBPDO where you do all the SMP/E work yourself, which can be quite manual. -OR- 
  2. z/OSMF Portable Software Instance, which  used to be called ServerPac.  You'll still see the "ServerPac" term quite often, but to be technically accurate, it really is a z/OSMF Portable Software Instance and must be installed with z/OSMF since July 2022.   

So what exactly is a "Bypassable Requisite" on Shopz?

Once your have selected your products (or pre-selected, if you let Shopz make your "upgrade" choices from your loaded inventory), Shopz will then do some dependency verification.  There are two kinds of dependencies in Shopz:

  1. Mandatory Installation Requisite
  2. Bypassable Requisite

A Mandatory Installation Requisite is another product which is needed to be installed along with the product you selected, so that the product you selected can be properly packaged for you.  An example of this might be if a dependent product shares a load module with a base product, and that load module needs parts from both products to successfully bind.  Mandatory Installation Requisites are, well, mandatory.  You cannot continue on your Shopz ordering path until you either:

    a.  Select the required dependent product along with the one you wanted.  If you order a z/OSMF Portable Software Instance, this results in the mandatory product being installed in the same SMP/E zones, as your requested product.  

    b. Un-select the product you wanted so that the mandatory requisite no longer is applicable to the package.   

A Bypassable Requisite is another product which contains functions which are complementary, closely aligned, or strategic with the product you selected.  With this recent z/OS 3.1 ordering change, we have identified additional strategic and complementary products associated with z/OS 3.1.  Bypassable Requisites are, by their nature, able to be bypassed and you can continue on your Shopz path if you like.    When you see a Bypassable Requisite, you need to make a choice:

    a.  Select the bypassable product because this is something you want to install and deploy with the product you wanted.  If you order a z/OSMF Portable Software Instance, this results in the bypassable product being installed in the same SMP/E zones as your requested product.  Selecting these bypassable products keeps these products in the same deployable unit (z/OSMF Software Instance).  This is specifically nice, as it means these products are "there" wherever the package is deployed.  

    b. Do nothing, which means that the bypassable product will NOT be included in your package that is manufactured.  In this case, you can always order and install the product in its own package (z/OSMF Portable Software Instance, or CBPDO). Even more so, if you order and install it separately, you have the opportunity to keep these complementary products in the same SMP/E Global zone as your z/OS system, and you can even add them to another z/OSMF Software Instance to deploy them together, even when they are in separate SMP/E target zones!) 

Of note, you might already have these bypassable products and don't want another copy of them. 

So when you encounter a Bypassable Requisite, keep the above in mind and know what decision you want to take.   (I did write an entire blog just about the Semeru and z/OS dependency package options. There, I explored how to manage separate z/OSMF Software Instance packages.  There are Pros and Cons to keeping them separately and integrating them, so there is no one best solution for the entire community.)  

What were the specific z/OS 3.1 ordering changes on Shopz related to "Bypassable Requisites"?

All the above is applicable to every IBM z/OS platform product.  Let's move now specifically into what happened with ordering z/OS 3.1 recently.  Here is  the announcement of that change.  Here is blog entry from a colleague which is well written to explain more why this change was done.

In order to align z/OS with strategic and complementary technologies, we've added the following new Bypassable Requisites to z/OS 3.1 [product 5655-ZOS].  Interesting to note, these three new additions are no-cost license and no cost S&S (Subscription and Service)!  I'm emphasizing this, as this means no cost to you to acquire, install, and use these products beyond the hardware and software consumption costs on z/OS.

  • Open Enterprise SDK for Python [product 5655-PYT] 
  • Z Open Automation Utilities (ZOAU)  [product 5698-PA1]
  • Open Enterprise Foundation for z/OS [product 5655-OEF] (Contains:  git, curl, perl, and more)

Also, note, we still have Bypassable Requisites for other products. Like the new additions above, both these dependencies have no-cost license and no-cost S&S (again, beyond the hardware and software consumption costs):

  • Semeru Runtime Java 17 [product 5655-UA1]  You must  understand the z/OS-Semeru dependency, so please read my important blog on this topic. If you bypass ordering this product, you must satisfy this dependency with a separate package.  
  • z/OS AI Services [product 5655-164]

Here's what those new Bypassable Requisites look like today in Shopz (note that some of the changes haven't completely been rolled out, but I'll update this snapshot as they are):

What happens if you already ordered z/OS 3.1, or aren't planning on ordering z/OS 3.1 for while yet?

This is where this wonderful story continues.  All the z/OS 3.1 Bypassable Requisites I just mentioned above all available with -or- withOUT z/OS.  This means, you can order one, two, three, four, or all five of them (and even other products!) in their own customized package on Shopz.  I would strongly encourage you to order that package on Shopz as a z/OSMF Portable Software Instance, which we sometimes call a "Product ServerPac" colloquially.  ("Product ServerPac" is a package that does not contain the base z/OS product itself, and is composed of whatever program products you want within the Z038 SREL.)   There's even a Shopz icon which can help you know which products are available without z/OS:

Shopz icon.  Note:  solid triangle means eligible for Product ServerPac.
Shopz icons.  Note: solid triangle means eligible for Product ServerPac.

When you do order as a z/OSMF Portable Software Instance (aka "Product ServerPac), what will it look like?  

What arrives in your requested z/OSMF Portable Software Instance package will be the selected software products pre-installed and pre-serviced (meaning:  PTFs are installed)  in the same SMP/E target zone.  You can then have z/OSMF Software Management place that incoming SMP/E target zone into your existing z/OS SMP/E Global zone, or not.  Your choice.  

You can also add that new incoming SMP/E target zone into your existing z/OS Software Instance (at any release level!) so you can treat them as a single entity.  Again, your choice based on what your deployment needs are.

Keeping the above in mind, we do recommend you order z/OSMF Portable Software Instances ("Product ServerPacs") with the content that you want to deploy together.  Meaning, it's best to order similar products that you want to deploy as an atomic unit, in the same package.