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IBM z SIEM and SYSLOG Forwarding Considerations

IBM z SIEM and SYSLOG Forwarding Considerations
The IBM z mainframe system remains the workhorse for most of the largest and most successful companies in the world, maintaining both mission critical legacy software applications and new workloads. In the scope of sensitive data and security, the IBM z/OS protects the company’s jewels for good reason, but has a plethora of system and security event log sources that must be monitored and forwarded to a SIEM like IBM QRadar, AlienVault, Exabeam, Managed SIEM or a SYSLOG Server like the Splunk.Since IBM mainframe event logs do not conform to SIEM and SYSLOG industry standards, many IBM z shops are running batch reports and scrapping mainframe event logs manually before forwarding to their SIEM. As a result of this labor intensive process, only a few key event log sources end up being forwarded to the SIEM. With the huge volume of mainframe transactions, many important security event log sources are not getting forwarded to the SIEM: SMF records, RACF, Top Secret, SYSLOG, log4j, SyslogD, RMF, IMS, ACF2, Unix services, DB2, FTP, USS files, SYSOUT, and perhaps some application or other mainframe logs all contain critical security data for a SIEM’s AI and User Behavior Analytics algorithms.Which IBM z event log sources contain security data a SIEM needs to identify a security breach? There are many event log sources that contain critical security data that a SIEM can use to discover internal and external threats, even simple workstation log-in attempts from one of many SMF record types can help identify a compromised asset or intruder. The number of records written to the SMF files or datasets can be astronomical, and is compounded by the number of vendor products installed. The IBM z/OS can create terabytes of security, operational, historical, diagnostic and like data in SMF daily. Of the 256 SMF record types, roughly 140 are actually used on most z/OS systems. SMF record types 0-127 are for z/OS components, and types 128-255 are used by other vendors to record activity and information related to their products.Record types used by vendors is a bit like the wild west, but the IBM z has control over...
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6 Reasons Why You Should Choose IBM POWER9 for your Application Platform.

POWER9-Cover
IBM recently introduced their newest POWER servers with the POWER9 processor to the marketplace. Has your business has been debating staying on the IBM i platform instead of migrating your data to the cloud or to another OS platform like Windows or Linux? You really should consider the benefits of the latest POWER hardware and IBM i 7.4. The AS400/iSeries/POWER lineup of servers has long held a reputation for reliability and security. IBM i is all about integration and innovation. Businesses running high-traffic, mission-critical applications are deploying IBM Systems in their own data centers and in the cloud. Digital transformation initiatives like the the IoT, business process automation, mobile and analytics demand a lot of resources for planning and strategy. iSeries hardware requires less maintenance and fewer resources, so IT teams can focus on delivering on strategic projects. Faster, Highly Flexible and More Resilient Running POWER9 in your data center or in the cloud offers advantages like surprising technical flexibility and affordability compared to other systems running Windows or flavors of UNIX.  IBM POWER is like a technical fortress for data and applications which enable and run business systems like: Enterprise applications like SAP, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and Infor XA (MAPICS) Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, and High Availability Security monitoring and encryption. Business Intelligence and analytics applications which work with DB2. Artificial Intelligence and AI-powered Managed Security Service Providers Communication and file transferIf you are already running IBM servers in your IT environment, we’re likely preaching to the choir. Let’s explore six of the many benefits of upgrading or converting to IBM POWER9 and the IBM i 7.x operating system.  1.  Technology Infrastructure Without Compromise To keep pace with today’s fast-paced, digitally dependent business environment, companies of all sizes need stable, reliable technology infrastructure which can stand up to heavy workload. Businesses are deploying solutions like AI, the IoT and cloud on the IBM i platform because it provides an integrated platform without compromising on security, scalability or reliability. POWER servers, like their AS 400 & iSeries predecessors, are world-renowned for reliability. Yet POWER9 Commercial Processing Workload benchmarks are rated at 1.5 times the performance of their POWER8 brethren,...
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IBM i 7.4 Hardware Enhancements for POWER9 and POWER8 Systems

IBM i 7.4 Hardware Enhancements for POWER9 and POWER8 Systems
Details of each POWER9 and POWER8 hardware enhancement provided by the release of IBM 7.4 (V7R4) are below the initial summary, organized by IBM Power generation and topic. The new IBM POWER9 and POWER8 hardware features provided for OS400 V7R4 are now all available for ordering as of June 21, 2019. Read about IBM i 7.4 (V7R4) announcement details here.IBM V7R4 announcement provides the following I/O enhancements for Power9 scale-out and scale-up system models:1.6 TB, 3.2 TB, and 6.4 TB PCIe3 Enterprise SSD NVMe adapters for Power9 E980, E950, L922, S922, S914, S924, H922, and H924 servers1.6 TB and 3.2 TB Mainstream SSD NVMe U.2 modules for Power9 E980 serverPCIe3 6-Slot Fan-out Module, PCIe x16 to CXP Optical or CU converter Adapter, and Active Optical Cables for PCIe3 Expansion Drawer for Power9 E980, E950, L922, S922, S914, S924, H922, and H924 serversStorage Backplane with HI Performance plus 2x24-Port for Power9 E950 serverIBM V7R4 provides the following I/O enhancements for both Power9 and Power8 scale-out and scale-up system models:931 GB, 1.86 TB, 3.72 TB, and 7.45 TB 2.5-inch Mainstream Solid-State Drives (SSD) for the following IBM Power9 and Power8 System models: E980, E950, L922, S914, S922, S924, H922, H924, S812L, S822L, S824L, S814, S812, S822, S824, E870, E870C, E880, E880C, E850, and E850C servers387 GB, 775 GB, and 1.55 TB 2.5-inch Enterprise Solid-State Drives (SSD) for the following IBM Power9 and Power8 System models: E980, E950, L922, S914, S922, S924, H922, H924, S812L, S822L, S824L, S814, S812, S822, S824, E870, E870C, E880, E880C, E850, and E850C serversDeactivation of LPM for Dedicated Servers for Power E980, E950, S922, S914, and S924 serversIBM i V7R4 Indicator for the following IBM Power9 and Power8 System models: E980, S914, S922, S924, H922, H924, S814, S812, S822, S824, E870, E870C, E880, and E880C servers  Hardware Enhancements for POWER9 provided with V7R4IBM EC5B and EC5G PCIe3 1.6 TB SSD NVMe AdapterThe IBM EC5B and EC5G PCIe3 1.6 TB SSD NVMe Adapters provide a low write latency and use nonvolatile flash memory (NVMe), which is a high-performance software interface for reading and writing to flash memory. IBM EC5B and EC5G...
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IBM i Backup Performance and Optimization

IBM i Backup Performance and Optimization
IBM i backup performance is affected by many variables, and many data transfer rate bottlenecks can be very easy to resolve. Some simple changes you can try to improve backup performance may only require using the correct media generation for your tape library/drive, minimize resource sharing, shortening the distance between the IBM i PCIe I/O adapter and tape library/drive, using backup optimization settings or restructuring your backup processes. These minor changes are virtually free to try and may have a significant impact on optimizing your IBM i backup transfer rates and without having to spend a lot of time analyzing the root cause. Other factors affecting your backup transfer rates may require a deeper analysis of interfaces involved in the backup and restore processes, including the capabilities of the tape library/drive, I/O SAS adapter and other IBM i hardware components, LPAR configuration, directory structure, types workloads and sizes of files being backed up. Using general IBM i backup performance test results and some key assumptions, here are some ways that may have the most significant impact on optimizing backup and recovery performance:Replace slow IBM i PCIe I/O adapters like the 5901 (57B3), EJ1P and EJ1N (57B3) 3 Gbps SAS Adapters with the faster EJ10 or EJ11 (57B4) 6 Gbps SAS Adapter, or ideally use a EN0A (577F) or EN0B 16GB Fiber Adapter or a 5735 8GB Fiber Adapter. Keep in mind, the length of the cable used to connect your tape library/device will also affect the data transfer rate performance.Use a Virtual Tape Library (VTL) that ingests backup data at disk speed, versus tape drive and media speeds. The maximum backup data transfer rates on some VTLs can be up to a blazing 4.5 GB/s (14.4 TB/hr), compared to LTO-9 708 MB/s, LTO-8 360 MB/s, LTO-7 315 MB/s, LTO-6 160 MB/s and LTO-5 140 MB/s. Most VTL’s support running many parallel backup streams simultaneously which can also significantly speed up backups.Other IBM i system resources that affect backup speeds include type and amount of HDD or SSD, memory, processing and PCI placement. For instance, if you have open bays available for adding...
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IBM i Performance Optimization: Improving Application Response Times

IBM i Performance Optimization: Improving Application Response Times
Keeping your IBM i optimized for optimal response times requires regular monitoring of system resources and identifying various elements that affect application performance. Poor response times of only two or three seconds delay can quickly get compounded over time when poorly written applications are involved or database maintenance has been neglected. Like most performance degradation issues on the IBM i, response time issues only get worse as the number of transactions multiply. Ignoring system performance issues affects productivity and frustrate customers, which in turn increases costs and affects revenue. Below are some ideas to consider if a major IBM i upgrade is not a viable budgetary option. Consider the cost benefits of optimizing your IBM i system resourcesThe number one factor that affects response times is available processing power (CPU), and the most expensive resource in your IBM Power system. Even new Power9 systems can experience performance degradation. If your system is experiencing poor response times, keep an eye on capacity utilization throughout the day, and check how close CPU utilization gets to 100%, especially during peak periods of the day. If you spot a pattern, perhaps there are some jobs you can plan on running a different time of day when CPU is regularly underutilized. Any system administration and batch jobs that can be scheduled at lighter periods are good examples. Take note of the applications and types of jobs consuming the most CPU resources. If these jobs involve SQL, pay attention to the number of file opens they are performing. If this number is high for the system, the fix can be as simple as changing how the programs run queries to keep files open between calls. You also may consider using IBM i Workload Groups to control the amount of CPU, memory pools and sub-systems to ensure critical applications get the resources they need to run optimally, while restricting less important jobs from stealing their needed resources. Most IBM i systems contain between 15-40% of obsolete and unnecessary data consuming disk space, which is often due to poor database and spool file maintenance. Bloated databases will definitely impact response times...
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IBM Power System's Fastest RAID Controller

IBM EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID Plus SAS Adapter is the highest performing raid controller (SAS adapter) for IBM Power9 and Power8 systems that will significantly improve raid performance. The IBM EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID PLUS SAS Adapter has four 6 Gb connectors enabling the highest performance HDD or SSD SAS controller capabilities for IBM Power systems using PCIe Gen3 technology and IBM’s latest SAS RAID adapter technology. The EJ14 PCIe3 SAS adapter builds on the success of the EJ0L PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapters, but delivers up to 100% more write IOPs than the older EJ0L SAS Adapter, and can support almost 2X more drives (72 SSDs and 96 HDDs). A pair of EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID PLUS SAS Adapters can deliver up to 1.6M read IOPS, or up to 360K write IOPS, or up to 878K IOPS using a 70/30 combination of write/reads. In comparison, the older EJ0L PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter can only support 48 SSDs and 96 HDDs. A pair of EJ0L PCIe3 adapters running RAID 0 SSDs can only provide up to 750,000 read IOPS in a PCIe Gen1 slot, 800,000 read IOPS in a PCIe Gen2 slot, and about one million read IOPS in a PCIe Gen2 slot using RAID 0. For a very low cost, significant performance gains can be achieved by replacing the older EJ0L RAID SAS Adapter with the latest EJ14. In addition, you may even be able to shrink your hardware footprint and ongoing maintenance costs. If your IBM Power system has any of these PCIe SAS adapters (EJ0J, EJ0M, EL3B, EJ0L, ESA1, ESA2, ESA3, and 5913), and you are noticing latency or performance degradation, consider replacing your existing RAID SAS Adapter with the EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID Plus SAS Adapter. Read detailed performance comparisons for IBM Power9 and Power8 Raid Controllers and SAS Adapters here. Raid performance of the EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB RAID PLUS SAS Adapter using RAID5 and RAID6 parity is absolutely amazing. A pair of EJ14 Adapters can achieve 1.6M read IOPS using RAID 0 and random 4 KB...
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IBM i Power System Upgrade: Is it needed?

IBM i Power System Upgrade: Is it needed?
Is it time to upgrade your IBM i Power System? Or do you need to upgrade your IBM i Power System? Most companies upgrade their IBM Power systems on a scheduled interval, but there are instances when response times and throughput bottlenecks cause unacceptable performance levels, and a quick fix is needed. IBM i response times and throughput rely on common system resources and can have a similar effect on performance from an end user experience, but the variables that cause them are very different and are often difficult to figure out. IBM Power system processors, memory, SSD, disk drives and other components use a very complex set of instructions to share and distribute system resources for all the transactions on the system. When individual transactions are delayed by another transaction already using the system’s resources, they are put into a wait queue. As the IBM i workload increases, throughput increases, but so does the queuing and response times. These IBM i performance metrics can have the opposite effect on the performance experienced by the end user. In fact, high throughput can cause slower IBM i response times. Understanding the source of the bottleneck can save your company from investing in an unnecessary major upgrade. The IBM i has very powerful performance logging and analysis capabilities to help administrators figure out any performance bottleneck source. The number of general and very specific performance settings on the IBM i that can be adjusted to effect various outcomes are considerable. Before spending much time analyzing and investigating performance issues, be sure to install the latest cumulative, group PTFs and technology refresh, as many performance problems can be resolved by simply updating the system. Any IBM i upgrade requirements due to performance issues, should be based on a professional performance analysis to ensure the Power system’s resources are being used efficiently.Some performance problems can be fixed by fine tuning the IBM Power configuration. However most significant performance issues today are often due to poorly written applications accessing the IBM i DB2 database using Java and ODBC connections. IBM has well documented best practices to help developers...
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IBM i Performance Issues and Degradation

IBM i Performance Issues and Degradation
Sporadic IBM i performance issues and prolonged degradation that slowly creeps up over time can sometimes be abated by fine tuning memory pools, disk, database, applicatons, jobs and threads, but it’s not a task an untrained administrator should be attempting. IBM i response times and throughput performance issues can be due to numerous factors, and often requires a lot of man hours to pin point by a trained expert. If your IBM Power iSeries already has the Performance Adjuster enabled (view QPFRADJ system value) and other dynamic performance optimization features enabled, it often makes economic sense to simply add memory, disk drives or when appropriate, use enterprise IBM SSD with eMLC for write intensive workloads or mainstream solid state drives for applications that are performing less than 2 writes per day.Upgrading the IBM i Power system main storage is a cheap and quick solution to stop high page faulting rates due to insufficient memory or when too many jobs or threads are fighting for memory resources. You can view the memory storage pools and to see if the faults per second is greater than 10. Adding more disk arms or upgrading HDD to IBM SSD for a particular workload type may be the solution when disk utilization is greater than 40% and system wait or service times are unacceptable. It is not even that uncommon for a company to experience performance issues on a brand new system or after performing an OS400 or application upgrade.The IBM i has many tools you can use to analyze and monitor the performance of your iSeries Power system, including Job Watcher, Disk Watcher, Performance Tools, Navigator or even using WRKSYSSTS, WRKSHRPOOL, WRKDSKSTS and WRKACTJOB commands. For a quick and simple report, start a performance trace using STRPFRTRC command during peak hours or when the degradation is occurring, and view the system and components report to identify the bottlenecks in the trace table QPM_STRPFRTRC created.A performance analyst tuning your system resources may need to understand the symptoms better and require collecting additional statistics before making any recommendations. After the performance assessment is completed, the analyst can then use tools to measure...
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How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems

How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems
Written by: Bob PiccianoOpen any business publication or digital journal today, and you will read about the promise of AI, known as artificial or augmented intelligence, and how it will transform your business. The fact is, AI will not only transform your entire business, whether you are in health care, finance, retail or manufacturing, but it will also transform technology itself.The essential task of information technology (IT), and how we measure its value, has reached an inflection point.It’s no longer just about process automation and codifying business logic. Instead, insight is the new currency, and the speed with which we can scale that insight and the knowledge it brings is the basis for value creation and the key to competitive advantage. IBM Engineer, Stefanie Chiras, with the IBM Power System AC922. (Photo: Jack Plunkett). This trend is fueling a surging interest in deep learning and AI, or, as IBM calls it, cognitive computing. According to IDC, global spending on AI-related hardware and software is expected to exceed $57.6 billion in 2021, almost a five-fold increase over the $12 billion that will be spent this year.The real promise of AI is to unleash actionable insights that would otherwise be trapped in massive amounts of data. Much of that data is unstructured data, such as the data that’s generated by such things as written reports and journals, videos, social media posts or even spoken words.Since we introduced IBM Watson, and our powerful AI cloud platform, we’ve continued on our journey to reinvent computing for this new era. And we’ve learned that to meet the new demands of cognitive workloads, we need to change everything: from the algorithms and mathematics that are the foundations of the software, to the hardware that drives it and to the cloud that deploys it.Organizations that apply deep learning and AI, which are the superchargers for extracting insight, need to use the right architecture to ingest and analyze very large data sets. And you need to be able to do it at lightning-fast speeds, or faster than your competitors.IBM is unveiling new systems built from the ground up to meet the...
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Database Clustering - Replication Solves Real-Time Data Access Requirements

Database Clustering - Replication Solves Real-Time Data Access Requirements
Database clustering involves database replication to achieve high availability (mirroring, redundancy and disaster recovery), workload balancing for performance or scaling (queries, reporting, business intelligence, analytics and data warehousing), maintenance (upgrades, migration, testing and development), database consolidation and other objectives for data access, efficiency and better decision making. It is use database clustering and replication services where the source and target databases are at different version levels and even different types of databases all together, such as PostgreSQl to Oracle replication, or DB2 to SQL. Database clustering can be implemented for a mix of on premise, virtual and cloud environments, using any of the following replication scenarios for various objectives:from one database source to one target database (one way)from one database source to multiple target databases (distributed)from multiple database sources to one target database (consolidated)from one database source to one or more target database cascaded to one or more targets again (cascaded)one or more database sources to one or more target database (bi-directional)one source database to two different databases or even a hybrid combination of any of these scenarios (hybrid)Most database clustering solutions cannot meet complex business requirements when disparate platforms are a part of the equation or if complicated and long distance replication scenarios exist. Businesses with unique or complicated plans for database clustering should check out the advanced Database Replication software for clustering, with built-in conflict resolution and collision monitoring. It allows companies to replicate in real-time and transform data to and from the following databases: Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure SQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, Oracle RAC, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Teradata, IBM Informix and Sybase, of which the source and targets can be different combinations. Removing these technical barriers is key to real-time data sharing, which do not require abandoning existing investments and spending a lot of time and money on integration.Today’s business demands, mergers, acquisitions and tougher regulations are driving the needs for access to data in real-time. Advanced database replication abilities address these requirements, enabling companies to effortlessly replicate data from virtually any database to almost any other database, without large integration costs. Regardless of the purpose or reason,...
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Database Migration and Converter with Real-Time Replication

Database Migration and Converter with Real-Time Replication
Database migration and conversion projects can be a time consuming and costly endeavor without the right software, and converting large complex production databases with real-time replication and transformation requirements significantly compound the risks. Using a database migration and conversion tool to map fields of disparate databases correctly and keeping them in sync is key to a successful and non-disruptive conversion. Critical business applications utilizing the database to be converted will add risk to the migration process. Traditional database migration and database converter processes usually take hours or days for large databases, costing businesses unnecessary downtime. Some companies have wasted millions of dollars in failed database migration and conversion projects using internally developed tools or having to rely on multiple database converter tools to get databases in sync, tested and matching accurately.No Time for DowntimeNot an uncommon database requirement. Accuracy is the number one goal of any successful database conversion, but minimal or no downtime for production databases is a close second. By using the right database migration software, both requirements can be accomplished very easily. Using real-time replication will keep the target database in sync, which will make testing easier, improve efficiency, and ensure no downtime incurs of critical production applications. Companies wanting to make adjustments and enhancements to the new database. Using a database conversion and transformation tool that can perform this process on the fly, and keep the data in sync using database replication would be ideal for testing applications on new database.Database Migration Using StandardsDatabase conversions should use a single migration tool capable of completing the entire process for disparate source and target databases, which may include: Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Azure SQL, IBM DB2, Oracle, Oracle RAC, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Teradata, Informix or Sybase, that are physical, virtual or in the cloud. Using a simple GUI interface will drastically reduce complexity, mistakes and costs by showing an easy to understand before and after comparison of the new and old database fields. The database migration and converter tool you use, should utilize the Enterprise Data Movement EDM model, so you do not have to rely on complex custom scripts, programming, indexing...
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