Updating Woes

As far as pet peeves go, mine is entering the same commands over and over.

Especially when every few months I’m FTP’ing maintenance for ISV (Independent Software Vendors).

Some companies have pretty slick procedures. COMPUWARE comes to mind as they have a pretty good web based front-end that uploads all the necessary installation DATASETS; allows you to indicate HLQ; the VOLUME SERIAL; etc.

In contrast other companies leave it to the System Programmers to do this on their own.  Sometimes offering a neat JCL job to directly FTP from the company’s FTP site (that’s against security policies at my shop); or simply giving a simple math exercise to remedy the PREALLOCATION.

e.g. VANGUARD probably has the BEST technical support IMO, however quite a bit of their maintenance procedures includes this gem:

Note: The number of cylinders of 3390 DASD required for the FTP can be calculated by dividing the extracted (unzipped)
file size in KB by 675.

For example, if the unzipped file is 174,315KB;
174315/675=258.2, allocate 258 cyls.

Yes, a little math doesn’t kill anyone…but what a pain in the arse!

We had an incident recently where someone did not specify the correct CYLINDERS and we had corruption and confusion before the problem was detected.

.BAT Windows Scripts

Therefore I started making simple batch (.BAT) scripts, since yes we still use Windows XP as our workstations, to automate several FTP commands.

Programming up bat scripts is pretty straightforward, and there’s still plenty of tutorials kicking around.

(Yes, I know PowerShell would have been ideal…maybe in the future.)

vanguard bat script syncsort bat script

The code for both these examples are available HERE.

Until companies provide slick and painless front-ends for their updates I suspect more shops will continue using Productive scripts such as these.




Sometimes it’s a great idea to detach from the virtual world and get solidly educated in the physical world. With real, live instructors and face-to-face conversations with peers. (Peers with beers?) As one excellent example, IBM is sponsoring the System z Technical University in Budapest from May 12 through 16, 2014.

Budapest is in Hungary, in case you’re wondering. Bucharest is in Romania. This May’s zUniversity is in Budapest. If you go to Bucharest you won’t have nearly as much fun from May 12 through 16. Although I’ve heard Bucharest is a lovely place, too. After you visit Budapest you can visit Bucharest if you’d like.