zPET - IBM Z and z/OS Platform Evaluation and Test - Group home

Provisioning z/OS in the IBM Cloud

By Michael Cohoon posted Tue November 01, 2022 07:49 AM

z/OS Platform Evaluation and Test (zPET) runs customer-like workloads in a Parallel Sysplex environment to perform the final verification of new IBM Z hardware and software. For more information about zPET, please check out our community.


IBM has announced IBM Wazi as-a-Service which brings z/OS to the IBM Cloud. This offers a lot of new exciting capabilities around development and test for z/OS. The zPET team has begun exploring IBM Wazi as-a-Service to see how a provisioned z/OS system in the IBM Cloud integrates into our existing topology. 



If you already use the IBM Cloud today, you may be familiar with both the process of provisioning a Virtual Server Instance (VSI) and the extensive catalog of services and products. With the announcement of IBM Wazi as-a-Service in the IBM Cloud, the z/OS operating system is now an option when provisioning VSIs within the Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). VPC provides a dedicated and isolated environment within the IBM Cloud to easily create VSIs, subnets, cloud object storage, security groups, and more, all within a protected space. The z/OS stock image benefits from the VPC features and comes with a pre-configured and customized software stack, but custom images can also be created with the Wazi Image Builder. 


As you can tell from this community’s description and the blogs we post here, we have a vested interest in evaluating z/OS readiness for customer’s use, and we love to share our experiences as part of that testing. In the case of the Wazi as-a-Service z/OS system in the IBM Cloud, we had 3 reasons to add testing with the z/OS Virtual Service Instances to our environment:  

  • We wanted to extend our z/OS test mission to cover the Wazi as-a-Service z/OS images in the IBM Cloud. 
    That is, we will apply our regression testing process and techniques to z/OS anywhere it runs to ensure that supported versions of z/OS operate the same on all platforms that IBM supports. Currently, we have dedicated IBM Z environments for providing regression testing for z/OS releases as well as z/OS maintenances (i.e. PTFs, as well as collections of PTFs such as the Recommended Service Upgrades (RSU) ).  When they become available, the pre-installed stock images in IBM Cloud’s Virtual Private Cloud environment would have been tested with the same testcases and regularity as z/OS and maintenance available for customers to install in their own environments. 
  • We wanted to expand the options for testing certain types of scenarios to avoid or reduce impact on our main test systems.  
    Given we test z/OS in a 24x7 continuous model, some testing demands extra consideration, for scheduling and collaboration from many testers working hands-on, sometimes in ways that don’t directly contribute to the area of z/OS under test but just in case other parts of the z/OS stack must be evaluated for impact, recovery, or restart. For certain types of testing, we require all hands on deck (or at least watching the consoles) for the duration of the test. Sometimes, we want to do training exercises or dry runs, especially as we experiment with new tools or approaches. To reduce unnecessary burden and unintended consequences from some of these activities, we find it much easier to isolate such testing activities. Provisioning on-prem z/OS environments for these purposes is not trivial and tended to be done one time and left in place to be re-used, given the non-trivial costs. 

With Wazi as-a-Service z/OS images in the IBM Cloud, we have another tool for quickly bringing up an isolated z/OS test image, which we can provision with the necessary z/OS software stack for the area of z/OS under test, within minutes, and is only required for the duration of the test, after which the test images can be deprovisioned.  

  • We wanted to adopt Wazi as-a-Service z/OS systems in the IBM Cloud for our own z/OS testing application development modernization  
    One major area that we are currently focused on is automation of end-to-end test execution, especially for regression testing.  With Wazi as-a-Service z/OS images and the IBM Cloud CLI, Ansible Collection, Terraform provider, and REST APIs, we can completely automate the lifecycle aspects of the z/OS images under test, such as provisioning z/OS instances and the software stack that will run in them, taking certain actions, and checking for expected system behaviors, restarting z/OS or its components when failures occur, and finally deprovisioning the instances and their data when finished. The programmatic ways in which we can now manage z/OS test instances makes it easy to integrate automation into how we develop and test our own testing applications. Ansible for IBM Cloud and Ansible for z/OS collections are just two of the tools that we’ve adopted to allow us to target the Wazi as-a-Service z/OS images as part of our own test application development and test. 


zPET Experiences

The zPET team found that the process of provisioning a Wazi as-a-Service z/OS system in the IBM Cloud to be straightforward and streamlined, but there was a small learning curve for those not already familiar with Cloud concepts. Certain actions like adding an IP address to z/OS was simply done with the click of a button but adding an additional storage volume to z/OS required us to work first within the IBM Cloud and then within z/OS. As we continue exploring ways to build upon our automation for application development and test, we are hoping to add deployment and testing on these cloud-based z/OS systems as part of our pipeline. 


In addition to exploring the capabilities of z/OS in the IBM Cloud to augment our existing environment and processes, our team also contributed to the larger test effort of testing z/OS in the IBM Cloud. In order to efficiently provision and test the z/OS VSIs, we needed automation. To find out more about how we built this automation, please check out our Automated Provisioning of z/OS in the IBM Cloud blog. 



Wazi as a Service: https://www.ibm.com/cloud/wazi-as-a-service 

Technical Documentation: https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/wazi-aas/1.0.0 

Getting started with Wazi as a Service: https://developer.ibm.com/blogs/get-started-with-ibm-wazi-as-a-service/ 



Kieron Hinds (kdhinds@us.ibm.com) 

Michael Cohoon (mtcohoon@us.ibm.com)