As part of the Y2K effort, migration teams were chartered with ensuring that their operating systems and ancillary vendor software products were properly updated. During this process, they often discovered another hidden and impending problem that needed to be addressed — the task of reviewing, auditing, remediating, and migrating cataloged procedure libraries that contained critical system and application JCL. What the review process often revealed was many generations of legacy system and application cataloged JCL procedures that had collected in these libraries over a period of years. What many teams thought to be just another routine task suddenly turned into an overwhelming research and cleanup effort. In many cases, teams most likely propagated these libraries (with limited inspection) to newly minted systems. Others chose the alternative by treating the JCL contained in these libraries as a corporate asset that required immediate attention as well as periodic maintenance and management. Which team were you on?
Recognizing the Problem: Why Do I Need a Cost - Effective JCL Environment (CJE)?
On the surface you may think it is silly to consider JCL as a valuable corporate asset, but when you put this idea into proper perspective, you will realize that JCL is in fact a critical and valuable corporate asset. A poorly managed JCL asset can adversely affect the effectiveness and efficiency of the IT organization and, ultimately, if mismanaged, can seriously affect the bottom line of your business.
How can this be? Well, if you think about it, JCL touches every critical batch and online program that runs on your enterprise systems and in the end, affects both enterprise and integrated Web-based online applications. Batch update programs that run outside and inside the batch window will depend on well-maintained JCL to keep critical systems and applications data up-to-date and backed up in the event that recovery is necessary due to a system failure or disaster.
If not maintained and managed properly, the JCL asset that supports the lion’s share of the computing infrastructure in many organizations will eventually fail, causing high error rates, numerous program failures, expensive reruns and recoveries, improper reruns, and prolonged system outages. The risk associated with many of these problems can be mitigated or eliminated with a preventative program of proactive JCL asset management, or better classified as a Cost-Effective JCL Environment (CJE).
So, why do you need a Cost-Effective JCL Environment? The answer lies in this question: “Have I really taken a hard look at my current JCL environment?” Even if you have taken a serious look at the inefficiencies in your JCL environment, it is likely that these inefficiencies are costing you much more than you think.
Whether you have taken a serious look at your environment or not, it’s important to realize that recognizing the problem is half the battle. Let’s take a moment and think about recognizing some of the problems or opportunities that could be addressed in your environment. You might be surprised to see the number of possible JCL inefficiencies that exist, even if you are a seasoned IT veteran.
The following list is not intended to be comprehensive, but after reviewing it, you should be able to associate several items, if not all, to similar situations in your own shop:
- Excessive number and sets of System Procedure Libraries
- Unknown/unused legacy cataloged procedures in System Procedure Libraries
- Excessive number of JOBLIB and STEPLIB libraries (sets just too large)
- Invariant number of JOBLIB and STEPLIB concatenation variations
- Improper or better use of JCL parameters
- Presence of obsolete JCL parameters
- Redundant cataloged procedures due to poor or no use of symbolic variables
- Duplicate and obsolete members in Cataloged Procedure Libraries
- Failure to follow documented system and naming standards
- Sloppy and poorly formatted JCL
- Unnecessary or redundant steps resulting in inefficient JCL job streams
- Lack of a well-defined set of symbolic variables utilized across the enterprise
- Lack of comment standards within JCL.
Recognizing the problem is half the battle and adding your own items to this list will highlight where the opportunities for improvement exist in your environment. Making a commitment to address and fix these problems will be an uphill battle that will certainly cross many organizational lines; however, the reward of doing so will be improved system and operational performance and better management of the JCL environment and life cycle across the enterprise.
Understanding the Cost of Doing Nothing