Top 15 Sessions from SHARE Virtual 2020: Power-on Reset

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With SHARE Virtual 2020: Power-on Reset (Sept. 22–24 and Sept. 29-Oct.1) in the books, many of the hottest sessions ran the gamut from the z/OS Keynote and MVS Program opening to z/OS containers and Git for ISPF to PDSE Pitstop and hidden treasures of z/OS. Here, we explore the Top 15 sessions – by attendance – for SHARE Virtual 2020.

1. z/OS Keynote and MVS Program Opening: What Are Those Folks in z/OS Development Really Thinking?

In this session, Ed Jaffe, chief technology officer at Phoenix Software International, and David Jeffries, vice president of offering management, development, and support for z/OS at IBM, spoke about how to reimagine z/OS and how to incorporate the development team’s vision. Additionally, they explored what technologies would still be around in the next 50 years.

2. What’s New in z/OS V2R4: Virtual Edition

Gary Puchkoff, senior technical staff member z/OS development at IBM, previewed new facilities and features planned for z/OS 2.4 that affect system programmers and application developers. He also highlighted planned functions for scalability and performance, availability, management, security, application development, and usability.

3. MVS Performance Opening and z/OS Hot Topics

By the same token as the MVS Program Opening, this session with Meral Temel, manager for mainframe platform management at Isbank, and Kathy Walsh, distinguished engineer from IBM explored the latest information on z Systems (z14) and z/OS Performance and Capacity Planning issues, including recent enhancements, “gotchas,” and recommendations.

4. z/OS Core Tech Kickoff / Project Opening: Introducing z/OS Containers

James Lund, chief systems engineer at Texas A&M University, and Kershaw Mehta, customer advocacy and offering management at IBM, spent this session exploring how containers have changed the mindset of application developers. From Docker and Kubernetes to OpenShift, developers are running applications in containers for convenience, security, and scalability, they explained. The session also highlighted how IBM plans to bring container technology to z/OS to allow new and existing z/OS applications and middleware runtimes to be packaged and operated in a new Cloud Native approach.

5. What’s New for Sysprogs, Security, and Tuning in SYS1.PARMLIB?

Cheryl Watson, chief executive officer of Watson & Walker Inc., and Frank Kyne, president of Watson & Walker Inc., covered the new SYS1.PARMLIB options in z/OS 2.4. The enhancements cover security, simplification for system programmers, and performance improvements. They offered recommendations on whether you should change the defaults or leave them.

6. Upgrade to z/OS V2R4 Parts 1, Planning

In “Upgrade to z/OS V2R4 Part 1 of 2: Planning,” Marna Walle, senior technical staff member at IBM, explores how system programmers and their managers can navigate the upgrading process from z/OS 2.2 to z/OS 2.4. In the session focused on planning, Walle focused on how to prepare for the z/OS 2.4 migration and discussed the changed content of z/OS 2.4, including ordering and delivery options. She also explained coexistence, migration, fall back, and service policies, as well as driving and target system requirements for both software and hardware.

7. Git for ISPF – Finally a z/OS Based User Interface

In “Git for ISPF – Finally a z/OS Based User Interface,” Lionel Dyck, software developer at 21st Century Software, and Henri Kuiper, chief fun officer at Zdevops, talked about the development of zigi (z/OS ISPF GIT Interface), an open-source ISPF (Interactive System Productivity Facility) tool to empower ISPF developers to use git as a backend for his/her source code management. They said that zigi 2.5, the current version, allows the ISPF developer to manage their company’s source code in a git backend without having to leave the trusted ISPF environment. The session also focused on the experiences of Dyck and Kuiper in the development of zigi, its primary features, and how developers can use zigi to help their companies migrate their business Source Code Management to git and what distributed source code development looks like on the mainframe.

8. Mainframers Are From Mars, Executives Are From a Galaxy Far Far Away!

Jovanna Hadley, technical client specialist at IBM, Larry England, distinguished software engineer at Broadcom, Barbara Lienberger, modernization specialist at IBM, Frank DeGilio, distinguished engineer at IBM, Luisa Martinez, software engineer at IBM, and Sola Ogunsola, offering manager at IBM, offered tips on how to speak with chief information officers and other executives about the value of the mainframe. Attendees provided information on how to talk to executives in a language they understand in order to show them the value of the mainframe. They want to help mainframers talk to their executives so they understand how the mainframe makes the companies’’ successful.

9. PDSE Pitstop: Performance, Problem Analysis, and Pheatures

In this session, Tabari Alexander, senior software engineer at IBM, and Trevor Geisler, software engineer at IBM, explored what a Partitioned Data Set Extended (PDSE) data set is and how it is used. They offered tips and tricks on how to positively affect performance, looked at common problems that users will find when employing PDSEs and how to recover from them, and what is new in PDSE.

10. Controversial z/OS Performance Topics and Guidelines

Peter Enrico, consultant with Enterprise Performance Strategies, Inc., and Scott Chapman, chief information officer at Enterprise Performance Strategies, Inc., tackled some of the more controversial z/OS performance topics and recommendations. The speakers took a deeper look into these complicated issues that often generate discussion among peers, require careful consideration, and often depend on the “performance camp” mainframers belong to.

11. REXX Language Coding Techniques – Part 1 of 2

Tracy Dean, senior software engineer at IBM, provided insight into better REXX programming techniques. The session focused on available REXX products and related products that are both free and priced. Additional topics covered were an introduction to functions versus instructions versus procedures, variable visibility, and parsing.

12. ISPF is Dead! Long Live ISPF! 2020 Edition

Tom Conley, president and CEO of Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc., offered evidence of how ISPF can be sustained into the future with enhancements. As part of this session, he also explored PDSEGEN and the CBT Usermod Collection for ISPF (CUCI), showing how to exploit “PDSE Member Generations – EDIT,” highlighting for unsupported languages such as Java, SQL, shell script, and others and block deletes in 3.4 that don't stop for “VSAM - Setting defaults” that ISPCCONF doesn't.

13. DFSMS “Freebies and Hidden Gems” from V2.4 and Continuous Delivery

During this session, Barbara McDonald, data facility storage management subsystem (DFSMS) software engineer and product strategist at IBM, delved deep into the often overlooked small enhancements of DFSMS storage products, RAS items, and other “freebies and hidden gems” of the product family. She explored how these gems are still valuable even as the latest features and functions of major release deliverables often overshadow them.

14. What's New in z/OSMF V2R4?

Xiao Zhen Zhu, senior software engineer at IBM, explained many new functions of z/OSMF that are coming in z/OS 2.4 and added in continuous delivery recent PTFs for z/OS 2.3.

15. Hidden Treasures in z/OS (aka Bit Bucket x'3C')

In this session, Ed Jaffe, chief technology officer at Phoenix Software International, James Lund, chief system engineer at Texas A&M University, Tom Conley, president and CEO of Pinnacle Consulting Group Inc., and Lionel Dyck, software developer at 21st Century Software, focused on hidden treasures in z/OS, sharing with attendees some new tips and tricks to take back to the office. Some past topics, in similar sessions, have included HMC Integrated 3270 Console for NIP/IPL, IEFSSNxx BEGINPARALLEL, Excl to SHR ENQ Downgrade, $CIWORK, HSM Patch Limit, and zFS Migration. To view all past Bit Bucket presentations, you can visit and click “Now available in our file library: Every Bit Bucket presentation from every SHARE!” link (remember, you must be logged in to access). The Bit Bucket has been a tradition at SHARE since 1991 and has new content at each conference.

These sessions are available on-demand to all registered attendees of the SHARE Virtual 2020 event. Sessions are also available for purchase. If you have a favorite session from SHARE Virtual 2020, or if you’d like to contribute or be quoted in a future story, email the SHARE editors at

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