Tech Talk

Catalog Basics - VVDS

By Blair Svihra, Dino-Software  (10-minute read) *Restricted Member Content*
An ICF catalog is comprised of two entities: the Basic Catalog Structure (BCS) and the VSAM Volume Data Set (VVDS).  Up until DFP 3, the VVDS was strictly used as a repository for describing the VSAM data sets physically residing on the volume with the VVDS.  Variable length records residing in the VVDS, not the BCS, contain the critical information describing each VSAM entity such as extent information,...  Read More

ETJ First Impression: T-REX V7.4

New T-REX V 7.4 From Dino-Software  Delivers Added Functionality
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)

After working awhile with ICF catalogs and VSAM clusters, it probably reminds you of playing the arcade game Whac-A-Mole.  Just when you think everything is under control, some other problems appear.  Dino-Software continues to excel at taking on and easing the challenge of working with VSAM files and catalogs through its T-REX product solution.  T-REX is a proven mainframe utility that analyzes, diagnoses, reorganizes, reports, backs up and repairs clusters and assists with overall.... Read More


(Updated) Mysteries of Buffer Optimization Solved!

By Bill Hitefield, Dino-Software (12-minute read)   
In some respects, IBM’s access methods (especially VSAM) are like software black boxes – you pass a request to them, they go off into the Enchanted Forest, and sometime later, data is either retrieved or written by your application. As application developers, we have some modicum of control over when, why, and how often we make requests.  This paper has been further updated to take a deeper look into the buffer optimizer, IBM schemes, and alternatives... Read More . . .

ETJ First Impression: HSM Adminisaurus V3.2

New HSM Adminisaurus V3.2 From Dino-Software Eases Wrestling with HSM
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)

Wrestling with DFSMShsm (HSM) to keep it properly managed is no easy task. Under ordinary circumstances, understanding what HSM is doing and monitoring the health of the HSM environment is tedious … at best. Administrators require years of experience in storage management with HSM before they can somewhat manage it. To interpret what functions of HSM are executing successfully takes hours of work if you are lucky and days for those not so lucky.

Dino-Software has taken on the challenge of wrestling with DFSMShsm by taming it with HSM Adminisaurus (HSA). HSA greatly simplifies managing HSM by providing over 30 pre-established... Read More

Catalog Basics - SMF Forward Recovery

By Blair Svihra, Dino-Software  (10-minute read) *Restricted Member Content*
When ICF catalogs were first introduced in the early 1980’s, Integrated Catalog Facility Recovery Unit (ICFRU) was IBM’s recommended tool to recover a damaged catalog. An Access Method Services EXPORT of the broken catalog was required as the starting point for the recovery. Snapshots of catalog records, in the form of SMF records, are applied to the EXPORT to “up-level” the catalog to create a new “recovered” EXPORT copy. ICFRU provides no support for the recovery of a VVDS.

This whitepaper discusses the use of SMF data for Integrated Catalog Facility (ICF) catalog recovery and its complexities.  Read More

ETJ First Impression: T-REX V7.3

New T-REX V 7.3 From Dino-Software  Delivers Added Functionality
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)

If you have ever been responsible for maintaining ICF catalogs and VSAM clusters, it probably reminds you of playing the arcade game Whac-A-Mole. Just when you think everything is under control, a broken index is detected for a VSAM object.  Or, the CA/CI splits you fixed the other day, really didn’t get fixed. Or, the myriad of other fun things that can go wrong decide to do so on a Friday afternoon at a busy time for your company or organization.  Can you still remember the feeling you experienced the last time.... Read More

Catalog Basics - (BCS) Basic Catalog Structure

By Blair Svihra, Dino-Software  (10-minute read) *Restricted Member Content*

The BCS, or Basic Catalog Structure, is primarily used as a data set locator. Vital data set information (AMDSB information, extent information, data set attributes and so on) is in the VTOC (Volume Table of Contents) and the VVDS (VSAM Volume Data Set) on the DASD volume where the data set resides. BCS information includes the data set name, volser and device type where the entry physically resides, ownership information, data set security information (if applicable) and possible VVDS and VTOC RBA (relative byte address) pointers. To facilitate quicker access to the components on a volume,... Read More

Introduction to Concurrent Copy -

By Jim Ratliff, Dino-Software  (12-minute read)
Concurrent Copy is the IBM solution that allows data to be copied or dumped while it is still active. To utilize Concurrent Copy (CC), you must have the feature activated on the Control Unit that contains your data.

Concurrent Copy may be used for Backup, Copy or Dump operations from either DFSMShsm (DFHSM), DFSMSdss (DFDSS), or both. Data may be identified by individual dataset name or volume serial number. In either case, once the data is identified, Concurrent Copy will process the data by protecting and copying tracks. This means if a dataset has a single 80-byte record on a given track, the entire track is identified and processed. There is no record level processing in Concurrent Copy.

There are many references in the IBM DFSMS publications identifying how to use CC; therefore, this paper gives an overview of the resources being utilized so the user gains a better understanding of why CC is more complex than often realized.

After reading and understanding this information, you should be able to define your Concurrent Copy data and initiate Concurrent Copy with a higher success rate than you may have obtained in the past.  Read More




Courtesy notice to Catalog Users

IBM has issued APAR OA52691 to address  a “time out” condition related to LOCK and UNLOCK request processing which may potentially cause Catalog Address Space issues.  IBM APAR OA52691 provides specific details relating to the error condition for z/OS 2.2.


How does this impact users of T-REX for ICF catalog management?


Because T-REX IMPORT BCS and DRIMPORT BCS commands issue LOCK and UNLOCK requests by default, we recommend that you employ the LOCK(NO) keyword for T-REX IMPORT BCS and DRIMPORT BCS commands to suppress the default behavior until the related IBM maintenance is installed on your systems.  ...Read More


Realities & Limitations of z/OS SRM Tools - Part 1

By Dino-Software  (10-minute read) *Restricted Member Content*
Management of data on z/OS Systems is complex. A handful of software programs are available, but are they really a “tool?” Do they simplify or complicate? Do they contribute to savings or drive up cost of operations?  Often, more time, money, and resources are spent on installation, configuration, customization, training, and the subsequent cumbersome maintenance of the altered product; this ultimately adds up to the overall cost outweighing the intended benefit.

This article is Part 1 in a series which explores what your storage team needs to know about z/OS Storage Resource Management (SRM) solutions. Read More

ETJ First Impression: UDM 2.3

Universal Data Manager (UDM) 2.3 Further Advances Dino-Software's Unique Solution
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)

Data continues to grow at a rapid pace, filling storage space almost as fast as it is made available. Yet, the management of the tape robots, tape catalogs, DFSMSHSM, ICF catalogs, DASD volumes and more has not been greatly simplified. In many cases, the challenge of managing the vast quantity of data and storage devices has only increased in complexity. In addition, experienced storage management personnel continue to retire, leaving the less experienced to master the juggling of a menagerie of management tools, hardware, folders, files and data.... Read More

ETJ First Impression: T-REX V7.2

T-REX V7.2 From Dino-Software Further Aids Catalog Management
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)
Chances are good that when it comes to working with VSAM files or catalogs you have been there, done that and don't have find memories of the experience. For example, do you cringe anytime someone mentions the need to mend a VSAM broken index that occurred in the middle of the night or having to use IBM's Access Method Services (IDCAMS) utility for just about anything? Or what about untimely processing failures because you weren't aware that a BCS had reached the maximum number of allowable extents? It would be easy to mention many other VSAM and catalog management... Read More

Catalog Basics – Catalog Components

By Blair Svihra, Dino-Software *Restricted Member Content*
It could be argued that the catalog environment could be expanded to include a discussion including any one of the five major Tape Management Catalogs (TMCs) and/or IBM’s Hierarchical Storage Manager (HSM) offering, but these topics can be discussed in detail in a later white-paper. A catalog allows access to a data set without having to know its physical location. Let’s look at all three components and how they are related.

The Need For Erase

By Bill Wilkie, Dino-Software (5-minute read)
An interesting scenario challenging the security of temporary data sets and sort work areas was brought to our attention, so we are conducting some market research on the subject and request readers to weigh in with their opinions.


ETJ First Impression: VR 5.1

VELOCI-Raptor Release 5.1 – Enabling Applications to Perform at Their Peak
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)
With a significant percent of Fortune 500 size organization’s running on mainframe systems, their value and importance are critical to the continued success of the enterprise. Yet, running these applications in the most efficient manner possible to speed execution time and minimize resource usage continues to be challenging if the proper steps are not taken.  A key area of focus is always determining and setting the best buffering environment for an application when accessing VSAM and non-VSAM data.  Read More

Managing HSM

Proactively Controlling the Swarm
By Jeremy Schilke, Dino-Software (4-minute read)
Perhaps the “per byte” price of storage has dropped, but due to the sheer rate and volume by which data is produced and retained, the reality is that the overall effort and cost has not lessened. Furthermore, collecting, organizing, protecting and then ensuring accessibility...  
Read More . . . 



ETJ First Impression: UDM

Reduces Costs, Eases Storage Management Through a Single Pane of Glass
By Denny Yost, ETJ Magazine (5-minute read)
The Challenges – Today, most Fortune 500 size companies have an abundance of mission-critical data to manage that continues to grow at a seemingly never-ending pace. At the same time, z/OS storage management personnel with decades of experience are retiring and less experienced personnel are agonizing under the load of trying to manage this data while attempting to quickly gain the vast experience needed to manage these environments. Read more . . .

Mysteries of Buffer Optimization Solved!

A Good Buffering Product Does It Automatically – and Does It All the Time
By Bill Hitefield, Dino-Software (12-minute read)
In some respects, IBM’s access methods (especially VSAM) are like software black boxes – you pass a request to them, they go off into the Enchanted Forest, and sometime later, data is either retrieved or written by your application. As application developers, we have some modicum of control over when, why, and how often we make requests to the access method. It is that second part of the process, the “sometime later,” that we view as a part of application performance that we seemingly have no means of influencing. Read More . . .