New Release: Linux Kernel 5.10

Linux kernel 5.10 (available here) has been released. Here are the highlights from a Linux on Z perspective:

  • Crypto 
    • Added ability to transform secure private EP11 and CCA EC keys into protected EC private keys.
  • Networking
    • HiperSockets Converged Interface (HSCI): This feature allows to converge a HiperSockets device with a networking adapter (OSA-Express or RoCE Express) into a single logical interface. HiperSockets will be preferred whenever a peer has an HSCI using the same HiperSockets device. Otherwise, the external networking adapter will be used. This way, users can take advantage of the benefits of HiperSockets while retaining external connectivity through a single interface.
    • SMC-Dv2: Version 2 of SMC-D requires an IBM z15 and provides two major improvements:
      1. Removal of the same-subnet restriction: Peers that intend to communicate using SMC-D no longer need to be within the same IP subnet. I.e. any peer that is hosted on the same IBM Z machine can be reached using SMC-Dv2.
      2. No PNET ID configuration required: PNET IDs are no longer required to indicate ISM devices to be used with a certain IP interface - any ISM device attached to the respective Linux instance and in use by both peers will be used.
  • NVMe Devices 
    • IPL Load Normal Support: If a Linux instance is defined with a large memory size and booted from an NVMe device, time required for a reboot is reduced significantly by omitting memory clearing.
    • Stand-Alone Dump Support: It is now possible to trigger a dump by booting from a respectively prepared NVMe device.
  • Server Time Protocol leap seconds scheduling support, see this blog entry. 

New Publications

The following videos and publications are now available on the IBM Knowledge Center:

  • IBM Secure Execution for Linux
  • Publication: KVM Virtual Server Management
    New information includes configuring KVM virtual servers for IBM Secure Execution for Linux, backing virtual block devices with PCIe-attached NVMe devices, and descriptions of new tools.
    Also available as PDF.
  • Publication: libica Programmer's Reference 3.7
    You can now use new APIs for elliptic curve cryptography that exploit the MSA9 component of IBM z15. New counters for these operations are introduced in the icastats utility. Also, in FIPS mode, an initial integrity check on the libica library file is performed.
    Also available as PDF.
  • Publication: Device Drivers, Features, and Commands
    New version for kernel 5.8.
  • Publication: Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on IBM Z and LinuxONE. Reference Architecture
    This reference architecture describes a pre-validated solution from Red Hat® and IBM® based on Red Hat OpenShift® Container Platform (RHOCP) on IBM Z® and IBM LinuxONE. It provides solution architects, designers, developers, IT organizations, and business leaders with the capability to plan the associated infrastructure services, provision virtual machines and RHOCP, and to manage the lifecycle of containerized applications.
    Also available as PDF.

New Release: smc-tools v1.4

smc-tools v1.4 is now available for download here.
This release marks the first on our new home on github, which features all previous releases back to v1.0.

New features introduced with this version, requiring respective Linux kernel support:

  • Support for SMC-Dv2
  • New tools smcd and smcr to list linkgroups, links and devices
For more information, see the README.

Webinar: The best Use Cases for RH Openshift Container Platform for IBM Z and LinuxONE

Join us for our webinar on Wednesday, December 2, 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM EST!

This session will show and explain when and how you can take advantage of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform on IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE. It illustrates the best use cases and why they fit best, with the dependencies on the business goals or technology challenges.
This presentation is part of the regular technical Linux on IBM Z and LinuxONE webinar session series from the IBM Labs. Find all past sessions here:

Wilhelm Mild, IBM Executive IT Architect

Register here. You can check the system requirements here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Replay & Archive
All sessions are recorded. For the archive as well as a replay and handout of this session and all previous webcasts see here.

New Release: qclib v2.2.1

qclib v2.2.1 is now available for download here.
This bugfix release marks the first release on our new home on github, which features the history back to v2.0.

For more information, see the README.

New Release: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.3

RHEL 8.3 is out, see the official announcement.
Highlights from a Linux on Z perspective:

  • Crypto: 
    • Use protected key dm-crypt for Linux systems with access to CryptoExpress adapters in EP11 mode
    • Now run the AES self test suite of the kernel automatically whenever the module is loaded, as required for a FIPS 140-2 certification
  • KVM:
    • Adds support for Secure Execution 
    • ECKD DASD can be transparently passed through to KVM guests, allowing full exploitation of all DASD features, including raw track access and IPL
  • Networking:
    • The qeth device driver improved handling of invalid frames
    • SMC-R gained high availability through so-called link group support
    • SMC-D gained forward-compatibility to SMC-Dv2
  • Storage:
    • Ability to IPL from NVMe devices
    • Various new sysfs attributes to query FCP-related information, e.g. use
      • /sys/class/fc_host/<host_name>/fabric_name to query the name of the connected Fibre Channel fabric
      • /sys/bus/ccw/drivers/zfcp/<fcp_device_bus_ID>/fc_security to query IBM Fibre Channel Endpoint Security capabilities of the FCP channel providing the FCP device bus-ID
      • /sys/bus/ccw/drivers/zfcp/<fcp_device_bus_ID>/0x<target_WWPN>/fc_security  to query status of authentication and encryption of connection between FCP device and remote port
  • Misc updates
    • opencryptoki v3.14
    • qclib v2.1
    • smc-tools v1.3
    • libatlas is now taking advantage of specific BM z13 and z14 instructions for performance improvements
For further details on the changes, see the release notes.
Also, take note of a distro-specific edition of our Device Drivers, Features, and Commands book available here.

New Release: OpenBLAS 0.3.12

The latest release of OpenBLAS comes with substantial improvements for single precision matrix multiplication on IBM Z. Thanks to a hand-tuned compute kernel, the implementation makes optimal use of the IBM Z instruction set to provide a big performance benefit. As an algebra library implementing the BLAS interface (Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms), OpenBLAS is a central building block for AI and other compute-intensive workloads. In a Linux system, OpenBLAS serves as compute back-end for many functions in NumPy, SciPy, R, and Octave.

For further details, see the OpenBLAS 0.3.12 release notes here.

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