Al Slovacek Archive

klasse21-300x147Last year, Serena CEO Greg Hughes coined the term “HRLE” or “Highly Regulated Large Enterprise.” HRLEs depend on the mainframe platform for business critical system. They rely on this platform because of its unrivalled strengths and virtues.

We developed ChangeMan ZMF version 8 with all of these things in mind:

  • The need to move fast without breaking things
  • The need to do more with less

Business agility; the ability to respond to disruption, whether internal or external without losing focus is why leading enterprises depend on ChangeMan ZMF every day.

ChangeMan ZMF delivers

The new release of ChangeMan ZMF, version 8.1, includes new code in support of over four hundred change requests from you. The prevailing theme of the release is of ease of administration, ease of upgrade and ease of installation. We introduced the HLLX platform, allowing customizations to be kept in an auxiliary area, coded in any LE language, so when you upgrade, you just recouple to the next release. It added the benefit of exposing these customizations to your IDEs and Client Pack components.

We followed up with 8.1.1, with two hundred more change requests, and 8.1.2 with another three hundred change requests. This makes version 8.x a significant step forward in the product focused on the improvements initiated by you.

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Tags: Serena

In our October 2014 Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG), we highlighted the latest features in the ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 release, set to go GA at the end of the month. In addition to Kevin Parker and I presenting
at this VUG, we were joined by Greg Hughes, President and CEO of Serena Software and some of the lead developers of ChangeMan ZMF, and the Client Pack to demonstrate some of the functionality in his forthcoming release.

You may recall several months back, we did a VUG where the team gave us an early preview of what was coming in 8.1. Since then you have probably seen at least one or two demos of the HLLX facility. Since we are now about two weeks away from the availability of ZMF 8.1, the team wanted to give everyone a refreshed view of what is soon to come.

In teeing up the demonstrations of this functionality given by the developers on the call, we quickly gave a high level overview of some of the features that were not being demonstrated during this VUG. To name just a few:

  • HLLX – The new facility in ChangeMan ZMF 8.1 that allows ZMF administrators to create and manage their customizations in a new way, as spoken of in an earlier blog post
  • Enhancements to the Installation Calendar, including extending its capacity from one year to five years as well as the ability to inherit the value of previous days when adding a new day to the calendar (prior to this enhancement, new days always took the default of MAX 000)
  • The ability to upgrade from one release of ZMF to the next on an application-by-application bases
  • Mass update of single application parm(s) across all or many applications
  • A good deal of enhancements around logging and SSV file management
  • A new XML service to display the skeleton release variables.
  • Major improvements to ERO performance and usability
  • Security enhancements such as RACF PassTicket support and pass-phrase support for ZMF Web Services
  • Audit capabilities extended to pending scratch/rename requests
  • Storage constraint relief

Well over 400 change requests have gone into ChangeMan ZMF 8.1. There simply wouldn’t be enough time to demo even the items noted above, so we decided to focus on a few of the enhancements coming your way.

The ball was passed to David Jackson who manages the mainframe development teams. David gave us an overview of the fresh new ISPF interface, a dive into ZMF’s use of the )INEXIT and how attribute definitions are externalized. He also stepped us through portions of the dialog, split and scroll capabilities and use of CUA constructs.

The presentation was then handed over to Peter Webb, one of the lead developers for ChangeMan ZMF who demonstrated much of the new SORT capabilities and the consistency and usability enhancements that have gone into the ISPF UI.

Mark Turrell, another lead developer on the ZMF team took the ball and demonstrated two key enhancements in 8.1 that were both highly requested among the community; the first was the ability to delete a load component even if the ILOD record has been deleted. This request had fourteen requestors. Mark also stepped us through the capability to add user data to non-source components, also as part of 8.1.

John Skelton, Principal Developer of the Client Pack and frequent presenter at VUGs and xChange took us through a number of enhancements. The first was the ability to substitute field names such as Work Request and Department Number. He went on to demonstrate how these substitutions were not only visible in ISPF but also Eclipse. John then gave us a great demo of how the Client Pack participates with HLLX. Lastly John stepped us all through how the Client Pack now works with ERO.

As always there were questions from the VUG participants. Some were asked and answered during the VUG, others came to us after the VUG.
The questions (and answers):

Q: Is the panel exit (referenced in David’s ISPF presentation) used specifically for attributes, or does it provide other functionality?
A: The IBM exit point initiated by the )INEXIT statement is solely for Serena usage. Currently the exit is limited to simply handling the inclusion of the *INCLUDE CMNPATTR copybook member.

We have to cater for ZDD and ZMF4ECL clients and as such, the exit is not intended to allow a ZMF end user be able to modify an ISPF panel by including any other member name.
Before we can consider opening up additional usage of the ISPF exit, we need to see use cases based on feedback whilst also considering the impact on our other client interfaces. We would hope that HLLX would be a preferable means of adopting business logic into a panel as it is seamless across all clients. For example when we provided the means to override the “Work Request ID” and “Department” fields we had to ensure that we catered for the other clients as John Skelton demo’d in the Eclipse client.

Q: ­Will ChangeMan support IBM’s new functionality for PDSEs that allows multiple generations of members to be saved and retrieved?­
A: This feature is part of PDSE V2. ChangeMan ZMF supports PDSE V2 and while it does not explicitly exploit this particular function (in the same way that IEBCOPY and ISPF only processes the current version of a member), ChangeMan ZMF has been specifically tested against PDSE V2 without issues. Furthermore, while ZMF does not exploit this feature, it is capable of generating datasets in that fashion: e.g. DSNAME=(LIBRARY,2), MAXGENS=10

Q: ­This question relates to the Release Set Up activities on ERO­. Are the Release set up activities possible via Client Pack?
A: Not Currently. Release setup is considered an administrative function. This may be considered as an ENH for a future release.

Q: Question about the LIBTYPE display ordering. I believe this was shown via GLOBAL Admin. Is it also customizable via LOCAL Admin, as well?
A: This was shown via application (local) administration library types. This affects the display of application library types within application administration panels and application library types within developer functions, such as stage and checkout. There is also ordering within global library types that affects the display of global library types within global administration panels and also global library types within application administration panels. Note that within application administration, there are panels displaying the application library types and also panels that display the global library types for selection to be copied to the application. Thus you can set default ordering in global library types used both for displaying global library types and for inheritance to application library types. Like other settings inherited from global to application library types, the default display order can then be changed at the application level so that different applications have different values.

Q: A question about these additional user variables for non-Like-SRC components. Once this is enabled (via Global? Or and/or also via Local?), is it immediately effective for all libtypes? Or is it perhaps controllable by individual libtype? Also, is this new data access feature effective retroactively for components already present within pre-existing packages “in motion?” Or is it only going to be accessible/available “going forward?”
A: The global option (only) when turned on or off, affects all libtypes for all packages with immediate effect. So if you restage a component in a pre-existing package in motion after changing the global setting, it will get the new options (or not) stored as part of the stage process.
There are currently no plans to make it more granular (application, libtypes) but is technically possible to do so if requested.

Q: What, if any plans are there presently for expanding the number of “user defined” data/panel fields?
A: As a result of feedback from one of our beta testers , we were asked to also provide the means to ‘repurpose’ a number of the requester fields and to additionally provide the means to allow the user to provide their own descriptive text to the right of the input field. This has been completed as part of ZMF 8.1.1 under ENH252126.

In case you missed this VUG, or would like to reference it in the future, here is the link.

ZMF Eclipse In our recent Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG) meeting, guest speaker, Westaedt CEO and Chief Architect Benny Westaedt discussed “How ChangeMan ZMF’s ERO option saves you resources and money.”  Benny stepped our audience through the Enterprise Release Option (ERO) of ChangeMan ZMF and made a very compelling case for how ERO does save time and resources in a manner that was accessible to all technical levels and easily understood by those with or without actual ERO experience. If you missed the presentation, you can listen to the recording.

We had some great questions from users that I wanted to highlight:

Q: How does ERO integrate into the Client Pack offering?

A: The ZMF 7.2 Client Pack, including zDD and our Eclipse offering, ZMF4ECL, will support ERO. Both the XML and Web Services for ERO have been around for some time, but we are now formalizing support for the Client Pack in 7.2. Two other things worth noting: 1) our developers, like most developers, prefer off-platform environments like zDD and Eclipse, and 2) our developers also use ERO as part of our own production environment, so we feel the pain as well. The team is excited to get this out to you later this year.

Q: You refer to release packages.  Are these the same or how do they differ from those in Serena Release Manager?

A: These are different.  In the context of the presentation, release packages are base ZMF, simple, planned packages.  In Serena Release Manager, release packages are defined as “…a portion of IT or service infrastructure normally built, deployed, tested, and released together. Release packages define the set of changes to be deployed and drive the deployment processes. One or more development change requests and deployment units (i.e. ZMF packages) are associated with each release package…”

Q: Can you have an unplanned/emergency release?

A: No.  Releases, by their nature, are planned.

Q: Does ERO replace or complement ZMF base product functionality?

A: Complement.  All additional ERO controls covered in the presentation are added to the existing, base CMN ZMF functionality.  Some ERO functions may take precedence.  For example, release audit is designed to cater for products developed within the defined release structure and is very much the primary audit mechanism for such an environment.  However, package audit is still available in such a situation to perform limited functions.


During the VUG, we also mentioned that we’re looking for beta testers for ChangeMan ZMF 7.2, which is scheduled to become generally available later this year. It contains some very compelling new features, enhancements and currency support. We need your help in ensuring the highest quality in this release. Please contact David Jackson if you have questions or are interested in participating.

Our next Mainframe VUG is scheduled for April 16. Stay tuned for registration information. Until then, keep an eye out for our new quarterly Mainframe newsletter, Serenade.  The next issue will be available later this quarter.

Serena StarTool FDM became Generally Available on April 30, 2013, just in time to announce at the recent Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG).  Mark Henderson from the StarTool Development Team presented the StarTool products roadmap and the roster of feature updates in StarTool FDM 7.7.2.

Improved DASD support:

  • Volume map (VMAP) command shows all areas of EAV
  • Dataset statistics (USAGE) command shows EAV-specific DSCBs
  • Allocate large PDSEs (>64k tracks)

Improved usability/serviceability:

  • Improved panel navigation
  • ZAP command improved to support larger CSECTs
  • PEDIT processes VSAM LDS more efficiently
  • HISTORY & DISASM commands use BINDER instead of module load, also perform better against PDSEs
  • Long name support in load module displays
  • MAP & HISTORY support new COBOL and PL/I compiler options

Additionally, Mark presented the roadmap for ChangeMan SSM and an overview of ChangeMan SSM, which became Generally Available on March 7, 2013 and is a release with fixes in the areas of:

  • Email notification processing
  • Master file data consistency
  • STC continuity
  • HFS tracking performance

We closed the VUG meeting with an overview of ChangeMan SSM 8.4.  In this forthcoming release, ChangeMan SSM will expand its reach beyond App Dev with facilities geared towards systems management and ZMF-awareness, with the theme of operational integrity:

  • Automatic definition and tracking of strategic datasets and resources
  • ZMF group – as defined by user

ChangeMan SSM 8.4 is planned for general availability in Q4 of this year.   Stay tuned for more at this year’s xChange, Serena’s Global User Conference from September 16-18 in Miami, FL.

Screenshot from the latest Eclipse plugin from ChangeMan ZMF v7In our recent Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG) meeting, we highlighted the latest features in the ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack. John Skelton, Principal Developer from the ChangeMan ZMF Development team and frequent presenter at VUGs and the annual Serena Software xChange User Conference, stepped the attendees through an overview and an awesome demo of the latest and greatest ZMF Client Pack 7.1.3, which includes the following:

ZMF4ECL (Eclipse plugin):

  • Windows 8 support
  • Large Volume (EAV) support
  • Support for scheduled promotion requests
  • Improved filtering
  • ZDDOPTS – alignment with zDD client and support for RACF groups

zDD (Windows Explorer Interface)

  • Windows 8 support
  • Large Volume (EAV) support
  • Support for scheduled promotion requests
  • ZDDOPTS support for RACF groups

One of the questions that John was asked in the ensuing Q&A session was whether the ZMF Client Pack would honor ISPF customizations (such as changes to panels, panel-exits, etc.). John correctly answered “no.” As ISPF is a client that resides up on the System z mainframe, customizations are limited to that platform.

This brings me to the main point in this blog entry. As discussed in one of my previous posts, our customers are doing more with less, and the user community is expressing the need to facilitate off-platform development and test. Serena remains responsive to these needs. There are two areas that we consistently hear from our customers:

  1. The first is around off-platform development — the Client Pack components do not recognize user-customizations to the ISPF component. What was needed — and what we’ve now provided is functional parity amongst all clients. In other words, all the functions available to the ISPF client should be equally available, regardless of whether the user is in ISPF, Eclipse, Windows, or executing our XML or Web Services. A user should never need to log on to TSO if they do not want to. Thanks to John, and many others on the ZMF and Sernet development teams, we have provided this functional parity as John demonstrated at the last VUG. Yet, we still have the issue of ISPF customizations not recognized outside of ISPF (i.e. Client Pack, Web Services, XML Services, etc.).
  2. The second area is the upgrading from one release of ZMF to another. What sets ZMF apart is its exceptional level of flexibility and ability to tailor to the customer’s environment. This flexibility is accomplished mostly through customizations to ISPF components and, in other cases, user exits. A consequence of this flexibility is that the customizations need to be carried forward when upgrading to a new release, and we do hear this from our customers.

The team is working on a solution that addresses both of these issues. If user-customizations were encapsulated to an area that sits on top of the product, and there is that division between what Serena ships and what the customer “owns”, we have a two-fold benefit:

  1. Customizations that are centralized are then accessible from any client (ISPF, zDD, Eclipse, our callable services).
  2. It also provides a mechanism to lift-and-carry customizations from one release to the next, which renders the notion of managing all of the ISPF skeletons obsolete.

The R&D team is busy in their sandbox working up Pre and Post exit points at every major stop in the ZMF workflow. Additionally, the team is researching ways to encapsulate other customizations outside of the major points in the workflow and are experimenting with a few different options. Not only does this ensure that the clients all follow the same rules, but greatly facilitates product upgrades.

One of the major themes that the team is working on, and one our customers will appreciate, is time-to-value (TTV) and its related elements.  To learn more about this TTV theme and what’s in store for ChangeMan ZMF, join me at xChange13, Serena’s annual user conference in September.  You can still take advantage of Early Bird registration.  Hope to see you!


Serena had a great turnout for the Mainframe xChange12 breakout sessions and the “xChange Again” webcast on October 4.  At xChange, our customers had many questions about the future of the mainframe.  In many respects, we are at the greatest crossroads in the history of the mainframe.  Three points were loud and clear from our customers.

1. Our customers are doing more with less.

With downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate restructuring, we have customers who now have only 2 or 3 ChangeMan ZMF administrators versus the 8 – 10 ZMF administrators in the past. Yet, the demand, commitments, and overall workload for the administrators continue to grow.  Fortunately many ZMF enhancements over the past few years have helped administrators be more productive, whether it be by streamlining the compile process, allowing for variable library types, the ability to keep core skeletons cleaner, etc.  We know that customers are looking for even more productivity enhancements along these lines and we aim to please.

2. The user community is expressing the need to facilitate off-platform development and test.

There is a shift to move development and unit test off of the higher priced general purpose MIPS to more cost-effective platforms.  Although we know that mainframes continue to process the lion’s share of the world’s computing workloads and transactions, the tools and methodologies have changed dramatically in the last several years. With new developers coming out of universities who are accustomed to working in a variety of integrated development environments and using more lean development methodologies, how can Serena, and the industry as a whole, adapt to that?

Serena’s response is to Orchestrate IT around key business processes such as Application Development Management and Application Release Management.  With our Serena Development Manager and Serena Release Manager solutions, now companies can manage the entire application development and delivery processes across all platforms in one common system.  We’ve also fitted ChangeMan ZMF to support Java code development and to work with Eclipse through our ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack.

3. Mainframes are not islands.

At least not anymore. Support for heterogeneous platforms and hybrid apps are more relevant now than ever before. With a significant amount of new MIPS-on-the-floor dedicated to zLinux, our customers are looking to us for leadership in orchestrating a unified strategy.

Let’s first talk about what was demonstrated at xChange12. During the conference, we talked about Orchestrated IT and connecting all IT processes, including those for the mainframe and those for distributed systems.  This is a tremendous change from what IT organizations have been accustomed to — a distinct chasm between the mainframe and distributed environments. Now, with zLinux running on System z, and mobile, cloud and embedded thrown into the mix, the lines that separate the platforms no longer exist, or are at least very fuzzy.  As these environments begin to move in lock-step from demand through deployment, Serena is uniquely positioned to assist in navigating every step of the way with rigor, visibility, traceability and the ability to roll back. And with ChangeMan ZMF ERO web services now available, we are able to augment our Orchestrated IT story with the intelligence that ERO brings to the table.

Serena Dashboard provides out of the box metrics, facilitates product integrations and provides ChangeMan ZMF-specific information providing complete visibility into the environment.

Beneath this, we have both our Serena Development Manager (DVM) and Serena Release Manager (RLM) solutions which fully integrate with ChangeMan ZMF and can tie mainframe  application lifecycle management (ALM) activities with the distributed applications.

ChangeMan ZMF provides the rigor, scalability, and industrial strength to your mainframe application development and release processes.  And augmenting ChangeMan ZMF are:

  • ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack: With ChangeMan ZMF for Eclipse, developers have the option of working in Eclipse and no longer need to log onto a 3270 to interact with ZMF. This is the biggest leap yet in what we are delivering for ChangeMan ZMF for Eclipse.
  • ChangeMan zDDnow sports an improved .NET interface, the ability to edit and submit raw (native) XML.  And soon we’ll deliver Windows 8 support, Extended Attribute Volume (EAV) support, a simplified installer and a significant amount of ChangeMan ZMF-centric enhancements.
  • Serena will continue to focus on, and deliver around doing more with less, support for off-platform development and Orchestrated IT.

For more on the future of the mainframe, listen to the recorded webcasts from the “xChange Again” webcast series:

During “The Kitchen Sink + Everything About the New HFS/JAVA Support in ChangeMan ZMF” VUG session on December 7, John Skelton did a great job taking us through the implementation of Java support in ZMF as well as support for the USS, HFS and zFS file systems. In this presentation John went into deep technical detail of the ZMF v7 design objectives, the architectural changes, the approach from each client type (ISPF, ZDD, Eclipse), how to build Java components, building JAR files and getting Java applications into ZMF. 

For those who attended the VUG, we would like to apologize for a couple of technical issues.  While the content that John provided was excellent, there were glitches in the execution due to both technical and human error.  We have learned from these mistakes and can assure you that they will not happen again.  Please accept our apologies. 

As promised, here are the questions that we did not get to, along with the answers: 

Q: ­Is there any work being done specifically related to CICS Web services; related to WSDLs and WSBIND files?­ 

A:  ZMF will treat those files like any other in the repository.  The Eclipse platform provides built-in editors for working with WSDL files.  As the WSBIND files are generated from a CICS utility, the ZMF build process that creates the WSBIND files (DFHWS2LS/DFHLS2WS) can be customized to store the files in ZMF.   

Q: ­Can you expand on editors that will be available?  I am interested in the Eclipse components in conjunction with Compuware Eclipse plugins and SlickEdit language intelligent editor.­ 

A: The various editors are part of the Eclipse platform.  Different editors may be installed/enabled from a variety of sources and vendors.  Serena has already assisted customers in running the ZMF4ECL plugin in the Compuware Workbench environment.  I would anticipate integrations with SlickEdit to work as well.   

Q: ­Is Serena planning to provide a build procedure for SQLJ Java Stored Procedures­? 

A: We don’t have one at this time.  This sounds like an excellent enhancement request. 

Q: ­Is there a facility to copy HFS files to multiple LPARs in a single system when installing a package in ZMF v7?­ 

A: This may be accomplished by customizing the ZMF install  SKELS at your site.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this depending on your environment/setup. 

Q: ­Is DB2 Connect supported with ZMF v7?­ 

A: Not at this time.  In the past, ChangeMan ZMF worked with DB2 Connect via a REXX interface into DSNTPSMP that IBM has since stopped supporting.  The equivalent to DSNTPSMP procedures supplied by IBM are modules without exit or integration  points, so there is currently no way to access this from ZMF.  A solution to this is currently being researched by the ZMF development team (ENH184950).

In my last post I took you through the history of ChangeMan ZMF during the time it underwent several name changes.  ‘Change Man’ became ‘ChangeMan,’ which turned into ‘ChangeMan ZMF’ at version 5.  Here I continue to trace the evolution and revolution of ChangeMan ZMF through to present day version 7.  

In the planning phase of version 6, and with the growing popularity of Web Services, we could no longer assume that requests coming into ZMF were simply from TSO users as in the past. With product integrations, web service calls embedded in application code,  and initiatives for Release Management and Orchestrated ALM, many requests were coming into ZMF and we needed to again address scalability. Along with a growing backlog of customer-driven enhancement requests that could only be achieved through major architectural changes, the time certainly arrived for the architectural overhaul of ZMF. 

Sernet was redesigned to better accommodate the volume and diverse types of requests coming into the system. With this redesign, we moved away from 32K chunking/chaining to a continuous data stream. Redundant and obsolete code that was more relevant in previous releases was removed, and particular focus was placed on scalability and error recovery. 

Impact Analysis (IA) was redesigned to reside in a data space and stored in a Linear Data Set when the task is down. Benefits of the redesign of IA :

  1. To improve performance.
  2. To expose XML/Web Service enablement to our customers.
  3. To position for Java support (which came in v7).
  4. To accommodate the new unlimited component history capabilities. 

Promotion was enhanced to accommodate renames and scratch requests; the addition of a promotion scheduler was added, too. 

Component Meta-data Rewrite/Expansion 

Customers, particularly in the financial sector, have the requirement of maintaining unlimited component history. Previously, only 24 levels of component history were maintained. With the arrival of each new version, the 24th was pushed off the stack.  ChangeMan ZMF Version 6 supports unlimited numbers of component history; it also accommodates variable length records and allows the storage of user meta data and/or parameters. 

Today, more application development is being done off the mainframe to reduce costs and because new developers prefer to work in the environment of their choice. ChangeMan ZMF supports a variety of these development environments.  For several years, Serena has offered ChangeMan zDD, which provides a Windows Explorer view and has worked very well for many of our customers. Other developers prefer to work in IDEs, such as Eclipse. We’ve provided WD4ZMF (WebSphere Developer for ZMF) and an Eclipse plugin allowing access into ZMF using WDz.  Most recently, we introduced the ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack, which combined zDD, an Eclipse plugin that allows for native Eclipse access to ZMF, and a plugin for IBM Rational Developer for z/OS (RDz) – the rebrand of WDz. 

Screenshot from the latest Eclipse plugin from ChangeMan ZMF v7

In addition to this support for off-platform development, Serena aligned with the trend to support the large increase in hybrid application deployments — use of Java, XML and Web Services.  This not only maintains its leading position with regard to managing legacy assets, but also provides ChangeMan ZMF governance for modern application development on the mainframe, including:

  1. Full Java support tightly integrated into the product, including build, promotion, audit, and impact analysis.
  2. Support of native file systems: HFS/zFS, which includes full support for 255-byte file names and 1024-byte path names within the product. This includes Development, Staging, Promotion and Baseline libraries.
  3. PDS/PDSE is still supported as well for legacy components. This support was incorporated into not only zDD and Eclipse, but into ISPF and all service interfaces as well.  

While we have never expected ISPF to be the interface of choice with Java programmers, you never know.   So, all of the appropriate panels have zoom capabilities to show the full names (in accordance with ISPF standards). 

I mention this  because this is where the Evolution vs. Revolution discussion is important.  Support for the new trends of mainframe modernization (IDEs, deployment of hybrid applications, management of modern languages and file systems) built upon a quarter-century of stability, rigor and integrity. Like rings around a tree. 

The ChangeMan ZMF team has been busy!  We had 3 major product releases in the last 4 years with 9 maintenance releases across 3 versions.  It’s a continuous effort to balance investment in the existing feature set with addressing customer enhancements and aligning with the market — all while ensuring the future of ChangeMan ZMF.  

Thanks for all the feedback on my last post.  I still welcome your comments below!

“Evolution not revolution” – Have the changes and upgrades made to Serena’s mainframe software change and configuration management solution, ChangeMan ZMF, been an evolution or a revolution? The ZMF development team has been cranking out new features over the last couple of years: fully integrated Java support (including Impact Analysis, Audit, Build, ISPF, Eclipse, zDD, XML and Web services); HFS and zFS support for Development, Staging, Promotion and Baseline libraries; a new Eclipse Plug-in that combines Rational Developer for z (RDz) and native Eclipse capabilities, as well as the ZMF Client Pack (which includes the Eclipse Plugin and ChangeMan zDD).

These enhancements, combined with everything done in ChangeMan ZMF v6, would make it easy to assume “revolution”. But let’s take a step back and trace the history of ZMF and how it has evolved over time.

Change Man vs. ChangeMan

In its earliest carnation, ZMF (which was then called Change Man) had many of the same constructs — the package orientation (which was pioneered by Serena) and a package lifecycle — so, in many ways it looked very similar from the outside. However, on the inside it was quite different. For starters, it was purely an ISPF-driven application. Hence, there was no started task, just ISPF users serializing on the VSAM package master, log and delay files while the physical artifacts were moved or copied as appropriate.

With Change Man gaining traction in the market and higher customer adoption, the product found that it was hitting the upper bounds of the workload it was capable of managing under the then-current design. In subsequent releases, the product ran as a started task where MVS facilities such as ECB lists, Cross Memory Services and the Subsystem Control Table (SSCT) allowed better coordination and multiple instances of the product, therefore allowing for higher concurrent usage while maintaining data integrity.

Then came Sernet, the underlying architecture which was introduced to facilitate all session, program, data and storage management, a subsystem interface, and a communications layer that allowed for cross-platform communication. As things moved forward, most of the heavy lifting done by the user (which in those days were TSO and batch) were beginning to get done on the server side. New features such as Remote Promote were added in addition to a new API set known as Remote Procedure Calls (RPCs). The RPCs allowed for an interface to ChangeMan outside of the usual ISPF interface, however, it was still a very data-driven API. It relied strictly on DSECTS and correct data mappings, so data structures had to map out accordingly.

Name Change to ‘ChangeMan ZMF’

With v5, ChangeMan ZMF emerged. The name, ‘Change Man,’ became ‘ChangeMan’ and ‘ZMF’ was added. In v5, most of the processing was moved from the client side to the server side. A new API set was introduced, which was then known as the Extended Services. Functions that previously existed in the ISPF programs were service enabled, which modularized the code base and allowed for code reuse. Extended Services were reworked into what is now known as the XML Services. No more sensitivity to offsets, record layouts and pairing of DSECTs to data structures. With XML’s extensibility, the user no longer needed to be concerned with offsets changing from release to release. The XML Services are the basis of what are now ChangeMan ZMF’s Web Services although the XML Services remain in use as well. Version 5 is also where ERO, LBO, cross-application support for auditing and IA and WD4ZMF were all introduced.

In my next post, I’ll go through the evolution of ChangeMan ZMF v6 and v7. Let me know what you think about ChangeMan ZMF and write a comment below!

ChangeMan ZMF screenshot

During the “Ask the Experts” session at the Serena Mainframe Virtual User Group meeting earlier this month, a few questions about the newest version of ChangeMan ZMF went unanswered due to the lack of time.  Mark Levy, Serena Software Mainframe product manager, and I went through them and provide the answers here.

Q: For ChangeMan ZMF v6, the product moved from DB2 to linear VSAM.  What are the benefits and risks that you have seen? 

A: In ChangeMan ZMF v6, the Impact Analysis function was moved from being based on DB2 to a z/OS data space, backed by linear VSAM. This was done for several reasons: performance, ability to better manage Java components, and the ability to expose Impact Analysis XML services, which could not be done under the DB2 implementation. In doing so, we have provided a utility which will allow users to offload this data back into a DB2 table in case they have SQL that they would like to continue to run against this data. This move eliminates the requirement for DB2 for dynamic IA updates. Now everyone has the benefit of real-time updates to their Impact Analysis data, even if they do not have DB2. 

Q: Is there a plan to manage data through ChangeMan ZMF also? 

A: ChangeMan ZMF has the ability to manage data components throughout the lifecycle, assuming that these are components that do not get built, compiled, have external dependencies that would require audit or impact analysis.  However, ZMF is primarily used for managing objects that relate to code (src, load, JCL, DBRM etc.) 

Q: Is the Eclipse plug-in part of ChangeMan ZMF? 

A: The Eclipse plug-in is an option that is part of the ChangeMan ZMF Client Pack, which also includes an Eclipse Plugin for Rational Developer and ChangeMan ZDD. 

Q: What exactly is in ChangeMan HANA? What are the exciting features? 

A: HANA is the code name for the next major release of ChangeMan ZMF.  The proposed features are still in the early stages of research. 

Q: Are you going to integrate PeopleSoft systems? 

A: There are no current plans for a PeopleSoft implementation at this time. With ChangeMan ZMF’s web and XML services, customers or Serena Professional Services have the ability to do these types of integrations. 

Q: What platforms will ChangeMan ZMF support for managing and deploying WebSphere?

A: ChangeMan ZMF will support the deployment of WebSphere applications and components on z/OS.

If you have additional questions, feel free to post a comment below or visit the ChangeMan ZMF page.