In the fourth and final installment of the “SMS Mysteries” series, DTS Software CTO Steve Pryor talked about the role Storage Groups play in DFSMS. The Storage Group is one of the most important SMS constructs, and can have a major effect on datasets, volumes, and storage managers such as DFSMShsm and FDRABR.
Despite its significance in day-to-day operations, the Storage Group is also one of the most misunderstood constructs, which is why Pryor covered the seven different types of Storage Groups. He touched on how each one can impact the availability of free space in the system and the placement of datasets on volumes, and offered some best practices for defining and using them to maximize reliability.
If you missed the live webinar you can still watch it on demand. Simply visit our webinars page to view this presentation, the other three parts in the SMS Mysteries series, and many more – all at your convenience.
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It’s been four months since we released our latest version of Allocation Control Center or ACC, and with that release came a new name, “ACC Monarch.” At its core, ACC Monarch is about preventing the incorrect use of storage resources that are needed in order for your critical applications to function as intended. It ensures resources like production dataset names, production log streams and production volumes get used on the production system while test resources remain relegated to the testing systems. It can also impose restrictions on resource usage on certain dates or at specific times.
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We all know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but in situations where resources are allocated incorrectly because of overlooked policy management, ACC Monarch can automate control of DEFINE, OPEN, ALTER, or DELETE, examine and override users’ JCL or IDCAMS control statements. It can also set detailed attributes for SMS and non-SMS datasets, and provide tracing, SMF recording, logging, and extensive debugging capabilities to provide vital dataset audit trails.
ACC Monarch’s is flexible enough to let users perform a wide variety of useful tasks, but it most importantly ups your storage allocation policy game in a systematic approach.
- Enforce Policies and Standards
Standards are implicit in the rules that you define using ACC, and they can be enforced for jobs, datasets, or even individual devices. For example, we could say a job or a step or a dataset can or can’t use a specific device at a particular time, offering granular control over your computing resources. ACC enables you to alter attributes through a dataset’s lifecycle at creation time, when the dataset is OPENed, and when it’s DELETEd.
- Avoid JCL Changes
The control ACC allows is particularly useful in avoiding the sorts of mass JCL changes that might be required when standards change, a migration is necessary from an old program or from disk or tape units, or when you’re implementing new technologies such as EAV or virtual tape. Mass JCL changes are dreaded because they’re virtually guaranteed to introduce problems, but ACC can accomplish the same effect just by implementing a rule.
- Analyze and Prepare for Changes
Policy rules can accomplish many things, but they’re commonly used to help users prepare for upcoming changes. ACC can issue messages that warn users about these updates, create SMF records, and assess the kind of impact that changes will have — before they’ve been put into place. With ACC Monarch, changes have never been easier or smoother.
ACC Monarch was DTS Software’s first product, and it continues to be one of our most widely deployed. For more in-depth information about ACC Monarch and a walkthrough of customer-specific use cases, download a recording of our Avoiding Downtime with ACC/SRS and Standards Enforcement webinar or view all of our resources on-demand at https://www.dtssoftware.com/resources/. Think ACC Monarch could be the right product for your needs? Request a demo today.
As a data center manager, you know that reliability is everything. After all, it’s your reputation on the line when something goes wrong. In a 2019 survey by the Uptime Institute, 60% of respondents reported that their most recent downtime incident was preventable with better management — a figure that grew to 74% when the outage cost more than $1 million.
There are lots of factors that can lead to issues with outages and downtime, but at DTS Software, we believe that storage is one of the most fundamental pillars of application integrity. When storage is unavailable or difficult for an app to procure, the best possible case is throttled performance, but a more likely scenario is an ABEND that could jeopardize critical business services.
Taking Back Control
To improve reliability and provide a set of centrally managed policies enforcing storage allocation standards, one of the first products DTS Software created was Allocation Control Center (ACC) Monarch. ACC Monarch is somewhat analogous to ACS Routines in that it allows you to control a dataset based on a series of variables, but with greater granularity and improved capability to change dataset attributes. Whether you’re looking at the DCB characteristics of the dataset, other characteristics for VSAM datasets, or anything you might code on IDCAMS such as free percentage or log stream ID, ACC Monarch allows you to decide how that dataset will be treated based on that information.
These policies are carried out by a policy rules engine running under the Dynamic Install Facility (DIF) Started Task, which loads code into storage. As a result, any time a job starts, a step starts, or a dataset is created, opened, or deleted, ACC Monarch offers you detailed control over that dataset based on almost any of its attributes. This control enables the creation and systemwide enforcement of a robust set of standards, and because they don’t require the alteration of JCL, they can easily be altered via START, STOP and REFRESH commands.
Besides examining and setting attributes of datasets and jobs, policy rules can also write an SMF record, issue a WTO to the system programmer, write to system logs or TSO users and more. This functionality creates a valuable means of communication, in addition to the many other capabilities available to users of ACC Monarch.
DTS Software began offering specialized z/OS Storage Management and Systems Software in 1991, and ACC Monarch has been one of our flagship products since. Like the rest of our products, developing ACC Monarch in-house using a policy rules engine allows our software to perform tailored actions with the capacity for central management.
For more information about how ACC Monarch can improve the efficiency and reliability of your production workloads through effective standards enforcement, watch our in-depth webinar or download our related whitepaper today. Reach out for a demo or to request a free trial of any of our products. Whatever you need — we’re here to help.