This week, I've been asked by (and seen a list of ) many people still using Shopz for acquiring PTFs for their z/OS systems. While I completely understand that for some customers this is their only option (as they have to download/upload to their unconnected systems), I sense that for many customers, they are just doing the same thing as they've been doing for probably a decade and haven't changed. Why would one still use Shopz by choice, when SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER is light years better?
Beyond the unconnected reason I already mentioned, I can only think of two reasons why someone would continue to use Shopz for PTF acquisition:
1. There is a setup cost to using SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER
Absolutely true. There are four steps you need to do to set up for SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER. And, those steps are quite likely outside the scope of what a usual system programmer does: security and networking, However, two of those steps are rather simple (obtaining the certificate from Shopz, and setting up the <ORDERSERVER> information). Setting up the <CLIENT> might be slightly more work, and setting up security for the certificate possibly taking the longest time. But, there are excellent instructions and samples given here in the SMP/E User's Guide to guide you along every step. Many users have used these instructions before you. I'm pretty confident that if you used them, you'd be successful.
How much time does this one-time setup take? Let's say it was a full week of work, which I'm probably stretching quite a bit. But think of it like this: you spend one week of work doing something, and every single time you pull a PTF or HOLDDATA, you are recouping that time. You might recoup that week in just a month or two, and from then on, it's all gravy. Not only that, if you automate your SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER job (which many of you know I do nightly), we are talking knee -deep gravy much sooner. By automating this job nightly, I also have the benefit of not worrying if the SMP/E Internet Service Retrieval server is having a good day or bad day, since I've got what I need from the day before.
The next time you do a Shopz service order (when you could have used SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER), think about that, when you are logging on to Shopz and hitting Continue-Continue-Continue-Continue-Continue-Submit-Refresh Order Status-read email-delete email-Download Package-cut-paste-submit. Your poor mouse.
2. Unaware that SMP/E RECEIVE ORDER is a thing
Well, that's one of the big points of this blog entry. If I've got you to read this far, hopefully you know where to go to find more information out here in the SMP/E User's Guide. If you have been restricted from travel and haven't been able to get to SHARE or another conference to hear about this "new" item which many of us don't even talk about much anymore, hopefully now you know about this as a thing and can look into it to help yourself.
Do yourself a favor if you can connect your z/OS host to the internet (using secure electronic communication, of course). If you can get a ServerPac electronically why aren't you getting the PTFs for that ServerPac electronically too?