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And the Winner Is …

De Decker takes top prize in the Dz Tips and Techniques Challenge

6/4/2012 4:12:29 AM | The first Destination z Tips and Techniques Challenge concluded last month with two participants each winning a zEnterprise 114 LEGO model, courtesy of contest sponsor Trident Services.

Jan De Decker, a senior z/OS systems program with JED: SP N.V./S.A in Brussels, Belgium, submitted the winning entry: “A poor man’s programmed operator.” It received 61 percent of the votes cast.

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Jan De Decker

A 27-year IT veteran and self-described “mainframe addict,” De Decker follows many related forums and list groups, and collects mainframe paraphernalia. So the prize was a strong motivator, he explained. Regarding his entry, he noted:

“Executing system and JES2 commands is well documented in the manuals. My submission was an example of how to use it during an upgrade of z/OS. I tried it for the first time during an upgrade from MVS/XA to MVS/ESA. I use the idea of passing system and JES2 commands through a batch job on a regular base.”

A second LEGO model winner, Marc Yves Desravines, was chosen at random from voters who posted an explanation of their vote. A graduate student at Carlos III University of Madrid, Desravines interns as a junior applications programmer z/OS at Aubay Espana, where he programs in COBOL, DB2 and CICS.


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Marc Yves Desravines

His choice in the contest—COMPARE Session command—was submitted by Anoop Thomas of IBM India, and finished second with 36 percent of the vote. Desravines wrote: “Sincerely, in my case, the COMPARE SESSION command is the best. Great tip!”

When asked why the six-year IT veteran got involved in the contest, both by submitting an entry and voting, Desravines said, “I love all things related to System z, and it’s always a pleasure for me to read articles, books, papers, etc., talking about z. My motivation was starting to be more active in pages where I can comment and participate.”

The contest itself generated more than 40 entries on the z&A forum. An expert mainframe panel narrowed the choices to three finalists, with nearly 80 Destination z members voting for their favorite. Individuals were encouraged to vote and post their rationale for a chance to win the second LEGO model. All told, 59 posts were logged on the contest forums, which had more than 4,000 page views.

Here's the winning entry from De Decker:

A poor man's programmed operator
Most sites have automatic operator software implemented. During a z/OS upgrade however, you do not want them to intervene until you have successfully run the Imp’s of the BCP. Typically, you install the base z/OS, including exits, WLM settings and usermod's, import the old master as user catalog, check PARMLIB settings, etc. before you want to invoke the automatic operator on a flash copy. There’s a lot of work to be done, before even attempting to turn on the green lights for customer testing. Your mileage may vary but in my experience it takes a lot of IPL's before you reach that level. Meanwhile you are the sole operator to do the shutdown/IPL sequence. Two things might help. One is to put some automatic replies into in the (z/OS V1R12) AUTORxx PARMLIB member, the second one is to launch a job that does a shutdown of most of the system. I include an example (used while upgrading to z/OS V1R12) below. The first job (JES2 command before JOB card) ensures that JES2 will honor the commands submitted in jobclass (A) between the JOB and the EXEC card. The second job contains a numbers of commands you would have to enter during a normal shutdown without automatic operator. The last command in the example is site specific. What I do is to get out of EDIT sessions, and submit the job. Mind that it does not do all the work, JES2 for instance you have to stop manually.


Example:
/*$TJOBCLASS(A),COMMAND=EXECUTE
//JEDSP001 JOB OS-SETUP,'JED:SP JAN@JEDSP.NET',CLASS=A,
// MSGLEVEL=(1,1),MSGCLASS=X,NOTIFY=&SYSUID,
// REGION=0M
//*
//S0 EXEC PGM=IEFBR14
//*
//JEDSP001 JOB OS-SETUP,'JED:SP JAN@JEDSP.NET',CLASS=A,
// MSGLEVEL=(1,1),MSGCLASS=X,NOTIFY=&SYSUID,
// REGION=0M
// W
// RACF STOP
// F DLF,MODE=DRAIN
// P TNF
// F RMF,NODDR
// P GMPSERVE
// F VMCF,REMOVE
// P TSO
// F HZSPROC,STOP
// F BPXOINIT,SHUTDOWN=FORKINIT
// P OMVS,STOPPFS=ZFS
// P FTPD1
// P FFST
// P HZSPROC
// P LLA
// P VLF
// % STOP
// P SDSF
// P TCPIP
// P RMF
// Z NET,QUICK
// P DLF
// $PJES2,TERM
// V XCF,MVSZ,OFF (reply SYSNAME=MVSZ) <-------Site specific
//S1 EXEC PGM=IEFBR14

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