Category Archives: z/OS

z/OS Explorer and CICS Explorer

CICS Explorer

I have just installed the new z/OS Explorer, and the latest version of CICS Explorer (5.1.1) under it. If you are not running CICS/TS V5, no worries; CICS Explorer V5.1.1 supports CICS/TS V3, V4, and V5. With the z/OS Explorer, now you can view/edit MVS and zFS datasets and review output on the JES spool from the same Eclipse environment where you define/control CICS resources. In this post, I will review the steps to install these (free) products and why.

The installation process is fairly simple, but if you have not started working with the CICS Explorer, you will find using it a big sluggish compared to the  CICSPlex WUI if your workstation is low on horsepower. It does take some resources to run the Eclipse environment, but that’s just the way things are going; mainframe support personnel need beefy client workstations as well as PC developers. Maybe not as beefy, but much more so than the thin clients many use today. After all, the mainframe is a server, too.

Here is an overview of the steps I took in installing the tools:

  1. Download the zip file containing z/OS Explorer and Installation Manager
  2. Expand the zip file and run launchpad.exe
  3. Select z/OS Explorer, Installation Manager, and Eclipse
  4. Load Installation Manager and add URL http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/htp/zos/2/1/0 to Preferences > Repositories.
  5. Choose CICS Explorer SDK

From there, just point to your z/OS FTP servers and CICSPlexes (IP address/port number), and supply authentication info. Be sure to use your CICSPlex CMCI port rather than TCP/IP port, or else the CICS view will be read-only. (I made that mistake.)

The process is much easier than it once was; IBM has done a great job of bundling everything needed. IBM  also has some great information regarding installing the z/OS Explorer and installing the new CICS Explorer. Several scenarios are covered for the installation of CICS Explorer; the process I outlined above was Scenario 1 (“new to Installation Manager and CICS Explorer V5.1.1”).

If you haven’t started using CICS Explorer, now is the time to start. The CICSPlex WUI will be going way, all the CICS tools are being engineered to use this interface, as well as all the development tools, and MQ Explorer. Get z/OS Explorer today and get started!

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

Twitter and the Systems Programmer

Wow, how time flies. I can’t believe July is here, and I haven’t blogged since April! No wonder another blogger that linked to me recently referred to me as a “sometimes blogger”!

Last time, I said that I’d write a few lines about Twitter. Twitter is the micro-blogging site, with posts limited to 140 characters, that has a reputation of being where people write what they had for breakfast. Well, Twitter is not just for breakfast anymore!

Postings on Twitter are called “tweets”, and the 140-character limit on tweets coincides with the limit on SMS text messages on cell phones. It is very convenient to both post and read tweets on today’s smart phones, making Twitter a truly portable application. A smart phone is not required, though – the traditional browser interface works just fine.

While many people do use Twitter to post the most mundane events of their lives, it has become a very popular tool used by businesses to put out news. While I also tweet new things as I come across them, I follow a number of businesses and other tweeters and “retweet” the ones that deal with CICS and/or sound of interest to those that wear CICS systems programming hats.

Some of the industry-related tweeters I follow include @IBM_CICS, @CICSfluff, @IBMredbooks, @dianegjohnson, @mainframemag, and @MainframeZone. There are also tweets with current and upcoming information on conferences, such as @SHAREhq and @IBMimpact.

Some interesting non-industry-just-for-fun tweeters I follow include parody musician “Weird” @AlYankovic, late night host @CraigyFerg, astronomers Neil deGrasse Tyson, @neiltyson and Phil Plait, the @BadAstronomer, mythbusting Adam Savage, who is @donttrythis, and musician/podcaster @GeorgeHrab.

Who do you follow? If you’re not following anyone, get out there and look for the kinds of people you are interested in, and share!

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

New VSAM Capability in z/OS 1.12

Have you read the IBM Announcement Letter for z/OS 1.12? There is a lot of good stuff there, but the one thing that really has my interest is the new Control Area Reclaim capability for VSAM files. Like most (if not all) shops, the shop where I work has to make online VSAM KSDS files unavailable for some amount of time to reorganize them due to CA and CI splits that naturally occur when VSAM records are added. In z/OS 1.12, IBM is promising improved performance, minimized space utilization, and improved application availability with the CA Reclaim capability that will be included in the release.

Will we soon be saying goodbye to planned outages of VSAM files, to using MacKinney Systems’ CEMT from Batch (or newer MacKinney Batch to CICS product) to close files so they can be reorganized and open them again in CICS when done, and to having to monitor file I/O times to keep response time as optimal as possible? With a new world of CICS capabilities to catch up on (web services, Atom feeds, CICSPlex, CICS Explorer, and much more!), we CICS sysprogs need more time to keep up!

Follow theCICSguy on twitter here

Deleting a File That Is “In Use”

Let’s step away from CICS for a minute and look at an issue that comes up from time to time … You want to delete a file, perhaps an old, uncataloged version of a dataset that is always open – say, SYS1.PROCLIB. If you go to the DSLIST screen in TSO (option 3.4) and enter the dataset name and volume, and try to delete it, you will be informed that the delete failed because the dataset was in use. There is a SYS1.PROCLIB in use, but it’s not the one you are trying to delete. You know what you are doing, but z/OS doesn’t trust you, it seems. (Actually, it’s just that z/OS enqueing is by dataset, not dataset and volume.) The way around this is to “zap” the VTOC to change the name of the dataset to something else that is not in use; then you can delete it.
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