DASD Farms and Farmers
Not that long ago, it was very common to see gigantic computer rooms filled with disk drives and disk controllers. Many of the rooms were so large they were commonly called "DASD Farms". While the introduction of disk arrays has physically condensed the farm to more of a "plot", the amount of actual disk space has rapidly increased for years. DASD Farmers, also known as Storage Administrators, now think and work with petabytes or even exabytes.
Storage is Expensive and Should be Managed
The mainframe and server-class storage subsystems are still very expensive – typically one of the largest budget items in a data center. All this storage is a Shared Resource that can be used by thousands of users and applications. To get the most out of your storage dollars, the storage subsystem should be well-managed.
Storage Management Tools are Effective and Save Money
A real farmer is only as effective as the technology used on the farm. In other words, a guy with a plow pulled by a mule cannot compete with someone using a tractor. It's no different with DASD farmers. Good management tools allow a storage administrator to effectively manage huge storage subsystems.
Allocation Control Center (ACC)
An Orderly DASD Farm
Every company has a storage management plan - the hard part is getting everyone to play by the rules. Codify your storage management rules into a company policy and ACC will enforce your corporate standards and control data placement. While DF/SMS helps, the IBM product is best suited for very broad-based rules and very few storage groups.
ACC is a much more versatile product, and can be used to micro-manage your storage subsystem. ACC can easily enforce, override and/or log specific JCL or IDCAMS parameters related to installation standards. The product can also control data placement for both SMS and non-SMS data sets using one of several volume selection algorithms. When working with SMS controlled files, ACC can subpool the request allowing your installation to use relatively few SMS storage groups. The product also provides excellent tracing, logging, and debugging tools to help develop the rules that manage your storage subsystem. ACC can easily organize the farm the way it was meant to be.
Space Recovery System (SRS)
No matter how well you manage the farm, there will be exceptions (typically space or catalog related problems). Everyone has experienced an important job that won't start because of space shortages or catalog problems, or a job that fails with an out-of-space condition after running for hours. DF/SMS was supposed to solve these problems - it didn't. SRS gets involved when things start to go wrong and corrects space or NOT-CATLG-2 conditions before they become real problems. Jobs start and finish as if the problem never occurred.
Storage Management products that dynamically recover space errors have to be very selective during the recovery procedure. There are many conditions that cause data corruption or truncation problems. Obviously, these conditions should be bypassed by the recovery algorithms. If an algorithm is not careful, you can get a recovery situation that appears to work (i.e. the job gets a RC=0), but your file is corrupt or missing records. SRS recognizes and avoids these conditions, while many other storage recovery products do not.
SCC Monitor and Explorer
Monitor the Farm
SCC Monitor and Explorer are tools that can be used to "keep an eye on things", and help the storage administrator “take care of problems” when necessary. The Explorer is a PC-based GUI that works with the host-based Monitor. Explorer also has interfaces to the MVS Console and TSO commands, system utilities, DF/HSM commands, as well as third party software products. Most storage management functions can be performed with a simple right-click.
SCC Monitor and Explorer can also harvest information from your storage subsystems. These products can access and filter information from VTOCs, VVDSs, catalogs, SMS constructs, tape libraries, HSM control data sets, HFS, PDS directories and JCL libraries. The input data can be used to create messages, records, JCL, reports and even spreadsheets when using SCC Explorer.
Control your DASD Pigs
How do you limit the disk space used by a user, group or application? In other words, how do you keep them on a DASD diet. DF/SMS controls users by limiting them to storage groups. Unfortunately, even a single-volume storage group is relatively large, and most installations have discovered that DF/SMS works best with very few storage groups.
SCC DLimit is a disk quota product designed to track and control space utilization. Storage Administrators define DASD Accounts which track the current space and high-water-mark used by a user, group, division, and/or company. Subgroups can also be created: VSAM, non-VSAM and Temp are a few examples. Accounts are typically used to monitor, report, and warn users and administrators about space usage. SCC DLimit also has a rarely used facility to deny space requests if an account has been overdrawn.
Real farmers are technology opportunists. Any "practical" advantage quickly gets incorporated on a modern farm. For years, IBM has been creating opportunities in the mainframe world by adding system exits. However, few companies use these exits because of the difficulty required to implement them. Easy/Exit uses the product rules language and dynamic installation technologies developed for SCC to make using exits easy. Unlike most hand-coded assembler exit routines, EASY/Exit clist-like rules can be dynamically modified. The product also has extensive tracing and error recovery features.
About DTS Software
Who is DTS Software?
The developers at DTS Software have decades of experience writing the tools for DASD Farmers. The company founders/developers entered the software business in the early 80's with storage management products marketed through Empact Software. After a very successful startup and eventual buyout, DTS was formed in 1991.
DTS Software does not use offshore development. Our U.S. based development centers are located in Raleigh, NC and Conyers, GA. For our international customers, we strongly believe in partnering with local distributors who are fluent in the local language and are familiar with our products.
DTS is loaded with technical expertise. Our products are easy to install and work as designed. Our software and support are second to none.
"The DTS support staff is always there - we always get a 'live', competent and quality tech to assist us. They are true general DASD experts - they frequently provide DASD-related assistance beyond the scope of their products."
The Dallas Morning News
"The service we have received from DTS Software, today, has been above and beyond any expectations we could have had for a vendor. From the materials provided this morning, to the conference call, to the FAX - and the many, many e-mails in between - thank you all so much for setting the standard."
Texas Health Resources
"I Love your Tech Support. Keep up the good work!"
University of Florida