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Christo_z/OS - 5/4/2012 4:09:57 AM
RE:Take the Dz Tips and Techniques CHALLENGE!
z/OS system parameters - dynamic change tracking technique

Over the recent years, z/OS has became more dynamic which eliminates down time and increases availability. Due to business needs, customer have started to run z/OS systems without IPL for months and system programmers are asked to perform dynamic changes wherever possible. Being a z/OS system programmer, it creates a concern on how dynamic changes made to the system for months can be tracked and ensured those are staged for next IPL (which would happen several months later). The are several techniques used to track the dynamic changes and most lead to surprises with missing configuration after system IPL. I don't depend on maintianing manual change logs!. This triggered me to formulate a simple technique to identify the dynamic changes. Also the intention is to have the technique easily followed by z/OS or MVS system programmers on any system (irrespective of their experience). This technique has to performed before IPL and system programmer can verify if the dynamic changes were made permanent so that system initializes without issues. A proactive approach rather being reactive. This also prevents possible outages with missing configuration and effectively limits your system IPL time (where you spend time in fixing the missing configuration).

z/OS system parameters - dynamic change tracking technique procedure:

1. Generate a snap shot of the system parameters (Examples - LPA, LNKLST, APF, SVC, Parmlib datasets, System Symbols, Subsystems) after every system IPL and store it in a flat file. This will be the system parameter base configuration file after IPL.
2. Before next IPL (which is normally after few months), generate a snap shot of the running system parameters (system parameter current configuration file) and store it in a flat file.
3. Compare the system parameter base configuration file (taken in step 1) with system parameter current configuration file (taken in step 2). Compare can be done using normal ISPF compare utility. This would clearly show the add & delete made (dynamic changes) to the system configuration since IPL.
4. Using the compared output from step 3, verify the system parameter library members to make sure changes are made permanent.

Note: It is mandate to create system parameter base configuration file after every IPL for us to be able to track dynamic changes. Generating the base file can also be automated which would avoid person dependency.

Tools that can be used to capture z/OS system parameter snapshot:

(Free tools but highly effective)

1. IBM TASID tool -
2. Mark Zelden IPLINFO script -

You can use REXX exec with ADDRESS CONSOLE and use MVS display commands to take the snapshot

Like the technique, vote please :-)