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A Mainframe at Your Fingertips

By Destination Z posted Mon December 23, 2019 03:37 PM


Whether you’re a mainframe customer looking to create a sandbox environment or an independent software vendor (ISV) seeking to delve deeper — IBM System z Personal Development Tool (zPDT) can meet your needs. A foundational application-development tool, it can enable a virtual System z architecture environment on x86 and x86-compatible platforms, such as the Lenovo Thinkpad W Series, or IBM System x 3500 or 3650 servers.

Using zPDT technology allows you to run mainframe OSs, middleware and software unaltered. With it, organizations can:
• Develop a low-cost platform for System z application development, allowing you to create sandboxes, conduct proof of concepts and get your projects off to a fast start.
• Go mobile with education and demonstration of System z solutions. On a laptop zPDT puts System z in the palm of your hands and enabling you to showcase the capabilities of your product anywhere and anytime.
• Go global by supporting developers in remote locations with their own zPDT system.
• Enter new markets by empowering vendors new to the System z ecosystem to have a virtual environment of their own, potentially opening up their applications and solutions to new opportunities.

The IBM zPDT consists of software that is authenticated and enabled by a USB hardware key, loaded on to the Intel and Intel-compatible platform, running Linux. The zPDT allows for a wide range of system configurations. It comes in three system sizes: one, two or three virtual engines.

These virtual engines can be defined as System z general-purpose processors, System z Integrated Information Processors (zIIPs), System z Application Assist Processors (zAAPs), System z Integrated Facility for Linux (IFL) and Integrated Coupling Facility (ICF). The virtual engines can be enabled as separate uni-processors or as a multi-processor configuration. And the virtual engines can be defined into different configurations.

zPDT technology supports full 64-bit System z operation and can run the z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE and Linux for System z OSs and all of their associated middleware and tools, unaltered. It also supports a variety of real and emulated devices, for example:

Simulated Disk

• 9336 FBA, any model, greater than 2G
• 3380/3390 CKD, any model up to 64K cylinders
• 3390 Extended Address Volume (EAV)
• CKD and FBA device sharing, CKD versioning

Attached Tape

• IBM TS1120
• IBM 3580 Ultrium
• Fujitsu M2488E

Simulated Tape

• 3420, 3422, 3480, 3490, 3590
• Data compression

Simulated Devices

• Printer
• Card reader
• Consoles
• Cryptography and more

Tailor Made
The zPDT technology is available in two versions designed for two distinct purposes. Any System z customer, service providers, business partners and ISVs can get the simpler version as part of the Rational Developer for System z Unit Test (RDz-UT) offer. The RDz-UT is for single-image, pre-production z/OS sandbox environments only. It may not be used for production workloads, including production module builds, pre-production testing, stress testing or performance testing – access to a full-size production z/OS system is required.

IBM PartnerWorld ISVs can get zPDT technology as part of the IBM System z Developer Discount Program (zDD). Nomination for the program can be done online. Under the zDD program, qualified ISVs can use zPDT technology with any number of OSs, images and users. It’s ideal for supporting multiple environments and configurations.

Positive Results
“Our zPDT system has functioned exceptionally well with no unscheduled outages of any kind,” says Mike Shaw, owner of Referential Systems, LLC. “The system’s performance has been superior, with more than enough capacity to meet our needs. As an ISV, we have found that zPDT is an excellent tool that provides us with the flexibility and reliability we need to effectively support our customer base.”

More information on zPDT technology, features and functions, minimum system requirements, support options, the System z Developer Discount program, how to order, and technical documentation is available online.

Gita Grube Berg is the marketing manager for z/OS. She has 15 years of mainframe experience spanning sales, sales support, product launch and partner enablement, as well as product marketing.