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June 2021

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Summer is here (according to the weather, anyway) and we are having our usual mix of temperatures and periods of drought and rain. Hopefully, we can all take some extended vacation time away from our home office environments and enjoy traveling again. I look forward to the possibility of a cruise next year.

For the foreseeable future, we will be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format. Due to the virtual format, we have suspended the dues requirement for 2021. Hopefully, we can resume meetings at LabCorp in 2022. I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy.

For our June meeting, join us for a presentation from NewEra Software, along with a time of networking with your fellow RTP area mainframers.

Please join your colleagues online at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1, on Zoom. Watch for meeting connection information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

June 1, 2021 - Jerry Seefeldt of NewEra Software

June 29, 2021 (Special Date) - TBA

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.

2020-2021 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

Truist                  (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

Retired (SAS Institute Inc.)  (919) nnn-nnnn


Apex, NC 27523

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


Coronavirus Change: All meetings for the foreseeable future will be held online via the Zoom App. The link to meeting is sent to SPARTA Mailing list within 24 hours of the meeting time for security reasons. Stay safe.

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

March 2021 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V501 (dated March 4, 2021) are available from

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

Minutes of the May 4, 2021 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:07 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This thirteenth (April 2020 to May 2021) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Ten (10) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The business portion of the meeting followed the presentation.

• For the Roundtable, everyone introduced themselves, told where they worked, talked about working from home, and briefly described their job functions and what they've been doing at work and home.


• The minutes of the April 6, 2021 meeting as published in the May 2021 Newsletter were approved.

• The April 30, 2021 Treasurer's report (no April income or expenses) as published in the May 2021 Newsletter was approved. As of April 30, 2021, the current balance was $1,489.66.

• 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.

• 2021 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





June 1, 2021

Triangle Systems

Jim Ott

IOF New Features

June 29, 2021




August 3, 2021

New Era

Jerry Seefeldt


August 31, 2021


Ed Webb

SHARE 137 Virtual Conference
Aug. 2-7, 2021

October 5, 2021

Rocket Software


z/OS Mainframe

November 2, 2021

Watson & Walker

Cheryl Watson
Frank Kyne

z/OS Performance Metrics

December 7, 2021


Ed Addison

IBM z/OS Software

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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

• The 2021 dues have been suspended (motion passed in the March 2021 monthly meeting).

• Thanks to Duane Reaugh for virtually hosting the meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently 95 people on the SPARTA e-mail distribution list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA distribution List. The SPARTA meeting notices are being sent via a simple distribution list maintained by Chris.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update: No update needed from Bill Johnson.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 9:05 P.M. (And the meeting also ended at 9:05 p.m.)

• Presentation Topic: Introduction to Action Software International’s (ASI) flagship products, eventACTION™ and ussACTION™,
which are comprehensive, real-time, event-driven systems management tools that automatically detect and manage system events as they occur.

by Peter Sharma and Norm Valiquette, Action Software International

Keys to Effective Systems Change Management
Critical Resources and Change Methods
Environment for Systems Changes
Automated Change Management
Effective Systems Change Management Software
Ease of Use
Online, Real Time Demo

• Presentation Access - See Below for a full outline of the presentation. See the SPARTA webpage for the complete presentation.

Contact Info:
Robert Oldenburg
National Account Manager
Action Software International
(a division of Mazda Computer Corporation)
Tel: (905) 470-7113 x 209
Cell: (647) 773-2885
Fax: (905) 470-6507
Visit our Web site at

Speaker: Peter Sharma

Speaker: Norm Valiquette

• The May 4, 2021 monthly meeting ended about 9:05 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for May 2021

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1489.66 as of May 31, 2021.

SPARTA Financial Report
4/01/2021 through 05/31/2021


Opening Balance 4/1/2021


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2021

contributed by Chris Blackshire

June 1, 2021 - Chicken
June 29, 2021 (Special date) - Subs (Independence Day holiday is in the July 6 week)
Aug 3, 2021 - BarBQ (SHARE 137, August 09-13, 2021)
Aug 31, 2021 (Special date) - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 6) - Speaker Ed Webb, topic SHARE 137
Oct 5, 2021 - Chicken
Nov 2, 2021 - Subs
Dec 7, 2021 - BarBQ
Jan 4, 2022 - No meeting!

SHARE is Virtually Truckin' Onward!

contributed By Ed Webb

From James Vincent, the SHARE Director of Conference Operations:

"Like all conferences over the last year, SHARE events have shifted to a virtual platform in 2021 so we can best continue to serve our attendees by providing high-quality enterprise technology education while also striving to include peer networking and industry influence. ....

With that, we at SHARE are taking all the feedback and data we've collected from the last two virtual events in order to plan August’s SHARE Virtual Experience 2021, August 9–13. The event will kick off with a “pre-event” that offers on-demand sessions during the week of August 2–6. It will not only feature the latest and greatest information in all your favorite enterprise IT topic areas, but will also include more networking time, longer breaks, and even some time for a little fun if we can pull it off! Be sure to mark your calendars and look forward to hot topics around Security, DevOps and Open Source on the Mainframe, z/OS, and so much more!"

Read all of James Vincent's article about virtual SHAREs in this blog entry.

[Editor's Note: Links embedded in earlier SPARTA Newsletters that point to the articles at SHARE website may not work because of the recent SHARE technology stack upgrade. Let me know if you have trouble finding an article at the new SHARE website.]

Sysplex Design Matters

contributed By Ed Webb

Scott Fagen, the SHARE Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (and former IBM z/OS developer), offers us a good explanation and strong justification for reviewing our Sysplex configurations.

" Good Design Enables Good Execution
From the beginning, much has been written about designing and optimizing your application and system configuration to ensure that you can achieve your performance goals and achieve high availability. These conversations generally revolve around a series of interrelated design points:
• The design of your IBM Z systems environment into a Parallel Sysplex of multiple LPARs,
• The design of each LPAR (both z/OS and Coupling Facility), including the memory, processors and peripherals (I/O connectivity) assigned to each,
• The software stack running on each LPAR, along with a strategy to manage the change in that software (maintenance and upgrades),
• The configuration of that software stack into running instances of applications and systems management support.
The fundamental design principle of the z/OS Parallel Sysplex is to achieve high availability and performance through parallelism: By distributing workload over a large number of failure independent system images, software instances and hardware, an application can appear to have nearly 100 percent uptime for any arbitrary transaction (IBM claims 99.99999 percent availability in a Parallel Sysplex), if designed to fully exploit the features of the environment. "

Dive into the deep end by reading the rest of this Enterprise Tech Journal 2021: Issue 2 article.

Turning Up the Heat

Contributed by Ed Webb

"I turned on the television the other day to watch a baseball game and was surprised to see how analytics has permeated America's pastime. Is there any facet of life that is not affected by analytics? Probably not. But with the large amounts of data being collected and analyzed, there is an increase in compute power necessary to drive the workload. ....

One byproduct of increased rack densities in data centers is the increased production of heat that must be dissipated. According to recent survey findings by Data Center Knowledge, removing the heat in a data center can account for 33 percent of operating expenses and 26 percent of capital expenses. It's no wonder companies are closely watching the evolution of data center cooling technologies. For many companies, it is a competitive advantage to be able to significantly reduce the cost of cooling. For others, it is a matter of survival."

Read this recent Enterprise Tech Journal 2021: Issue 2 article by Michael Benson.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

Before borrowing money from a friend decide which you need most.
Deadlines are the mothers of invention.
There are no degrees of honesty - either you're honest or you're not.

Praise loudly; criticize quietly.
It's not the load that breaks you down – it's the way you carry it.
Never accept your dog's admiration for you as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, June 1.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


New Technology from NewEra Software

Speaker: Jerry Seefeldt of NewEra Software

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


May 2021 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: Introduction to Action Software International’s (ASI) flagship products, eventACTION™ and ussACTION™, which are comprehensive, real-time, event-driven systems management tools that automatically detect and manage system events as they occur.

by Peter Sharma and Norm Valiquette, Action Software International

Keys to Effective Systems Change Management
Critical Resources and Change Methods
Environment for Systems Changes
Automated Change Management
Effective Systems Change Management Software
Ease of Use
Online, Real Time Demo

Keys to Effective Systems Change Management

Critical Resources and Change Methods
- Types of changes that must be tracked/controlled:
- - APF, Linklist, LPA, Proclib, Parmlib…
- - Any system resource that can affect availability

Environment for Systems Changes
- 24/7 Availability, Minimum IPL’s
- Sys Progs must be able to make dynamic changes with tools such as:
- Effective systems change management must be able to track and manage all changes regardless of tools used.
- Management, systems support staff must be able to ensure systems are not affected with dynamic changes and that audit requirements are met.
- Aging and shrinking support staff, turnover and new trainees
- Real time monitoring via SIEM
- Processes should track:
- - Every step, change and event start to finish for any product or maintenance install

Automated Change Management
- Most institutions adhere to some form of “best practices”
- - ITIL, COBIT prescribed IT governance, internal and external audit compliance, and management methodologies
- Paper-based processes
- - Lack the system interfaces to ensure all requested changes are completed and no unauthorized changes are made.
- - Doesn’t enforce compliance and security

Effective Systems Change Management Software
- Tracks and backs up authorized changes
- Includes capabilities to track commands that can dynamically make changes to critical resources
- Automatically prevents unauthorized changes

Ease of Use
- Change management processes must minimize the demands on time of users charged with implementing changes.
- Automation of processes achieves maximum productivity.
- Change approvers must quickly determine what they are approving.

Online, Real Time Demo Followed

The virtual presentation ended about 8:43 PM followed by the business meeting.