Sparta logo

April 2022

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Spring is here at last, and by the time we meet in April, we will know the winner of the NCAA Final Four – with two teams from our area still dancing. Hopefully, we are making plans for a more normal vacation season amid cuts to our personal budgets to accommodate higher gas prices.

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 April meeting, join us for a presentation from KRI Security on z/OS security issues and some solutions for analyzing and protecting your z/OS environment. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information.

Please join your colleagues online at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, on Zoom. Watch for meeting connection information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (previously Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

April 5, 2022 - z/OS Vulnerabilities and Solutions by Cynthia and Ray Overby of KRI Security

May 3, 2022 - Pipeline for DevOps – Why It Matters to Infrastructure Teams as Well by Rosalind Radcliffe, Distinguished Engineer of IBM

June 7, 2022 - SHARE 2022 Dallas 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.

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 March 1, 2021 Meeting

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

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

• Eight (08) 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 February 1, 2022 meeting as published in the March 2022 Newsletter were approved.

• The February 28, 2022 Treasurer's report (no February income or expenses) as published in the March 2022 Newsletter was approved. As of February 28, 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):





April 5, 2022

KRI Security

Cynthia Overby
Ray Overby

z/OS Security Vulnerabilities and Solutions

May 3, 2022


Rosalind Radcliffe

DevOps for z/OS Infrastructure

June 7, 2022

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE 2022 Dallas Update
Mar 27-30, 2022

July 12, 2022




August 2, 2022




September 13, 2022

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE 2022 Columbus Update
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, April 5, 2022.

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

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the March 1 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.

• 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 8:15 P.M.

• Presentation Topic: ShadowDisk/Z

by Roger Williams, CTO, Virtual Software Systems, Inc.

• Agenda
- Customer Benefits
- About us
- Installation
- Commands
- System Requirements
- Product Configuration and Specs
- Product Licensing

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

Contact Info:
Speaker: Roger Williams, Chief Technology Officer
Virtual Software Systems, Inc.
Office: 770-781-3205
Mobile: 301-526-1746
Work: 1-855-411-VSSI (8774)
Customer Support:

• The March 1, 2022 monthly meeting ended about 8:15 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for March 2022

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1489.66 as of March 31, 2022.

SPARTA Financial Report
4/01/2021 through 03/31/2022


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

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

IBM z16 Day is April 5, 2022

contributed By Ed Webb

IBM is significantly upping the capabilities of the Mainframe with the announcement of the IBM z16 on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

"[excerpts from comments heard at SHARE] IBM Z15 was very successful program; more so than z14 and earlier. The digital economy transformation speeded up during the pandemic. Executives want digital transformation.

There's potential use of artificial intelligence (AI) across business.There is a great deal of interest in Predicting and automating for increased decision velocity.

Yet we need to protect business against current and future threats by securing with a Cyber Resilient System. At the same time we must Modernize with Hybrid Cloud."

Register for the Event at IBM z16 Day. Then watch the IBM z16 Day All-Day Event.

IBM z/OS 2.5 1Q 2022 Enhancements

contributed By Ed Webb

Along with several Continuous Delivery (CD) updates, IBM's z/OS 2.5 1Q Updates announcement also included two Statements of Direction (SOD) about upcoming offerings.

"z/OS Change Tracker 
As IBM continues to provide a suite of robust tools to help system programmers manage z/OS, IBM intends to offer a new priced feature of z/OS V2.5, IBM z/OS Change Tracker. This feature is a comprehensive configuration change management tool for tracking, controlling, and managing software changes. 

Learn more about this collaboration between 21st Century Software and IBM at our June SPARTA meeting when Ed Webb reports on sessions he attended at SHARE 2022 in Dallas.

System integrity monitor for z/OS 
IBM intends to provide clients a system integrity monitor for z/OS that is designed to continuously monitor authorized code, including IBM and non-IBM products with privileged program calls or supervisor calls on production systems, and report on potentially vulnerable code."

Revisiting Legacy Modernization

Contributed by Ed Webb

"A 2016 study by Gartner estimated that 70 percent of an IT budget is dedicated to just running the business. This includes operational expenses of maintaining the existing IT systems with no new business services. Companies are being driven by competition to innovate and provide differentiating business services, but have little of the IT budget left. As systems age, they become more brittle and the cost of running the business increases as a percentage of the IT budget. "

See Michael Benson's article in Enterprise Tech Journal 2022 Issue 1 for four methods to deal with the modernization challenge.


A New Pandemic?

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Are you sweating when you put gasoline in your car? 
Are you feeling sick when you’re paying for the gasoline?
Then you have the new virus that’s going around....
CAROWNERVIRUS!!   (car-owner-virus)  

Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

Praise loudly; criticize quietly.
The only people who really listen to both sides of the argument are the neighbors.
It's not the load that breaks you down – it's the way you carry it.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, April 5.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


z/OS Security Vulnerabilities and Solutions

Speaker: Cynthia and Ray Overby of KRI Security

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


March 2022 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: ShadowDisk/Z

by Roger Williams, CTO, Virtual Software Systems, Inc.

• Agenda
- Customer Benefits
- About us
- Installation
- Commands
- System Requirements
- Product Configuration and Specs
- Product Licensing

• Customer Benefits
-1. Implements database technology which virtualizes all data processing performed by the Linux image. A single Linux base image can be shared among multiple users.
-2. Supports:
- - multi-level (concatenated) SDISK databases
- - Booting SDISK databases without an underlying base FS (NOBASE option).
-3. Is transparent to guest virtual machines

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Customer Benefits
- Significantly reduces test/developer hardware and management requirements for the support of multiple- user Linux application testing environments
- Provides developers with freedom and flexibility in testing scenarios.
- Databases (and hence work) can be shared among multiple users.
- Utilities provided to query, backup, and restore ShadowDisk/Z databases.
- Provides for the creation of databases which do not require a base FS (NOBASE option).

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - System Requirements
- Z/VM 6.4 or higher
- 200 3390 Cyls or equivalent for Install disk
- 10 3390 Cyls or equivalent VSSI CP PARM disk
- Sufficient disk storage to hold user ShadowDisk/Z databases (ECKD or FBA)

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - I/O Processing Flow
- Linux + Apps
- - Block Reads
- - - z/VM
- - Block Writes
- - - z/VM
- VSSI CP Code
- - Block Reads
- - - ShadowDisk/Z Database
- - Block Writes
- - - ShadowDisk/Z Database
- Linux Base File System
- - Block Reads
NOTE: Base Linux file system is never modified!

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Installation
- Download packages and license from the VSSI FTP site
- Add disk owner and MDISK definitions to site z/VM directory
- Determine current/projected SES PPF environment
- Install via the VSPKG exec, which prompts the user for installation parameters, then invokes the build execs
- Build CP NUC and PARM disk files via VSSI execs
- Reboot and test!

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Installation Scenario 3270 Screens (screens not copied)
- 1. User invokes VSPKG exec.
- 2. VSPKG prompts user for site parameters.
- 3. After all prompts satisfied,
- 4. Installation begins…
- 5. … until all assemblies completed.
- 6. User invokes VSBLDNUC to build CPNUCwith VSSI modifications.
- 7. VSCOPY command (not shown) builds VSSITXTLIB and configuration files, then copies objects to appropriate CPPARM disks.

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Scenario Summary
- Product Configuration
- - Build SDISK Configuration Files
- - Format SDISK database MDISKs
- - Issue SDINIT command to initialize configuration
- - User issues SDOPEN to connect to the specified DB
- - Run/test configuration
- Product Configuration Specs
- - Each SDISK database is open in WRITE mode to the specified user instance
- - Users can configure multiple concatenated SDISK databases to be accessed at SDOPEN time (primary DB is R/W; secondary DBs are R/O)
- - Database usage permissions (R/W, R/O, etc) can be assigned to the user population by user name prefix or CP directory class (default permissions apply to all unless overridden via prefix or class)

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Usage Scenario (1 of2)
- CONFIG Filename
- - Statement(s)
- - - Usage
- - - Specifies that all users with prefix VSSIVP5 (VSSIVP51, 52, 5A, etc.) will use the database configuration specified by SDCFGU5 SDCONFIG below.
- - - Specifies that the ShadowDisk/Z database consists of from 1 to 16 MDISKs, starting at virtual address F500. A base Linux file system exists, and is defined in LNX1 SDDEVICE below.
- - DEVTBL100-10F LNX001
- - - Specifies a base Linux file system of 16 MDISKs at virtual addresses 100 thru 10F (linked R/O by all users), as well as the track format table describing the disk geometry. Multiple DEVTBL statements can be specified.
- - (binary)
- - - Block geometry data generated by the SDBLDFMT command against the base disk(s).

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Usage Scenario (2 of 2)
- 1. Logon as VSSIVP51
- 2. The DBTEST exec (in-house):
- - Links Linux base system disks as virtual addresses 100-10F (R/O)
- - Links SDISK database disks as virtual addresses F500-F503 (R/W)
- 3. User boots Linux (vdev 100)

• ShadowDisk/Z Product Summary - Command Examples
- SDINIT - Initializes or reinitializes system defaults
- SDOPEN - Opens SDISK database
- SDCLOSE - Closes (releases) a SDISK database
- SDADD - Adds minidisks to a SDISK database
- SDIPL - Performs a CP IPL
- SDLINK - Links minidisks from the pool
- SDQUERY - Display Database Information
- SDSET - Set various parameters
- SDUTIL - Copy/move/print/delete database records
- SDBKUP - Backup a SDISKDB to tape media (logical backup)
- SDREST - Restore a SDISKDB from tape media (logical restore)
- SDUNLOAD - Backup a SDISKDB to tape media (logical backup)
- SDLOAD - Restore a SDISKDB from tape media (logical restore)

• Virtual Software Systems, Inc (VSSI) - About us
- Established in 1982
- Located in Gainesville, GA (USA)
- Customer base is typically Fortune 100
- Established solid reputation for product support
- Support cost included in yearly license cost
- Support requests handled via
- - toll –free (855-411-VSSI)
- - local number (770-781-3200)
- - and email (

• Summary / Q and A

The virtual presentation and demonstration ended at about 8:00 PM.