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Applications & Best Practices

Optica Remote Access

Remote access to Prizm via a secure IP/VPN connection is vital to Optica’s ability to provide the highest quality of maintenance and support.

Prizm supports conversion of native FICON (FC) to native ESCON (CNC) protocol, allowing mission critical ESCON and Bus/Tag devices to operate in FICON direct attached or FICON director topologies. Prizm supports attachment to a broad base of multi-vendor ESCON and Bus/Tag devices including disk, tape, printer, communications controllers and front-end processors. Prizm has completed IBM’s rigorous SAK testing and received full qualification to work with all ESCON Control Units.

ESCON Director Replacement

The ESCON Director has played an important role in managing connectivity between the mainframe and a wide variety of ESCON peripherals. These stable environments are becoming more risky to manage as the limitation of ESCON tools and the decline in available ESCON skills has made problem determination and problem resolution more difficult. Additionally, the cost to operate and maintain ESCON Directors vs. newer, greener technologies is contributing to making ESCON Director replacement a higher priority. Prizm users can decommission their ESCON Directors, while enjoying significant reductions in power, floor space and maintenance expense. In addition, Prizm removes the ESCON limitation of 16 LPAR device access per CHPID or inbound director port and allows ESCON device connectivity to 128 LPARs across multiple mainframes for improved flexibility.

Distance Support

Prizm is the ideal solution to support ESCON device extension by taking full advantage of the inherent distance benefits of FICON. Whether your remote ESCON devices are across campus or require wide area connectivity across virtually unlimited distances, Prizm helps mainframe users replace their aging ESCON infrastructures with a distance insensitive ‘all FICON’ solution. For remote ESCON device applications, the Prizm FICON Converter is deployed at the remote site, where it converts native FICON channels to multiple native ESCON channels. Prizm supports a full spectrum of ESCON and Bus/Tag disk, tape, printer and communications controller devices.

Distance extension deployed on a FICON infrastructure combined with Prizm, supports the retirement of ESCON directors, FICON Bridge cards and ESCON channel extension equipment. Prizm eliminates the need for custom engineered distance solutions, and helps reduce performance bottlenecks inherent to the ESCON protocol.

Prizm delivers the optimal ROI for ESCON device extension through FICON consolidation and the retirement of ESCON infrastructure components such as ESCON directors and channel extenders. This approach can also significantly reduce engineering, operating and maintenance costs associated with traditional ESCON distance solutions.

Channel-to-Channel Support

Prizm can support CTC connections when the mainframe CHPIDs on each end are configured properly. CTC support with Prizm is supported with a FICON CHPID, TYPE=FC connected to the FICON side of Prizm and an ESCON CHPID defined as TYPE=CTC connected to the ESCON side of Prizm. FICON side Control Units will be defined as UNIT=NOCHECK and the IODEVICE will be defined as they normally would, SCTC or BCTC. The Control Unit and IODEVICE for the ESCON CHPID attaching to Prizm will be defined as they normally would for CTC connections. ESCON and FICON directors can be used in the Prizm/CTC configuration, but do not have to be used in the configuration. NOTE: customers should not attempt to configure CTC with Prizm without consulting Optica’s technical team.