History of Geneva and SAFR
March 15, 2021 is a milestone of sorts: it is 25 years to the day later than predicted by one pundit as the date the last mainframe would be turned off. The GenevaERS team has been working hard to celebrate this milestone by working to become a full-fledged project under the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project. Here’s where we have come from, and where we are going.
Progress to Date
GenevaERS was accepted as an incubation project on July 9, 2020. Since then the team has:
- Created the community, including a website, git repos, e-mail list and getting started guide
- Held twice a month Technical Steering Committee (TSC) meetings open to all, and an infrastructure meeting
- Worked with Vicom-Infinity to create a shared user community environment
- Removed software components incompatible with an open source community and prepared for our major code releases
- Fleshed out architectural direction for the coming intermediate term.
- And provided leadership for broader OMP initiatives, like the Open z/OS Enablement Project based upon our experience with shared environments. You can learn more about our relationship to our sister projects in this blog post.
We’re not done making progress though. In the coming weeks and months we are working to:
- Release the Workbench, Run Control, and Performance Engine code bases to Github.
- Begin to convert the GenevaERS Documentation to a new Github Home.
- Continue to explore potential deeper integration with Apache Spark and GenevaERS, as the Map on the Mainframe component.
Apache Spark Integration: “Map” on the Mainframe Phase
The team continues nearly weekly R&D efforts to explore tighter integration with Apache Spark. GenevaERS has many similarities to the Map-Reduce constructs of Apache Spark, preceding it by a decade or more.
The GenevaERS Extract Engine GVBMR95, is a parallel processing, machine code generation function that can resolve many queries or functions in one pass through the underlying data. The GenevaERS Summarization and Aggregation Engine, GVBMR88, is much more like the reduce phase in Map-Reduce.
The team believes there may be distinct advantages to using the GenevaERS Extract Engine for the Map phase in Map-Reduce, coupled with Apache Spark for the Reduce phase, using its extended functionality and capabilities.
The team holds a weekly R&D Session on most Friday’s at 2:30 EST on webex if you are interested in joining.
Would you like to get more out of your valuable data on z/OS? Consider applying GenevaERS to the problem. Use the GenevaERS e-mail list to start a discussion of the potential use case.
A daily scrum call is held Monday through Thursday at 5:00 EST on webex (not held on TSC meeting days, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays.) Our On Boarding Document will allow you to get connected to all the GenevaERS Resources.
Additionally here are opportunities, many marked in the GenevaERS Repo as Good First Issue, to explore involvement in the GenevaERS Community:
- Editing and improving our website is a space for additional help.
- Join our Apache Spark/Izoda R&D efforts.
- We want to develop a new method for specifying GenevaERS processes, using perhaps Groovy, Gradle or other tooling. Checkout our post on Architectural Direction.
- GenevaERS’s Performance Engine today is executed through z/OS JCL. We would love to convert it to Polycephaly as a launching platform.
We’re excited on our progress, and our prospects. We’d love to have you participate. Thanks for your interest.
The GenevaERS project is teaming up and providing support for two other Open Mainframe Initiatives; Polycephaly and the Open z/OS Enablement or OzE project.
Polycephaly is intended to be a key technology in expanding access to mainframes, marrying two different development life cycle methodologies, distributed and z/OS. Polycephaly requires minimal z/OS system programming, and provides flexible development paths and options, moving from linear to non-linear development. It removes the need for separate development paths for distributed and z/OS workloads. Developers can develop on any platform, store to Git and Jenkins to deploy.
GenevaERS’s Performance Engine, which resolves scores of queries or processes in a single pass through a database, today is executed via standard JCL. Polycephaly opens the possibility for an updated execution engine, allowing use of Git and Jenkins commands to perform all the functions typically done within JCL. This may open up use of the Performance Engine to resources not skilled in z/OS commands and JCL.
Work to progress this investigation would include attempting to convert the GenevaERS model Performance Engine JCL to Polycephaly commands. Doing this work will expose the developer to a number of new and old technologies, building bridges in interesting ways.
Learn more about Polycephaly through this introductory video on GenevaTV.
The Open z/OS Enablement or OzE project grew out of the experience of establishing a community working environment for GenevaERS. The team found there are few places upon which to do Open Source community work. And so the team proposed to the Open Mainframe Project an approach to help solve the problems.
The vision of is lower the bar for companies and individuals to make z/OS computing resources available more broadly. Lack of access to z environments is a major impediment to the growth and innovation on the platform. Type of uses targeted include:
- Open Source Communities and new software development efforts
- Mentoring and new user growth, consistent with and attractive to those who use other public cloud learning opportunities
- Experimentation and innovation on the edge of environment stability like the Raspberry Pi Model
Impediments to these types of environments include:
– Critical knowledge and support in sysprogs for z systems
– Cost and control of donated resources (MIPs, software, storage, etc.)
– Security and access control
The project intends to create code, processes and techniques which reduce these impediments and enable broader use and development of the Z platform.
You can learn more about the Open z/OS Enablement Project by watching this episode of GenevaTV.
The “I Am A Mainframer” podcast series explores the careers of those in the mainframe ecosystem. Hosted by Steven Dickens of IBM, who helped launch Open Mainframe Project in 2015, each episode is a conversation that highlights the modern mainframe, insight into the mainframe industry, and advice for those looking to learn more about the technology.
The latest episode features our Project Chair, Kip Twitchell.
A transcript of the conversation is available via the episode’s page on the Open Mainframe Project website
During the January 12th Technical Steering Committee meeting, Kip Twitchell provided an update on our proof of concept work with GenevaERS and Spark.
GenevaERS TSC Chair Kip Twitchell and Solution Architect Sandy Peresie present at the monthly Open Mainframe Project
November 18th 11 AM US Eastern time
Join us to learn about GenevaERS Open Mainframe Project. GenevaERS, a single-pass optimization engine driving the data supply chain executing on z/OS.
GenevaERS offers businesses a high-level reporting solution uniquely tuned for big data scanning and improved financial transparency for better decision-making.
This project combines the processing power of a single pass of large volumes of data, an optimized join feature, the reliability of the mainframe and the dynamic open source community.
As a recent addition to the Open Mainframe Project, there are many ways to get involved and the team would love to have your help.