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June 2019

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

June is a strange month for sports. The NBA finals go on forever, college baseball is still going on weeks after graduations, and even after the Major League Baseball draft, and we are still waiting for the NBA draft later this month. But it’s been too hot for yard work, so we take what we can get on TV. Anyone up for a Durham Bulls outing?

Our speaker this month will be Chris Meyer, a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM, with a presentation on z/OS network security. Join us to learn more about this hot topic as we continue our efforts to keep our data (internal and customer data) secure as it crosses many lines of network traffic to and from the mainframe.

Your SPARTA group still needs a volunteer to replace Pam Tant as treasurer. This position would involve about two hours per month. Please consider serving and talk to me about the position.

Please plan to join your colleagues for chicken, networking, and education on Tuesday, June 4 at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

June 4, 2019 - z/OS Network Security by Chris Meyers of IBM

July 9, 2019 - TBD

August 6, 2019 - TBD

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.

2018-2019 SPARTA

Board of Directors

Randy Springs - President

BB&T                  (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

SAS Institute Inc.  919-531-4162

SAS Campus Drive

Cary, NC 27513

Mike Lockey -  Web Master

Guilford Co. Information Services  336-641-6235

201 N. Eugene St.

Greensboro, NC 27401


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

April 2019 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V497 (dated April 29, 2019) are available from

If you need help obtaining one or more files, contact Ed Webb at SAS (see Board of Director’s list for contact info).

Minutes of the May 7, 2019 Meeting

• The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President.

• The meeting was held at a LabCorp conference room in RTP, N.C.

• Thirteen (13) people were present.

• Everyone introduced themselves, told where they worked, and briefly described their job functions or their job hunting challenges.


• The minutes of the April 2, 2019 meeting as published in the May 2019 Newsletter were approved.

• The April 30, 2019 Treasurer's report was approved as published in the May 2019 Newsletter. As of 04/30/2019, the current balance was $1,165.70.

• 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.

• Randy reminded everyone to leave the LabCorp conference room clean.

• 2019 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





June 4, 2019


Chris Meyer

z/OS Network Security

July 9, 2019




August 6, 2019




September 10, 2019



SHARE 133 Update
Pittsburgh, Aug 4-9, 2019

October 1, 2019




November 5, 2019




December 3, 2019




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at Labcorp in RTP.

• Food for the June 4 meeting will be Chicken.

• The 2019 membership fee is due ($30) starting in February 2019. Please pay Randy Springs.

• Thanks to LabCorp and Bill Johnson for hosting the meeting.

• There are currently 92 people on the SPARTA-RTP e-mail list.

• Send any e-mail address changes to Chris Blackshire so he can update the SPARTA-RTP Listserv. You will be added by the moderator (Chris = sending you an invitation to Join the list.

• No update from Chris on the process of putting a package together for Brad Carson, Tommy Thomas, and John Bryan's SPARTA contributions and death information on the web page under a new Emeritus section.

• No update from Randy Springs on the SPARTA website connection to LinkedIn.

• No update about whether SPARTA needs to change the website to HTTPS access.

• Randy Springs is looking for a new Treasurer volunteer. He projects about 2 hours per month is needed.

- The treasurer position duties are:
- - Collect dues and pay expenses at each monthly meeting.
- - Deposit income at the BB&T bank monthly.
- - Make an updated monthly excel income-expense list for the monthly newsletter.
- - Give a Treasurer report at each meeting.
- - One Time: Be added to the checking account authorization.
- Contact Randy Springs if you are interested.

• LabCorp Meeting Place Update from Bill Johnson: move dates are undetermined.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 7:45 PM.

Presentation Topic: z/OS API’s In Action: Several User Success Stories

By Glenn Schneck of GTSoftware

• IBM Mainframes Retain the System of Record
• What is an API?
• Today’s Business Needs
• APIs are building blocks
• The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
• GT Ivory Service Architect
• Legacy Application Complexities
• GT Ivory Example Industries
• What Have Customers Asked For…
• GT Software Inc
• A live Demonstration of GT Ivory

IBM Mainframes Retain the System of Record
- IMS Systems for Banks (ATM, loans, account management)
- IMS Systems for Insurance (Claims and policy management)
- Mainframe Systems for Manufacturing
- Mainframe Systems for Finance Mainframe Systems for Medical
- Mainframe Systems for Airline

What is an API?

 - Wikipedia: Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software. In general terms, it is a set of clearly defined methods of communication between various software components. A good API makes it easier to develop a computer program by providing all the building blocks, which are then put together by the programmer.
- Popular API Protocols
- - REST (REpresentational State Transfer)
- - SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
- Atomic API or Microservice
- - Think of an API like a menu in a restaurant. The menu provides a list of dishes you can order, along with a description of each dish. When you specify what menu items you want, the restaurant’s kitchen does the work and provides you with some finished dishes. You don’t know exactly how the restaurant prepares that food, and you don’t really need to.
- Composite API or Business Service
- - You have now ordered your dinner as single APIs, however you want your order to come out together. For that to happen the kitchen and/or the waiter will need to collect the output from the single APIs and combine them into one complete order. This allows all of your order to arrive at the same time with only 1 trip required to/from the kitchen.

Today’s Business Needs
- Build and deploy API’s rapidly
- Web self-service, mobile/cloud, BYOD
- Real-time access to enterprise data residing on any platform
- Integrated views of related information
- Customer and business focused IT
- Industry standards
- Integration between mainframe and distributed systems

APIs are building blocks
- Lessons Learned, War Stories, Successes
- “It is fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” - Bill Gates

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
- COBOL and PL/1
- CICS or IMS Transactions
- CICS and/or IMS Transactions Combined
- IMS Conversational
- IMS Multi-Segment Messages

GT Ivory Service Architect
- Intelligent Composite API:
- - Multiple transactions
- - Multiple data sources
- - External web services and APIs
- - Conditional Logic
- - Error handling
- - Governance and security
- - Drag-and-drop (no coding) SDK
- - Shared ‘business’ APIs across consumers
- - No ‘low level’ coding and management of mainframe connectors
- - Easy, fast, and agile development

Legacy Application Complexities
- Multiple copybooks
- Multiple paths
- Conversational
- Multiple code design patterns
- Embedded screen logic

GT Ivory Example Industries
- At One of the World’s Largest Airlines
- - SCEPTRE stands for System Computerized for Economical Performance, Tracking, Recording, and Evaluation (airline technology)
- - 130 IT applications supporting one of the largest airlines in the world
- - Mechanics, supply chain, engineering, purchasing, planning
- - Maintenance performed worldwide
- - Over 10,000 Aircraft Maintenance Technicians
- Financial
- - Approx. 2,000,000 to 2,400,000 web service calls day (inbound)
- - - At peak hour ( eg. 10-11am ) we have up to 280,000 web service calls
- - - At peak minute we have up 6,400 web service calls
- - - At peak seconds we have up to 135 web service calls
- - Approx. 700,000 to 1,000,000 callable service calls day (Outbound)
- - - At peak hour ( eg. 10-11am ) we have up to 100,000 callable calls
- - - At peak minute we have up 2,000 callable calls
- - - At peak seconds we have up to 45 callable calls
- Insurance Company
- - Mid-size Property and Casualty insurer
- - Headquartered in the Midwest for 115 years
- - 2400+ Employees
- - Processes about 10 million transactions weekly
- Leading Aptitude Testing Company
- - U.S headquartered, non-profit assessment vendor
- - Develop and administer 50 million aptitude tests annually
- - 180 countries — 9,000 locations

What Have Customers Asked For…
- JWT (JSON Web Token)
- - Callable (Outbound) Services
- Calling out to distributed Clients (with orchestration)
- API Repositories (which one)
- DevOps
- DB2
- Security
- API Management
- Ivory API Orchestration… No Coding!!!

GT Software Inc
- Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia
- More than 35 years of market leadership
- Focused on real-time mainframe integration for strategic business initiatives
- Broad experience across all mainframe and distributed environments
- Worldwide cross-industry customers and strategic partnerships
- GTSoftware

A live Demonstration of GT Ivory Followed

• Presentation Access - See the SPARTA webpage for the complete presentation.

Contact Info:
Glenn Schneck, Principal Technical Architect
Phone: (404) 253-1300 X 2403
Fax: (404) 253-1314
Mobile: (321) 439-4531

• The May 7, 2019 monthly meeting ended about 8:55 PM.

Treasurer’s Report for May 2019

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1170.28 as of May 31, 2019.

SPARTA Financial Report
05/01/2019 through 05/31/2019


Opening Balance 5/1/2019


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand 




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2019

contributed by Chris Blackshire

June 4, 2019 - Chicken
July 9, 2019 - Subs (changed because of July 4 holiday in previous week)
August 6, 2019 - BarBQ
September 10, 2019 - Pizza (changed because of Labor Day holiday in previous week)
October 1, 2019 - Chicken
November 5, 2019 - Subs
December 3, 2019 - BarBQ

SHARE Pittsburgh Discounted Registration Ends June 21

Contributed By Ed Webb

Registration, Agenda and Hotels are available for SHARE Summer 2019 in Pittsburgh, PA on August 4-9. Start finalizing approvals and book your room now. Early discounted Registration ends June 21.

And be prepared to participate at SHARE in 2020 at one of these announced venues:

SHARE Winter 2020:  Ft. Worth, Texas  February 23-28
SHARE Summer 2020: Boston, MA  August 2-7

You can always see the future SHARE schedule here.

Tailored Fit Pricing for Z Available June 21, 2019

Contributed By Ed Webb

IBM has introduced Tailored Fit Pricing which can be used starting June 21, 2019.

"Tailored Fit Pricing for IBM Z® is a transformational pricing option for IBM Z software. It offers simple, transparent, and predictable pricing for IBM Z software running on the z/OS® platform within a given country.

Tailored Fit Pricing introduces two comprehensive alternatives to the Rolling 4 Hour Average (R4HA)-based pricing model, for both new and existing workloads:

• The Enterprise Consumption Solution is a tailored consumption-based licensing model.
• The Enterprise Capacity Solution is a tailored full-capacity licensing model.

Both models dramatically simplify the existing pricing landscape, delivering flexible deployment options that are tailored to reflect the client's individual environments.

Both models include additional capacity for development and test environments as well as reduced pricing for all types of workload growth. "

These options sound like a good alternative to the current R4HR-based models. but the devil is in the details here in IBM Announcement ENUS219-014.

Barry Merrill on SAS, MXG and His Button Collection

Contributed By Ed Webb

In the May issue of IBM Systems Magazine, "Reg Harbeck talks with Barry Merrill about how he ended up developing MXG, the importance of SHARE and where the inspiration for his button collection came from."

And Barry also talks about SAS in the early days of SMF processing "....I had some experience from Notre Dame in statistics and in Fortran but I knew nothing about the OS. ...I was at State Farm I found this small announcement that SAS, the statistic analysis system, was available from North Carolina State University for $100, over 100,000 lines of code, one third Fortran. ....

In 1972 the input statement of SAS was beautiful. There was no preconditioning. You don't have to preallocate. You don't have to initialize. It covered your ass completely in programming and was able to handle all of the data formats that I could see in the SMF record except ...". Learn more about Barry, SMF and SAS, and yes the buttons from this article".


Wit and Wisdom continued

Contributed by Ed Webb

• Success is simply a matter of luck; just ask any failure.
• Quitting is leading, too.
• How long a minute is depends on what side of the bathroom door you're on.

• Faster hardware doesn't solve business problems, unless the business problem is slow hardware.
• Forgiveness of others is a gift to yourself.
• Life is like a dog sled team: If you aren't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

7 p.m.

Location: LabCorp in RTP

Use 1912 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27703 in your map app.

Take I-40 to Miami Boulevard and go north. Turn right onto 1912 T.W. Alexander Drive. Go about a mile or so. Then turn right into LabCorp complex and turn left to the CMBP Building. In the lobby, sign in as a visitor to see Bill Johnson. Bill will escort you to the conference room.

Free Food before meeting: Chicken, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


z/OS Network Security

Speaker: Chris Meyers of IBM


P.O. Box 13194

Research Triangle Park, NC  27709-3194

First Class Postage

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services