Author Topic: OS/2 and the Mainframe  (Read 2170 times)

Martin Iturbide

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OS/2 and the Mainframe
« on: September 11, 2019, 10:53:58 pm »
Hi.

This is a topic that just today crossed my mind by checking twitter.

Event that I tried to document my findings on the Wiki, (Category:Mainframe), I still have some doubts and I lack information.

My interest is only from the OS/2 perspective on how it is connected to the mainframe, which drivers OS/2 requires and which software it runs.

I have these questions:
1) Which are the "Support Element" software versions that runs on OS/2 ?
2) Some Mainframes came with a Thinkpad with OS/2 preloaded, how it is connected physically to the mainframe? Serial/Parallel/PCMCIA/Network?
3) Some other mainframes came with a PC with OS/2 (I think it is called HMC -  Hardware Management Console ). how it is connected physically to the mainframe?
4) I don't think I can find a list of which mainframe models used to be compatible with OS/2's HMC, but I will like to build one.  I only have the Multiprise 3000 and the IBM z890 on my list, if someone remember some other model that has OS/2's HMC or know where to get this information, please let me know.

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Joop

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2019, 03:25:24 pm »
I have a working model of the Data General One. This is the very first laptop running on two 720Kb diskettes and 512Kb memory. When not started with a boot diskette I could enter programs for connecting to a mainframe. In those days the connection was serial up to full handshake. But I don't think that today they still work with serial connections, more likely utp in some form. OS/2 was written by mainframe guys, you can still observe that legacy as soon as OS/2 gets it difficult and needs a way out. I have only see once on OS/2 2.11 the message that I was run out of memory, run out of hard disk space, run out of diskettes. System was still working, but slow. The message popped up that the system needed more memory and that the system wants a new formatted hard disk(!), if I was so friendly to put that in the computer or close system. But in those days hot swappable hard disk was an item not available on the consumer markt  and no internal system on the motherboard to achieve that goal.

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2019, 08:11:57 pm »
I have a working model of the Data General One.

I misread this as a Data General Nova, and was for about five seconds ... very impressed ...

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2019, 12:19:43 am »
Hi Joop.

Any pictures or documentation that you may have related to the OS/2 and Mainframe topic is welcome, and I will include it on the wiki.

Ohh,  the  Data General One laptop used to came with a "Pierre Cardin" bag according to Wikipedia  ;D ;D ;D

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Martin Iturbide
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Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2020, 11:05:16 pm »
Hi

I had some progress on this area and I had improved a little bit some documents on the OS2World Wiki about the relationship between OS/2 and the mainframe.

I was not able to went deep enough, since I don't have a mainframe, but I was able to understand a few things.

1) There was a PCI card (also some older ISA) called P/390 that used to be "a mainframe in a card" that you plugged into a PC so you can do development and testing for mainframe applications. That P/390 card was supported under OS/2, so you installed it on your OS/2 machine, and install a software called "P/390 Tools" so you can manage some functions of the mainframe card from OS/2.

I still need to know (at least in theory, since I don't think I will ever get that card):
- a) Which are the drivers required for that card and how it was configured on OS/2 (config.sys).
- b) Which is the latest version and latest fixpack of "P/390 Tools" for OS/2.


2) On full mainframes servers, OS/2 used to came bundle with a PC or Thinkpad. OS/2 worked as a console to do some basic functions of the mainframe (like IPL - turn on/off). There was a software called "Support Element" for OS/2 that allowed you to manage the mainframe.

I still need to find out:
- a) Which is the latest version of "Support Element" for OS/2 and latest fixpack (if applies). I have pictures of version 1.6.1.
- b) I still do not know exactly how the OS/2 PC was physically connected to the mainframe (serial? parallel? ethernet? PCMCIA card?) It may vary according to the model, but I still not sure about that.
- c) I would like to have a list of Mainframe models that was supported (or that worked) with OS/2's Support Element. I have a short list of what I was able to find on the wiki.
- d) Was "Support Element" replaced by "Open Systems Adapter/Support Facility (OSA/SF)" (Java 1.6) ?

3) I don't understand yet the Arca Noae's "S/390 Backup Facility". It says it make it easy to backup and restore an IBM Multiprise 3000 mainframe (with Support Element). I'm guessing is an ArcaOS-OS/2 software that interacts in someway with the Multiprise 3000  to do that. But there are no screenshots, manuals or videos to get a better idea.

So, that are the little things I was able to uncover about the relationship of OS/2 with IBM's Mainframe. It is not much, but I always appreciate more information and corrections if you think I'm understanding some wrong.

Regards
« Last Edit: March 10, 2020, 12:41:55 pm by Martin Iturbide »
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Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2020, 01:08:40 am »
There was also a Unisys "Clearpath on a Card" that worked with OS/2 v1x

Dave Yeo

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2020, 05:19:41 am »
From my archives (26 Apr 2005)
Quote
++ From the VOICE OS/2-eComStation News Service http://www.os2voice.org ++

From: Timothy Sipples <tsippleDESPAM@DESPAMyahoo.com>

Dear Bargain Hunters,

It's been a long time since my last "Warped Bargains" update, but this one
is surely worth the wait. It's a little hard to believe this one,
actually, but it's all true.

IBM put OS/2 Warp to use in many, many amazing places. One of the most
interesting, in my opinion, is the IBM S/390 Integrated Server. This
packaged system consists of the following:

 - Pentium II running at 333 MHz with 512K Cache
 - 128 MB of ECC Memory (for the Pentium II)
 - Industrial-quality components and chasis
 - 16 PCI slots (12 secondary and 4 terciary)
 - 3 ISA slots
 - 18 GB SSA (Serial Storage Architecture) hard disks (up to 16 hot swap)
 - RAID 5 with background scrubbing
 - N+1 power (including redundant power supply, fans, and built-in standby
battery power)
 - 1 P/390E System/390 CPU with 256 MB of its own memory (nonexpandable)
 - 2 ESCON channels
 - 4 Parallel channels
 - 10/100 Ethernet
 - AGP Video (with 2 MB video memory)
 - Adaptec Ultra Wide SCSI adapter
 - 20X CD-ROM
 - 4 mm DAT drive (DDS-3)
 - USB, serial, parallel ports
 - OS/2 Warp Server Version 4

Yes, fellow bargain hunters, the S/390 Integrated Server is a real IBM
mainframe. The P/390E CPU is rated at about 7 MIPS and supports the
390/ESA (31-bit) mainframe instruction set. This server actually runs two
operating systems: one running on the P/390E processor (i.e. your
mainframe operating system) and the other OS/2 Warp Server. OS/2 Warp
Server takes care of input/output for the P/390E processor. (And you can
also run anything else -- Klondike Solitaire, Firefox for OS/2, whatever.)

The S/390 Integrated Server is a real, honest-to-goodness mainframe
processor. It can run 31-bit z/OS (up to Version 1.5, I believe), TPF,
VSE, VM, and Linux S/390.

So why do I mention this server? Well, IBM has this bad boy on sale in its
"Certified Used" online store. You can own one of these rare (and formerly
very pricey -- we're talking six figures) systems for the low low price of
just $6,000 U.S. including shipping. That's right: you can buy a real IBM
mainframe for 6Gs!

Here's the web site where you can find this system, model 3006-B01:

http://www-132.ibm.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/HelpDisplay?storeId=1&catalogId=-840&langId=-1&subject=2576400

including 36 GB of disk space (usable after RAID-5).

I should say this up front: with the exception of Linux, which is freely
available (Debian, for example), mainframe operating systems and other
software products are almost always licensed. Some of them may cost a
considerable amount of money, depending on what you want to do. And some
of them are essentially rented month to month. So your software expenses
could be considerable.

Also, 31-bit technology is falling out of favor in the mainframe world.
(IBM introduced 64-bit zSeries systems in 2000, and more and more software
is taking advantage of 64-bit, such as z/OS 1.6 and DB2 V8 for z/OS.)
Please note that this system is 31-bit.

Still, all that said, wow, what a bargain! If you'd like to own a real
mainframe you just can't beat this price. Believe it or not, you can even
run WebSphere Application Server V6.01 for z/OS on this system -- slowly,
perhaps, but it'll run! This system would be perfect for code developers,
mainframe enthusiasts, and other individuals who'd like to point to the
fact that they own (and use) a real mainframe. Just be sure you know what
you're getting into -- especially in terms of software costs, and
especially if you want to run more than S/390 Linux -- before purchasing
this system.

Note that this system does not require special power, raised floor,
cooling system, etc. If you have those things, great, but they're not
required for this itty bitty mainframe.

And it runs OS/2 Warp Server as the "partner" operating system! How cool
is that?

Now, what if 36 GB is not enough disk storage? Well, you could add up to
13 more 18 GB SSA hard disks. If you can find them, that is. But you may
have another option, available via the same Web site listed above. How'd
you like to own your very own IBM Enterprise Storage System (a.k.a.
"Shark")? Well, those are on sale, too. If you get an ESCON-attached
system (which would be compatible with this system), you can buy a used 1
TB Shark for $42,000. That's not a lot of money for 1 TB of mainframe
storage. (Click on "Storage" from the Certified Used store to see the
Sharks for sale.) There's some other possible ESCON-attachable storage
options also listed. And some tape drives, too, if you need those.

OK, I'll stop there.  Granted, $6,000 is a lot of money if all you want is
an OS/2 Warp- or eComStation-based PC. (It's especially a lot of money for
a Pentium II 333 MHz.) But it's very inexpensive indeed for a 31-bit
mainframe processor as recent as the P/390E. (Could you imagine opening up
your own little data center? And even attach it to the Internet? Yes, you
could.) Some of you may be enthusiastic about owning this unique system,
others may not care. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this edition of Tim's
Warped Bargains. Until next time.....


Bogdan

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2020, 11:51:52 am »
1) There was a PCI card (also some older ISA) called P/390 that used to be "a mainframe in a card" that you plugged into a PC so you can do development and testing for mainframe applications.
In fact there were different PCI adapters. And there was never an equivalent ISA solution. It's not helpful to mix here different architectures. Neither a PCI nor an ISA adapter would fit into a PC. The S/370 solution for the XT consisted of 3 boards and for the AT of 2 boards. Non of those adapters is required for "development and testing" of "mainframe applications". You can simply use the usual development environment via 3270-sessions or one of the GUI solutions.

Olafur Gunnlaugsson

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2020, 06:27:17 pm »
Regarding earlier post
Early Unisys SCAMP on a card here:
http://www.retrocomputingtasmania.com/home/projects/unisysaseries

People forget how much OS/2 support there was by Unisys

Some info on SCAMP, but with lots of factually incorrect information:

http://www.cpushack.com/2015/04/18/the-forgotten-ones-unisys-scamp-d-mainframe/

Kim Haverblad

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2020, 09:24:42 pm »
You should take a look at what the "Mainframe Kid" who plays around with an IBM mainframe which also includes OS2 client: https://youtu.be/wJyiHsfJLEI

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2020, 09:30:30 pm »
Hi

Yes, I saw the presentation of the "Mainframe Kid", it is a very nice story. I have connected with him on twitter, but since he is more focus on the mainframe, and I just care of what part OS/2 does, he didn't replied  :'(

I'm still looking someone that can help me solve my question (first post).

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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Bogdan

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2020, 11:32:28 pm »
I have these questions:
1) Which are the "Support Element" software versions that runs on OS/2 ?
Please give us a FRU and I can check.

Quote
2) Some Mainframes came with a Thinkpad with OS/2 preloaded, how it is connected physically to the mainframe? Serial/Parallel/PCMCIA/Network?
It's not connected physically. Usually a console controller was used.

Quote
3) Some other mainframes came with a PC with OS/2 (I think it is called HMC -  Hardware Management Console ). how it is connected physically to the mainframe?
Please give at least a part number - there were dozens of devices which run internally OS/2 for different tasks.

Quote
4) I don't think I can find a list of which mainframe models used to be compatible with OS/2's HMC, but I will like to build one.  I only have the Multiprise 3000 and the IBM z890 on my list, if someone remember some other model that has OS/2's HMC or know where to get this information, please let me know.
What's the question here? Do you want to operate 15 to 20 years old systems and need replacement parts today? It would be cheaper to use emulation or a zPDT.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2020, 04:17:08 pm »
Hi

Just to be clear, I don't have an IBM Mainframe or a P390 card (which is also a mainframe). I just want to document how OS/2 uses to interact or work with Mainframe Machines. I don't have part numbers, just the stories of people that used to work with a mainframe and OS/2.

Regards.
Martin Iturbide
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Doug Bissett

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2020, 05:25:42 pm »
Quote
I just want to document how OS/2 uses to interact or work with Mainframe Machines.

Well, I don't know what happened after the IBM 3090 series of mainframes, because I retired. The 3090 did use a PC (probably a 386 SX), running some sort of OS/2 (probably 2.0, at that time). It had a 3270 adapter card (with driver), and a serial port to connect to a modem. The 3270 card was used , with the usual coax cable, to allow the PC to display what the support processor was doing. The support processor was basically a small computer (possibly AS/400) that had a process control interface. The process control interface was able to read/write registers, and push buttons, in the mainframe, as requested by the console (the PC running OS/2). The data was displayed or entered, on the console. The serial interface was used to allow remote support to run the console, although I don't ever remember that being used. The service support processor also had a serial interface, which was easier to use, for the support people. OS/2 was simply the operating system, to run the 3270 emulator, and a modem. There was not much more to it. Remember, that a FAST modem, in those days, was 56 KB/s, so neither connection was used, unless actually needed. I would note, that if the PC running OS/2 ever failed (never heard of that happening either), a normal 3270 terminal could be used, but it didn't have the serial port for the support people to use.

The earlier 3080 computers used an actual 3270 terminal, but it wasn't able to connect to the support people, if it was ever needed to be able to fix a failed support processor (I never heard of that ever happening in 3080, or 3090).

No magic, and windows could have been used to run the console, but at the time, it was probably cheaper to source that stuff through an internal IBM channel.

Martin Iturbide

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Re: OS/2 and the Mainframe
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2020, 04:23:16 pm »
Thanks Doug.

OS/2 was simply the operating system, to run the 3270 emulator, and a modem.
I know it is along time ago, but on OS/2 2.0, what did you use for 3270 emulation on that time? Communication Manager/2? Or was it already available Personal Communications for OS/2 ? or any other software?

Regards
Martin Iturbide
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