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March 2020

SPARTA President’s Corner

contributed by Randy Springs

Starting a new year is usually intimidating as we consider all the activities planned and changes anticipated during the coming year. At my company, we are upgrading our processors to z15 technology and our software on an accelerated scale to provide support for new hardware features.

Our speaker this month will be our own Ed Webb, recently retired from SAS Institute, but still keeping up with the industry by attending SHARE in Fort Worth. He will update us on the latest from vendors and users, and always has an informative presentation.

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 subs, networking, and education on Tuesday, March 3, at 6:15 p.m. at our usual LabCorp location in RTP.

Randy Springs

Future Speakers

(subject to change)

March 3, 2020 - SHARE 2020 Fort Worth Report by Ed Webb

April 7, 2020 - Profiling A CICS Transaction Using Trace by Ezriel Gross of Rocket Software

May 5, 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 February 4, 2020 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.

• Sixteen (16) people were present including 3 Compuware representatives.

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


• The minutes of the November 5, 2019 meeting as published in the December 2019 Newsletter were approved.

• The November 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 Treasurer's report was approved as published in the December 2019 Newsletter. As of 11/30/2019, the current balance was $835.05.

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

• 2020 meeting dates, Future Speakers and Topics (subject to change based on internal politics, budget, the weather):





March 3, 2020

Retired (SAS)

Ed Webb

SHARE 134 Update
Fort Worth, Feb. 23-28, 2020

April 7, 2020

Rocket Software

Ezriel Gross

Profiling A CICS Transaction Using Trace

May 5, 2020




June 2, 2020




July 7, 2020




August 11, 2020




September 1, 2020



SHARE 135 Update
Boston, Aug. 2-7, 2020

October 6, 2020




November 3, 2020




December 1, 2020




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

• The next SPARTA monthly meeting will be on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Labcorp in RTP.

• Food for the March 3 meeting will be Subs, fixings, and dessert.

• The 2020 membership fee are due ($30) starting in February 2020. Please pay Randy Springs.

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

• There are currently 96 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.

• 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: no move dates are determined.


• None.

• The Business portion of the meeting ended about 7:30 P.M.

Presentation Topic: Automating Batch Processing
Introducing the Mainframe Batch Maturity Model – What’s Your Maturity?

By Kelly Vogt of Compuware


• Current State of Batch
• Batch Maturity Model
• Future State

The presentation ended about 9:00 P.M.

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

Contact Info:
Speaker: Kelly Vogt
Solutions Consultant, Compuware
Phone (mobile): 502.214.0603

Also from Compuware:
Carlen Massey McCoy
Director, Enterprise Accounts
Phone: 478.719.4755

Andy Hocker
Phone: Work 313.227.7429, Mobile: 248.410.8123

• The February 4, 2020 monthly meeting ended about 9:00 P.M.

Treasurer’s Report for February 2020

contributed by Randy Springs

The balance in the account is $1166.90 as of February 29, 2020.

SPARTA Financial Report
12/01/2019 through 02/29/2020


Opening Balance 12/1/2019


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

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

New Time Coming

contributed By Ed Webb

"Accurate, precise time synchronization is a key requirement for modern information technology systems especially in the financial industry. Thus, the IBM Z sysplex needs highly accurate timing/timekeeping and synchronization technology.

In 1990, IBM introduced the concept of the Parallel System Complex (Sysplex). This created the requirement to have an extremely accurate Time of Day (TOD) clock synchronization between the different mainframes and the necessity for time synchronization services through an external time reference source.

Today the Sysplex time reference has evolved to use the Sysplex Time Protocol (STP) with Coordinated Timing Networks (CTNs) between mainframes. STP is a message-based protocol, similar to the industry standard Network Time Protocol (NTP). .... regulations spurred interest in another time synchronization protocol, initially introduced in 2002. IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol (PTP) enables heterogeneous systems that include clocks of various inherent precision resolution and stability to synchronize to a grandmaster clock."

Read the details about changes coming in time synchronization in this article in Enterprise Tech Journal magazine, 2019: Issue 5.

What the California Consumer Privacy Act Means for You

Contributed by Ed Webb

Though this article references IBM's System i, in most cases, just substitute System Z.

"The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) gives California residents numerous data privacy rights while penalizing organizations that are in violation. The law, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, groups these rights into five general categories:

1. The right to know what information is being collected
2. The right to know how personal information is being used
3. The right to opt out of the sale of one's personal information
4. The right to access a copy of one's personal information
5. The right to not be discriminated against by organizations when one exercises one's privacy rights."

Read this useful review here in Enterprise Tech Journal magazine, 2019: Issue 5.


Wit and Wisdom continued

contributed by Ed Webb

• A study of economics usually reveals that the best time to buy anything is last year.
• No one wants advice, only corroboration.
• Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

• Laziness is nothing more than resting before you get tired.
• Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.
• Modesty is the art of encouraging people to find out for themselves how wonderful you are.

Membership Information

Don’t Forget the Next SPARTA Meeting

Tuesday, March 3, 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: Subs, Sodas and Tea, Dessert


SHARE 2020 Fort Worth Conference Report

Speaker: Ed Webb of SPARTA

SPARTA Corporate Sponsors:

DTS Software

Rocket Software

Software Diversified Services


February Presentation Outline

Presentation Topic: Automating Batch Processing
Introducing the Mainframe Batch Maturity Model – What’s Your Maturity?

By Kelly Vogt of Compuware

Kelly Vogt joined Compuware in February 2018 as a Field Technical Support representative.
Previously, 38 years in mainframe systems programming, performance and capacity management and data center management.


• Current State of Batch
• Batch Maturity Model
• Future State

Current State of Batch
- It’s still a manually operated environment!
- Operation of JES2 is not for the faint-hearted
- Few shops can just set up a structure… and it works all the time
- Problem resolution requires experience to keep batch moving in a timely fashion

Mainframe Batch Maturity Model
- Level of maturity varies greatly between organizations
- Lower = more manual effort
- Lower = greater exposure to mainframe retirement and business agility risk
- Higher = more automated and greater cost savings
- Higher = better future-proofed batch
- - - - - - Batch Heaven
- - - - 5 Modernized
- - - 4 Optimized
- - 3 Automated
- 2 Proactive
1 Reactive

Maturity Model Components
- Visualized, Optimized, Automated, Proactive, Reactive
- Conventions, Standards, Job Setup, Data Access Control, Job Routing and Control, Processing Control, Execution Automation, Business Goal Integration, Critical Path Focus, Continuous Performance Management, Visualization

Level 1: Reactive
- Check your pulse – you’ve been through here…
- This is vanilla JES2

L1: Conventions
- Budding Standards
- Published – at some point… ?
- Enforced by the honor system
- New technology (May not be exploited, May cause problems)

L1: Job Setup
- Migrated datasets recalled during job execution
- Migrated Virtual Tape Volumes (VTVs) staged during job execution
- Physical tapes?

L1: Data Access Control
- Dataset contention occurs frequently (SYSDSN)
- Volume contention arises from stacked datasets on tape (SYSZVOLS)
- Schedule disruptions may cause additional contention situations
- Operator on the hot seat (Which job(s) do I CANCEL?)

L1: Job Routing and Control
- Jobs routed where required resources exist via SYSAFF
- Operator or job scheduler controls when they arrive
- What if you need to move a data base region?
- How to manage database maintenance? Rolling IPLs?

L1: Processing Control
- Concurrent executions by users uncontrolled
- It’s the Wild West
- Interdepartmental dramas break out
- Over-initiation tendency
- Under-initiation

Level 2: Proactive
- Business needs force evolutionary progress
- Deadlines MUST be met!
- Objectives are established
- Cleverness is the order of the day

L2: Standards
- Enforcement of conventions yields STANDARDS!
- The penalty for all infractions is death
- A Cold War between Infrastructure and AppDev
- Advancement slowed if not stalled

L2: Job Setup
- Users proactive by ensuring their datasets are always at hand
- Jobs scheduled to force HSM recalls
- IEFBR14 job steps – Critical, but…Waste of clock time, CPU time and I/O

L2: Data Access Control
- Late batch may precipitate dataset contention
- Scheduler features might be used to avoid events

L2: Job Routing and Control
- Scheduling environments may be exploited
- Multiple resource requirements complicate usage
- Users must understand, keep informed and specify correctly

L2: Processing Control
- Initiator CLASS schemes grow more complex – often unwieldy
- Users must understand, keep informed and specify correctly
- Misuses must be detected and controlled
- Operators must monitor and manage

Level 3: Automated
- Policy-based controls emerge
- Service Level Agreements provide initiation prioritization
- Human intervention only for exception handling
- Policy yields agility - enables immediate solutions to problems

L3: Standards
- Standards enforcement become dynamic
- No longer dependent on JES2 internals and Assembler knowledge
- Gaming the system – ended
- Jobs corrected when possible (Job cancellation is a last resort)

L3: Job Setup
- Migrated datasets/archived volumes are recalled/staged automatically and optimally
- Wasteful, unnecessary recall/staging requests are avoided
- Job setup delays are measured and recorded!

L3: Data Access Control
- Access to data is managed by business importance/urgency to initiate
- SYSDSN and SYSZVOLS contention is automatically avoided
- Remaining contention handled by automation
- Data availability delays are measured and recorded

L3: Job Routing and Control
- Resource requirements automatically detected
- Jobs automatically routed to where and when resources are available
- Conflicts are resolved automatically without operator intervention
- Routing delays are measured and recorded

L3: Processing Control
- Processing control is abstracted from job class
- Ability to arbitrarily group and sub-group jobs
- JESplex and/or LPAR-level
- Processing control delays measured and recorded

L3: Execution Automation
- Automated initiator control
- SLAs control job selection
- Production is preferred over non-production
- Operator is hands-off
- Performance against SLAs is measured and reported

Level 4: Optimized
- Minimized operational costs
- SLAs not sacrificed
- Licensing model awareness
- Program-level awareness
- Critical path is primary production batch driver

L4: Execution Automation
- Cost containment goals managed automatically
- Batch completes on time
- CPU consumption balanced across LPARs

L4: Business Goal Integration
- Business operational costs rationalized
- Business becomes informed of its impact on processing costs
- Jobs become ‘business decisions’

L4: Critical Path Focus
- Application batch is understood from the job up
- Relative importance between entities is known
- Critical paths are known and prioritized
- Rerun allowances don’t just happen – are computed and managed

L4: Continuous Performance Management
- Urgent/critical path job performance is compared to history
- Program performance/cost management driver!
- - Poor program performance is a defect
- - Why not high cost to operate?

Level 5: Modernized
- The future has arrived
- Reactivity is minimized
- Exception driven
- SLAs consistently met
- Customers are informed, engaged

L5: Execution Automation
- Information drives continuous improvement
- History data informs dynamic critical path management
- Known exceptions proactively handled
- Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence potential !

L5: Business Goal Integration
- Performance against goals transparency
- Application, job-flow, job-level critical condition alerting
- Job completion data linked to business processes

L5: Visualization
- The ‘green screen’ is gone (Modern presentation layer)
- Batch information de-mystified
- Scheduler, system monitors, TSO and SDSF-like interfaces follow

Future State
- Batch MUST evolve – it’s unwieldy
- Evolution is essential to health and efficacy
- Even more pressure to reduce batch windows
- Little investment to rewrite apps to run against batch
- Retirements mitigation is critical (Risk reduction!)
- Automation is the answer
- Embrace the model
- Most of this is achievable NOW with commercially available products
- Unplanned loss of experienced people can cripple your operation!

‘The more mature your batch processing capability, the less you will have to worry; the fewer fire drills you will suffer; the fewer carpet calls there will be where you play the starring role.'

The presentation ended about 9:00 P.M.