I just returned to the office after two weeks in China. I was in Shanghai and Beijing to work with my good friend, IBmer Dennis Ng. Dennis and I, as mentioned in my last blog post started working on a 2 day joint IBM-Brocade mainframe I/O and FICON performance/performance management training workshop. We started putting these together this past December. Dennis and I taught these together at IBM's Shanghai office, and then again at the IBM Beijing office. As these were the first two sessions, we did them for an internal audience (IBMers and Brocadians). We had great attendance (full classrooms) at both sessions. They were very successful sessions. We received great feedback from the attendees. There was a great deal of interaction with the students with many questions. Following the 2 day training session in each city, Dennis and I visited with a very large Chinese bank (mutual customer whose name will remain confidential) and worked with them directly.
Given this article, yet another doom and gloom article discussing the "threat of the looming mainframe skills shortage", our 2 weeks in China gave me reason to smile. I will admit that I am noticing the things discussed in the article as I meet with customers and our OEM partners around the world. And yes, there does seem to be a "graying effect". However, what made me smile was that the average experience level of our attendees in Beijing and Shanghai was 4 years of mainframe experience. For the vast majority, they were in their first job post college graduation.
Think of that for a minute. In one of the booming IT growth countries (BRIC=Brazil, Russia, India, and China), many people are choosing the mainframe as a career path right out of college! Is that great or what? I'd call this the Middle Kingdom Mainframe Renaissance. Dennis and I were extremely impressed with the knowledge level they had for being relatively inexperienced on the platform. And let me tell you, they were motivated to learn more! Apparently, I/O and storage related topics are not really covered in much depth in Chinese university curricula. Our Chinese friends asked us to consider adding more material and having this be a 3 day course, and/or to consider developing an advanced class that built upon the current course.
Here is a list of the topics Dennis and I cover in this training:
1) FICON Express8S features, and performance. Includes a discussion on the new PCIe bus and I/O drawers.
2) FICON DCM (Dynamic Channel path Management)
3) zDAC (z Dynamic Auto discovery and Configuration)
4) zHPF (z High Performance FICON)
5) FICON aggregation and zHPF analysis tool
6) RMF reports used in a FICON environment
7) FICON CUP (Control Unit Port)
8) zLinux, NPIV, and FICON/FCP intermix
9) GDPS and cascaded FICON
10) Persistent IU Pacing (AKA Extended Distance FICON)
11) Brocade and FCIP channel extension for mainframe environments
1) The life of a mainframe DASD I/O-how to use the RMF reports discussed in day 1
2) Buffer Credits
3) Virtual Fabrics and FICON
4) Local switching and cut through routing
5) Managing Interswitch Links (ISLs) and cascaded FICON
6) Using Brocade's management tools (DCFM/BNA, FabricWatch, and SANHealth) with RMF in FICON environments
If you are interested in learning more about this training, or have suggestions on topics to add, please email me at email@example.com.
I will conclude with the formal announcement of the Brocade Mainframe Solutions Community.Given the tremendous success of this blog and the outstanding readership, we now have a full community page/forum to go with the blog. We will be posting a lot of great content-presentations, papers, articles, videos, etc. The first content posted will be the powerpoint shows for the above training.
Also, watch for my upcoming zJournal article that will be a detailed discussion on the RMF reports used in a FICON environment.