What is today, in addition to Friday the 13th? It is General Availability Day for the latest new feature on z/OS V2.5, IBM z/OS Change Tracker!
If you are a system programmer — either experienced or not-so-experienced — this is a new priced function you should take note of. Many of the capabilities you will find in IBM z/OS Change Tracker, system programmers should find useful. Let’s take a quick look at what some of them are, and how they might be used for better managing the configuration of your system.
First note, IBM z/OS Change Tracker allows you to identity configuration data sets of your choosing. Once you have these data sets (PDS, PDSE, sequential, and more!) defined to z/OS Change Tracker, the fun can then begin on what you can do. I like giving as a typical example one of your parmlib data sets. But it certainly isn’t limited to that.
- You can control who may have access to certain members in your parmlib, beyond what they can do with your External Security Manager. Say you only want Charlie to be able to update your DIAG00 parmlib member, and stay away from IGDSMS00 – you can do that. Sorry, Charlie.
- Every time there is a change to a parmlib member, take a backup of it and keep X number of prior versions.
- Capability to compare versions of a parmlib member and recover from a saved version when an update to it resulted in a problem.
- Automatically track how a person changed a data set (with what program and when).
- Get automatic emails when something has changed.
- Quickly be able to know that deployed data sets, or even an entire volume, resulted in identical copies. Fast identification of what the differences are. Locally or remote.
- Administration control to identify a user or group of users who can work on a locked data set, via a check out process. With the ability to comment on why it was checked out.
I would encourage you to visit the IBM z/OS Change Tracker Content Solution to get more information on what this priced feature will do (https://www.ibm.com/support/z-content-solutions/zos-change-tracker/).
Notice that the configuration of IBM z/OS Change Tracker will use … what else … a z/OSMF Workflow for setup. In addition, since there are security profiles for different roles (Administrators, Users, and Auditors), the configuration workflow will help you easily import the IBM z/OS Change Tracker JSON file for validation with the fabulous z/OSMF Security Configuration Assistant (which can be used with any External Security Manager).
You will soon see IBM z/OS Change Tracker available for ordering on Shopz, but notice, the CBPDO will be available before the ServerPac due to the amount of customization that it takes to incorporate it into ServerPac. Because the IBM z/OS Change Tracker’s availability date is after z/OS V2.5 was GA, if you already have received your z/OS V2.5 ServerPac and wish to use IBM z/OS Change Tracker, I’d recommend you install it with a CBPDO. The SMP/E installation is extremely easy. Put it in your z/OS V2.5 SMP/E zones.
The complete IBM z/OS Change Tracker Guide and Reference can be found here: https://www.ibm.com/docs/en/zos/2.5.0?topic=tracker-zos-change-guide-reference
One last quick mention: If you look in the Guide and Reference book, you will see that the IBM z/OS Change Tracker interface uses ISPF panels and batch JCL. You should note that our planned vision is to add IBM z/OS Change Tracker as an imported plug-in in z/OSMF. If you wanted to see some early designs on how nice it might look in z/OSMF, see Chris Taylor’s SHARE session here: https://izswebpage.mybluemix.net/docs/zCT-SHARE-Dallas-Intro.pdf.