DTS Webinar Recap: Introduction to z/OS® Tape Management Systems

Tape storage management on z/OS has a long and interesting history. While most z/OS installations use disk storage (DASD) as the medium of choice for day-to-day production applications, for long-term storage, backup, archiving, and data integrity, including ransomware protection, tape datasets and tape drives can play an important role. But the management of tape files and volumes is quite different from that for disk and the difference can be confusing to programmers new to z/OS.

In our April 2022 webinar, now available on-demand, DTS CTO Steve Pryor looks at the history of tape systems, the unique challenges of SMS and non-SMS managed tape, and discusses the similarities and differences among the major z/OS tape management systems.

The Evolution of Tape Management
Dating back to the 1960s, tape replaced punched cards and the sometimes acres of physical storage space required to house them. Tape also made it possible for applications to store and process far more data than could be held on the limited capacity of disk volumes. But as storage capacity needs continued to grow, so did the need for more efficient tape and a better way to manage it.

What was the impetus for tape management systems? Since tapes were mounted manually, human error was a real possibility. And bad things happened when the wrong tape was mounted by the operator, which happened far too often. The wrong tape volume might be mounted for input, leading to application errors, or worse, the wrong tape volume mounted for output, causing data to be destroyed.

The original tape management systems kept track of which tapes were in use and which were not, as well as which tapes held data and which were scratch tapes available for writing. But the “systems” consisted mostly of a set of three-ring binders.

Modern Day “Virtual Tape”
Robotic tape management emerged in the 1990s, giving way after a short time to hybrid virtual tape systems and eventually the all-disk virtual tape systems. But, especially in industries where regulations call for off-site storage with long shelf life, tape is still very much in use today.

Why call it “tape”? In order to reference both physical and virtual tape systems, the tape management system must make the virtual tape volumes, which are simply files on Linux boxes, appear as if they are stored on physical tape. And the difference must be indistinguishable to z/OS.

How-to Examples for Modern Tape Management Systems on z/OS
Virtual tape systems provide as many tape volumes and tape drives on which to mount them as-needed with much faster mounts. And while the requirements of the modern tape management systems are functionally the same, the process of handling the data is a bit different than that of DASD.

With this in mind, Pryor presents a number of how-to examples of modern tape management systems. He includes several illustrations and on-screen demos, giving attendees a first-hand look at what to expect when dealing with tape management systems.

Learn More in our Webinar Available On-Demand
As with each of our webinars, “Introduction to z/OS Tape Management Systems” is a 60-minute informative and educational look at an important topic in the mainframe space. It includes numerous examples, how-to guides, and references on where to find more information should you need it. If you weren’t able to attend or would like to review the material presented, you can view it on-demand, download a copy of the slide deck, and view the examples shared during the presentation by using this link. And be sure to join us each month for our complimentary webinar series.

How Attendance at a DTS Software Educational Webinar Led to an Exit Source Review and Software Purchase, Delivering Quick and Substantial ROI for a Fortune 1000 Communications Client

Like so many things in life, there are three givens working in expansive IT environments. Problems will arise. Solutions will be implemented. The problems will be solved.

In our most recent Case Study, DTS Software steps into a sprawling IT environment with data housed in large data centers in the Pacific Northwest. The client on the IBM® z/OS® platform, is one of the largest international communications companies in the world, supporting hundreds of thousands of users, and the data and applications those users consume.

Like many mainframe shops of today, this client lacked extensive knowledge of assembler and PL/1 languages. They had many obsolete, highly customized installation exits from decades past and were having a specific problem involving emergency logons to TSO.

After attending a DTS Software Monthly Educational Webinar Series event, the client was convinced we could provide the solution they’d been looking for, both in problem-solving assistance and upgrading legacy code without learning less-utilized coding languages. They needed a long-term solution that addressed the lack of expertise on assembler and PL/1 languages and were looking to avoid a costly mainframe hardware upgrade.

Solutions That Paid Off. Quickly.
When it comes to storage management tools and solutions expertise, you simply won’t find a more experienced, qualified staff of professionals than those of us at DTS Software. This proves out time and time again, as it did for this client.

The team of DTS engineers were able to formulate a quick, user-friendly solution to rewriting legacy exits, saving the client time, money, and frustration. What’s more, the client was able to continue operating within their existing z/OS environment, avoiding a costly mainframe hardware upgrade with services.

In most cases, the mainframe systems in place today have been the backbone of the client’s core business functions for more than 50 years. To try and replace or update all the poorly performing exits would be a massive endeavor. And even if large enterprises wanted to, the dearth of solutions expertise for these exits would be prohibitive.

Easy/Exit from DTS Software makes it – well – easy. And with a team of seasoned storage management experts behind it, you know Easy/Exit is built and backed by the best.

Best-in-Class Customer Service
We take the mainframe support for your business seriously and back it up with a customer service program that we believe is second to none. We consistently receive the highest marks in response time and quality of service from phones manned by actual humans with in-depth knowledge of our products. You won’t realize it until you need us, but that’s when we’ll shine!

The Proof is in the Performance
To read more about how this Fortune 1000 communications company benefitted from a DTS Software solution, read our case study here. And be sure to join us each month as we present complimentary educational webinars on topics of great interest and import to today’s mainframer community.

DTS Software Announces Day-One Support and Compatibility for the new IBM® z16TM Mainframe Release

Longstanding partner with IBM, DTS Software confirmed the immediate compatibility of all its products with IBM’s new z16 mainframe. DTS’ products complement IBM’s scalability and performance with storage management solutions equipped with automation to ensure the availability of services to required service-level agreements.

RALEIGH, NC (PRWEB) MAY 03, 2022

DTS Software, a leading global mainframe storage management software vendor, today confirmed the immediate compatibility of all its products with IBM’s new z16 mainframe. IBM announced the release in April 2022 with general availability on May 31, 2022.

No special considerations for the IBM z16 are needed. DTS Software recommends that customers upgrade to the most current DTS product version 7.1. DTS customers may download the latest versions of its products from https://support.dtssoftware.com/login.php.

IBM’s z16 gives users the ability to analyze real-time transactions at scale for mission-critical workloads such as credit card, healthcare, and financial transactions, according to IBM, and is built for a cyber-resilient environment to protect against a growing network of security threats.

DTS Software has partnered with IBM for decades to supplement its products with crucial capabilities that customers leverage in these enterprise IT environments. DTS products complement IBM’s scalability and performance with storage management solutions equipped with automation to ensure the availability of services to required service-level agreements.

“IBM z/OS powers the most mission-critical IT environments in the world, and with this latest hardware introduction, it proves once again that innovation need not take a backseat to the tried-and-true reliability and unmatched performance of the mainframe,” said Steve Pryor, DTS Software Chief Technology Officer. “DTS’ longstanding partnership with IBM and understanding of the z/OS operating system and z/OS storage, means clients will find DTS solutions to continue to be one of the most critical components of their software stack.”

IBM z1s Telum Processor allows AI inferencing with the secure and reliable high-volume transaction processing IBM is known for. With the capability of processing 300 billion inference requests per day with just one millisecond of latency, customers will have greater visibility into their transactions for faster, more secure delivery of services.

The IBM z16 is also built with the industry’s first quantum-safe system for the hybrid cloud environment and gives users an increased ability to predict and prevent fraud and cyber-attacks before they happen. According to IBM, z16 is underpinned by lattice-based cryptography, an approach for constructing security primitives that helps protect data and systems against current and future threats. Paired with IBM’s Crypto Express 8S (CEX8S) hardware security module, users get both both classical and quantum-safe cryptographic technology to help address their use cases requiring information confidentiality, integrity and non-repudiation.

DTS customers may visit https://dtssoftware.com/support for additional assistance or questions about the new z16, or contact DTS via email at support@dtssoftware.com.

About IBM
IBM is a global technology and innovation company headquartered in Armonk, N.Y. It is the largest technology and consulting employer in the world, with more than 375,000 employees serving clients in 170 countries. Now into its 23rd year of patent leadership, IBM Research has de􀂦ned the future of information technology with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across 6 continents. For more information about IBM, visit http://www.ibm.com.

About DTS Software
DTS Software, LLC is recognized worldwide as a leader in enterprise storage management technology. Specializing in products for z/OS, Hitachi VOS3, and Fujitsu MSP operating systems, DTS Software products provide superior functionality and features that allow managers and users to more effectively utilize their investment in storage systems. The company was founded in 1991 and currently has over 1,000 customers in the US, Canada, Europe, and the Far East. For more information, visit https://dtssoftware.com.

 

A Quick Look Back as We Move Forward With Optimism and Announce the Coming of New Features for ACC Monarch in 2022

Aside from the obvious “big picture” issues, 2021 served up two headline-worthy topics of potential concern to DTS clients. In July, IBM® announced the release of z/OS® 2.5, describing it as the next-generation operating system designed to accelerate client adoption of hybrid cloud and AI, and drive application modernization projects. DTS Software welcomed the innovation, as all our products are “built with the IT system interoperability and solution flexibility to facilitate day-one support for IBM, every release,” according to Steve Pryor, DTS Software CTO.

Then, in November the U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) announced that it was tracking and responding to a new widespread remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2021-44228) affecting Apache Log4j software library versions 2.0-beta9 to 2.14.1. Unlike some of our competitors, DTS’s software products do not make use of Apache, other internet servers, Java code, or the Log4j framework, so none of our product installations were exposed to the CVE-2021-44228 (Log4j) vulnerability.

2022 Will be an Exciting Year for Users of ACC Monarch

Current initiatives across all of IT, regardless of platform, center on modernization and where applicable, leveraging automation to help keep costs down. An integral component of modernization is storage management and your ability to move and allocate storage for data and applications; if you can apply automation here it’s a huge win for your data center. As hybrid cloud environments proliferate, the enforcement of storage policy has never been more critical.

The standards enforcement built into ACC Monarch delivers the normalization and categorization that allows for efficient storage administration and provisions for datasets to reside where they belong, whether on disk, tape, or cloud. And above all, ACC Monarch provides centralized, visible policy enforcement that eliminates beyond on-off email chains to solve this problem.

ACC Monarch has very unique abilities to perform standards enforcement, not just at allocation time (as done in a more limited manner by the SMS ACS routines), but also at OPEN/CLOSE, EXTEND and DELETE. ACC does more than just identify standards violations – it can alert administrators, write SMF records for later analysis, and even override JCL and IDCAMS parameters to enforce standards (including those for DSKEYLBL, the encryption key labels mentioned here).

On our roadmap and scheduled for a summer 2022 release, DTS Software will introduce Encryption Key Assignment Management and Reporting as a critical component of ACC Monarch. This new feature allows the ACC rules to help determine which encryption key labels are applied when a dataset is created, and identify and alert key label use that violates standards. Additionally, ACC Monarch will control RENAMing of encrypted datasets, and report on which encryption key labels are in use, which are unused, most frequently and least frequently used, and so on.

DTS Archived Webinars and their benefits

In the spirit of “paying it forward,” DTS is happy to continue our complimentary monthly educational webinar series. Whether you are a seasoned mainframer or relatively new to z/OS, a review of best practices and how-to information is never a bad thing. Our goal with each webinar is simply to provide useful insight and knowledge to help you avoid problems before they arise. 

Now is a great time to revisit our past webinar recordings and presentation slides in PDF format. All are available for you to view whenever you like, as many times as you’d like. Visit our on-demand library here.

We’ll see you at SHARE in Columbus– and Beyond!

SHARE in Dallas was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. In January, organizers were unsure of attendance and we saw overwhelming support for the event and it was great to see the mainframe community come together in person. We couldn’t be more excited about returning to the marketplace in person at SHARE in Columbus! While we appreciate the benefits of (and continuity provided by) virtual conferences, the positive experience of personal interaction cannot be denied. We treasure the one-on-one conversations with our clients and industry colleagues and rely on them to help learn about what the market needs and to shape our product roadmap. On to Columbus!