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February 2023

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Well, 2023 is moving along quickly – already February! When we meet this month, it will be interesting to find out how many have returned to working in formal office settings and who is still working from home. As I drive around during the work day, I still see many office buildings with half-empty parking lots. Maybe that will change when warmer weather arrives soon.

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format. With the removal of mask mandates in NC, we can consider going back to our in-person meetings if we can find an appropriate venue. Let us know if you have any suggestions for a meeting location.

For our February meeting, join us for a presentation from Glennon Bagsby of NewEra Software, who will discuss Zero Trust Architecture for the mainframe. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for networking and information.

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

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

February 7, 2023 - Zero Trust Architecture by Glennon Bagsby of NewEra Software

March 7, 2023 - TBA

April 4, 2023 - SHARE 2023 Atlanta by Ed Webb

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.

2022-2023 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 distribution List is maintained by Chris Blackshire; if you have corrections or problems receiving your meeting notice, contact Chris at

August 2022 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V504 (dated August 16, 2022) 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 December 6, 2022 Meeting

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

• This Thirtieth (April 2020 to December 2022) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Eight (8) 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 November 1, 2022 cancelled meeting as published in the December 2022 Newsletter were approved.

• The November 30, 2022 Treasurer's report (there was No Activity in November) as published in the December 2022 Newsletter was approved. As of November 30, 2022, the current balance was $994.51.

• 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 at 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.

• 2023 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





February 7, 2023

NewERA Software

Glennon Bagsby

A Practical Approach to Zero Trust Architecture

March 7, 2023




April 4, 2023

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update Atlanta, GA
Mar 5-8, 2023

May 2, 2023




June 6, 2023




July 11, 2023




August 1, 2023




September 12, 2023

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE Update New Orleans, LA
Aug 13-18, 2023

October 3, 2023




November 7, 2023




December 5, 2023




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, February 7, 2023.

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

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the December 6 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently 100 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.

• Randy Springs has setup a SPARTA group on LinkedIn. Please join.

• There was discussion about a possible 2023 in person meeting, depending on vaccinations and room availability. Stay tuned.
- LabCorp Future Meeting Place: No update from Bill Johnson.


• We will continue meeting virtually for now with a future in-person meeting date TBD. Stay tuned.
• Randy will contact Bill Johnson to determine the LabCorp meeting place status.
• The Business portion of the meeting and the meeting itself ended about 8:25 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 7:15 PM.

• Presentation Topic: Introducing IBM z/OS Change Tracker for z/OS 2.5

by Chris Taylor, Technical Sales Executive, of 21st Century Software
and by Marna Walle, z/OS System Installation and Upgrade, z/OS Development, IBM (not at this meeting)

• Agenda
Overview of IBM z/OS Change Tracker
Monitoring and protecting
Setting up IBM z/OS Change Tracker

Note: IBM z/OS Change Tracker was Generally Available May 13, 2022

The online presentation ended at about 8:15 PM.

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

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this one.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Chris Taylor
Technical Sales Executive
21st Century Software, Inc. in Wayne, Pennsylvania 19087, USA Email:
Toll free: (800) 555-6845 | Main number: (610) 971-9946 | Cell: (760) 413-8961
LinkedIn: ct92201
Twitter: @chrtay1

Also: Marna Walle
z/OS System Installation and Upgrade
z/OS Development
IBM Poughkeepsie, New York USA
LinkedIn: MarnaWalle
Blog: Marna’s Musings
Podcast with Martin Packer:

• The December 6, 2022 monthly meeting ended about 8:30 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for January 2023

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $994.51 as of January 31, 2023.

SPARTA Financial Report
12/01/2022 through 01/31/2023


Opening Balance 12/1/2022


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2023

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Jan 3, 2023 - No meeting!
Feb 7, 2023 - Chicken
Mar 7, 2023 - Subs
Apr 4, 2023 - BarBQ
May 2, 2023 - Pizza
June 6, 2023 - Chicken
July 11, 2023 - Subs (July 4 holiday falls on the first Tuesday meeting date)
Aug 1, 2023 - BarBQ
Sept 12, 2023 - Pizza (Labor Day holiday is Monday Sept 4)
Oct 3, 2023 - Chicken
Nov 7, 2023 - Subs
Dec 5, 2023 - BarBQ

Watch SHARE 2023 Atlanta via the Virtual Access Pass!

contributed By Ed Webb

If you missed the Early Registration deadline of Friday, January 6, 2023 for this in-person short-week SHARE Conference and missed the hotel cut-off date for reservations of Friday, February 3, 2023, then you can still participate via livestream and later accompanying recordings.

"We'll miss seeing you in person, but you don't have to miss this SHARE event! We offer a Virtual Access Pass for SHARE Atlanta. This Pass provides those who are unable to travel the opportunity to livestream select technical sessions and access to the accompanying recordings. To see the sessions included in the Virtual Access Pass, visit the Technical Agenda and use the filter option in the corner and select "live-stream."

And yes, you can still attend in person. See more about Registration and Travel at SHARE Atlanta.

IBM Reliability plus Agile Methodology = Competitive Advantage

contributed By Ed Webb

" 1993, the pundits had announced, "the mainframe is dead." IBM had lost its allure and was on the brink of collapse. In Gerstner's popular book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?, he explains how he pulled IBM and the mainframe business out of the fire. Is the mainframe once again on its way to another crash landing? It might be, but there is hope.

Results show that applying Agile into the mainframe environment is the newer version of making elephants dance. It's complicated. No one doubts that the IBM mainframe excels at high-speed transaction processing across industries like banking, retail, government and (invisibly, but powerfully) many more, including mobile applications. According to, 92 of the world's top 100 banks use the IBM Z mainframe, 23 of the top U.S. retailers and nine out of 10 of the world's largest insurance companies run IBM Z mainframes. Updated mainframes across the e-business terrain are reliable and scalable. And sluggish when it comes to change."

Read the complete article by Sunil Tanuku in Enterprise Executive : 2022: Issue 6.

IBM Electronic Support Plans Changes to Its Gateway Servers IP Addresses

Contributed by Ed Webb

On January 27, 2023, IBM announced changes to some of its Support Servers, planned for 2Q 2023.

"IP addresses for IBM Electronic support gateway servers and will be changing in 2023 due to server migration to the Cloud."

You may or may not have to make changes. Look especially at openings in firewalls for these servers. The host names will be aliased to new names so you may not have to make changes right away. More details are provided at this webpage.


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.
If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

7 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, February 7.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


A Practical Approach to Zero Trust Architecture


Glennon Bagsby of NewEra Software

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


December 2022 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: Introducing IBM z/OS Change Tracker for z/OS 2.5

by Chris Taylor, Technical Sales Executive, of 21st Century Software
by Marna Walle, z/OS System Installation and Upgrade, z/OS Development, IBM

• Agenda
Overview of IBM z/OS Change Tracker
Monitoring and protecting
Setting up IBM z/OS Change Tracker

Note: IBM z/OS Change Tracker was Generally Available May 13, 2022

As IBM continues to provide a suite of robust tools to help system programmers manage z/OS, IBM has added a new priced feature to 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 intended for the z/OS systems programmer.

IBM z/OS Change Tracker
- The Problem
- - What challenges is the customer facing?
Customers have no auditable tracking mechanism to know when changes are made to critical z/OS system, ISV software or application libraries, putting them at risk for application failures, or in worst case, a system outage. System changes can be performed by authorized users, intentionally or not, at any time and may or may not be logged.
- Personas
- - Who are the primary stakeholders?
z/OS System Programmer – “I need to have a consistent way to monitor who’s making changes to libraries, and when, in case we have a problem, I also need to provide a means for back-out for all the products I’m managing”
Risk and Compliance – “I need to provide the auditors with proof that we’re only allowing authorized users to change critical libraries in our environments, and that any changes are tracked”
- Customer Value
- How does the solution solve the problem?
Real-time, system-wide change tracking and control for systems libraries
Member-level recovery of real-time changes
Fingerprinted members provide integrity verification for changes
- Compliance and Audit-ability
- - Addresses regulations and industry standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley, COBIT, ISO, and ITIL
- - Provides regulatory compliance by automatically creating member backups when protected libraries are updated
- - Changes at the member level are recorded for auditing purposes

Why IBM z/OS Change Tracker?
- To create a more secured z/OS and resilient IT environment
- To bring an automated process and transparency to system software change control and management (z/OS, IMS, Db2, CICS and vendors’ software) in SYSPLEX environments
- To reduce the costs and complexities of meeting auditing and compliance requirements by providing a process and a control structure
- To improve quality and reliability by quickly ascertaining what has changed in software environments, and to reduce system or application outages
- To create an environment that promotes software integrity, added security, and reliability

Top uses of IBM z/OS Change Tracker
- Change tracking and control for systems libraries
- Member-level recovery of real-time changes
- On-line documentation of changed members at the time of edit/save
- Exclusive member-level ownership, and source library management
- Detect system-wide changes for z/OS and USS environments
- Local or remote compare of software environments (z/OS and USS)
- Regularly validate DR software with the production software
- Rollback capabilities to undo the effect of unplanned/undesired changes
- Provide auditable evidence for compliance

IBM z/OS Change Tracker
IBM z/OS Change Tracker is a change management tool for tracking, controlling, and managing changes in software, intending to enhance the security, resiliency, and compliance of z/OS operating environments.
- Key Features
- - Automatic, real-time monitoring of change activities
- - Limits library changes to select user groups
- - Establishes base versions for protected library members and automatically generates member versions as users introduce changes
- Detection and recording of key elements of changes:
- - Who made the change?
- - What was changed? (Compares multiple environments for configuration and/or content changes)
- - How was the change made? (With what utility?)
- - When was the change made?
- - Why was the change made? (Enforces change documentation)
- Automated member-level backup for protected resources
- - Member-level recoverability with a view of previous member versions and their changes

IBM z/OS Change Tracker core functions
- Comprehensive software configuration management (SCM) tool for tracking, controlling, and managing changes in software
- IBM z/OS Change Tracker
- - Protection, Security Integrity
- - Recovery, Resilience
- - Fingerprint/ Tokenization, Compare software across z/OS environments
- - Audit, Control

Fundamental capabilities:
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Multiple Sysplex configuration
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Protect critical system libraries
- PROTECT your critical system libraries to achieve audit-ability, version control, and exclusive component ownership.
- Set ON or OFF via Job
- - LOCK=YES or NO
- Protect, Source, Load, JCL

Fingerprint your software environment
- The powerful z/OS Change Tracker fingerprint technology establishes “content” reference tokens for files
- A token represents the content of a file: PS or DA files, members of a PDS or PDS/E, files in USS, or zFS paths
- Tokens are stored in the z/OS Change Tracker Control File, or optionally to an external file
- Prior to change, snapshot your software environments of any size and configuration to establish the reference tokens
- Use the z/OS Change Tracker MODS identification function to automatically identify and report on the changed components

z/OS Change Tracker high-level compare (local/remote)
- High-level compare of two libraries, two groups of libraries, two DASD volumes, or two groups of DASD volumes (local or remote)
- Missing data sets
- Member-level report: SAME, DIFF, MATCH, MISMATCH and MODS
- High-level Compare, DIFFERENCE A, DIFFERENCE B PDS1 or PDS2

• Monitoring and protecting
- 24/7 Real-time monitoring
- - Automatic backups whenever a monitored PDS member is changed
- - Optional e-mail notification
- Protect critical libraries
- - Locked members cannot be changed without permission granted by administrator
- Member-level management
- - Administrator can grant/revoke update access of members to specific users
- - PDS and PDSE member-level management

IBM z/OS Change TrackerNo data sets protected
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Protection added to key data sets
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Protecting a resource using ISPF
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Quick view icons for:
- Locked
- Notification
- Initialize a backup version
- Quick mode: do not save PDS member content
- Alert

IBM z/OS Change Tracker Editing a member in a protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Editing a protected member
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Editing a member in a locked protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Add members to protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Delete member from protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Add/delete/rename members in protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Batch updates to protected data set
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Check out process for locked protected data sets
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- The Check out process allows the Administrator to assign access to a user or group for a protected and locked resource.
- This is usually performed on the member level or on a list of members.
- Comments can also be added to explain the reason for the Check out.

IBM z/OS Change Tracker Accessing checked out members
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- Members in monitored data sets can be restored to previous versions.
- Backed up versions can be viewed and compared side-by-side to review changes before restoring.

IBM z/OS Change Tracker Backup recovery
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Recovery
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Real-life example
- PARMLIB subsystem initialization member was being shared between Prod and Test environments.
- Change was made to the initialization for Test, and the Production environment failed to come up.
- A backup copy of the data set and member were eventually found at a remote site location
- - This took a number of hours to find.
- IBM z/OS Change Tracker could have restored to the previous version within minutes.
- It can be used for key system components, not just IBM z/OS products.
- - ISV products libraries can also be protected.

Action icons for:
- Compare
- Recover


Auditing activities
- Out-of-the-box audit reports of monitored datasets.
- List all changes to specified library, member, or name pattern
- Filtering options:
- - Date and time range
- - Member-level of dataset-level
- - Specific libraries or all protected libraries

IBM z/OS Change Tracker Auditing change activities in a protected data set
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• IBM z/OS Change TrackerShowing changes in protected data sets (Batch)
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What are IBM z/OS Change Tracker snapshots*?
- Snapshots are collections of data sets
- - From a single file to an entire DASD volume
- Each member of each data set in the snapshot is fingerprinted when the snapshot is created.
- Snapshots can be compared against a live system, or against each other.
- Very high-speed comparison for large collections of data
- - Provides information on what, how and when modifications have been made
- - At the dataset-level and the member-level

IBM z/OS Change Tracker Snapshots/Fingerprinting/Tokenizing data sets
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Fingerprinting/Tokenizing data sets
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Setting up IBM z/OS Change Tracker:
- Workflow examples
- Security settings

z/OSMF configuration workflow
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z/OSMF Security Configuration Assistant
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IBM z/OS Change Tracker Roles
- Administrator (FACILITY class profile CYG.ADMIN)
- - Identifies which resources to monitor, with desired attributes (number of versions, if comments must be provided, ...)
- - Locks data sets from updating
- - Can authorize users to edit data set members by checking them out and checking back in after completion
- - Control over IBM z/OS Change Tracker configuration
- User
- - Users can edit and view data sets, with comments.
- Auditor (FACILITY class profile CYG.AUDIT)
- - View access to change information of a monitored resource
Ability to change or view a data set still is ultimately determined by your External Security Manager (for example, RACF)!

- IBM z/OS Change Tracker
- - New z/OS V2.5 priced feature, as of May 13, 2022
- - z/OSMF interface is planned
- - Types of users: Administrator, User, and Auditor
- Monitoring and protecting
- - Administrator can set up monitoring and protecting, lock a data set for check out and check back in.
- - Users can update and view data sets (as the External Security Manager permits).
- - Auditors can only look at monitor information
- Recovery
- - Simple and intuitive comparison, allowing replacement from a version’d monitored resourced
- Audit
- - Fast easy interface for seeing what has changed
- Snapshots
- - Compare a data set member or large amounts of data on entire volume very quickly

The presentation ended at about 8:15 PM.