Operating Systems

This month, Mike Moore, IT manager at Alabama Judicial Datacenter in Montgomery, AL, joins me. Since December 2011, the availability date of z/VSE 5.1, Mike and I have been through three z/VSE 5.1 Fast Service Upgrades (FSUs) and two base installs, and all have gone rather smoothly. In this column, we will discuss the hiccups as well as provide a few suggestions and a couple of reminders if you’re planning an upgrade.

As with any new release, contact your other vendors for z/VSE 5.1-compliant information. In my case, everything was ready and a few new releases were required. In Mike’s case, a couple of vendors had versions that were 5.1-only and required installation and testing on the 5.1 system only; no pre-testing on the 4.3 system.

As with most new releases, Program Temporary Fixes (PTFs) are rolled out fairly regularly for z/VSE 5.1, so everyone needs to monitor reported problems, Authorized Program Analysis Reports (APARs) and PTFs, and order the fixes that may impact your installation. Don’t forget to order the latest installation information and fixes list from IBM just prior to installation.

Also, a new z/VSE 5.1 refresh was made available on June 15. z/VSE 5.1.1 contains

the latest PTFs as well as additional functions announced in April. The new functions include CICS Explorer support for CICS Transaction Server, Linux Fast Path in an LPAR, and a new database connector.

FSU Information

I haven’t had any problems with the two FSUs I’ve done—one from z/VSE 4.2 and one from z/VSE 4.3. Mike’s FSU was from z/VSE 4.3. He also just completed an FSU from z/VSE 5.1 to z/VSE 5.1.1 with no issues.

One thing that Mike encountered but I didn’t was an “out of storage in partition” message when PRD1.BASE was being reloaded. Mike opened a Problem Management Record (PMR), and IBM suggested he defrag the DTSFILE. Once the defrag (selection in IUI) completed, the FSU ran as expected.

Mike’s reason for moving so quickly to 5.1.1 was to gain support for the new Database Connector interfaces. The application programmers are excited about going to SQL directly from COBOL so they no longer will have to do all the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and formatting steps they do now.

Base Install Information

I ran into one issue during the base install. The VSAMDEFS job canceled due to a “catalog error.” This was caused by insufficient space on a 3390-1 for an environment B system. An environment B system now requires at least a 3390-3 or larger disk definition. This seems to have changed from z/VSE 4.x to z/VSE 5.1. The simple bypasses are to use environment A on 3390-1 or use 3390-3 on environment B and restart the base install from the beginning. Other than that, the base install went well and there were no other issues.

Other News

Mike just informed me that there seems to be a VSAM PTF about to close that addresses a performance problem with compressed VSAM files. You may wish to follow-up on that during your install.

Also, recently, there was a lively discussion on the VSE List concerning COBOL and z/VSE 5.1. So, in addition to monitoring the IBM problem database, check out the VSE List and see what folks are doing on z/VSE 5.1.

So, what’s the bottom line? Get current. Migrate to z/VSE 5.1; others have and it seems rather painless.

As an aside, z/VSE 4.3 has reached its end of marketing date and can no longer be ordered. z/VSE 4.2, DL/I 1.10, DL/I 1.11, and CICS/VSE 2.3 service will end Oct. 31, 2012.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please migrate to a supported z/VSE release—z/VSE 4.3 or z/VSE 5.1—before October. We recommend z/VSE 5.1.1, the current refresh.

Thanks for reading the column; see you all in the next issue.