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March 2024

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

This month, we will again be holding our SPARTA meetings via Zoom format.

For our March meeting, join us for a presentation from Lionel Dyck, a long-time SHARE member and IBM Z Champion. Invite your fellow systems programmers to join us for this informative and interesting virtual meeting.

We hope to see you online on Tuesday, March 12, on Zoom. Watch for meeting information coming your way soon.

Randy Springs
Retired (Truist)

Future Speakers (subject to change)

March 12, 2024 (Special Date) - z/OS DSFS and Other Goodies by Lionel Dyck, an IBM Z Champion

April 2, 2024 - SHARE 2024 Orlando 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.

2023-2024 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

December 2023 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V506 (dated December 5, 2023) 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 6, 2024 Meeting

• The February 6, 2024 meeting was canceled because of speaker issues.

• The December 5, 2023 meeting was called to order at 3:05 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• This Thirty-Ninth (April 2020 to December 2023) virtual SPARTA meeting was held via the Zoom Software.

• Five (5) people were present at the virtual meeting.

• The business portion of the meeting followed the presentation.

• The meeting started at the 7 PM time to accommodate the speaker's availability.


• The minutes of the October 3, 2023 meeting as published in the November 2023 Newsletter were approved (there was no November meeting).

• The October 31, 2023 Treasurer's report as published in the November 2023 Newsletter was approved (there was no November meeting). As of October 31, 2023, the current balance is $805.46.

• 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.

• 2024 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





March 12, 2024




Other dates




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, March 12, 2023.

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

• Thanks to Randy Springs for online hosting the December 5 meeting via Zoom.

• There are currently about 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.
- Randy will contact Bill Johnson to determine the LabCorp meeting place status.
- Jay Hall will look into using a NCSU Centennial Campus room.


• There was significant discussion about how to increase attendance at SPARTA meetings. After discussing ending SPARTA given lack of participation, the attendees decided to keep trying for another six months.

• We will continue meeting virtually for now with a future in-person meeting date TBD. Stay tuned.
• A board of directors meeting was scheduled for January 9 to follow-up on December's discussion.
• The Business portion and the meeting ended about 4:05 P.M.

• The Presentation started at 7:05 PM after “Around-The-Table” brief introductions.

• Presentation Topic: SHARE 2023 New Orleans (142), August 13-18, 2023

by Ed Webb of SPARTA (retired from SAS Institute Inc.)

• Agenda

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

See the SPARTA webpage for all recent presentations including this October one with additional Notes.

Contact Info:
Speaker: Ed Webb
Retired z/OS Senior Systems Programmer

• The December 5, 2024 monthly meeting ended about 8:45 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for February 2024

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $805.46 as of February 29, 2024.

SPARTA Financial Report
02/01/2024 through 02/29/2024


Opening Balance 02/1/2024


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2024

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Mar 12, 2024 Subs (changed from March 5 as SHARE is March 3-7)
Apr 2, 2024 BarBQ
May 7, 2024 Pizza
June 4, 2024 Chicken
July 9, 2024 Subs (July 4 holiday falls in the first meeting week date)
Aug 13, 2024 BarBQ (changed from August 6 as SHARE is August 4-8)
Sept 10, 2024 Pizza (Labor Day holiday is in the first Tuesday meeting week)
Oct 1, 2024 Chicken
Nov 5, 2024 Subs
Dec 3, 2024 BarBQ

1Q 2024 enhancements have been delivered for z/OS 3.1

contributed By Ed Webb

z/OS System Programmers will benefit from enhancements that allow for new management abilities to be performed via modern and consistent graphical interfaces and tooling, designed to reduce the manual steps and skills required to perform z/OS management tasks.

z/OSMF Desktop support. Remote system support has been added so that z/OSMF users can perform data set and z/OS Unix file actions on a remote system in a different sysplex, which helps facilitate cross-sysplex management from a single location z/OSMF Feedback Collection enhancement. z/OSMF can now gather certain system operational usage information to be stored and used for reporting purposes by users.

Parmlib Syntax Validation REST APIs. A new REST API has been delivered, designed to help simplify the management of parmlibs by driving automatic and consistent syntax validation of many z/OS parmlib members.

Resource Management Facility (RMF) enhancements. Support has been added for WLM AI Initiator and Implicit CPU protection reports, as well as support for the RMF Grafana plugin so users can effectively explore and analyze RMF Monitor III metrics.

Security engineers, architects, and evidence providers can find value in the following enhancements that are designed to expand data set encryption support, simplify compliance collection abilities, and strengthen authentication & authorization capabilities:

z/OS Encryption Readiness Technology (zERT) enhancements. Support has been added to recognize and report new SSH cryptographic attributes.

Integrated Cryptographic Service Facility (ICSF) enhancements. Support has been added for CCA 8.2, including updated CRYSTALS-Kyber keys for key exchange mechanisms and new services in support of DK banking initiative. ICSF will also now exploit an EP11 Crypto Express Coprocessor (CEXxP) running in new FIPS compliance modes.

New z/OS UNIX callable service. Support has been added to authenticate application users using identity tokens. Thread-safe zlib compression. Support has been added for a thread-safe way to set compression implementation for multi-threads scenarios.

z/OS infrastructure architects and storage administrators can utilize the following enhancements that are designed to better manage the growth of data and eliminate impactful data constraints and complexities:

EzNoSQL enhancements. Support has been added to scan NoSQL documents sequentially using a new ordered index parameter.

Data Set File System enhancements. Support has been added to store data set attributes as extended attributes and allow access to JES spool via DSFS.

zFS Health Check and Conversion utility. Two new zFS health checks now support the ability to tune and configure z/OS UNIX file systems to prevent outages and failures.

Cloud Data Access (CDA) enhancements. z/OS 2.5 applications can target Microsoft Azure Blob Storage and File Service objects.

DFSMShsm Incremental UNIX file backup. A new option, -i, has been added to the Java hbackup command to allow clients to specify which DFSMShsm host in a multiple address space HSM (MASH) environment to direct the request to. This enables clients to distribute the workload among multiple DFSMShsm hosts."

Check out the details for each item at this IBM Community blog entry.

Coordinating z/OS ServerPac and Upgrade Workflows

Contributed by Ed Webb

Marna Walle of IBM replied to a recent question in the z/OSMF IBM Community about z/OS ServerPac and Upgrade Workflows coordination.

"I realized that we haven't got good documentation on when you use the z/OS Upgrade Workflow in conjunction with the z/OSMF ServerPac workflows.
The recommended order of events would be:
1 z/OS Upgrade Workflow, steps in the beginning in the category of "before install", which you can do on your v2.4 or v2.5 system now.
2 The Serverpac PostDeploy workflow
3 The z/OS Upgrade Workflow, steps in the category of "before first IPL".
5 The Serverpac Verify workflow.
6 The z/OS Upgrade Workflow, steps in the category of "post first IPL.

I'll be working on making this clearer in our documentation."

Join the discussions about z/OSMF in this IBM z/OSMF Group in the IBM Z and LinuxOne Community.

IBM AI Academy and Learning Sessions

Contributed by Chris Blackshire

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Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to.
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.

An intelligent man knows everything; a shrewd man knows everybody.
You must have long-range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short-range failures.
He who has no money is poor. He who has nothing but money is even poorer.

It's A Pun-y World!

contributed by Ed Webb

If money doesn't grow on trees...then why do banks have branches?

My wife says she has 14 reasons why she could leave me, including my obsession with tennis...I told her that's 15 love 

I accidentally ate invisible I'm in the hospital waiting to be seen

Tomorrow my son and I are getting new glasses...after that...we'll see

I ate a kids meal at McDonald's yesterday...his mom got really angry

My doctor said my DNA is backwards.. and I said...AND

My wife and I were having a huge argument about whose turn it was to do the laundry....
Finally..I threw in the towel. 

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, March 12, 2024 (Special Date)

Time: 3 p.m.

Location: Online

Information about access to our online meeting will be sent to our e-mail list by Tuesday, March 12.

Free Food before meeting: Your Food at Your Home


z/OS Data Set File System and other Goodies


Lionel Dyck, a long-time SHARE member and IBM Z Champion

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


No February 2024 Presentation outline

• Presentation Topic: SHARE 2023 New Orleans (142), August 13-18, 2023

by Ed Webb of SPARTA (retired from SAS Institute Inc.)

• Agenda

• Next SHARE is in Orlando, Florida on March 3-7, 2024

The presentation ended about 8:40 and the meeting ended at 8:45 PM after a short business meeting.