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The Images in a Sysplex are a reflection of the parameters defined to the Operating System (OS) and its related principle subsystems; JES2/3, VTAM, and TCP/IP. During an Image FOCUS (ICE/IFO) Inspection, one or all of the subsystems can be optionally included. This is where ICE/SUBS can best play its role, extending Inspection Best Practices. The result: an overall Sysplex Inspection, the full picture. Failure to include subsystems may result in a failure of the Master Address Space to initialize JES2/3 and/or VTAM or TCP/IP to build problem free Communication paths to local/remote users and processes.
When such a “Full Inspection” is called for, it is often difficult for staff to define needed start-up members or files and related symbolic values - lots of individual images means lots to know and lots to get right or wrong. ICE/IFO and the Image FOCUS Subsystem Inspectors (ICE/SUBS) solve this problem with ease, automatically identifying needed components during the Operating System Inspection, and/or extracting them from and emulating the z/OS use of an optional COMMNDxx Member. This optional member has been specified as part of the z/OS Image Definition. This operational methodology not only documents the location of subsystem PARMS, it also greatly simplifies the knowledge needed to define and run an Inspection across all z/OS Images and their included subsystems.
Think of it as a 'Fully-Integrated System Test'.
You're absolutely right! There can be major differences in the needs expressed from one technical group to any other, charged with supporting different system and/or subsystem components of an Image. In such cases, a 'Fully-Integrated System Test' just won't cut it. What is likely needed is a set of straight forward, component by component, 'Unit Test's. These tests are both interactive and recursive, so you can test, fix what's broken, and then test again, repeating this as often as is needed.
ICE/SUBS, by design, integrate directly into the ICE/IFO Component Inspectors. This allows your staff, for example, to inspect and fix problems in a VTAM configuration without concern for the operations of z/OS Members, JES2/3, TCP/IP, TCPDATA, OMPROUTE, CICS, TELNET, FTP, E/SMTP, and more.
Yes, you're right, there is more to our Unit Testing Platform than z/OS, JES2/3, VTAM, and TCP/IP.
I always wanted to expand the role of ICE/IFO in our organization and involve other support teams but that was hard to do with its limited notification and report distribution capabilities. Problem solved! In the latest releases, these headaches are gone. I can now easily route Inspection Findings and Configuration Changes to anyone in the IT Management, IT Security, the Network team, and System Programming Teams. I can specify - Summary and/or Detail - Report Content, mix and match whatever the individual recipient may need. And what I really like is that each recipient gets only one email, with the content they want, the way they want it. So cool!
Our system audit reviews are done as part of our financial audit process. We have been written up several times for not having adequate documentation of system changes. We do a good job of documenting what we are going to do, but not what we actually do. ICE/IFO and ICE/SUBS filled this hole in our change management process by automatically building configuration baselines and then using them to detect and report changes. This really solved two problems for us. First, we’re off the Hot Seat; second, we now have an ongoing process that ensures a full backup of a viable configuration, for each running Image.
The thing we like best about the way NewEra is approaching the distribution of its ICE/Applications is that they allowed us to get started with minimal effort and expense, focusing on what was our most critical issue, LPAR integrity. As we get comfortable with ICE, we moved on to more global z/OS concerns: Sysplex and Subsystem Inspections, Baselines, Change Detection, Release Analysis, and File Integrity Management (FIM). We’re not certain we’ll ever need them, but our business is growing and that to us means more regulations and more oversight. It’s good to know that the tools we’ll need to solve these complex problems are already installed and available to our staff.”