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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: COMM021 Module Title: IBM MAINFRAME COMPUTING
Module Provider: Computing Short Name: CSM26
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: GILLAM L Dr (Computing)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 2
Assessment Pattern

Assessment Patter
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)
Group project

The group project involves use of the Zeus mainframe and is assessed through written deliverables and a presentation. The presentation will be peer-assessed, with marks moderated by the IBM and Surrey University module co-ordinators and subject matter experts.

Written test
Qualifying Condition(s) 

A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.


Module Overview
Mainframes, sometimes referred to colloquially as “big iron”, form a core of the IT environment for many large enterprises where security, reliability, availability, manageability, scalability and predictability are key concerns. 80% of the world's corporate data resides or originates on IBM mainframes. IBM mainframes (“System z”) are used by 95% of US Fortune 500 companies, 71% of global Fortune 500 companies, all of the top 25 worldwide banks, 23 of the top 25 US retailers and 9 out of 10 of the world's largest insurance companies. The mainframe operating system z/OS supports large-scale databases through DB2, IBM's flagship mainframe database software, and IBM's mainframe transaction serving software CICS handles more than 30 billion transactions per day.

The IBM Mainframe Computing module introduces students to mainframe concepts and “Large Systems Thinking” and provides the knowledge and skills necessary for using mainframes and preparing for a career in large systems computing.

Software and hardware technologies that will be covered include System z10, z/Architecture, Parallel Sysplex, TSO/E, ISPF, datasets, DFSMS, ISPF, JES2, JCL, SDSF, DB2, IMS, CICS, CMS and REXX. Further topics that may be covered include RACF, SMP/E, PIPELINES, MQ and WAS.

Mainframe Computing in general provides for an interesting background to, and contrast with, Cloud Computing, and in relation to Business Systems and Distributed Computing more generally.
Familiarity with operating systems and machine architectures would be helpful.
Module Aims
The module aims to provide students with a professional and practical understanding of the leading industry standard for mainframe design, the IBM Mainframe. This will involve exposure to the fundamental concepts of the System z mainframe including its usage, hardware and architecture. Students undertaking this module will gain understanding of mainframe workloads and major middleware applications, virtualisation of enterprise Linux workloads, and encounter advanced mainframe topics such as z/OS systems programming, enterprise security or enterprise application programming.
Learning Outcomes
    1. Analyse, and critically evaluate the basic concepts of the System z architecture.
    2. Demonstrate both theoretical and practical knowledge of the System Z Operating System.
    3. Demonstrate a professional understanding of mainframe computing and business critical systems.

Module Content
1. Fundamental concepts of the System z mainframe including its real-world usage, hardware and architecture.
2. Fundamentals of z/OS®, the IBM “flagship” mainframe operating system, covering hardware, virtual storage, workload management and interactive usage.
3. Mainframe workloads and the major middleware applications in use on mainframes today, including batch, enterprise database management and transaction serving.
4. Virtualisation of enterprise Linux workloads using the mainframe's hardware and microcode virtualisation support, along with IBM's hypervisor operating system z/VM which can host and manage thousands of separate Linux virtual servers securely and reliably on a single mainframe.
5. Data sets (DFSMS, allocation, VSAM, catalogs)
6. Batch processing: JES, JCL, SDSF, utilities
7. Systems programming: customizing the system, change control, system initialization
8. Advanced, specialised areas of mainframes such as z/OS systems programming, enterprise security or enterprise application programming.
9. Mainframe software, technologies and business considerations including, but not limited to: System z10; z/Architecture; Security overview (RACF, integrity); Parallel Sysplex and continuous availability; ISPF; DB2; CICS, MQ and REXX. Additional topics may include: Networking (TCP/IP, SNA, VTAM), WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Application Server (WAS).
Methods of Teaching/Learning
The IBM Mainframe Computing module is delivered in the Spring by experienced IBM IT professionals who are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in mainframe computing. The SMEs run weekly 4 hour “workshop” sessions face-to-face at the University. These typically involve 3 hours of presentations and an hour of practical investigation with a “live” mainframe system, IBM's European University hub mainframe “Zeus”. Students are given 24/7 access to Zeus from any internet-connected system to enable further investigation.
Selected Texts/Journals
Required Reading

Ebbers, Mike; O’Brien, Wayne; and Bill Ogden. 2006. Introduction to the new mainframe: z/OS basics.
IBM. (ISBN 0738433012, IBM Redbooks publication SG24-6366-01)
Available for HTML online reading or PDF format download at:
Last Updated

September 2010