DTS Webinar Recap: Introduction to ISMF Test

In Introduction to ISMF Test, DTS Software CTO Steve Pryor discussed IBM’s Interactive Storage Management Facility (ISMF), including the Naviquest feature (ISMF Option 11) and its advantages and disadvantages. The presentation began with an introduction to the ISMF Test component, which allows you to simulate the creation of datasets and execution of SMS ACS routines. This simulation helps predict what Data Class, Storage Class, or Management Class you’re going to get when a dataset is created, ensuring that ACS Routine changes will perform as expected.

Pryor then addressed the two types of users accessing the ISPF interface of ISMF, pointing out that the End User uses the facility to obtain SMS information, information about datasets and volumes, and work with lists, while the Storage Administrator is responsible for maintaining the configuration of the SMS constructs, Data Class, Management Class, Storage Class, and updating ACS Routines. The Storage Administrator can also define and alter tape libraries, storage groups, and test cases.

If you’d like to get into the meat of the presentation, it can be viewed any time at this link, but here are Pryor’s main recommendations to take away from the webinar.

  • Limit the size and complexity of ACS routines and clean up things that aren’t used.
  • Log updates you make to ACS routines because they’ll be executed for every dataset in the system. Use SAVEACDS and SAVESCDS parameters to copy ACS routines so you can fallback to a prior version if necessary.
  • Use WRITE statements to show values of ACS read-only variables when debugging.
  • Maintain some sort of testcase library to ensure that ACS routine changes effect only what you intend.

Pryor also dove into DTS Software’s SMS/Debug and Audit product, which extends the function of ISMF Test with the goal of improving utility and reliability. SMS/Debug and Audit provides a way to generate and execute ACS tests with an ISPF interface, but it also offers ACS routine logic tracing to look at the logic of data class and storage class routines as they execute in both a live allocation and a test-based allocation. This software can also compare constructs in one Source Control Data Set (SCDS) to another.

Another DTS product, Allocation Control Center Monarch (ACC Monarch), offers rules-based standards management to allow more granular control over datasets than you can achieve using just ACS routines. ACC Monarch can manage dataset creation, deletion, the ERASE function, and many more functionalities.