z/OSMF Guild 24 Q&A

z/OSMF Guild 24 Q&A 

Tue November 28, 2023 09:29 AM

Q: Does Recover work on both the member level and data set level ?

A: The recover is a member level recovery.  There are options to take a baseline backup when the data set is defined to Change Tracker.  Updates are then taken on the member level.


Q: Is there a way to interface this with service now?

A: We have seen requests for interfacing with ServiceNow.  Check out the IDEAs for Change Tracker and be sure to vote for that IDEA or if you don't see the IDEA you want, please add your request. 


Q: Do you have to be logged on the MF before logging into OSMF, meaning logged onto TSO first?

A: z/OSMF actually performs the logon and establishes a TSO session so there is no need to "pre-logon", as it were.


Q: Is this feature available for USS Unix files also ?

A: Unix files are not currently supported in the plugin, however it is a known requirement and on our roadmap. Keep an eye out for future deliveries.


Q: Can I add several data sets easily to be monitored rather than one at a time?

A: Currently it's limited to one at a time, but we do plan to improve this in a future update. If you have a very large number of data sets to add, it may be easiest to do that through the ISPF interface or via a batch job


Q: Is there a way to sort or do some grouping/filtering of the list of 'protected data sets' (e.g. as a z/OS guy to exclude Db2, IMS ... data sets I'm not interested in?)

A: One can filter using the magnifying glass on the table to show a filtered list of data sets. Filtering is only done by text matching currently, we don’t have a way to add exclusions. This is certainly something we could look at in the future.


Q: By "started task" is there a started task specifically for change tracker or we talking about instances of zosmf on various LPARs?

A: There is a Change Tracker started task that runs on each system in the sysplex.


Q: Does this backup and recovery work with HSM ?

A: The backup mechanism is specific to Change Tracker.  It does not use HSM in this case


Q: Is the locking tied to one person or can it be for a group of people who can lock the dataset/member ?

A: The locking is on a data set level.  The Checkout process can designate to a single user or RACF group.  This provides access to the member(s) to be updated. 


Q: What file type does the backup use? Simply- is DB2 or an equiv. DBMS required?

A: Change Tracker uses VSAM as its repositories, so no external DBMS is required.


Q: Is there an emergency override mechanism such as for an overnight call-out?  Can the Change Tracker started task simply be shut down to allow for changes?

A:  If the Change Tracker started task is taken down for emergency purposes, then updates will not be prevented. So the answer is, yes.


Q: How does CT fit into the world of PCI Compliance? Can it be used as a measure of “evidence” for auditors?

A: There are reporting capabilities within Change Tracker that allow you to provide reports. In addition, the auditing feature of CT serves as a separate sub-component that’s more controlled and therefore only available to auditors to show what’s going on in the environment of monitored data sets.


Q: Do I need to have do some reorgs of the VSAM db and if yes do I have to stop the Change Tracker STC for that?

A: Yes, on occasion you would need to do reorgs of the VSAM files. This is something we would recommend you do during a periodic maintenance window. Take down the STC briefly while doing a reorg as part of your regular maintence.


Q: Is there a way to interface a check in done in batch for the user for a service now approved changes window?

A: Today, there is no integration with Service Now, however we have a requirement to provide an interface to Change Tracker such that integration could occur. Please vote on this requirement if this is something you need: https://ibm-z-hardware-and-operating-systems.ideas.ibm.com/ideas/ZOS-I-3609


Q: Is this a free plug in coming and is there doc to get it all up and running, aka stc etc needed

A: z/OS Change Tracker is a priced feature. The full user guide with tips on getting started can be found here: https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/zos/3.1.0?topic=zos-change-tracker


Q: Just found out about a feature called IPL Checker which checks PARMLIB for errors. Is this something that would be included with Change Tracker? We have found there are 2 versions of IPL Checker. one from New Era (cost) and the other from Kyndyrl (question if it free).

A: Change Tracker is different from an IPL checking program. Change Tracker is a real-time monitor for your important configuration assets, and does not plan on providing any IPL verification. As you mention, there are non-IBM products in that space if you wish to look at an IPL checking program.