Linux on IBM System Z: Performance Measurement and Tuning

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Andre Massena kontaktieren. Europe-wide Mainframe Systems Engineering experience. Fluent in German and French. Good working knowledge of NL and Russian. See CV for more details - www. Telecommunications , employees T3 Technologies Consultant 0. Technical Documentation and Procedures French, English. Operational Support during Deployment Phase.

Data-Centre optimization and management. PVCS Dimensions 7.

Senior Systems Consultant - System z

X implementation, tuning and customizing. Linux RPM application building. TPF Systems Performance. X Tuning and Health checking. Apache 1. X - Data-Centre Automation with associated Documentation. Websphere Planning and implementation. Third party product installation and maintenance.

IBM System Storage DS Performance Monitoring and Tuning [Book]

Daily maintenance and tuning of the abovementioned systems with associated Documentation. CA-Endevor support and documentation. For example, some customers are required to complete monthly account balancing within a window of a few hours in order to meet regulations.


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The database to be processed by the workload contained 60 million banking accounts. The overall measurement goal of the study is to minimize the total elapsed time to complete processing of 60 million accounts. The configuration recommendations of this study seek to address the critical batch window restrictions customers face due to the operational and regulatory requirements. The most important metric is the Batch Processing Elapsed Time. This is the KPI that this application server configuration optimization study is intended to minimize.

It is quantified as the number of workload transactions processed by the batch jobs over the Batch Processing Elapsed Time. ITR provides a reliable basis for measuring and comparing processor capacity. Test Environment The following details the hardware and software environments the study was conducted under. Figure 1 shows the test environments in which the study was executed. Each test scenario evaluates the performance between two different configurations for a given component of the application environment.

Subsequent configuration tests were conducted while adopting the better of the two configurations from the previous test case. The intent was to improve the overall performance of the application server environment in each successive test scenario. The following is a brief description and rationale for the measurement scenarios conducted in this study.


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  • Network Connectivity The majority of SAP on Z customers use external application servers, which communicate via ethernet to a database server on Z. The colocation of application servers with database server allows for use of the mainframe internal communication feature, HiperSockets. This feature avoids physical network layer processing and provides low-latency network communication. It allows an IFL processor to handle two active instruction streams in parallel and share its execution resources between them. This increases the overall efficiency and throughput capacity of the processor.

    However, the performance benefits of SMT can vary, depending on the characteristics of the workload. The gain in capacity and throughput per processor depends on the degree of overlap and interference between the two hosted threads. Application Server Hardware Performance The two latest generations of the mainframe processor are the z13 and the z This scenario seeks to evaluate some of the performance and capacity advantages of the z more processors, more memory and better cross-memory communication.

    Virtualization on any platform imposes additional performance considerations due to its extra processing layer. Linux Distribution Server Options The latest releases of Linux distributions include a growing number of performance features and tuning parameters. These scenarios assess the potential benefits of enabling and tuning these parameters. Linux Application Server Processor Scaling This test scenario evaluates the potential performance benefits of allocating additional processing capacity to the Linux applications servers.

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    The total number of processors is doubled from 64 to IFLs and the resulting reduction in total batch elapsed time is measured. Network Connectivity OSA vs. Hipersockets This test scenario focuses on the network connectivity component between the application servers and the database server. Colocating the application servers together with the database server onto the same Z CEC allows for communication to utilize HiperSockets instead. The communication is implemented through the system memory of the processor and eliminates the physical network layer processing.

    It also simplifies the management of the network between application servers and the database server. Because the network traffic is internal to the CEC, it eliminates the need for creating and maintaining a physical network. The tradeoff to utilizing HiperSockets is that the network traffic is handled by the system processors instead. This may result in a higher total CPU utilization. In this, and all subsequent test scenarios, the configuration for the applications server and database server components are held constant except for the tested variable component or parameter, which will be highlighted in yellow.

    The configurations for this test scenario can be found in Figure 2. Switching the network communication between application and database servers from OSA to HiperSockets yielded a shorter batch elapsed time by 2—4 percent see Figure 3. All following test scenarios use HiperSockets as the part of the default configuration. As shown in Figure 3, when SMT is enabled, the batch elapsed time is elongated by approximately 30 percent even though there is significant improvement in the ITR see Figure 4.

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    The drop in CPU utilization see Figure 5 shows that there is a potential bottleneck. This performance issue is investigated in the section below Application Server Virtualization. Application Server Hardware This test scenario compares and assesses the performance of the two most recent models of IBM Z processors, the z13 and z The measurement data below quantify the performance and capacity advantages of the z14 over the z13 see Figure 6. The test configuration can be found in Figure The z14 batch elapsed time is 6—8 percent faster than that of the z13 see Figure 7. As with the previous network connectivity configuration, enabling SMT is elongating the batch elapsed time rather than reducing it.

    This indicates that both configurations are encountering similar bottlenecks. This difference from expected behavior is explored in the section below Application Server Virtualization. Application Server Virtualization The following test scenarios evaluate a subset of the considerations that need to be made when configuring a Linux virtual machine environment. It also addresses the performance bottleneck seen when enabling SMT in previous test scenarios. The test scenario configurations can be found in Figure Linux Topology Patch One of the complications of a Linux guest running under a virtualization layer is that it is not aware of the underlying CPU topology.

    This is not specific to Z and is a general issue on any platform.

    Linux on z Systems empowers your developers