SDS | The SDS Blog



You can’t be too secure

View Upcoming Encryption Webinar: May 25th @ 1pm Central It seems rather obvious, but data can either be stored somewhere, or it can be travelling from one location to another. This is what they call data at rest and data in transit. There are one lot of security provisions to (continue reading)


Browsing the mainframe

There was a time when sitting down at a green screen and interacting with a mainframe was enough. The mainframe’s users (its customers) all worked for the same company and all worked in the company’s offices. Some of these users would be working on screens that were attached to CICS (continue reading)



Solving those network issues

When someone says ‘the network’, it’s a bit like saying ‘the cloud’ because you have used a single word to conjure up a simple picture in your mind and, because of that, you think it’s something that is simple and straightforward to monitor and manage. Job done, you can go (continue reading)


Getting the help you need

In these days of DevOps, it’s easier to ensure that end users get all the information and training they need when they come to start using a new piece of software. Everyone has been involved since day 1 and everyone has had an opportunity to express their opinions and discuss (continue reading)


System, network, and application automation

There are many arguments for automation including the fact that things get done faster than if a person is involved; they get done more accurately every time; and with the ageing population of mainframe experts, it’s going to be harder to find someone who knows the right way to respond. (continue reading)



Your Friendly Neighbourhood Online Expert

Our story starts on what could be just any day at the office. Someone has just gone to get coffee, when the door burst open. It’s the CFO complaining about the cost of keep over-running your 4-hour rolling average MSU utilization. You’re about to explain when an angry department head (continue reading)


Keeping ‘in the know’

Are you worried about fraud at your site? Perhaps you should be. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) estimates that 83% of information security breaches occur on a company’s premises and during regular business hours. And it’s not just a one-off. The average scheme typically lasts 18 months prior (continue reading)


What’s Going On?

You remember the old days, when you didn’t know what had happened on your mainframes until late at night when the batch job ran and pieced together all the bits of information. It may seem like a different age when that was acceptable, but now you not only want to (continue reading)


Keeping Control of Your Mainframe Costs

When your organization’s bean counters look at the spreadsheet showing mainframe costs, they’ll find that somewhere around 30% to 40% of the budget is going on Monthly License Charges (MLCs). The question your CFO is going to ask is whether there’s any way that this figure can be reduced? And (continue reading)


Getting a Grip on IP Networks

Nowadays, in every industry, people are making more and more use of IP networks to communicate between suppliers and manufacturers and downstream sales organizations. And every part of the life-cycle of a product or service requires information to be passed over an IP network. As a consequence, IP networks are (continue reading)


SDS Brings Virtel Efficiency to U.S. for Emulation

Virtel Web Access (VWA) provides the efficiency necessary for the success of z/OS systems serving users at Web browsers. Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, info@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) August 9, 2015 – Software Diversified Services has joined with SysperTec Communication to distribute and support Virtel software suites for z/OS in the U.S., (continue reading)

Automatic Capacity Balancing Reduces Monthly Software Expenses

Patented zDynaCap® software distributes workloads among LPARs immediately, in real time, in order to run z/OS data centers at the greatest possible efficiency. (also in *.pdf) Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, info@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) August 9, 2015 – Software Diversified Services has joined with zIT Consulting GmbH to provide U.S. data (continue reading)

Advances in VitalSigns Suite Reduce the Cost of Running z/OS

VitalSigns tools significantly simplify the tasks of monitoring, diagnosing, repairing, and securing z/OS systems—and do so at lower cost, with lower processing overhead, than the alternatives. (also in *.pdf) Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, sales@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) August 9, 2015 – With a steady program of new releases, Software Diversified Services (continue reading)


Dynamic Capping Reduces Your Monthly IBM Software Invoice

Patented zDynaCap® software distributes workloads among LPARs immediately, in real time, in order to run z/OS data centers at the least possible expense. (also in *.pdf) Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, sales@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) March 1, 2015 — Software Diversified Services reached agreement last month with zIT Consulting GmbH to provide (continue reading)



Encryption Provides Security for Mainframe Data

Mainframes process roughly 30 billion business transactions per day; this includes “most major credit card transactions and stock trades, money transfers, manufacturing processes, and ERP systems.” Consider this: Mainframes are used by… (Janet Sun, 2013) 96 of the world’s top 100 banks 23 of the 25 top US retailers 9 (continue reading)


Mainframes and FTP

Things You Need to Know about Mainframe FTP Processing FTP (file transfer protocol) is used by mainframes to transfer files to and from different computers via TCP/IP. Currently, TCP/IP is the primary networking protocol used by most organizations that use client-server applications. TCP/IP on z/OS supports all of the well-known (continue reading)


REXX: What it Does

REXX (REstructured eXtended eXecutor) is an interpretative programming language created by IBM in the 1970’s. Although it used on a wide range of platforms today, REXX was originally designed to run on the mainframe. REXX was designed to be easy to learn and to run independently, while at the same (continue reading)




Long Live E-Business Server for Enterprise-Scale Encryption

SDS assumes full support, maintenance, and development for well-known security tool. (also in *.pdf) Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, sales@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) March 9, 2014 — Software Diversified Services has assumed all sales, support, maintenance, and development responsibilities for the E-Business Server suite of data encryption and security tools. SDS’s commitment (continue reading)



VitalSigns Easily Navigates the JES Spool

VitalSigns for Network Automation and Control (VNAC) makes it easy to manage the z/OS JES Spool, its jobs, and its logs. VNAC 3.0.6, available to users since last October, provides a VSDSF application devoted to selecting and listing jobs; to canceling or releasing jobs; and to browsing SYSLOG, JCL, and output datasets (continue reading)


VitalSigns Secures and Automates z/OS FTP

Safe, automated file transfer for the IBM z/OS platform is available with VitalSigns for FTP, a product of Software Diversified Services (SDS). VFTP 3.0 can secure specific commands at a z/OS FTP server, preventing all but trusted clients from using the powerful SITE command or submitting jobs via the JES spool (continue reading)



VitalSigns Software Leverages the Value of the zEC12 Platform

The new hardware for cloud computing makes monitoring, security, and management tools essential to efficient enterprises. Deb Hodson, 763-571-9000, pressreleases@sdsusa.com. Minneapolis, MN (SDS) Oct. 2, 2012 — SDS system-specific tools will fully support IBM’s new zEC12 hardware, guaranteeing smooth transition of essential management and security tools, SDS confirmed today. Enterprises (continue reading)





Java on z/OS – May 2012

z/OS and its predecessors have been around for a very long time. They’ve proven themselves time and time again as a stalwart and flexible platform to get your critical business processes done in a timely and reliable manner. So why is it that I’ve been hearing for 20 years that (continue reading)


You Can Search Many SDS Manuals at Once – May 2012

Looking for a detail in a VitalSigns manual? Every VitalSigns product has multiple manuals: one for the installer, another for the administrator, another for users—even though those may be all the same person. On the other hand… Maybe the detail you seek doesn’t clearly belong to one role or another. (continue reading)



The Easy Way to Test Enterprise Extender – April 2012

Getting a new Enterprise Extender connection working can be frustrating, especially with a partner outside of your network, and extra-specially when resources outside your control haven’t been properly configured. And once you do get that connection established, you need a way to test whether it continues running and whether performance (continue reading)


How to Trace Discarded Packets – April 2012

The IP and TCP layers of a communications stack routinely discard packets for various reasons: malformed headers, requests for applications that don’t exist, firewall and intrusion detection rules, sysplex routing failures. Altogether, IBM lists 166 reasons for discarding a packet. See Chapter 21, “TCP/IP Discard reason codes,” in z/OS Communications (continue reading)



The Oft-Forgotten VIP Batch Trace – March 2012

The browser-based IP Packet Trace is one of the crown jewels of VitalSigns for IP (VIP). The largely unknown Batch Trace is one of VIP’s hidden gems. The Batch Trace is a simple tool for running traces on z/OS systems via batch jobs. The Agent’s VIPINST(VIPTRACE) member has sample JCL (continue reading)



New in IPCP 5.0.1: Faster Processing – March 2012

The chief improvement in the new IPCP 5.0.1 is faster response to command requests in large enterprises. SDS recently finished making improvements to IPCP/MVS, the Interprogram Command Processor. The new version, 5.0.1, is now available to IPCP customers. Please call SDS for details. The following describes the improvements in IPCP/MVS (continue reading)


Avoiding the Pitfalls of PKTTRACE – February 2012

[This article follows up last month’s “Pitfalls of PKTTRACE,” a description of what can go wrong with IBM’s packet tracing tool.] In this edition, I will discuss SDS’ solution to the pitfalls of the PKTTRACE command. That solution is VIP (VitalSigns for IP). With VIP, users perform packet traces without (continue reading)


Further Inside IPv6 – February 2012

Last month, we talked a bit about IPv6 experiences I’ve had so far. This month, as promised, we’ll discuss more fundamentals on what you might need to do to get your feet wet. Well, the reality is there are lots of other writers more qualified than me to talk about (continue reading)



Inside IPv6 – January 2012

IPv6, like the proverbial camel, has got its nose under the tent flap. Here at SDS, we’ve implemented IPv6 in-house in preparation for exploiting it in the next version of VIP. We’ve learned lots of good tidbits along the way, and I’d like to share our experience with you. The (continue reading)


Pitfalls of PKTTRACE – January 2012

IP packet tracing is a vital part of troubleshooting problems in TCP/IP networks. You can use IBM’s PKTTRACE utility to copy IP packets as they enter or leave a z/OS TCP/IP stack. It works well, provided that: You correctly execute each of the steps to start, stop, then view the (continue reading)



News for VIP Users – January 2011 Edition

Welcome to a special edition of the VitalSigns for IP (VIP) newsletter. Our news to today is both simple and good: VIP version 7.2 is GA. VIP 7.2 Now Available for General Access   SDS is pleased to announce that VIP 7.2 has achieved General Availability (GA) status. We urge (continue reading)



VIP Tool Focus: MultiTrace in VIP 7.2 – November 2010

The following article was originally part of the November 2010 Edition VIP 7.2’s new MultiTrace allows VIP users to easily run packet traces on multiple systems and stacks at the same time. Results are merged into a single, integrated display, with color-coding of packets, similar to a sniffer trace. MultiTrace (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – July 2010 Edition

Welcome to the 9th edition of the VitalSigns for IP (VIP) newsletter. VitalSigns for Network Automation and Control (VNAC) Now Generally Available Announcements for Upcoming SHARE, Boston VIP 7.2 Update VIP Online Help: Messages Web Page VIP Feature Focus: Remote Host monitoring (third in a series – on separate post) (continue reading)


VIP Feature Focus: Remote Host Monitoring – July 2010

The following article was originally part of the July 2010 Edition *This is the 3rd post in our series focusing on VIP’s application monitoring features. Click below to read the other 3 articles: VIP Feature Focus: Application Monitoring – February 2010 VIP Feature Focus: Remote Application Monitoring – April 2010 (continue reading)


VIP Implementation Tips – July 2010

The following 2 VIP Implementation Tips were originally part of the July 2010 Edition   VIP Implementation Tip 1: Tweaking VIP Agent Startup JCL to Use Symbols and the Same JCL Across LPARs   In VIP 7.1, SDS improved the installation process so that sites have great freedom over the (continue reading)


VIP Tool Focus: SNMP MIB Inquiry Tool – July 2010

The following article was originally part of the July 2010 Edition Setting the default community string, Server Configuration screen. One of VIP’s goals is allowing users to stay within the VIP user interface to perform as many tasks as possible. To that end, VIP’s SNMP MIB Inquiry panel allows you (continue reading)



News for VIP Users – April 2010 Edition

Welcome to the 8th edition of the VitalSigns for IP (VIP) newsletter. VNAC Update: Availability Date VIP 7.2 Update: Traceroute Tests Multiple Ports VIP User Interface Tips Alternate Locations for VIP Servers, Follow Up VIP Tool Focus: MVS System Operator Commands Interface Did You Know: TSO’s UDLIST (3.17 Panel) Execute (continue reading)



News for VIP Users – February 2010 Edition

Welcome to the 7th edition of the VitalSigns for IP (VIP) newsletter. SDS Product Name Changes: VitalSigns for… VNAC Update and Call for Early-Ship Test Sites in U.S. Announcements for Upcoming SHARE APPN/EE Mainframe Firewall and VTAM Definition Analyzer MultiTrace: New Feature Planned for VIP 7.2Easily start, view, and manage (continue reading)




News for VIP Users – December 2009 Edition

Welcome to the 6th edition of the VitalSigns for IP (VIP) newsletter. VIP 7.1 Enhancement: View List of LU Sessions Traversing an HPR Pipe VIP 7.1 Performance Improvement: Significant Reduction in OFFLOAD Processing Time Writing VIP History Records to SMF file New Automation and Control Product Coming for SNA and (continue reading)



VIP Tool Focus: Connections Explorer – December 2009

The following article was originally part of the December 2009 Edition In the August 2009 edition of this newsletter, we looked at VIP’s Ping and Traceroute tools. In this edition, we’ll focus on the Connections Explorer.   VIP’s Context-Sensitive Tool Interface   Before diving into this powerful tool, you need (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – August 2009 Edition

Welcome to the 5th edition of the VIP newsletter. VIP 7.1 is GA New VIP Logging Controls in VIP 7.0.8+ Alternate Locations for VIP Servers SHARE Presentation by Colin van der Ross SNA Mainframe Security White Paper Pre-Announcement of New SDS Product Did You Know? DSS RELEASE Command VIP Tool (continue reading)


VIP Tool Focus–Ping & Traceroute – August 2009

The following article was originally part of the August 2009 Edition In the April 2009 newsletter, we looked at VIP’s IP Packet Trace, focusing on the batch trace component. In this edition, we’ll focus on the multi-protocol Ping and Traceroute tools.   Ping   Ping is very handy for determining (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – April 2009 Edition

Welcome to the 4th edition of the VIP newsletter. VIP 7.1 Field Test Nearly Complete Easy Configuration Changes Significantly Improve VIP 7.0 Performance Fresh from the SDS Recording Studios–VIP and EE Monitoring Recorded SHARE Presentations New Method for Distributing SDS Activation Keys Did You Know? SDSF Hints and Tips Page (continue reading)


Did You Know? VIP Batch Trace – April 2009

The following article was originally part of the April 2009 Edition An IP packet trace records every data packet passing through a TCP/IP stack. As a diagnostic tool, it can’t be beat. However, IBM’s packet trace tool (PKTTrace) is notoriously difficult to use: The commands are complex. Only one trace (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – January 2009 Edition

Welcome to the 3rd edition of the VIP newsletter. VIP 7.0 Generally Available VIP 7.1 Coming Hot Off the Presses–New EE White Paper IBM APAR of Note–PK55124 SDS Presenting at SHARE SFM 2.0 Did You Know? ISPF 3.17 Utility available in z/OS 1.8 A New Face at SDS We Moved (continue reading)


VIP Timers – January 2009

The following article was originally part of the January 2009 Edition VIP is a highly customizable product. SDS strives to deliver VIP with its configurable parameters set to values that fit as wide a variety of environments as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to tweak parameter values to improve performance. (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – April 2008 Edition

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the VIP newsletter. VIP 7.0 Status VIP 7.0 Sneak Peek webcast Ins and Outs of Offloaded Historical Data Did You Know? (Resubmitting MVS jobs with SJ command) VIP Helpful Hint — Using Date Conversion utility 1. VIP 7.0 Status   The initial edition of (continue reading)


News for VIP Users – January 2008 Edition

I am pleased to announce the implementation of a new program for our VIP customers — a periodic newsletter. Newsletter purpose and frequency Newsletter format Invalid Agent configuration setting – VTCPPARM What’s new in VIP 5.0 and 6.0 What’s coming in VIP 7.0 1. Newsletter Purpose and Frequency   It (continue reading)


The Cost-Savings of Low-Overhead Software

by Barry Graham CPU is costly, so is software that uses it. Consider two competing software products: one that uses 1% of CPU capacity; another that uses 6% of CPU. *Over 5 years, the low-overhead alternative will save $1 million to $7 million.   Throughout the mainframe’s history, calculating the (continue reading)




TCP or UDP? That is the Question!

To use TCP or UDP, that is the question.Whether ’tis nobler in the minds of… Heck. Forget nobility. I want performance and reliability. And I want ’em now! So the next time the boss catches you playing Quake III Arena, tell him I recommend it as a means of designing (continue reading)


To Troubleshoot Effectively, Use Trace Wisely

So this network manager calls tech support… Net Man: I have an intermittent TCP/IP problem I can’t track down. Support: Turn on all the traces, monitors, and sniffers. Then re-create the problem and gather documentation. Net Man: But if I turn on all the traces, the system bogs down and (continue reading)


Response Time is in the Eye of the Mouse-Clicker

Question: Do you really need to improve response time, or just appear to improve response time? Answer: Both. But if you can only do one, there are often advantages to the latter. Fake it. Mainframe developers, familiar with the 3270 interface, are adept at gathering all required input in one (continue reading)