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2006 Index of Articles

January 2006

FEATURES

CICSPlex SM and WLM for Small Shops
By Craig Blanchard

ASK almost any CICS systems programmer to define what CICSPlex SM is, and the answer will probably have something to do with the administration and support of online environments with dozens, or even hundreds, of CICS regions. After all, one of the biggest benefits of having a CICSPlex is to provide a single-system image (SSI) of all the CICS regions that make up your transaction processing environment. This makes the routine management of the CICS systems much easier. If you only have a few CICS regions in your shop, then there may not appear to be much benefit from deploying a CICSPlex. However, when one looks beyond just the SSI component, there could be some other things that might make CICSPlex SM more attractive to smaller shops.

ARTICLES

Embedding Autonomics into Legacy Processes
By Lockwood Lyon

EARLY in my IT career I became accustomed to midnight telephone calls. Sometimes these were production problems that required some analysis to find the root cause. In some cases however, the problems were so basic that anyone with some operating system and file system knowledge could have fixed them. As IT organizations matured we got smarter: we kept logs of problem occurrences. Then we analyzed the logs looking for trends and patterns. As a result we began to recognize frequent problems and devised strategies either for dealing with them automatically or for preventing them in the first place.

Linux & the IBM zSeries Mainframe: A Dynamic and Robust Team
By Brian Grondin

SOMEWHERE along the way, many of us became frustrated with the limitations and costs associated with running proprietary software. Just about the time we could have lost all hope, along came Linux, with its “open source” approach to delivering new ways of doing things on the hardware platforms we had come to know and trust for running our most critical applications. Now it’s been over ten years since the start of the Linux era, and with the availability of quality commercial Linux distributions, this new environment has proven itself and is ready to go almost anywhere you want to take it.

DB2 Version 8 for z/OS and XML
By Allen Jaques

CAN IBM’s flagship relational database management system, DB2 for z/OS Version 8, be an effective platform for storing, managing, and processing XML text and documents? This article will examine the XML-related features in DB2 for z/OS Version 8 that make it particularly well suited for such a purpose.

NaSPA Retrospective: From the President . . .Through the Years
By NaSPA

In honor of NaSPA’s 20th anniversary, and former President Scott Sherer’s leadership, we’ve decided to present this timeline of President’s letters throughout the years. Much has happened in NaSPA and in the world during the past 20 years. These excerpts represent milestones and changes that have occurred within the organization, as well as world events that have affected NaSPA. It is interesting to reflect on all that has happened since NaSPA’s inception, the new issues that we must face in the future, and the old issues we continue to grapple with.

Job Scheduling ROI and Foolproofing
By Mark Loehr

SIMILAR to the way autopilots control complex processes in airplanes, job scheduling software controls complex automation tasks in data centers. The more tasks the software manages, the less manual interference necessary. There are a few solutions that can manage enough tasks to virtually eliminate manual interference. Therefore, as solutions vary widely in the ability to meet individual needs, companies that desire increased control of their data centers should take a closer look at their current situation and identify key areas for automation.

When Disaster Strikes, Do You Know Where Your Data Is?
By Peter Carroll

SOMETIMES it takes a natural disaster to drive home the point that data protection is a necessity in today’s technology-driven society. The recent catastrophic events along the Gulf Coast have left many businesses and individuals reeling from data loss, and many more vowing to take the necessary steps to ensure that they are protected not only from floods and hurricanes, but also from the more common forms of data loss such as human error or viruses.

“Back to the Future” in Disaster Recovery: Proven Practices of the Past, Leveraged by Today’s Technology
By Leo A.Wrobel

SOME of you may remember me, as I was a regular writer for NaSPA’s Technical Support Journal a number of years ago. This is one reason I chose the “Back to the Future” theme for this, the first in a series of new articles. It’s good to be back as a contributing author with my NaSPA friends. The second reason for this theme is that over the span of my career, I have made two interesting observations about Disaster Recovery Planning: (1) Technology changes SO quickly it is virtually impossible to keep up. (2) Planning fundamentals however, change VERY LITTLE.

Redhat Linux Certifications
By Keith Zielinski

Several years ago, I went shopping, looking for a DVD player, I did my research on several players before I finally picked the one that both had the features I wanted and didn’t drain my wallet too bad in the process. Recently, I went shopping for a new DVD player because mine, of course, figured out that it had made it past my warranty period. I noticed a brand that had better resolution, an edgier look, was much cheaper for the features than what I paid on my old one, and much easier to use than my old machine. This story made me think of the current environment many companies are facing regarding their enterprise operating systems as the cost for license fees are taking a larger part of the IT budgets. The operating system choices the executives have ranges from Windows to Linux. This column is here to help those that believe Linux is better than the other operating systems out there. In 1991 the then 22 year old Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds wrote Linux as an alternative operating system to Microsoft and DOS. It has been tweaked and modified since then but it has maintained the principles that it was based on; stable, option rich, and affordable. In such a capitalist entrenched world that we live in, the idea that something is free must have a catch, right? Well, some would agree that there are catches associated with a Linux shop. They may have merit, but for those that take the path least traveled, it has been a financial and bona fide productivity gain. For an operating system that has been around for almost as long as either Windows or DOS, and was derived originally from Minix, a small UNIX system, it is odd that more people have not converted to the Linux world. Much less, why do we have to spend time debating the merits to this level? I think people would say human nature is to blame and that it boils down to people sticking with what they are familiar with. Others who believe in the corruption of the world, right wing conspiracies, and three headed turtles could think that we are being fed what we need to keep feeding on the status quo of the Microsoft and Unix world. I think I’ll go with the former.

COLUMNS

WORKING SMARTER

Reminiscing in an Anniversary Year
By Jim Moore

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

Working With What You Have, and Enjoying It
By Sam Golob

TECHNO PIONEERS

Mitch Kapor in the Lotus Position
By Jim Rue

TECHNICAL REPORTS

“Protect Your Windows Network”
By Jim Justen

CAREER CORNER

Evaluating a Job Offer:Avoiding the Grass is Greener Syndrome
By Kathy Bornheimer

TOP


February 2006

FEATURES

Justifying and Funding Disaster Recovery Expenditures
By Leo A.Wrobel

One of the things I have learned over the years is that Disaster Recovery Plans are rather like pre-need funeral plans. Everyone thinks they are a great idea, but when push comes to shove how many people actually have one?

ARTICLES

Improving Your CICS TS 3.1 Throughput With Enhanced Exploitation of OTE
By Elena Nanos

IBM continues to enhance CICS’s ability to use multiprocessors and further enhanced exploitation of Open Transaction Environment (OTE) with CICS TS 3.1. This article will give you an overview of how CICS TCBs are used and will give you guidance on best way to utilize machine resources to achieve better throughput.

Mainframe Support—From Y2K to Why $2k?
By William Jacob

Mainframe support has changed a lot since the year 2000, and small and mid-sized sites are now challenged to ensure a consistent supply of support skills. One emerging trend is the use of remote managed services.

NaSPA Retrospective: Security Considerations and New Technology Implementation
By Gregg A. Rabenold

For this month’s 20th Anniversary feature, we thought it would be interesting to compare two articles on security from different points in the past. Security is an ever-changing field, and it is interesting to see what issues have changed with technology, and the basic issues that remain the same. The article on the left hand page entitled, “Security Considerations and New Technology Implementation” was originally published in the January 1991 issue of Technical Support. Rob van Hoboken’s article “Mainframe Security: Challenges and Solutions” was originally published in the June 2004 issue of Technical Support.

NaSPA Retrospective: Mainframe Security: Challenges and Solutions
By Rob van Hoboken

Security threats to the mainframe are a real threat to the mission-critical services and information typically found in the glass house.This article emphasizes the unique issues surrounding mainframe security, including challenges with staff and what makes mainframes particularly vulnerable. It concludes with recommendations to improve mainframe security.

Why Data Center Access Control Deserves More Attention
By Elizabeth M. Ferrarini

Physical security is just as important as virtual security when it comes to your data center. Physically securing the network means limiting access to it.

COLUMNS

SECURITY MATTERS

Moving Toward SOX Compliance
By Dinesh Dattani

WORKING SMARTER

An ISPF (TSO/E) REGION Tool—Revisited
By Jim Moore

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

TSO/E Control Blocks—Part One
By Sam Golob

TECHNO PIONEERS

Thomas Edison—the Inventor of the Idea of Inventing
By Jim Rue

CAREER CORNER

Effective Speaking Skills for Job Search and Interviewing
By Kathy Bornheimer

TOP


March 2006

FEATURES

Rexx—The Universal Language
By Howard Fosdick

EVERYONE WHO WORKS WITH MAINFRAMES KNOWS ABOUT REXX. IT’S THE command or “scripting” language that’s been shipped with all mainframes for years. It’s versatile, flexible, and powerful. Somehow it still manages to be very easy to learn and use.

ARTICLES

DataStage TX:“Nuts and Bolts”Data Transformation for zSeries Applications
By Mary E. Shacklett

THE EFFECTIVE INTEGRATION AND LEVERAGING OF ZSERIES-BASED DATA throughout the enterprise continues to be a top IT priority. Supporting this effort, IBM and third party vendors have delivered numerous middleware products intended to ease the zSeries support load for technical support. These products also provide application developers with “mainframe-transparent” data access and transformation that reduce the need to hand-code access, validation and transformation routines for data that might be coming from IMS, IDMS, DB2 or other sources.

Configuring the DS8100
By Doyle Banks

THE LATEST GENERATION OF IBM’S HIGH-END DASD STORAGE, THE DS8100, has brought to market a substantial leap in capacity and performance over the Enterprise Storage Server (“Shark”). Compared to the Shark, it has a smaller physical footprint, runs at about 6 times the performance ability, and can hold up to 192 terabytes (TB) of data vs. 27.9TB.

Recursive SQL—Part One
By Rob Mala

I was recently asked if I could write an SQL statement that would count the number of direct and indirect employees for each unit within an organization hierarchy. “Sure,” I said, “give me 10 minutes and I’ll have something ready for you.” After several false starts I managed to write the SQL statement, though it took a little longer than 10 minutes.

NaSPA Retrospective: A Look Back at the Personal Computer’s First Decade — 1975 to 1985
By Elizabeth M. Ferrarini

IN JANUARY 1975, A POPULAR ELECTRONICS MAGAZINE COVER STORY about the $300 Altair 8800 kit by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry officially gave birth to the personal computer (PC) industry.

Tips for Evaluating and Quantifying Vulnerability in Equipment Rooms
By Leo A.Wrobel

WHETHER YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IS AS A LAN MANAGER, TELEcommunications Manager Mainframe Systems Manager, or Building Manager, planning for catastrophic disruptions in the systems you control is part of the job.

Advance Disaster Planning: A Q&A with 3 Senior Risk Managers on how preparedness is changing after the Hurricanes of 2005
Note: This is a follow-up to the article Jeff Furman wrote in our December 2005 issue, “Advance Disaster Planning—Y2K as a Model.” THE HURRICANES OF 2005 CHANGED THE WAY MANY RISK MANAGERS and Advance Disaster Planners are approaching their work. Lessons learned are bringing improvements in planning for A) Physical Disasters, B) I.T. hardware/software/data losses, and C) Telecommunication downages.
By Jeff Furman

COLUMNS

WORKING SMARTER

COBOL Linkage With By Value
By Jim Moore

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

TSO/E Control Blocks—Part Two.
By Sam Golob

TECHNICAL REPORTS

Microsoft VirtualPC for Macintosh 7.02: Can’t we all just get along? (Yes,we can!)
By Jim Justen

TECHNO PIONEERS

TOC Column
By Jim Rue

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April 2006

FEATURES

The Globalization of the IT Industry — Looking Back and Looking Forward
By Bill Elder

Today, it is now possible to work for anyone from almost anywhere on the globe. As I write this very article, I am part of this new phenomenon. As an IT professional living in Centreville, VA, it is possible to write articles for an association based in Wisconsin. Thanks to email, articles can be sent back and forth for comment. With a library card and internet access, I can now research sources from anywhere. When I feel like getting out of the house, I can go to Jamie’s General Bean Coffee House and Roastery to use their free WI-FI access to stay connected to the world. Even interviews can be done over the Internet these days. It will be even more interesting to see what more we can do remotely as time marches on.

ARTICLES

Recursive SQL—Part Two
By Rob Mala

In Part 1 of this article I described in detail how I developed a recursive SQL statement that would count the number of direct and indirect employees for each unit within an organization hierarchy. In this article the problem is refined, which leads to a more generic solution.

The IBM REXX/370 Compiler—Part One
By Dave Salt

Restructured EXtended eXecutor (otherwise known as ‘REXX’) is a procedural programming language owned by IBM. A powerful yet exceptionally easy to learn language, REXX offers an extensive list of features and benefits. One such benefit is that REXX can be executed interpretively or compiled. This somewhat unique ability offers REXX developers the best of both worlds; applications can be developed and tested without having to keep going through the recompilation process, and then compiled for optimal efficiency and security before being deployed in a production environment. Part 1 of this article explains one of the major differences between various REXX compilers available on the market, and introduces the IBM REXX/370 compiler. Part 2 of this article (in the next issue of Technical Support) will describe how to use the IBM REXX/370 compiler.

Some Steak Tips for Beefing Up Your Security
By Elizabeth M. Ferrarini

YOU CAN’T PICK UP A TRADE PUBLICATION WITHOUT READING ABOUT some company’s security breach. Unfortunately, you won’t find any 12-step program to turn your company into Fort Knox. Good security is an on-going process, not a journey to a mystery destination. Companies with good security rely on knowledgeable people and solid practices with some bite to them, not sizzle. The following collection of tips can help you to tighten any holes in your security practices.

Parsing, Syntax Checking and Interpretation — Part One
By Richard Tsujimoto

AS ANYONE WHO HAS EVER DEVELOPED A TOOL, OR UTILITY PROGRAM, knows, one of the most frustrating parts of developing code is the processing of data that is used to drive the software, such as command lines, or parameters that are provided via switches, checking for correct syntax, extracting the keyword value(s) and acting on the values presented.

Conduct a Compelling Business Impact Analysis
By Leo A.Wrobel

ONE OF THE MOST NOTEWORTHY THINGS I HAVE OBSERVED IN THE 20 YEARS that I have been involved in Disaster Recovery Planning is how much effort must be spent by the contingency planner simply for permission to do his or her job. This is not to say that management is not in tune with the need to plan for disasters, they are. This is also not to say that management does not support the efforts of the contingency planner, they do. The rubber really meets the road however when the contingency planner has to request money or an increase in head count. Then things become difficult.

Infosec Institute’s Computer Forensic Examiner Certification
By Keith Zielinski

Not many things today are as important on a global scale as the war on terror is. In an effort to battle this menace to the peace of the world, computers have been put into the forefront of the battle as one of the tools used to combat this threat. Computers are being used by both sides.

Moving Toward SOX Compliance—Part Two
By Dinesh Dattani

IN THE LAST COLUMN (PUBLISHED IN FEB 2006) WE DISCUSSED ONE ASPECT of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance legislation: that of validating userids and reviewing the accesses granted to those userids to enterprise data.

COLUMNS

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

Internationalization
By Sam Golob and Courtney Taylor

SHAREWARE SPOTLIGHT

Let’s Get Small
By Jim Justen

WORKING SMARTER

JCL Simplified
By Jim Moore

CAREER CORNER

Make Sure that Your Resume Gets You in the Door and Keeps You in the Door
By Kathy Bornheimer

TOP


May 2006

FEATURES

The IT Job Market:Targeted for Growth in 2006
By Mary E. Shacklett

THE IT JOB MARKET HAS SWUNG BETWEEN THE ENORMOUS HIRING NEEDS of the pre-Y2K period of the late nineties and the plunge in hiring that followed Y2K, and that hit all-time lows in 2002-2004. During this time, the zSeries mainframe job market fluctuated as well. Now in 2006, some of the positive hiring trends that emerged in 2005 for IT professionals are projected to continue—as is IBM’s push to reinvent the mainframe as a computing platform for the future with a compelling return on investment (ROI).

ARTICLES

Are you Ready for “E”? Basic Skill Requirements for e-business Application Developers
By Saad Yousuf

IN NO INDUSTRY MORE THAN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY IS IT TRUE THAT a commitment to life-long learning is the sole means for survival. That is particularly the case in application development. E-business has been a driving force changing the way nearly all companies do business and the demands they place on programmers.

The IBM REXX/370 Compiler—Part Two
By Dave Salt

How the IBM REXX/370 compiler (hereafter called ‘the compiler’) differentiates itself from competing products. -- How the compiler can increase REXX performance up to 10 times when compared to interpreted REXX. -- How the ‘Library’ and ‘Alternate Library’ affect performance. -- How to determine if the Library or Alternate Library is available on a system.

What’s the z/OS® Programmer to Do to Make the 3494 Tape Library Go
By Tim Raley

An automated tape library represents a significant monetary investment for most organizations. The physical installation requires careful planning. For example, an IBM® TotalStorage® 3494 Tape Library can grow to 16 frames requiring over 40 feet of linear floor space. Everybody in the Data Center wants to see it work, so what’s the z/OS guy do to make the 3494 Tape Library go?

Parsing, Syntax Checking and Interpretation—Part Two
By Rick Tsujimoto

LAST MONTH I DISCUSSED HOW TO DO A LEXICAL SCAN OF A LINEAR expression, such as a command line, converting it into a series of tokens based on user-specified delimiters, keywords and strings (both numeric and alphanumeric). In addition, I also discussed how a formal parser has two major roles: lexical scanning and syntax checking, and why I chose to split these two processes into two separate callable functions. In this article, I will describe how to perform syntax checking of the linear expression after it has undergone the lexical scan phase.

Where to Start to Keep the Telco’s Disasters from Becoming Yours
By Leo A.Wrobel

ASK YOURSELF THIS QUESTION; IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS, DO YOU think that the total loss of your building is a worst-case disaster? Many very good recovery planners make that assumption in their plans. I submit to you however that the worst case is not the total loss of your building, but the total loss of a major telecommunications facility.

What a Long Strange Trip it’s Been
By Jim Rue

What a long strange trip it has been. In the last twenty years the computer and electronics industry has transformed again and again. The fields of hardware, software, networking, security and operating systems each have evolved their own rigorous certification process. Computer professionals have emerged from their introverted socially awkward nerd shells to become well-dressed, often well-mannered, even, perhaps, occasionally well-adjusted, management types. Furthermore, advanced features on a new computer or other device are often characterized as ‘sexy.’ While one hopes this term is hyperbole, its common use nonetheless suggests that computers and technology are viewed very differently today than they were in 1986 when NASPA began.

COLUMNS

FULL SPECTRUM

American Power Conversion Makes ITIL Certification a Must-Have
By Elizabeth Ferrarini

WORKING SMARTER

TSO—ISPF—REXX—Keeping then Straight
By Jim Moore

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

Why Control Block?
By Sam Golob

TECHNO PIONEERS

Bob Parsons, Bull Goose of GoDaddy
By Jim Rue

CERTIFICATION CORNER

Microsoft’s Certified Desktop Support Technician
By Keith Zielinski

TOP


June 2006

FEATURES

AJAX—Offering Desktop-Level Development Quality Over the Web
By Trevor Eddolls

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE CLASSICALLY EDUCATED, WE’RE not talking about the Greek hero at the battle of Troy—the son of Telamon, who eventually went mad and committed suicide— this AJAX is an acronym standing for Asynchronous Javascript And XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language), which was originally coined by Web design consultancy Adaptive Path. This AJAX isn’t famous for battling Hector to a standstill, it is a technique used to create speedy interactive Web applications.

ARTICLES

Choosing the Best CICS Architectural Approach to Develop E-Business Applications
By Elena Nanos

MOST COMPANIES TODAY ARE LOOKING FOR WAYS TO STANDARDIZE technical architecture across the enterprise, while reducing cost, by developing better Application processes that are easier to manage, that leverage existing investments, and effectively meet their customer demands.

SOA and zSeries are Closely Linked in IBM’s Vision
By Mary E. Shacklett

GROWING NEEDS FOR ON-DEMAND INFORMATION, KEEN UNDERSTANDING of the business needs of information, and the need to maximize return on information investments are driving the enterprise adoption of service- oriented architecture (SOA) that utilizes time-tested platforms like the zSeries.

Legislation Spotlight: NIAC
By Rachael Zimmermann

THE NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE ADVISORY COUNCIL HELD THE SECOND of its four annual meetings on April 11 in Washington D.C. This meeting, attended by roughly one third of members in person and the rest via teleconference, focused on the progress made by four of the working groups currently on the council. The Intelligence Coordination Working Group, the Workforce Preparation, Education, and Research Group, the Chemical, Biological, Radiological Events and the CI Workforce Working Group, and the Convergence Working Group all presented their findings and recommendations to the 30 member panel.

Disaster Recovery Planning—Special Concerns for “Open” Systems
By Leo A.Wrobel

IT’S NO SECRET THAT MODES OF OPERATION HAVE CHANGED DRASTICALLY over the last ten years with regard to information processing. Open System computing has overtaken mainframes, especially in critical revenue producing applications such as customer support. Concurrent with these changes, many of the technical decisions associated with these open systems are falling into the hands of users who are often non-technical.

Parsing, Syntax Checking and Interpreting — Part Three
By Rick Tsujimoto

THIS IS THE LAST OF A THREE PART ARTICLE, AND WE HAVE REACHED THE point where the linear expression has been sliced, diced, and weighed. What is left is handing over the pieces of data that the customer wants so that the real objective of the application can be performed. This process is referred to as interpretation.

The IBM REXX/370 Compiler — Part Three
By Dave Salt

THIS ARTICLE IS PART 3 OF A THREE PART SERIES describing the IBM REXX/370 compiler (hereafter called ‘the compiler’). Parts 1 and 2 appeared in the April and May 2006 editions of Technical Support magazine, and discussed various aspects of the compiler.

Twenty Years of Constant Change!
By John Papproth

SOME THINGS CHANGE AND SOME THINGS STAY THE SAME, AT LEAST FOR a while. Here is a short quiz with some trivia from the years that have passed while we were busy working.

COLUMNS

MVS TOOLS & TRICKS

The World Should Be Full of Collectors
By Sam Golob

SECURITY MATTERS

Mainframe Security Matters—Thinking Outside the Box
By Dinesh Dattani

TECHNICAL REPORTS

A Guide to Herding Cats “Corporate Software Project Management” by Guy Lecky-Thompson
By Jim Justen

WORKING SMARTER

DDLIST:The ENQ Command
By Jim Moore

FULL SPECTRUM

How to Keep Your Data Center Powered and Cool
By Elizabeth Ferrarini

TOP