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February 2019

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Another year has started off strong, and at our shop, we are already into 2019 maintenance. My laptop is scheduled for a Windows 10 upgrade, which is always a challenging process. This year, we hope to have time to implement some of the new function in z/OS 2.3 for performance enhancements.

This month’s meeting will be a speaker from Compuware, which is joining SPARTA as a corporate sponsor. We will have a time to interact with some Compuware developers on how to meet challenges such as the decline in mainframe experience levels and new developer tools for the mainframe.

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 chicken, networking, and education on Tuesday, February 5 at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

Feb. 5, 2019 - Mainframe Integrated Development Environment (IDE) by Greg Lackey of Compuware

March 5, 2019 - TBD

April 2, 2019 - SHARE 2019 Phoenix 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.

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

November 2018 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V496 (dated November 11, 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 December 4, 2018 Meeting

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

• The meeting was held at the SAS Building F conference room in Cary, N.C.

• Fifteen (15) people were present of which thirteen (13) 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 November 6, 2018 meeting as published in the December 2018 Newsletter were not approved; the newsletter was not published by meeting time.

• The November 30, 2018 Treasurer's report approval was deferred.

• 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 SAS conference room clean.

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





February 5, 2019




March 5, 2019




April 2, 2019



SHARE 132 Update
Phoenix, Mar 10-15, 2019

May 7, 2019




June 4, 2019




July 9, 2019




August 6, 2019




September 10, 2019



SHARE 133 Update
Pittsburgh, Aug 4-9, 2019

October 1, 2019




November 5, 2019




December 3, 2019




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at Labcorp in RTP.

• Food for the February 5 meeting will be Chicken.

• The 2019 membership fee is due ($30) starting in February 2019. Please pay Randy Springs.

• Thanks to SAS and Ed Webb 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 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.

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

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

• 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.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update: No update as Bill Johnson was unable to attend the meeting.


• None.

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

Presentation Topic:

Software Pricing: The New Frontier in System Tuning

By Frank Kyne of Watson & Walker

• Welcome
• Level Set for This Presentation
• Software Pricing Management
• Traditional Performance Tuning
• SCRT – The RMF of SW Pricing
• Quick Intro to Basics of Software Pricing
• Tuning Software Costs - Metrics (Where the Fun Starts!)
• My Hobbyhorse (Cloud Pricing)
• A Closing Thought

- Who are we? - Watson & Walker was founded in 1985 by Cheryl Watson and Tom Walker.
- Most famous for Cheryl Watson’s Tuning Letter, published since 1991.
- Most of this session will be about looking at software pricing through a performance analysis eyes, but we will also throw in some good old-fashioned performance tips as well.

Level Set
- We believe that reducing MLC costs is only one aspect of what should be a holistic exercise in delivering better value for money. It encompasses traditional performance tuning, an understanding of software pricing basics, exploitation of available pricing options, understanding that your actions can increase/decrease costs for other parts of your company, and driving better communications within your company.
- The objective of this session to get you as excited about software cost management as we are, and to help you see it as a technical, rather than a purely financial, challenge.

Software Pricing Management
“SW pricing is boring”. - - - It is NOT!
“Controlling software costs is simply a matter of limiting/reducing MSUs” It is NOT.
Focus on $$$s, not MSUs.

Traditional Performance Tuning
- The performance analyst role dates back nearly as far as [OS/360] itself.
- - Early mainframes had limited supplies of capacity, high demands for that capacity, and very high costs.
- - In 1960, 1 (ONE!) MIPS cost $10,000,000!
- - When something cost THAT MUCH, waste was not an option.
- Traditional performance SLAs are based on transaction response times and batch turnaround.
- - How do we investigate/address performance problems?
- - We focus on the interval with the highest response time, probably cause of most pain
- - The methodology (realize that there is a problem, drill down to find the cause, then address the issue) is consistent.
- - You have a vast array of tools, but only a subset will address a given problem.

SCRT – The RMF of Software Pricing
- Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT).
- How about if we extend our key metrics to be:
- - Transaction response times.
- - Batch job turnaround.
- - Software dollars?
- Just as you have metrics to help with response time and batch job tuning, Software cost ‘tuning’ also has a set of metrics - to help you understand what is behind your bill.
- The methodologies that you use for traditional tuning are 100% relevant to tuning your software costs, and many of the actions that address response time or batch turnaround issues can also be applied to reducing your bill.
- But, your toolkit just got much bigger – you now also have a host of pricing options.

Follow the money…

Quick Intro to Basics of Software Pricing
- SW Pricing Basics
- SW Pricing Basics - MLC versus IPLA
- SW Pricing Basics - Full versus Sub-Capacity
- SW Pricing Basics - R4HA (Rolling 4-Hour Average)
- SW Pricing Basics - R4HA "White Space"
- SW Pricing Basics - Pricing Curve
- SW Pricing Basics - Your Bill
- SW Pricing Basics - Reporting to IBM
- SW Pricing Basics
- - The last point before we move on is that your IBM bill is probably based on a number of products.
- - The cost of each product is calculated independently.
- - The peak R4HA for each product is worked out based on the R4HA of the intervals that that product ran in each LPAR.
- - - This means that each product could have a different peak R4HA interval.
- - This is a very important point. Everyone talks about “tuning your peak R4HA” as if it was one number. In practice it rarely is, unless you have a very small number of LPARs.

Tuning Software Costs - Metrics (Where the Fun Starts!)
- There are two key sources of information to help you effectively improve the value for money for your company’s z/OS investment:
- - SCRT Reports.
- - IBM Workload Pricer reports – for most customers, these are effectively your MLC invoices.
- SCRT Reports
- IBM Software Pricing Options
- - IBM SW Pricing Options - CMP
- - IBM SW Pricing Options - Container Pricing
- - IBM SW Pricing Options AND YOU
- - IBM SW Pricing AND YOU

My Hobbyhorse (Cloud Pricing)
- Is cloud pricing REALLY as simple as we are lead to believe?
- Search via GOOGLE for cloud pricing = 24.5 Million hits on managing your cloud bills
- Maybe it is not as simple as some people like to thinking
- For a short article about cloud pricing, send an email to

A Closing Thought
- Just about all customers have some sort of Enterprise License Agreement with IBM and other vendors.
- Depending on the type of agreement you have, any over-payments you make might be available to put towards other (specified) software, hardware(?), or services purchases. But, if you don’t use it, you might lose it.
- On the other hand, if your actual bills for the year exceed the projected amount, IBM and others will kindly send you a lovely present – an invoice for the shortfall.
- So, one of your year-end objectives should be to see how your actual usage compares to your scheduled payments (called CBA), and if there is anything that you need that you can purchase with any credit you might have.
- If you would like to discuss any of this with us, drop us an email ( or have a look at our SW Pricing workshop or SCRTPro offering.

• Presentation Access - See the SPARTA webpage for the complete presentation.

Contact Info:
Frank Kyne
Editor and Technical Consultant of Watson and Walker
Phone: (845) 309-2956

• The December 4, 2018 monthly meeting ended about 8:40 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for December 2018

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $905.09 as of December 31, 2018.

SPARTA Financial Report
12/01/2018 through 12/31/2018


Opening Balance 12/1/2018


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand 




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2019

contributed by Chris Blackshire

February 5, 2019 - Chicken
March 5, 2019 - Subs
April 2, 2019 - BarBQ
May 7, 2019 - Pizza
June 4, 2019 - Chicken
July 9, 2019 - Subs (changed because of July 4 holiday in previous week)
August 6, 2019 - BarBQ
September 10, 2019 - Pizza (changed because of Labor Day holiday in previous week)
October 1, 2019 - Chicken
November 5, 2019 - Subs
December 3, 2019 - BarBQ

SHARE's Technical Agenda for Phoenix is Worth a Look

Contributed By Ed Webb

SHARE's upcoming conference in Phoenix is almost here, but it's not too late to register. SHARE's Technical Agenda for Phoenix is now available, online and via the SHARE App for iOS and Android.

"Enjoy 500+ sessions focused on enterprise IT's hottest topics such as Pervasive Encryption, Cloud Technology in the Enterprise, Data Privacy, API Economy and IBM Z topics."

SHARE has opened Hotel registration for Phoenix in March 10-15, 2019 at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix. Conference sessions will be at the nearby 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.

The Mainframe Millenial

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the Enterprise Tech Journal 2018: Issue 6:

"Halt and Catch Fire, that 1980s geek drama, which aired for four seasons on AMC, is just one of the memories that has sustained me through my crucial first few years on the mainframe space. ....

.... The truth, however, is that we are statistical outliers. In an industry where the average age is much closer to retirement than we care to admit, it's becoming increasingly more important to gain and retain young talent to usher in the new age of mainframe specialists. While wisdom generally comes with age, there is much to learn from the mouths of babes, and it's the young "fresh" talent that can give a new perspective to this old problem. ....

Through a series of questions, I sought to understand the psyche of my fellow millennial mainframe programmers. These questions were meant to address three primary areas of interest to the reader:

In the era of Google, Facebook and Amazon, what is the draw of mainframe technologies?

What skills are most important in identifying the right talent for the industry?

What areas of concern have the biggest obstacles to talent retention?"

Learn more about attracting and keeping young talent to the mainframe through the ideas of millennials, as presented by Jacob Gagnon, an IBM z/VM developer.

Passwords Won’t Cut It in Enterprise Security

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the November 2018 Systems Magazine:

"Lessons of bitter experience explain why access to computing resources has grown more onerous to users, albeit much more secure. Enterprise security teams know that protecting any IT resource with only one method is an invitation to trouble. Malicious attackers are on the prowl for inadequately secured systems, especially ones that can yield up juicy personal data or financial details.

That means that passwords—and any other authentication methods based purely on knowledge held by the user—aren’t enough to protect your IT resources. Passwords can be compromised through loss or theft, or can simply be too weak to face sophisticated software designed to crack them. From cloud-based services (such as webmail services or remote banking applications) to end-user devices, user access is increasingly reliant on multifactor authentication, whether mandated or as a smart security upgrade."

Learn more about the Problems with Passwords and the Multi-Factor Authentication solution in the article by Mike Zagorski, an offering manager in IBM Security.


Wit and Wisdom continued

Contributed by Ed Webb

• Swearing was invented as a compromise between running and fighting.
• Laziness is nothing more than resting before you get tired.
• Conscience gets a lot of credit that belongs to cold feet.

• The amount of sleep required by most people is about five minutes more.
• Always remember, you're unique...just like everyone else.
• All the people who hate the rich are the same people who buy lottery tickets.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

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: Chicken, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


Mainframe Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Speaker: Greg Lackey of Compuware


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services