In my October/November 2006 column, I solicited a call for z/VSE Futures contributions. Since then, the z/VSE Futures Task Force has collected, combined, and forwarded the results to the appropriate vendors. As promised, here’s a report on the information sent to the z/VSE Futures Task Force in 2006/2007.
VSE/VSAM Generation Data Set Group Support: With this feature, a z/VSE user would be better able to manage data in VSE/VSAM and VTape (Virtual Tape). The GDG also would enhance SAM-managed VSAM for sequential data sets, allowing them to utilize GDGs and use the model definitions, providing a Data Management System within VSAM. This feature already exists in other mainframe operating systems and would make z/VSE compatible with them.
VSE/VTAM-Less TCP/IP Communications: Many z/VSE users no longer have a need for VSE/VTAM other than as a connector from TCP/IP to VSE/VTAM applications. Having moved from real 3270 terminals to PC/ TN3270 terminals and from VSE/VTAM PNET to TCP/IP PNET, removing VSE/VTAM in the system will reduce support requirements, complexity, and cost. TCP/IP should include in the system a facility to allow it to communicate directly with the subsystem applications of POWER, CICS, etc. VSE/VTAM support must continue as-is for those who still need it.
IBM Webcasts/Education: IBM should provide more and varied Webcasts to meet the educational needs of z/VSE customers. Examples include more in-depth education on new z/VSE software and hardware features as well as how to use, exploit, and enhance the z/VSE system and its companion products. The focus needs to be on improving/ expanding z/VSE use and exploitation within the user’s company. IBM should host user-led sessions on its exploitation of z/VSE technology.
Expand VSE/VSAM File Name Support: In VSE/ VSAM, enhance the support for %% (system- and partitiondependent) file names so we can use them throughout the complete VSE/VSAM structure. An example would be to support defining an AIX by adding the %% processing to the FILENAME and the NEWNAME of the ALTER statement. This will allow the definition of partition- and system-dependent VSE/VSAM files with alternate indexes for both the KSDS or ESDS work files.
Thanks to Aubrey Hayes, Pam Lovely, and Harry Loeffen for the contributions to the z/VSE Futures. Yes, there were only three contributors. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad news: It’s bad news if we, the z/VSE community, are complacent or lazy and chose not to participate in a valuable process to enhance our operating system. I certainly hope that isn’t what happened. On the other hand, it’s good news only if we, the z/VSE community, have everything we need now and in the future. Probably not a reasonable assumption.
So what do we have? I suspect that it’s partially both. In the last few years, z/VSE has certainly received numerous additional facilities, enhancements, new hardware, and new software. Many users have been somewhat overwhelmed with all the new capabilities. However, being overwhelmed shouldn’t lead to complacency.
It would be easy to read into the lack of requests as being a lack of commitment or even a lack of need. However, knowing this community, I don’t believe either one is really the case. I realize we’re all trying to do more with less, and sometimes something really important is left hanging.
That’s what I suspect really happened. z/VSE Futures was left to the end and time ran out. Many of you probably have in the back of your mind something that would be really important to the community. My quest is to somehow get each and every one of you to jot it down and send me an email at email@example.com.
How do I do that? really, I have only two weapons. First is this column, to remind you that I’m waiting and hopeful. Second, I see and talk to many of you over the course of each year. So, prepare yourselves for column reminders on a regular basis, and every time we talk, I will ask you if you have any Futures info for the task force.
Will this work? I think so. I have confidence that the z/VSE community will respond as they have so many times in the past.
Please do not take anything in this column as chastisement; that’s not the intent. I understand the realities of the working world, need, and deadlines. Please just take this as a gentle reminder of something that’s important and needs to be added to your to-do list.
Thanks for listening and for reading the column; see you all in the next issue. Z