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November 2018

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Welcome to November, the last month of hurricane season, and the start of college basketball season. In many shops, teams are finalizing hardware and software upgrades in advance of year-end freeze, and many people are planning year-end vacations.

Our speakers this month will be Jim Ott and Dave Crow from Triangle Systems, presenting on Software Sculpting and New Features in IOF, an alternative to IBM’s SDSF. Join us as we hear the latest about this product.

Your SPARTA group still needs a volunteer to replace Pam Tant as treasurer. This position would involve about two hours per month. Please consider serving and talk to me about the position.

Please plan to join your colleagues for subs, networking, and education on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6 at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

Nov. 6, 2018 - Software Sculpting and New Features in IOF by Jim Ott of Triangle Systems

Dec. 4, 2018 - z/OS Performance Metrics by Frank Kyne of Watson and Walker

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.

2018-2019 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

Chris Blackshire - Secretary

Retired (Dell, Perot Systems, Nortel)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Durham, NC 27713

Randy Springs - (Acting) Treasurer

BB&T                  (919) 745-5241

see Randy

Springs earlier

Ed Webb -  Communications Director

SAS Institute Inc.  919-531-4162

SAS Campus Drive

Cary, NC 27513

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


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

January 2018 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V495 (dated January 15, 2018) 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 October 2, 2018 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

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

• Seventeen (17) people were present of which fifteen (15) are 2017/2018 paid members.

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


• The minutes of the September 11, 2018 meeting as published in the October 2018 Newsletter were approved.

• The September 30, 2018 Treasurer's report was given and approved as published in the October newsletter. The balance was $1060.49 (See details in the newsletter).

• 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):





November 6, 2018

Watson & Walker

Frank Kyne

z/OS Performance/Metrics

December 4, 2018


Shalawn King

z/Software Cloud Portfolio

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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at LabCorp in RTP.

• Food for the November 6 meeting will be subs.

• The 2018 membership fee was due ($30) starting in February 2018. Please pay Randy Springs.

• Thanks to LabCorp and Bill Johnson for hosting the meeting.

• There are currently 81 people on the SPARTA-RTP e-mail list.

• 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.

• No update from Randy Springs on the SPARTA website connection to LinkedIn.

• No update from Chris on the process of putting a package together for Brad Carson, Tommy Thomas, and John Bryan's SPARTA contributions and death information on the web page under a new Emeritus section.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.

-The treasurer position duties are:
--Collect dues and pay expenses at each monthly meeting.
--Deposit income at the BB&T bank monthly.
--Make an updated monthly excel income-expense list for the monthly newsletter.
--Give a Treasurer report at each meeting.
--One Time: Be added to the checking account authorization.
-Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• No update about whether SPARTA needs to change the website to HTTPS access.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update: Bill Johnson stated that the LabCorp computers will be moving to the refurbished GSK building computing center. He has yet to determine if we can meet at the current LabCorp conference room or a conference room at the GSK building. The move is scheduled sometime by the end of 2018. Bill is in the process of determining the conference room availability options after the move.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 7:20 PM.


Topic: Rocket 2018 Update Including ZOWE!

By Todd Lipp of Rocket Software

• Open Source on z
• What's Hot at Rocket in 2018
• Discussion
• Why open source on the mainframe?
• The analytics demand problem
• The developer problem
• The DevOps problem
• The open source world
• How to get the benefits? Move the data?
• Solution for analytics demand problem – move the compute to the data
• Solutions for DevOps, Modernization and Optimization – move some of the compute to the data
• Rocket’s open source offerings on z/OS
• Open Source Languages on z/OS
• Languages are not enough
• Languages and Tools are not enough
• Is anyone really using this?
• Some specifics on z/OS git
• What about character encoding?
• Encoding Solution for z/OS git
• z/OS Git and extensions and hooks
• Introducing Zowe
• The Opportunity
• A Brand New Experience
• The Plan - How We Get There
• Open Source Transformation
• ZOWE - The dawn of a new mainframe ecosystem
• Rocket Top Mainframe Organization Solutions
• Rocket MXI for z/OS
• Rocket Catalog Recovery Plus
• Rocket Performance Essential
• Rocket Modernization and Mobilization
• Rocket API Architecture
• Rocket BlueZone Web
• Rocket LegaSuite Web
• Rocket DASD Backup and Recovery Supervisor
• Rocket DR/Xpert
• Discussion (It's Not Rocket Science - It's Rocket Software)

• Presentation Access - See SPARTA webpage for the complete presentation. Or check out the outline of the presentation later in this newsletter.

Thanks Again To Rocket Software For Catering The Evening Meal.

Contact Info:
Mitch Hoffman of Rocket Software Inc.
Work: 510-285-8644
Cell: 615-319-7332

Product Documentation:
License Key Request Form:
Technical Support: +1.781.577.4323 and

Todd Lipp
Sales Engineer
Rocket Software
t: +1-781-684-2613

Jeff Oldam
Rocket Software Support
w: 919-220-6920

• The October 2, 2018 monthly meeting ended about 8:50 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for October 2018

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $10680.49 as of October 31, 2018.

SPARTA Financial Report
10/01/2018 through 10/31/2018


Opening Balance 10/1/2018


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand 




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2018

contributed by Chris Blackshire

November 6, 2018 - Subs
December 4, 2018 - BarBQ

Book Your Hotel for SHARE in Phoenix Now

Contributed By Ed Webb

SHARE has opened Hotel registration for Phoenix in March 10-15, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix. Conference sessions will be at the Phoenix Convention Center. And review your Travel options here.

Be prepared to participate in 2019 at one of these announced venues:

SHARE Winter 2019:     Phoenix, AZ   March 10-15
SHARE Summer 2019:  Pittsburgh, PA  August 4-9

You can always see the future SHARE schedule here.

zEnterprise Customer Council Meets Friday, November 16, 2018 at MetLife in Cary

Contributed By Ed Webb

There’s still time to register for the next zEnterprise Customer Council event on the campus of MetLife in Cary. The goal of the council is to provide our customers in management positions and their employees a forum to learn the latest System z technologies and directions.

System Z at Supreme Court of Virginia, Db2 AI, Project Zowe, and Container Pricing are the primary topics to be covered.

FUD Fighting

Contributed By Ed Webb

"From Scott Fagen, SHARE Director of Industry Influence

If there’s one thing that everyone in this country can agree on, it’s that our politics have reached zeniths in polarization and hyperbole. It seems that little that the government does remains free of this treatment and that includes the mainframe’s position in IT.

Recently, the GAO released a report (GAO-18-298) on the state of affairs of IT at the IRS. The GAO Highlights brief contains this particularly damning statement:

Mainframes and Servers Services and Support (MSSS) — are facing significant risks due to their reliance on legacy programming languages, outdated hardware, and a shortage of human resources with critical skills. For example, IRS reported that it used assembly language code and Common Business Oriented Language (both developed in the 1950s) for IMF and IDRS, which exposes these investments to a rise in procurement and operating costs, and a decrease in staff available with the proper skill sets. Further, MSSS relies on a significant amount of outdated hardware exposing the investment to rising warranty and maintenance fees, as well as equipment failures.

I want to let SHARE membership know that we are working on a comprehensive response to this report and will be reaching out for your help in drafting it. Given the public nature of this report and some of the pejorative statements in it, we should expect that IT leaders in our companies will read and react in ways that are likely to be deleterious to our businesses and customers."

Read the rest of Scott's thoughts on Z and the GAO report here.


The Purpose of Our Industry

Contributed by Ed Webb

[On IBMMain, a customer complains about poor performance of Stand-Alone Dump (SADMP) on a z/OS system running SAP R3]

I [understand].  But it is a win-win.

1.  SAP R3 uses lots of storage.

2.  IBM can sell you lots of real storage.

3.  IBM can sell you lots of channels and DASD so you can exploit the z/OS 1.11 SADMP improvements to
 dump that storage quickly.

And this maximizes the rate of transfer of money from you to us,
 which is the objective of the data processing industry, isn't it?  :-)

This has got to be an example of that "synergy" stuff that executives 
always talking about.

Jim Mulder   z/OS System Test   IBM Corp.  Poughkeepsie,  NY

Humorous Thoughts

Contributed by Ed Webb

• Experience is the name people give their mistakes.
• The worst part of having success is trying to find someone who is happy for you.
• he difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

• If it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.
• Good behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity.
• Beware of whose who laugh at nothing or at everything.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

7 p.m.

Location: LabCorp in RTP

Use 1912 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27703 in your map app.

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.

Free Food before meeting: Subs, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


Software Sculpting and New Features in IOF

Speaker: Jim Ott of Triangle Systems


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services