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April 2019

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Welcome to April, with our yellow snow covering the cars and the end of basketball season approaching (sooner for some teams than others). This month I attended a very interesting IBM zEnterprise Customer Council meeting at the NC Farm Bureau. After an informative overview of Farm Bureau’s mission and IT environment (which includes a rack-mounted z14), IBM presented an overview of recent product announcements. Other presentations were given on methods of penetration testing (authorized hacking) on the mainframe, IBM’s cloud offerings (including in-house cloud opportunities), and an update on IBM’s operations analytics products. These meetings are presented quarterly and provide a good way to keep up with trends in mainframe products and processes without too much travel.

One of the presenters gave an interesting metric: Google does 38,000 transactions per second, but mainframes worldwide do 1,200,000 transactions per second! The mainframe lives!

This month’s meeting will be a presentation by our own SPARTA member, Ed Webb, from SAS Institute. Ed attended SHARE 132 in Phoenix last month, and will give us an overview of the best sessions he attended, along with current industry news and trends that he picked up though networking at the event. Come out and be informed on new software and hardware updates in the mainframe arena.

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 Tuesday, April 2 at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

April 2, 2019 - SHARE 2019 Phoenix Report by Ed Webb of SAS

May 7, 2019 - z/OS API’s In Action by Glenn Schneck of GTSoftware

June 4, 2019 - TBD

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 March 5, 2019 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.

• Fourteen (14) people were present.

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


• The minutes of the February 5, 2019 meeting as published in the March 2019 Newsletter were approved.

• The February 28, 2019 Treasurer's report was approved as published in the March 2019 Newsletter. As of 02/28/2019, the current balance was $1,095.71.

• 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.

• 2019 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





April 2, 2019


Ed Webb

SHARE 132 Update
Phoenix, Mar 10-15, 2019

May 7, 2019


Glenn Schneck

z/OS API’s In Action: Several User Success Stories

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, April 2, 2019 at Labcorp in RTP.

• Food for the April 2 meeting will be BarBQ.

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

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

• There are currently 87 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 from Bill Johnson: move dates are undetermined.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 7:40 PM.

Presentation Topic: Secure FTP

By Colin van der Ross of Software Diversified Services (SDS)

- Introductions and Company Overview
- Pros and Cons of using FTP
- Pros and Cons of FTPS and FTP over a SSH Tunnel
- Pros and Cons of SFTP, FTP to SFTP (Hybrid Solution)
- Pros and Cons of VPN and PGP

Introduction and Company Overview

- Software Diversified Services
- Proudly Serving Enterprise Customers for Over 36 Years
- Financially Rock Solid
- Several Hundred Satisfied Licensed Customers Worldwide
- Over 20 z/OS, z/VSE and z/VM Mainframe Systems and Distributed Products
- World Class Support
- Full Time Development / Support Staff / USA
- Partner Solutions - Virtel Web Solutions, ConicIT, SSH Tectia for z/OS (Secure FTP)
- VitalSigns SIEM Agent for z/OS
- IronSphere and FIM+
- HQ in Minneapolis, MN
- - 1322 81st Ave. NE
- - Spring Lake Park, MN 55432-2116 USA
- - (800) 443-6183 or (763) 571-9000
- -

Securing Your FTP Transmissions on z/OS

- The Different Options
- - FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
- - FTPS (FTP over SSL)
- - FTP over a SSH Tunnel
- - SFTP (SSH Secure FTP)
- - FTP to SFTP (Hybrid)
- - VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- - PGP Encryption (Data at Rest)

FTP - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Ubiquitous
- - Common knowledge
- - Included in base OS
- Cons
- - Very little security
- - Not firewall friendly

FTPS (FTP Over SSL) - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Same FTP familiarity
- - Included in base OS
- - Supports X.509 certificates and Kerberos
- - RACF keyrings supported
- Cons
- - Not firewall friendly (even worse than straight FTP)
- - Can't assume it's available on the other end

FTP over SSH Tunnel - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Same FTP familiarity
- - Firewall-friendly
- - Compression of Data
- - Good data checksums
- Cons
- - More parts need to be choreographed
- - Requires SSH and FTP on both ends

Secure FTP (SFTP) - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Satisfies SFTP requirements
- - Point to point encryption
- - Compression and Integrity built-in
- - Already ready to go on Unix/Linux servers
- Cons
- - May not be a part of you base operating system
- - May not be as familiar to users
- - Only protects data in transit

FTP to SFTP Conversion (Vendor Solution) - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Satisfies SFTP requirement
- - Can still use the FTP client on the z/OS side
- Cons
- - Not a perfect match of functions

Virtual Private Network (VPN) - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Network-to-network encryption (everything covered)
- - Some integrity built-in
- - Compression might be included
- - Transparent to the applications
- Cons
- - More complex to set up
- - Intranet traffic is unprotected
- - Usually managed by another group

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) - Pros and Cons

- Pros
- - Full control of sensitive data
- - Transport is not important
- - Compression and integrity
- - Not just for transfers
- Cons
- - Requires staging of data

Putting it all Together - All the Solutions

- Pretty Good Privacy (PGP)
- FTP - SFTP Conversion
- FTP over SSL Tunnel

Live Demo

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

Contact Info:
Colin van der Ross
Software Diversified Services
Phone: (763) 450-9107
Presentation: Secure FTP with VFTP SSH

Lori Kettles
Sales and Support
Software Diversified Services

• The March 5, 2019 monthly meeting ended about 8:40 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for March 2019

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1114.72 as of March 31, 2019.

SPARTA Financial Report
03/01/2019 through 03/31/2019


Opening Balance 3/1/2019


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

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

John Eells of IBM (and SHARE) Retires

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the SHARE'd Intelligence Blog in March 2019:

"John Eells’ career spanned more than 40 years at IBM in various roles, and many remember him most for his work on IBM’s z/OS installation strategy, which provides a platform that IBM and independent software vendors can use to transform the installation experience for mainframe clients. Elaine A. Krakower, manager for zCore Logic and project manager for z/OS at IBM, says, “He has a wealth of knowledge in so many areas inside and outside of work. I always walked away from discussions learning something new.” She added, “He's famous for saying ‘Truth in advertising’ and always strived to ensure if we claim it, then we are doing it. Really, he is of utmost class and character.” "

Read more about John and his work at IBM and at SHARE in this article.

Be prepared to participate at SHARE in 2019 and 2020 at one of these announced venues:

SHARE Summer 2019:  Pittsburgh, PA  August 4-9

SHARE Winter 2020:  Ft. Worth, Texas  February 23-28
SHARE Summer 2020: Boston, MA  August 2-7

You can always see the future SHARE schedule here.

REXX Turns 40 Years Old

Contributed By Ed Webb

From the SHARE'd Intelligence Blog in March 2019:

" “Always write the documentation for your program before you write the program itself.”

That’s the advice that Mike Cowlishaw, creator of the Rexx programming language, said he would give someone starting in development. That was in an interview 19 years ago, when the Rexx programming language was only 21 years old, and it echoed the original aspirations of the COBOL programming language to be self-documenting.

Interestingly, in the same interview, Mike Cowlishaw also stated that he hoped human programmers wouldn’t be needed in 20 years’ time (i.e., in 2020). That would be one of the very few areas where his foresight about programming wasn’t 20/20. Fortunately, the language he gave us has made it a very pleasant outcome to have to continue programming it."

Mike's is a very interesting Fellow. Find out why in this article by Reg Harbeck.

z/VM Past and Future

Contributed By Chris Blackshire

“40 Years of z/VM History”, narrated by Bill Bitner. Here's a 5 minute video recap of the history of CP-40, CP 67, and the various flavors of IBM VM since the 1960s.

“Introducing z/VM V7.1 and Continuous Delivery”, with Bill Bitner. Check out this 11 minute IBM video from April 2018 about the recently released z/VM 7.1 and its Continuous Delivery model. If your shop is running z/VM but are not yet on 7.1, this video may convince you to move soon.


Wit and Wisdom continued

Contributed by Ed Webb

• You can love someone who can't be loved, but you can't trust someone who can't be trusted.
• It is nice to be important but it is much more important to be nice.
• It is never too late to be what you might have been.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, April 2, 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: BarBQ, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


SHARE Phoenix Conference Report

Speaker: Ed Webb of SAS


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services