Judging by the consistently high attendance of the DTS Software monthly educational webinar series, CTO Steve Pryor continues to present topics of great interest and import to today’s mainframer community. Our March installment, Understanding IDCAMS, was no different.

In IBM® z/OS®, probably the most common utility for dealing with datasets and the system catalog is IDCAMS (Access Method Services). IDCAMS allows us to process or manipulate datasets, catalog entries, or catalogs.

Newcomers to the mainframe world are often at a loss as to how to go about tasks requiring the manipulation of z/OS datasets – creating, reading, writing, using, and deleting them, especially where “exotic” structures such as VSAM clusters, catalogs, and PDS/PDSEs are involved. An understanding of IDCAMS and its extraordinarily wide range of functions and features is an absolute necessity for mainframe analysts, whether for applications programmers or systems-admin gurus.

What are some of the most common uses for IDCAMS, its features and controls, and how can it best be used to get information and transform data? All this and more was covered in our March webinar.

What Can Be Done With IDCAMS?
IDCAMS has two main functions. First, we can get information (typically about datasets but also about catalog entries and the catalog in which the dataset resides). It also gives us the ability to do something with that information, such as change, copy, delete, or create a new dataset.

With its wide scope of possibilities, we can also merge master or user catalogs, create and operate on aliases, and manage tape tape volume and library entries using IDCAMS. Additionally, you can perform system programming tasks as well as day-to-day dataset access tasks with IDCAMS.

Consistency Across the Board
One of the nice things about IDCAMS is its consistency within z/OS. IDCAMS control statements use the same keywords for all the different commands, so a file parameter in one command means much the same thing as a file parameter in another command.

IDCAMS Control Statements – the How-To
As he does in each of his webinars, examples and how-to guides are where Pryor truly shines. Being a long-time ambassador for all things z/OS, it is important to pass along the knowledge gained over a truly successful career. Pryor spends much of this webinar presenting key information on metadata structures, invoking IDCAMS, control statements, flow of control, and more. He also provides a reference guide, listing several DFSMS manuals such as Access Methods Services Commands, Using Data Sets, Managing Catalogs, and Using New Functions.

Learn More in Our Webinar
“Understanding IDCAMS” 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, you can view it on-demand, download a copy of the slide deck, and view examples shared during the presentation by using this link.