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February 2017

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

One month is gone in 2017, and Super Bowl LI will be history when we meet on February 7 at LabCorp. We are looking forward to hearing Rosalind Radcliffe of IBM speaking on DevOps and the mainframe. It should be an interesting and timely presentation. And check out her book about DevOPs at

I am recovering well from my second total knee replacement on my left knee on December 28. I am back to driving and walking without any support. The roughest part continues to be physical therapy treatment to get my range of motion back to normal. I guess I won’t be running in the Krispy Kreme race this year (or any other year).

SHARE is scheduled for March 5-10 in San Jose (do you know the way?). If you are planning to attend, maybe you could present some of your favorite session content at our April meeting.

Plan to join us at 6:15 for chicken and dessert on Tuesday, February 7 at our usual LabCorp meeting location.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

February 7, 2017 - DevOPS and the Mainframe by Rosalind Radcliffe of IBM

March 7, 2017 - TBD

April 4, 2017 - SHARE San Jose Report by Ed Webb of SAS

We need ideas and volunteers for future speakers. Presentations don’t have to be fancy, just informative and interesting. Even a 5 or 10 minute talk can start an interesting interaction. Contact Ron Pimblett by phone as noted below.

2016-2017 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

BB&T                  (919) 745-5241

3200 Beechleaf Court, Suite 300

Raleigh, NC 27604

Ron Pimblett - Vice President

MDI Data Systems

Land line 613 599 6970

Mobile 613 981 6919

190 Guelph Private

Kanata, ON K2T 0J7

Mike Lockey -  Secretary

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401

Pam Tant - Treasurer

DTS Software Inc.                  919-833-8426 x124

4350 Lassiter at N. Hills Avenue

Suite 230

Raleigh, NC 27609

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

SAS Institute Inc.  919-531-4162

SAS Campus Drive

Cary, NC 27513


Meetings are scheduled for the first Tuesday evening of each month (except no meeting in January), with optional dinner at 6:15 p.m. and the meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m.

These monthly meetings usually are held at LabCorp’s Center for Molecular Biology and Pathology (CMBP) near the Research Triangle Park (see last page). Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn Left to the CMBP Building (1912 T.W. Alexander Drive). In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Call for Articles

If you have any ideas for speakers, presentations, newsletter articles, or are interested in taking part in a presentation, PLEASE contact one of the Board of Directors with your suggestions.

Newsletter e-Mailings

The SPARTA policy is to e-mail a monthly notice to our SPARTA-RTP Group. The newsletter is posted to the website about five (5) days before each meeting so you can prepare. The SPARTA-RTP Group is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

August 2016 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V492 (dated August 25, 2016) are available from

If you need help obtaining one or more files, contact Ed Webb at SAS (see Board of Director’s list for contact info).

Minutes of the December 6, 2016 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• The meeting was held at a LabCorp conference room in RTP, N.C.

• Thirteen (13) people were present of which Twelve (12) are 2016 members.

• Everyone introduced themselves, told where they worked, and briefly described their job functions or their job hunting challenges.

• The minutes for the October and November meetings as published in the November and December newsletters were approved at the December meeting.

• The reading of the November 30 Treasurer's report was approved as read by Pam. The balance was $259.74. (See more below)


• Call For Articles: Articles are needed for this newsletter. If you would like to write an article for this newsletter, please contact Ed Webb. Keep in mind that you don't really need to write the article, it can be an article that you read that you would like to share with the membership.

• The SPARTA Web page is available. To access the SPARTA Web page, point your Web browser to this site: Please send any comments or suggestions about the Web page to Mike Lockey. Be sure to check the Web page every once in a while to see any new or changed information.

• Randy reminded everyone to leave the LabCorp conference room clean.

• Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





February 7, 2017

TPF Software


New zSAT z/OS

March 7, 2017


Rosalind Radcliffe

IBM System/z and DevOPS

April 4, 2017


Ed Webb

Share San Jose Conference Report

May 2, 2017


Glenn Wilcock


June 6, 2017


Brian Kithcart

Virtual tape update

July 11, 2017

NC State

Mainframe Group

Data Center Update

August 29, 2017

Tommy's Spitball

SPARTA and Friends

Fun at the DBAP

September 12, 2017

NC State

Mainframe Group

Data Center Update

October 3, 2017


Ed Webb

SHARE Update

November 7, 2017

BMC Software

Wayne Wilson


December 5, 2017

Watson & Walker

Cheryl Watson

z/OS Performance

If you have suggestions about speakers and topics, contact Ron Pimblett.

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at LabCorp in RTP.

• Food for the February 7 meeting will be Chicken.

• Thanks to LabCorp (Bill Johnson) for hosting the meeting.

• There are currently 65 people on the SPARTA-RTP email list (1 deleted in October).

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA-RTP Listserv. You will be added by the moderator (Chris = sending you an invitation to Join the list.

• We need to start planning for a new meeting place in 2017 when LabCorp is no longer available..


• Thanks again to Bill Johnson of LabCorp for hosting the SPARTA meetings. He has booked the LabCorp conference room through May 2017.

The Business portion and meeting ended about 9:45 PM.

PRESENTATION (Started at 7:05 and ended at 8:05 PM)

z/OSMF Configuration Assistant for Communications Server by Mike Fox of IBM.

- Objectives
- Overview of what the Configuration Assistant Provides
- How can the Configuration Assistant Help?
- Key Enhancements with the V2R1 and V2R2 Configuration Assistant
- Windows version of the Configuration Assistant is no longer provided
- Many benefits to the Configuration Assistant in z/OSMF
- What is required to use the Configuration Assistant on z/OSMF?
- What does z/OSMF really provide?
- Configuration Assistant becomes a modern web application
- Summary of the Redesigned Configuration Assistant
- V2R1 Improved Backing Store Management
- V2R1 Manage Backing Stores Details
- V2R1 Backing Store Management Actions
- Application Setup Tasks now Integrated with z/OSMF Workflow Plug-in
- Application Setup Tasks Refresher
- Help for using the Workflow Engine Plug-in
- From Tutorial: Finding the List of Workflows
- z/OSMF Workflow Plug-In
- Create the workflows
- Configuration Assistant-Provided Workflows
- Growing your IBM skills - a new model for training
- Related learning
- For More Information
- Appendix

- What is the Configuration Assistant and how can it help you
- Configuration Assistant redesigned in V2R1 to improve performance, user experience, and integration with other z/OSMF plug-ins

Overview of what the Configuration Assistant Provides
- Tool to simplify configuration of z/OS Communications Server
- - Policy-based networking technologies
- - IP Security - IP Filter rules and VPN tunnels
- - Application Transport TLS (AT-TLS)
- - Intrusion Detection Services (IDS)
- - Policy-based Routing (PBR)
- - Quality of Service (Qos)
- - Starting in z/OS V2R2, TCP/IP profile configuration

How can the Configuration Assistant Help?
- Simplifies about 6 chapters of publications documentation for the Policy-based networking technologies into “a few clicks”
- Simplifies over 1000 pages of documentation for the TCP/IP profile into “a few clicks”
- Provides a UI with wizards, helps, and tutorials that guide users through the configuration of policy rules providing a task-oriented approach
- Generates correct configuration (free from syntax errors)
- Provides health checks for configuration inconsistencies and recommends best practices Ex: “Don't forget filter rules to permit DNS and OMPRoute”
- Supports import of existing policy configuration and TCP/IP profile flat files to get you started
- Also helps with setup of the networking environment- ex: daemons such as Policy Agent, Syslogd, TRMD, pushing config files, etc..

Key Enhancements with the V2R1 Configuration Assistant
- With z/OS V2R1, the Configuration Assistant has been completely redesigned to better integrate with z/OSMF
- For each new release, the Configuration Assistant supports new function in z/OS Communications Server in support of enhancements to the policy-based networking technologies

Key Enhancements with the V2R2 Configuration Assistant
- With z/OS V2R2, the Configuration Assistant can configure TCP/IP profiles
- For each new release, the Configuration Assistant supports new function in z/OS Communications Server in support of enhancements to the TCP/IP profile

Windows version of the Configuration Assistant is no longer provided
- Official Statement of Direction
- - z/OS V1R13 is planned to be the final release for which the IBM Configuration Assistant too. that runs on Microsoft Windows will be provided by IBM. This tool is currently available as an as-is, non-warranted web download. Customers who currently use the Window's-based IBM Configuration Assistant for z/OS Communications Server tool should migrate to the z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) Configuration Assistant. The IBM Configuration Assistant for z/OS Communications Server that runs within z/OSMF is part of a supported IBM product and contains all functions supported with the Windows tool.
- As of z/OS V2R1, no longer providing the Microsoft Windows version
- Configuration Assistant has been available with z/OSMF since z/OS V1R11
- As of z/OS V2R1, users must migrate to the Configuration Assistant that is a plug-in to z/OSMF.

Many benefits to the Configuration Assistant in z/OSMF
- z/OSMF is the new, strategic z/OS systems management console
- Satisfies requirements from many customers to provide the Configuration Assistant as a browser-based application
- Provides the ability to have centralized product access for multiple users vs a “fat client”
- Runs on the platform its configuring and allows for centrally managing configuration backing stores (configuration metadata)
- Configuration Assistant as an IBM product vs “as-is tool” becomes more important and strategic for enhancing
- z/OSMF provides official IBM product with support and delivery through official channels
- - Windows version has been “as-is” and “best-effort” for support
- Allows for easier integration with other z/OSMF plug-ins and applications in the future

What is required to use the Configuration Assistant on z/OSMF?
- z/OSMF must be installed and configured (setup) by an administrator
- As z/OSMF grows, the benefits will out-weigh the start-up pains
- Configuration Assistant has no requirements for the installation of “other” supporting products or applications

What does z/OSMF really provide?
- z/OSMF is a free, fully supported IBM product that provides a browser-
based UI that is a portal specifically for accessing z/OS systems management functions
- z/OSMF provides a common framework for plug-ins (like the Config Assistant) that includes:
- - Provides a user login with authentication (z/OS user Id )
- - A common launch point which is panel with a navigator where
applications like the Config Assistant can plug-in and be invoked
- - Each plug-in registers as a “task” which defines its invocation link( html or jsp) .
This link then appears in the z/OSMF navigator.
- Defines common UI resources (panel elements) used across plug-ins to
allow for common look and feel, providing consistency
- Provides rules for translation. Japanese is currently supported.
- Defines browser products and levels supported.
- Key is that z/OSMF provides the framework for the plug-ins to create modern,
service-oriented architectures when developing their functions!

Configuration Assistant becomes a modern web application
- Redesigned the Configuration Assistant to better integrate with z/OSMF and other plug-ins
- - 1. Uses a Web 2.0 design based upon “AJAX” (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) which provides the 3-tier architecture
- - 2. Browser communicates with the server over http. Accesses server side resources through RESTful web services -http verbs: GET, POST, DELETE to manage resources defined as URI's
- - 3. Server side, the Config Assistant defines and manages resources (ex: rules, traffic descriptors) defined with a URI and accessed through the services step #2 -data exchanged in JSON format

Summary of the Redesigned Configuration Assistant
- Better integration with z/OSMF and improved look and feel
- Much better performance and modern web design
- Provides foundation for expansion aligned with IBM and platform strategies

V2R1 Improved Backing Store Management

V2R1 Manage Backing Stores Details

V2R1 Backing Store Management Actions

Application Setup Tasks now Integrated with z/OSMF Workflow Plug-in
- Setup Tasks are in the z/OSMF to the Workflow plug-in
- Application Setup Tasks are associated with each ConfigurationAssistant technology at the Image level
- Workflow provides a common place for setup tasks that can be tailored for each system where needed.
- Workflows consist of a set of steps which are like instructions.

Application Setup Tasks Refresher
- RACF Directives for Policy Agent startup
- - Before starting the Policy Agent daemon, you must authorize the Policy Agent to access appropriate system resources.
- Required JCL (samples included)

Help for using the Workflow Engine Plug-in

From Tutorial: Finding the List of Workflows

z/OSMF Workflow Plug-In

Create the workflows
- 1. Use the “Create Workflow” in the Actions menu

Configuration Assistant-Provided Workflows
- Workflows simplifies tasks through guided step-based workflows

Growing your IBM skills - a new model for training
- Access to training in more cities local to you, where and when you need it,
and in the format you want
- - Use IBM Training Search to locate training classes near to you
- Demanding a high standard of quality / see the paths to success
- - Learn about the New IBM Training Model and see how IBM is driving quality
- - Check Training Paths and Certifications to find the course that is right for you
- Academic Initiative works with colleges and universities to introduce real-
world technology into the classroom, giving students the hands-on
experience valued by employers in today's marketplace
- -

Related learning
- For all your training needs see:
- IBM System z Mainframe training paths:
- - z/OS and System z
- - z/OS Operation and Parallel Sysplex
- - z/OS Installation, Tuning, JES, and REXX Programming and Problem Diagnosis Workshop
- - Security Skills
- - z/OS UNIX System Services, WebSphere and SAP
- - z/VM and Linux on System z
- - z/OS Networking

For More Information
URL And Content
- - IBM z/OS Communications Server Twitter Feed
- - IBM z/OS Communications Server Facebook Page
- - IBM z/OS Communications Server Blog
- - IBM System z in general
- - IBM Mainframe System z networking
- - IBM Software Communications Server products
- - IBM z/OS Communications Server
- - ITSO Redbooks
- - IBM z/OS Communications Server technical Support - including TechNotes from service
- - Technical support documentation from Washington Systems Center (techdocs,
flashes, presentations, white papers, etc.)
- - Request For Comments (RFC) and pleasant reading

- See full presentation at the SPARTA web page Items Of Interest at

Contact Info:
Mike Fox
IBM Enterprise Networking Solutions - Architecture, Design, and Strategy
z/OS CS YouTube channel:

• The monthly meeting ended about 9:45 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for January 2017

contributed by Pam Tant

The balance in the account is $247.50 as of January 31, 2017.

SPARTA Financial Report
3/01/2016 through 01/31/2017


Opening Balance


Total Deposits

Loan (Chris Blackshire)


Loan (Randy Springs)


Loan (Pam Tant)











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charge






PETTY CASH on hand 


PETTY CASH missing 




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2017

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Feb. 7, 2017 - Chicken

Mar. 7, 2017 - Subs

Apr. 4, 2017 - BarBQ

May 2, 2017 - Pizza

June 6, 2017 - Chicken

July 11, 2017 - Subs

Aug. 1, 2017 - BarBQ

Aug. 29, 2017 - Durham Bulls (buy your food at the game)

Oct. 3, 2017 - Pizza

Nov. 7, 2017 - Chicken

Dec. 5, 2017 - Subs

Check Out the Agenda for SHARE San Jose in March 2017

contributed by Ed Webb

Registration for SHARE in San Jose, March 5-10, 2017 is now open. Make your SHARE hotel reservations now before they fill up. The SHARE Agenda is now ready for your review.

And don't forget to invite your management to participate in the annual Execuforum at SHARE March 6-7, 2017.

See the all of the San Jose registration details at the SHARE San Jose website and the Execuforum website.

The Risks of an Unsecured Mainframe

contributed by Ed Webb

From the MindSHARE blog:

"Mainframe penetration testing means testing a system's current implementation to find known or unknown vulnerabilities. For various reasons, however, this can often get overlooked by enterprises using the mainframe.

“The challenge with mainframe penetration testing is that, for the testers, the vulnerabilities are largely unknown and there is very little support available,” says Phil Young, co-founder of zedsec 390. “This lack of support is one of the key reasons the platform gets overlooked. We also have the problem of core vendors pretending that it is 1999 and hiding vulnerabilities. Finally, CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) and CROs (Chief Risk Officers) are largely unaware of the risk posed to the enterprise by an unsecured mainframe, both from a data exfiltration risk and a loss of revenue caused by downtime due to an attack.”

Chad Rikansrud, co-founder of zedsec 390, believes there are a few reasons that mainframes get overlooked when it comes to penetration testing. He says, “First, there isn't the necessary overlap of technical skills between those who deeply understand mainframe technologies and those who are well-versed in the current techniques and adversaries that compose the current threat landscape. Second, there is a widely held fallacy that the mainframe is somehow impenetrable or immune to hacking; this is just simply not true."

Read here to learn more about mainframe risks from Phil and Chad. Their upcoming SHARE presentation is part of the SHARE Live! streaming and recorded package available for SHARE San Jose.

Try the new z/OSMF Workflow Editor

contributed by Ed Webb

I've been trying the new z/OSMF Workflow Editor since it became available via PTFs in December 2016 for z/OS 2.2 (in January 2017, it became available for z/OS 2.1). I look forward to learning much more at the z/OSMF Workflow Editor lab at SHARE in San Jose. I'll share my experience at the April SPARTA meeting.

Marna Walle of IBM explained her experience with the Workflow Editor in her January 2017 SHARE blog entry.

"It is provided in z/OS V2.2 PTF UI42847 (closed January 3, 2017), and the z/OSMF V2.1 APAR PI71068 (started to closed January 20, 2017). There are a lot of PREreqs for these PTFs, so be prepared. A side note: the Workflow Editor is included in these PTFs which was released for "IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management enhancements". I see no mention of Workflow Editor anywhere in the APARs, so using "Workflow Editor" as a search term doesn't do any good.

Everyone gets the Workflow Editor, just like everyone gets Workflow in the z/OSMF core. So you don't need to update IZUPRMxx for it as a plug-in. It's just there on the left side bar (after a stop/restart of the server)."

Read the rest of Marna's initial impressions and hints about this significant improvement for z/OSMF Workflows in her blog.

SIMD on z Systems

contributed by Ed Webb

Enterprise Executive 2016: Issue 6 has a very good article by Michael Benson about the SIMD (vector) technology that IBM re-introduced with the z13.

"The concept of performing a single operation on many data elements simultaneously has been around since the early 1960s and became part of Michael Flynn’s taxonomy of computer architectures in 1966. Single instruction, multiple data (SIMD) originally represented a way to process an array of data with the same instruction and was first implemented as multiple co-processors by Westinghouse in a prototype that was the technology basis for future early supercomputer implementations.

Primarily used in scientific computing, SIMD (or Vector processing, as it was 
also called) was targeted at complex mathematical problems. The technology at the time was still based on early versions of integrated circuits and the co-processors were special-purpose, floating-point and integer processors that handled a few discrete operations fed to it by a central processing unit.

Modern SIMD architectures have been primarily driven by the need for high-speed multimedia processing usually found in gaming applications on desktop systems. Sun, Motorola and Intel all developed processors with SIMD architectures in the mid-1990s. Most graphics processing units (GPUs) in consumer electronics devices contain some form of SIMD processing to handle functions like pixel operations.

IBM reintroduced SIMD processing to the z Systems architecture with the announcement and delivery of the z13 processor family, along with requisite software libraries to exploit the facility. Is IBM planning to enter the gaming market with the z13? Is the z13 going to become a large scale GPU? I think that is doubtful. However, there are some appropriate applications that can benefit from SIMD processing on the mainframe."

Read the rest of this in-depth article here.


Fun or Not So Fun Facts

contributed by Chris Blackshire

There's no fun in Mudville this month.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

7 p.m.

Location: LabCorp in RTP

Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto 1912 T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn left to the CMBP Building. In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room. Use 1912 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27703 in your map app.

Free Food: Chicken, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


DevOPS and the Mainframe

Speaker: Rosalind Radcliffe of IBM

Author of Mobile to Mainframe DevOps for Dummies


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software