It's September, do you know where your z/OS release is?

Well, it's September now and I would normally be researching the latest z/OS release and anxiously awaiting the day I could order the serverpac, which was usually September 20-something. Yes, I ordered the day it became available. :)

I feel a bit of angst at not being able to do a z/OS upgrade every year. We'll now just do another round of maintenance instead of an upgrade. So what to do for another year? Well, as with everyone else, fighting fires keeps me hopping. But in between, I think I should focus on exploitation. I'm not new to exploitation. My shop is, luckily, always willing to try new functions, processes, and features, which is great. And although I think I know everything, I decided to do some research into what's going on in the z/OS world, and if there's anything worth doing that we're not doing. It's not that we're incompetent, just that for whatever reason, some function didn't work for us. Like shared DAE datasets. (Note to self, add dae to my spell checker) I'm going to take another look at this and try to figure out why we do it separately, and why we 'can't' share the dae dataset. I suspect it's just a matter of no one tried, at least in my case.

So where I went to start looking at functions were the following redbooks:

System z Mean Time to Recovery Best Practices - Multiple authors including Frank Kyne and Cheryl Watson

z/OS Planned Outage Avoidance Checklist - Multiple authors including Frank Kyne

If you haven't looked at these pubs, they are a treasure trove of z/OS information. Planned Outage Avoidance describes features, functions, commands, and tricks, dating back to OS/390 1.3, that you may have missed, or simply didn't have time for.  Things like PAGEADD, Dynamic Exits, JES2 dynamic proclib, extended alias support, SETOMVS, etc. It also describes things that still require an IPL.

Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR) focuses on the IPL - from start to finish. So it includes all your shutdown and startup commands and processes. The idea is to streamline and decrease outage time. It describes things like using IPLSTATS, an IPCS command, optimizing OMVS startup time, and it has suggestions for CICS, DB2, IMS and WAS.

If you have a spare hour, take a look at these redbooks and see if there are any functions you can implement to spare you shop an outage or decrease the ones you do have. And drop a comment here on the blog to let us know how you made out! And by the way, based on our survey results, 46% of your colleagues have implemented function from MTTR and 53% have implemented function from Planned Outage Avoidance!

I'll be honest with you, if I wasn't so involved in SHARE, I probably wouldn't know much about these manuals. I might have saved them to my redbook folder with the intention of getting to them sometime. In fact, SHARE is where I picked up the exploitation plan. MVS Core Technologies is planning to focus on exploitation during the even summer and odd spring SHARE. (Feb 2013 and August 2014) This will hopefully allow for deeper dive and advanced sessions.

Speaking of which, Call for Presentations is open for SHARE. If you'd like to present a session at share, head over to and tell us about it! Even if you don't want to present, but have a suggestion for a session, let us know!

Stay tuned for more information!

Your link today is to my good friend Bill Sweeney's freeware:

Until next time...

Mary Anne



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