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February 2020

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

As we enter the second month of 2020, many of us are trying to get changes and upgrades completed that were delayed by the holiday freeze periods. At my company, the merger activities continue as we try to keep “business as usual” while planning for combining programs, data, and hardware for two major financial institutions. I know that my mainframe team will be busy for the next several years providing the best platform for delivering consistent service and sufficient capacity resources to keep our customer needs met.

Our speaker this month is Kelly Vogt of Compuware, and he has over three decades of experience with mainframe computer performance and systems. He will be speaking on resources available to improve batch processing and reduce MLC charges.

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, February 4, at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

February 4, 2020 - Modernizing Batch Processing by Kelly Vogt of Compuware

March 3, 2020 - TBA

April 7, 2020 - 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.

2019-2020 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

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


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

December 2019 “CBT Tape” Shareware Online

The directory and files from the latest CBT tape V498 (dated December 1, 2019) 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 3, 2019 Meeting

• The meeting was cancelled by Randy Springs, the SPARTA President, because we were unable to get a speaker.


• 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.

Treasurer’s Report for November 2019

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $835.05 as of November 30, 2019.

SPARTA Financial Report
11/01/2019 through 11/30/2019


Opening Balance 11/1/2019


Total Deposits

Food money donated











Web Site


Petty Cash


Bank Service Charges






PETTY CASH on hand




Items of Interest

SPARTA Schedule and Menu for 2020

contributed by Chris Blackshire

Feb 4, 2020 - Chicken (SHARE 134, Feb 23-28, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX)

Mar 3, 2020 - Subs

Apr 7, 2020 - BarBQ

May 5, 2020 - Pizza

June 2, 2020 - Chicken

July 7, 2020 - Subs 

Aug 11, 2020 - BarBQ (date changed to avoid SHARE 135, Aug 2-7, 2020 in Boston)

Sept 1, 2020 - Pizza

Oct 6, 2020 - Chicken

Nov 3, 2020 - Subs

Dec 1, 2020 - BarBQ

It's Not Too Late To Register for SHARE Fort Worth

contributed By Ed Webb

"Have you checked out the DevOps sessions being offered at SHARE® Fort Worth? Help your team better collaborate using DevOps to effectively implement solutions and streamline processes."

"Attend a multitude of Zowe and other open source sessions at SHARE® Fort Worth. Learn more with technical presentations and hands-on labs you and your team can attend to strengthen your understanding of this project and how it can impact your enterprise's efficiency and agility."

Check SHARE's Roadmap for these and other activities at SHARE in Fort Worth February 23-28, 2020

Visit the SHARE Fort Worth Event site to register and make hotel reservations.

Jamais deux sans trois (Never two, without three)

contributed by Ed Webb

Marna Walle shares her frustrations about the questions she gets on FIXCATs and their use in her latest Musings:

"There's an expression that is weirdly true for me, but yet I still keep struggling to not have happen:

Jamais deux sans trois (Never two, without three)

It's fruitless, but I still try. The latest: being asked about the z15 FIXCAT categories and what's the difference between them, twice in the same week. I hope that by writing this there won't be a third occurrence this week. Let's see what I can do about that; the weekend is close.


What are the three z15 FIXCAT categories?

For the IBM z15:


Read Marna's informative description here at the SHARE blog site.

Docker Swarm or Kubernetes?

contributed by Ed Webb

S. Michael Benson tries to explain container management tools in this Enterprise Tech Journal article:

"Containers are the most common way to deploy applications in a DevOps process because they remove the complexity of managing dependencies when moving across different computing environments. Specifically, containers may be moved from a developer's workstation to a testing environment to an integration environment and into production without having to worry that the specific runtime environment is set up for the application. The container packages the required runtime components all together in a portable format.


Container orchestration tools help businesses deal with production issues such as availability, fault tolerance and scalability, which are outside the management of a single container instance. In order to provide these qualities of service, orchestration tools can deploy and monitor container instances to better manage the more complex overall system goals.

Two of the more popular container orchestration tools are Docker Swarm and Kubernetes, both open source tools."

Learn much more in the rest of the article.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

• Misers aren't much fun to live with, but they make great ancestors.
• Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.
• Never accept your dog's admiration as evidence that you're wonderful.

• If you consult enough experts, you can confirm any opinion.
• Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
• Beware at those who laugh at nothing or at everything.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

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


Modernizing Batch Processing

Speaker: Kelly Vogt of Compuware

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services