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August 2021

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

As we enter the dog days of summer, many area firms are allowing employees to return to corporate buildings full-time. I wonder how many people will ask to remain working at home after months of forced home office work. I have worked from home over ten years in my current position, and I do enjoy not having to spend over an hour on the road each day.

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. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information.

For our August meeting, join us for a presentation about Mainframe Cyber Resiliency by Monica Bennett of Dell EMC, along with a time of networking with your fellow RTP area mainframers.

Please join your colleagues online at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 3, on Zoom. Watch for meeting connection information coming your way soon.

Also, mark your calendars for our next meeting on August 31 which is one week early due to the Labor Day holiday.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

August 3, 2021 - Proxy App by Proximal Systems

August 31, 2021 (Special Date) - SHARE 2021 Summer Report by Ed Webb of SPARTA

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 June 29, 2021 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:02 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

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

• The usual July 6 monthly meeting was moved to June 29 to avoid the July 4th holiday week.

• Eleven (11) 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 June 1, 2021 meeting as published in the July 2021 Newsletter were approved.

• The June 29, 2021 Treasurer's report (no June income or expenses) as published in the July 2021 Newsletter was approved. As of June 29, 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):





August 3, 2021

Dell EMC

Monica Bennett

Mainframe Cyber Resiliency

August 31, 2021


Ed Webb

SHARE 137 Virtual Conference
Aug. 9-13, 2021

October 5, 2021

Proximal Systems

Ron Hilton

Cloud Proxy

November 2, 2021

Rocket Software

Ezriel Gross

Tuning CICS PS

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, August 3, 2021.

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

• Thanks to Duane Reaugh for online hosting the June 29 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently 92 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.


• In person meeting discussion (depending on vaccinations and room availability, probably Feb. 2022)

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

• Presentation Topic: IOF Features

by Dave Crow of Triangle Systems, Inc.

The IOF presentation on June 29, 2021 was a live demo of the IOF product.
The following are some very useful IOF Information web site links:
-The main IOF web site is here:
-Online Doc: Install and User Guides:
-The IOF newsletters have a lot of info on using IOF features.
--This is a table of contents for them:
-The "Virtual Help Desk" has a lot of info about common problems:
-A link to the IOF training information on the Fischer website (they do the IOF marketing).
-Some more links on the Fischer site that are particularly useful:
--Follow the IOF Functionality link to:
-The quick reference card link:

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

Contact Info:
Dave Crow
Triangle Systems (IOF Support)
2511 Old Cornwallis Rd # 190
Durham, NC 27713
Phone: (919) 544-9217
Cell: (919) 215-3494
Visit our Web site at

• The June 29, 2021 monthly meeting ended about 8:20 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for July 2021

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1489.66 as of June 30, 2021.

SPARTA Financial Report
4/01/2021 through 07/31/2021


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

Aug 3, 2021 - BarBQ (SHARE 137, August 09-13, 2021)
Aug 31, 2021 (Special date) - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 6)
Oct 5, 2021 - Chicken
Nov 2, 2021 - Subs
Dec 7, 2021 - BarBQ
Jan 4, 2022 - No meeting!

New E-book About Developing IBM Z Skills

contributed By Ed Webb

Dr. Cameron Seay of ECU and a SPARTA friend, along with Darren Surch, have written a new e-book titled "From Bootcamps to Digital Badges: How to Effectively Develop Mainframe Skills":

"When it comes to mainframe training, there’s not going to be a “one size fits all” answer. But taking into account various tips and techniques from training professionals in the IBM Z ecosystem is a place to start. In this e-book from TechChannel, Dr. Cameron Seay explains why bootcamp models are effective, and Darren Surch highlights strategies you can use to foster mainframe skills and grow a pipeline of diverse mainframe personnel."

Get the free e-book now at Tech Channel.

IBM z/OS 2.5 Announcement

contributed By Ed Webb

The third quarter of 2021 brings z/OS 2.5 including the change to require the z/OSMF Portable Software Instance install for ServerPac:

".... IBM z/OS V2.5 is designed to enable and drive innovative development to support hybrid cloud and AI business applications. This is accomplished by enabling next-generation systems operators and developers to have easy access and a simplified experience with IBM z/OS, all while relying on the most optimal usage of computing power and resources of IBM Z servers for scale, security, and business continuity.

z/OS V2.5 is intended to be the basis for future support of an OCI container runtime and Kubernetes container orchestration for IBM z/OS applications and workloads. This is intended to enable clients to adopt a container-based cloud-native strategy for mission-critical z/OS applications.

.... z/OS system programmers, including early-tenure system programmers, can independently and confidently deploy, maintain, and manage z/OS (and stack) software functions using guided and customized instructions and workflows. Functions such as z/OS Management Facility (z/OSMF) provide an intuitive user interface as well as automated instructions. This simplified and modern experience is designed to enable easier installation, management, and use of z/OS by programmers and administrators of all levels, with no special skills required for increased agility.

• Continued reduction of the requirement for assembler skills by extending the IBM Job Entry Subsystem 2 (JES2) policy-based customization facility that was introduced in z/OS V2.4.

• Enhanced Tailored Fit Pricing (TFP) for IBM Z ease of use. A new system parameter automatically reports and applies the TFP solution to the system. This improvement is designed to be an easier and less error-prone alternative to defining TFP solutions with Sub-Capacity Reporting Tool (SCRT) control statements.

• Enhancements to the priced feature Resource Measurement Facility (RMF), including optimization when gathering Coupling Facility (CF) hardware statistics. A new, separately priced feature for V2.5, Advanced Data Gatherer (ADG), provides the function of gathering performance data in raw form. The RMF priced feature includes entitlement to the ADG priced feature. "

Checkout the complete announcement of z/OS 2.5 in IBM Announcement Letter US221-260.

A Digital Vision for the Mainframe Community of SHARE

Contributed by Ed Webb

Scott Fagen, a current officer of SHARE and long-time IBM z/OS developer and evangelist, has proposed some thought-provoking ideas to bring SHARE into the 21st century.

" “Refusing to change does not recapture the past, it steals your future." — Carl A. Hammerschlag

During my career, I've been privileged to be involved in many conversations about the past, present and future of mainframe education. This article reflects the accumulation of many ideas I've heard and I feel will help forward the interests of the mainframe community. It is not intended to represent any official SHARE policies, positions or activities. The intent of this article is to promote a discussion within the community to advance ideas that SHARE Association, the premiere mainframe user group, may adopt to serve more members more effectively in the near future.

As the cost of technology decreases and the capacity for high-speed/high-bandwidth communication increases, the march of business and education from primarily "bricks and mortar" institutions to a digital-first presence has only increased in velocity. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic created an inflection point, accelerating the pace of change with necessity (the mother of invention) pushing businesses and educational institutions to rapidly adopt and use internet technology to resume and continue the day to day. ....

...the IT world has been changing how products are designed, developed and delivered. The Agile revolution has helped focus organizations on things like "minimum viable products," "sprints," customer development," "continuous deployment," tearing down the prior waterfall development process. In a world where products are being released to customers on an almost continuous basis, obtaining training and education has become an on-demand" need, not a desire that can be delayed three to six months.

At the same time, educational needs have shifted from broad delivery of information to delivering on a much more targeted need, a need so ubiquitous that it has been given a name; microlearning. This does not mean there is no longer a need for curricula, a set of related coursework, but it points out that the combination of technology and desire have given rise to organizations dedicated to this style of learning, like Udemy, Coursera, Interskill and Skillshare, as well as driving existing education and training outlets to adjust and deliver content, curricula and certifications "at the speed of the consumer." ....

My vision for SHARE 2025 anticipates a shift in how the organization interacts and delivers on the pillars of Educate, Network and Influence for its members. zNextGen (now more than 15 years old) has become today's "zNowGen." The keys to improving SHARE's reach to the current and future generations of mainframers depend on meeting their immediate and career technical needs as well as the needs of their employers. "

Read Scott's recommendations in this Enterprise Tech Journal article in 2021 Issue 3.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

When it comes to getting things done, we need fewer architects and more bricklayers.
Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.
Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, August 3.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


Recovering Your Mainframe Business From A Cyber Attack

Speaker: Monica Bennett of Dell EMC

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


July 2021 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: IOF Features

by Dave Crow of Triangle Systems, Inc.

The IOF presentation on June 29, 2021 was a live demo of the IOF product.
The following are some very useful IOF Information web site links:
-The main IOF web site is here:
-Online Doc: Install and User Guides:
-The IOF newsletters have a lot of info on using IOF features.
--This is a table of contents for them:
-The "Virtual Help Desk" has a lot of info about common problems:
-A link to the IOF training information on the Fischer website (they do the IOF marketing).
-Some more links on the Fischer site that are particularly useful:
--Follow the IOF Functionality link to:
-The quick reference card link:

The virtual presentation ended about 8:20 P.M.