Sparta logo

March 2022

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

We are just a few weeks away from the start of spring, and the North Carolina weather is doing its usual roller coaster temperature ride. NCAA March Madness should be good this year. Also, my former employer is completing the process of combining customer accounts after a long merger process, and I am happy to be watching it all from the bleachers after retiring last October.

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format. With the removal of mask mandates in NC, we may want to consider going back to our in-person meetings if we can find an appropriate venue.

For our March meeting, join us for a presentation from Roger Williams, Chief Technical Officer of Virtual Software. Roger will present a Technical Demonstration of ShadowDisk/Z for z/Linux. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information.

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

Randy Springs
Retired (previously Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

March 1, 2022 - ShadowDisk/Z for z/Linux by Roger Williams, CTO of Virtual Software Systems, Inc.

April 5, 2022 - TBA

May 3, 2022 - 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.

2021-2022 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn


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

Retired (Truist)                  (919) nnn-nnnn

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 at 7 p.m. 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

November 2021 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V502 (dated November 7, 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 February 1, 2021 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:03 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Twenty-first (April 2020 to February 2022) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Twelve (12) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The Presentation followed the business portion of the meeting.

• 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 December 7, 2021 meeting as published in the February 2022 Newsletter were approved.

• The January 31, 2022 Treasurer's report (no December or January income or expenses) as published in the February 2022 Newsletter was approved. As of January 31, 2022, 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.

• 2022 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





March 1, 2022




April 5, 2022




May 3, 2022




June 7, 2022

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update Dallas, TX
Mar 27-30, 2022

July 12, 2022




August 2, 2022




September 13, 2022

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update Columbus, OH
Aug 21-26, 2022

October 4, 2022




November 1, 2022




December 6, 2022




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 1, 2022.

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

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the February 1 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently 94 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.

• Mike Lockey will be sending the website bills to Randy for payment with an update by the March 1, 2022 meeting.


• There was discussion about a possible 2022 in person meeting, depending on vaccinations and room availability. Stay tuned.

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

• Presentation Topic: SMS Storage Groups, Origins, Mysteries, Management

by Steve Pryor, CTO of DTS Software, LLC

• Agenda
- The Dataset Allocation Process
- Classifying Datasets - The SMS Constructs
- Storage Group
- ACS Routines Assign Constructs
- Types of Storage Groups
- Display SMS SG/Volume Status
- Storage Group Attributes (Types - VIO, Pool, Dummy, TAPE, Object)
- Object and Copy Pool Backup
- SYS1.PARMLIB Parameters
- Demonstrations
- Documentation
- Summary / Q and A

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

Contact Info:
Speaker: Steve Pryor, CTO
DTS Software, LLC.
4350 Lassiter at North Hills Ave., Suite 230

Raleigh, North Carolina 27609
Office: 919.833.8426 x162
Mobile: 404.210.5975
Customer Support:

• The February 1, 2021 monthly meeting ended about 8:25 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for February 2022

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1489.66 as of February 28, 2022.

SPARTA Financial Report
4/01/2021 through 02/28/2022


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 2022

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Mar 1, 2022 - Subs
Apr 5, 2022 - BarBQ
May 3, 2022 - Pizza
June 7, 2022 - Chicken
July 12, 2022 - Subs (July 4 holiday is Monday before the usual July 5 meeting)
Aug 2, 2022 - BarBQ
Sept 13, 2022 - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 5)
Oct 4, 2022 - Chicken
Nov 1, 2022 - Subs
Dec 6, 2022 - BarBQ

It's Not Too Late to Register for SHARE's March Conference Online Sessions

contributed By Ed Webb

SHARE is returning to in-person events in 2022, first in March 27-30 in Dallas, Texas, then in August in Columbus, Ohio.

"Can't travel to Dallas this time? No worries! Register for Virtual Access to enjoy select livestreamed technical sessions and their recordings for convenient learning wherever you are!"

Review the SHARE Technical Agenda. Then register for the Virtual Access Pass for the SHARE 2022 Dallas conference.

Open source Unlocks Mainframe Data: In Situ Analytics with GenevaERS

contributed By Ed Webb

"Are you getting an accurate view of your enterprise? Operational data can be a valuable source of analytics, but it is often inaccessible in critical applications residing on the mainframe. An unexpected reporting solution is now possible through open source on the mainframe. The Linux Foundation's Open Mainframe Project (") has promoted GenevaERS (https:// genevaers)—the single-pass optimization engine for data extraction, transformation and analytics on z/OS—to an active more mature project status which you can read about here: https://www.openmainframeproject. org/blog/2021/09/29/genevaers-a-growing- community-focused-on-data-insights.

Open Source on the Mainframe
The mainframe is known as a very secure platform. From its pioneering heritage, proprietary software brought commercial development that today's ubiquitous computing systems are built upon. Yet proprietary and highly secure systems created the perception of data locked up and inaccessible. Much of the most valuable data in the world—much of it business and financial—is still held in critical systems running on the mainframe.

The cycle is now turning full circle with the renewal of open source on the mainframe. Open source communities began with the mainframe user community SHARE in 1955, and the CBT Tape started the sharing of code via tapes sent from participant to participant in 1975."

Read the rest of this article about GenevaERS by Kip Twitchell and Randall Ness in the Enterprise Executive 2022: Issue 1.

Automating on IBM Z with Red Hat Ansible

Contributed by Ed Webb

"Today, IBM Z users have many different options for tools to automate their mainframe processes. JCL, REXX, z/OSMF Workflows and Zowe CLI are all such options and all specifically designed for IBM Z, and therefore resulted in the need for specialized skills, for which current education is lacking. There is an opposite experience on many other platforms, with industry-standard scripting languages and automation tools available and skills readily available. Therefore, standardization and modernization of the way users automate on IBM Z has never been more critical.

Red Hat® Ansible™ is one of the most popular automation platforms in the industry. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, comprised of many components, enables technology groups to have a centralized automation strategy across all varying infrastructure. In April 2020, IBM made the commitment to the future success of the IBM Z platform by contributing Ansible content back into the open source community, enabling clients to have an IBM Z tailored experience. Since then, there have been six certified collections delivered as a part of Red Hat Ansible Certified Content for IBM Z. Many clients are showing a growing interest in Ansible and are now expanding their Ansible automation strategy to their Z infrastructure. On the community repository for Ansible collections, Ansible Galaxy, these six collections have accumulated more than 100,000 downloads in the two years they have been available. "

See this SHARE Blog Entry about Modernization and Standardization for Automating on IBM Z with Red Hat Ansible for details and how to obtain and implement these free tools.

Security Experts Are Getting Excited About FHE

Contributed by Ed Webb

The SHARE Blog recently posted this entry about Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE).

"With everything that is going on in the world you may have missed a potentially innovative announcement by IBM back in June 2020, where IBM stated that it had successfully completed "field trials" of a "fully homomorphic encryption algorithm."

What is Fully Homomorphic Encryption?

Homomorphic encryption is a specific type of encryption among the many types of cryptographic algorithms. Data, which has been encrypted by homomorphic systems, exhibit special attributes. To put it simply, fully homomorphic encryption (FHE) retains the relationship between parts of a dataset, so data points can be worked on by a third party without being decrypted.

Here's an example. Let's take a (very) small dataset with just three data points — say 5, 7, and 9. If you encrypt this collection with an FHE algorithm, send the three encrypted values to a third party, and ask them to perform processing on them, the third party will arrive at a value that you can decrypt and that will be correct. For instance, if you ask the third party to add the first and second values, then multiply the result by the third value and return the result to you, you can then decrypt that result (108).

Why is FHE Important?

At first glance, the value offered by FHE might seem pretty niche. But, the ability to work with third-party data without decrypting it has considerable advantages for many organizations.

At the most basic level, FHE solves the "sysadmin problem." ...."

Read the full SHARE Blog entry about FHE for details and how soon it's coming to you.


The Wisdom of Larry the Cable Guy

contributed by Chris Blackshire

1. A day without sunshine is like night.
2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
3. 42.7 % of all statistics are made up on the spot.
4. 99 % of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.
6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.
9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture some people have.
10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.
12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.
13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.
14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?
15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.
17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?
18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?
20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'
22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.
23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

7 p.m.

Location: Online

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

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


ShadowDisk/Z for z/Linux

Speaker: Roger Williams, CTO of Virtual Software Systems, Inc.

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


February 2022 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: SMS Storage Groups, Origins, Mysteries, Management

by Steve Pryor, CTO of DTS Software, LLC

• Agenda
- The Dataset Allocation Process
- Classifying Datasets - The SMS Constructs
- Storage Group
- ACS Routines Assign Constructs
- Types of Storage Groups
- Display SMS SG/Volume Status
- Storage Group Attributes (Types - VIO, Pool, Dummy, TAPE, Object)
- Object and Copy Pool Backup
- SYS1.PARMLIB Parameters
- Demonstrations
- Documentation
- Summary / Q and A

• The Dataset Allocation Process
- Multiple ways to allocate Datasets - JCL, TSO, Dynalloc, IDCAMS
- - JCL Example
// DSN=, LRECL=, BLKSIZE=,RECFM=, type of dataset (PS, PO, VSAM..)
// SPACE=(CYL,(10,1),RLSE), STORCLAS=, et. al.
- - Dynalloc Example
- All Done by DFSMS

• Classifying Datasets
- The SMS Constructs of a Dataset
- - Data Class
- - Storage Class
- - - Performance & Availability
- - - Striped?
- - - Flashcopy?
- - - Guaranteed Space?
- - - PAV, Multi-tier SG?
- - Management Classifying
- - - What backups are needed?
- - - When should it migrate?
- - - How many gens?
- - Storage Group
- - - What volume(s) should be chosen?

• Storage Group
- Cannot be specified in JCL or IDCAMS
- Not stored in NVR / VVR and BCS cells
- Datasets are SMS-managed if assigned a SC
- - If a STORCLAS is assigned, STORGRP will be assigned

• ACS Routines Assign Constructs
- JCL or SVC99 or SVC 26
- - PROC STORGRP (SMS Volumes)
- - - If under VIO MAXSIZE

• Types of Storage Groups
- VIO – temp DSNs backed by paging subsystem
- POOL– SMS-managed disk volumes
- TAPE – SMS-managed tape volumes
- DUMMY– Nonexistent disk volumes
- OBJECT – object directory/libraries
- OBJECT BACKUP – object tape backup

• Display SMS SG/Volume Status
- ISMF Option 2 (1=DASD, 2=Tape)
- Console Commands
- - D SMS,SG(sgname),LISTVOL
- - - Includes utilization level
- - D SMS,VOL(volser)

• POOL Storage Group Attributes
- - Volume selection
- DFSMShsm Attributes
- Overflow Status, Attributes
- Thresholds
Volumes, Tape Libraries, /directory

• POOL Volume Selection
- Primary List
- - ENABLEd, online,
- - Meets IARS, Accessibility, Availability, GS, PAV, etc.
- - Enough vols in SG for volume count
- - Allocation will not exceed vol threshold
- Secondary List
- - Can meet allocation but will exceed threshold
- Tertiary List
- - Not enough volumes in SG for volume count
- Volumes are ordered by preference weight based on SC attributes

• Volume Selection Attributes
- Multi-Tiered Storage Group
- - Honor the order of SG assignment
- - Storage Group ACS routines assigns >1 SG, e.g: SET &STORGRP = ‘STG1’, ‘STG2’, ‘STG3’
- - Volumes in STG1 selected first, STG2, second, etc.
- - - if below SG free-space threshold
- - When 100 DADSM rejects for insufficient space, use SMS stats for volume space
- - - reduce candidate volume count, retries, CPU overhead
- - - always used for striping

• POOL Storage Groups - DFSMShsm Attributes
- Autobackup
- Automigrate
- - Migration Functions
- - Primary space management
- - Interval Migration
- Autodump
- - On-demand Migration
- Migrate Sys/Sysgroup Name
- - Blank = any system
- - Specified host
- - System group (host not defined in configuration)
- Dump Class
- Guaranteed Backup Frequency
- - Minimum interval between backups, default = use MC
- Processing Priority
- - order of processing during Space Management, default=50

• POOL Storage Groups - Attribute Types
- OVERFLOW Storage Groups
- - Volumes automatically placed in secondary list for allocation
- - Used when volumes in non-Overflow SG are over threshold
- - Preferred over QUIESCEd volumes
- EXTEND Storage Groups
- - Used to extend existing datasets from primary storage group
- - Can be chained or specified in more than one primary SG
- - Need not be specified in SET &STORGRP=
- COPY POOL Backup Storage Groups
- - Volumes for FRBACKUP

• POOL Storage Groups - Thresholds
- Allocation / Migration Thresholds
- - Allocate to other volumes when utilization > HI, issue ENF72
- - Migrate if over high threshold, stop when under low threshold
- Space Alert Thresholds
- - Message IGD400I issued at 10% intervals from threshold
- BreakpointValue – size to use cylinder-managed space on EAV

• VIO Storage Group Attributes
- Volume Selection
- - VIO Unit
- - - Emulated generic
- - VIO Maxsize
- - -Max KB for VIO
DASD Volume, Paging Subsystem
SG ACS routine assigns both
VIO and non-VIO storage groups

• DUMMY Storage Groups
- For SMS-managed datasets
- Volumes that do not exist in system
- - Volumes must be specified in SG volume definition
- Prevent catalog errors for vols explicitly referenced in JCL or IDCAMS but now SMS

• TAPE Storage Groups
- Library Name (1-8)
- - Tape library defined in SCDS
- - - via ISMF option 10.3 or IDCAMS DEFINE LIBRARY ENTRY
- - Libraries and volumes also defined in Tape Mgmt System
- Library Definition (ISMF 10.3)
- - Library ID
- - Default Data Class, Use Attribute
- - Eject Default
- - Scratch message thresholds

- OAM Storage Hierarchy
- - Disk – sublevel 1 (DB2 tables)
- - Disk – sublevel 2 (NFS or zFS file system)
- - Tape sublevels 1 or 2
- - - Tape UNIT name defined in CBROAMxx
- - Optical

- Target vols for FRBACKUP requests
- - Same size as source volume
- - Not in FLASHCOPY or XRC/PPRC pair
- Volumes cannot be used for ordinary SMS

• Volume Selection Tracing via SETSMS or IGDSMSxx
- - TYPE(ERROR(xxxx),ALL(yyyy))
- - ON/OFF
- - 0 / nnnnn /ALL

• Related SYS1.PARMLIB Members
- IGDSMSxx – SMS Defaults
- - INTERVAL(15)
- - VOLSELMSG(ON/OFF or 0/nvols/ALL
- CBROAMxx – OAM Defaults

• ISMF Test Facility / DTS SMSDEBUG Enhanced Testing
- Test cases are PDS members
- You must insure that appropriate ACS variables are set
- Tests only the ACS routines – does not test volume selection
- - ISMFTest (7.4.3)
- - - SCDS or ACTIVE
- - - ACS Test Listing
- - - Testcase library
- - - - DSN: MY.DATA.SET
- - - - DD: DD1
- - - - XMODE: BATCH
- - - - LABEL: SL
- - - - FILENUM: 1
- - - MemberABC1
- - - Side-by-side Testcase compare

• Documentation
- DFSMSdfp Storage Administration SC23-6860
- MVS Init and Tuning Reference SA23-1380
- Volume Selection Informational APARs
- - II08004, II08987

- Configuration Compare, ACS Trace, & more
- - COMPARE CDS1=cdsname / ACTIVE,
- - CDS2=cdsname / ACTIVE,
- - NAME1=constructname,
- - NAME2=constructname,
- - SMFRID=nnn
- Constructs Compared:
- JCL, IDCAMS, etc
- - - ACS Routine Logic Trace
- - ACTIVE config
- - - - SUMMARY
- - - - DETAIL differences

The virtual presentation and demonstration ended at about 8:20 PM.