Question: What time is it in year 2k42? Answer:time to be retired

Do you remember the Y2K problem where the date rolled into 2000?
I had to fly to the US on Jan 1st 2000, so I could be on site in case there were problems with a large bank running on the mainframe.   I have two memories

  • the vending machines had a message like Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start. and would not vend.
  • someone had been taken to hospital with gunshot wounds, because people celebrated the new millennium by firing their guns up into the air, and what goes up, must come down, and if you are in a crowded street…
There is another year 2K type problem coming, it is when the System 390 clock wraps.  It is a 8 byte field.  When I was writing statistics and accounting code for MQ on z/OS, you time an event by issuing the STCK instruction before something,  STCK again afterwards and calculate the difference.
To solve this problem there is the STCK extended instruction which is 16 bytes – essentially there is one byte in front of the existing STCK, and some space space at the end.  So problem solved?   Not quite.
There are many control blocks with a field for the 8 byte STCK value.  If this is changed to a 16 byte STCKE field then the offsets of all the fields will change.   This is OK with a small program, but not for the operating system, where fields are fixed “for architecture reasons” to allow people to rely on the location of these fields.
Many products depend on a STCK to create a unique identifier, and given two STCK values you can tell which was created first – even across IPLs.  Changing this to use a STCKE will cause a migration and coexistance problem.
Some SMF records have a STCK to say when an event occurred,  the report processing may need logic to say if the value is small – then add 2042 years to it.
I had a routine which formatted a STCK into YY/MM/DD hh:mm:ss.tttttt.   This will no longer work, as the STCK(e) is now 9 bytes long.
Do you need to worry about this?  Not really – IBM will fix the operating system and products, vendors will fix their products.  It is down to your programs, and most people do not use the STCK values.  If you do use STCK I suggest you locate all references to STCK and put the operations in macros.  Then when you have to change the code – you change the macros, recompile the programs,  and with a bit of magic, and a good wind you’ll have no problems – just make sure you feed the flying pigs first.
The alternative is to retire and let someone else worry about it.

How do I format a STCK from a C program?

I’ve been writing a program which process SMF data which has STCK values for dates of events, and STCK values for durations.
In assembler there is a STCKCONV function which takes a STCK ( or STCKE) and converts this to printable date and time, for example 2020/09/21 09:19:18.719641  .

I could find no function in C to do the same conversion.  I used to have some C code (of about 300 lines of code)  which did the tedious calculation of converting from microseconds to days, and then allowing for leap years etc.   Instead of rereating this,  I’ve written a bit of glue code which allows you to invoke the STCKCONV macro from C.

It works with non XPLINK amode 31 C programs.   I failed the challenge of getting it to work with XPLINK, and with 64 bit C programs (which has the extra challenge that parameters are passed in as 64 bit pointers.

In your C program you have

#pragma linkage(STCKEDT,OS)

rc = STCKEDT( stckvalue ,length, output);

Quick digression.   There are 8 byte STCK values and 16 Byte STCKE which have an extended time stamp to handle the 2042 problem when a STCK will overflow.

For a STCK value specify STCKEDT(stck,8,output).

For a STCKE value specify STCKEDT(stcke,16,output);

The output is a 27 character string with a trailing null.

The return code is either from STCKCONV routine  or 20 if the length is invalid.

The code is below

* R1-> A(STCK) 
*   -> length of STCK 8 or 16 
*   -> Return buffer 
STCKEDT2 EDCPRLG DSALEN=DLEN The name appears in CEE traceback
         LA   15,20          preset the return code - invalid parms 
         USING DSA,13 
         L    2,0(,1)         address of input 
         L    5,4(,1)         a(length of STCK) 
         L    5,0(5)          the length 
         L    6,8(,1)         return area 
         CFI  5,8             Is the passed length of STCK 8? 
         BNE  TRYSTCKE 
         STCKCONV  STCKVAL=(2),                                        x 
               CONVVAL=BUFFER,                                         x 
               TIMETYPE=DEC,  hhmmsst....                              x 
         BNZ  GOBACK 
         B    COMMON 
         CFI  5,16            is length 16? 
         BNE  GOBACK          r15 has been set already to error 
         STCKCONV  STCKEVAL=(2),                                       x 
               CONVVAL=BUFFER,                                         x 
               TIMETYPE=DEC,  hhmmsst....                              x 
         BNZ  GOBACK 
         B    COMMON 
*  the macro produced time, date, so rearrange it to date time 
         MVC  DT(4),BUFFER+8   Move the date 
         MVC  DT+4(8),BUFFER+0   Move the time 
* put the ED mask in the output field 
* and convert it from packed numbers to readable string 
         ED   DATETIME,DT 
* returned date time string is 26 + 1 for trailing null 
         MVC  0(27,6),DATETIME+1   +1 because of leading pad char 
         SR   15,15              reset the return code
GOBACK   DS    0H 
&DATEMASK  SETC '4021202020612120612121'  _dddd/dd/ddd
&TIMEMASK  SETC '4021207a21207a21204b21202020202040' _dd:dd:dd.dddddd_
DTMASK   DC   X'&DATEMASK.&TIMEMASK.00'  Add trailing null for C 
* Work area 
BUFFER   DS    4F     Time.time .. work d 
DT       DS    3F     Date, time,time 
DATETIME DS   CL28    Leading blank, date time, null 
DLEN     EQU  *-DSA 

I complied it with

//             REGION=4M 
//SYSIN    DD * 


and included it in my C program JCL as


Why isnt my MQ RACF command working?

I was  trying to define an MQ queue using %CSQ9 DEFINE QL(AA)  and was getting


But the profile existed!
The command tso rlist MQADMIN CSQ9.QUEUE.AA  showed me the profile which would be used

----- ----

It did not look like the class was being cached

                        ZMFAPLA ZMFCLOUD 

But I missed the


I used the


and the define command worked. Another face palming moment.

Lesson learned -if  indoubt use the SETROPTS RACLIST(MQADMIN) REFRESH command


Looking for an MQ reason code in Liberty? Get your safari helmet, anti malarial tablets and follow me to find the treasure.

I was using an MQ application in Liberty, and rather do things the easy way, I did what I normally do, and did it the hard way.  On my z/OS I did not have the queue manager defined, because I wanted to see what happened.  I was not expecting the expedition.

You configure MQ in Liberty using configuration like

<jmsConnectionFactory jndiName="jms/cf1" connectionManagerRef="ConMgr1"> 
<properties.wmqJms transportType="BINDINGS" queueManager="MQPA"/>


I was expecting a message like the following in the job output.

Application COLINAPP MQCONN call to MQPA failed with compcode 
'2' ('MQCC_FAILED')reason '2058' ('MQRC_Q_MGR_NAME_ERROR').

Oh no, it was not that easy.  It was quite a trek into the jungle to find the information.

In the Liberty server’s logs directory there is a message.log file.  In this file I had

9/14/20 19:16:32:242 GMT 00000060 I FFDC1015I: An FFDC Incident has been created: " MQJCA1011: Failed to allocate a JMS connection., error code: MQJCA1011 An internal error caused an attempt to allocate a connection to fail. See the linked exception for  details of the failure. 199" at 

This was one long line, and I had to scroll sideways (just like you did) to see the content (or use the ISPF line prefix command “tf” to flow the text to the display width).  A key hint was the message MQJCA1011 An internal error caused an attempt to allocate a connection to fail  so I knew I was on the right trail.  I now knew the name of the file – ffdc_20.09.14_19.16.28.0.log.

Knowing the name of the file did not help very much, as if you use ISPF 3.17  (z/OS UNIX Directory List ) it showed a list of 40 files with the name ffdc_20.09.14_1 (   This is because it only displays the first part of the name (and I could see no way to configure the display to making this longer).

The file has a name ffdc_20.09.14_19.16.28.0.log and a displayed time stamp of 2020/09/14 18:16:32 which is close enough – allowing for the time zone difference and the time take to write the file.  I was fortunate not to be running a workload and producing many of these files.

I edited the file – and I could see the full file name at the top of the page, so I knew I was in the right file.

The file has long lines, so I had to scroll or use the “tf” line command to reformat it.

Near the top it had

Stack Dump = 
MQJCA1011: Failed to allocate a JMS connection., error code:  
MQJCA1011 An internal error caused an attempt to allocate a connection to fail. 
See the linked exception for details of the  failure.

Further down it had

Caused by: 
JMSWMQ0018: Failed to connect to queue manager 'MQPA' with connection 
mode 'Bindings' and host name 'localhost(1414)'.

and further further down (line 50) I found the treasure

Caused by: JMSCMQ0001: IBM MQ call failed with 
compcode '2' ('MQCC_FAILED') reason '2058'  ('MQRC_Q_MGR_NAME_ERROR').

What a trek to find the information I needed!

Next time I’ll just list the logs/ffdc directory, edit (not browse) each file and search for “compcode”.   You cannot use “grep compcode” from uss because the file is in UTF8 and does not find it.  You can just use oedit file_name in uss.

It would be nice if the MQ code could be enhanced to have an option “makeErrorsHardToFind” which you could set to “no”, and still keep the default “yes”.


Getting z/OS Explorer to work with z/OS Connect EE

Ive been trying to set up z/OS Connect, so I could look at the MQ support within it.

Setting up z/OS Connect in the first place, was a challenge, which I’ll blog about some other time.  I was looking for an Installation Verification Program (IVP) and tried to use the z/OS Explorer.  This was another challenge.  Like many problem there are answers, but it is hard to find the information.

Installing z/OS Explorer

This was easy.  I started here and installed z/OS explorer for Aqua – Eclipse tools.  Then select  IBM z/OS Connect EE.  I selected Aqua 3.2, and chose to install using eclipse p2. I have tried to avoid installation manager as it always seemed very complex and frustrating.

I tried to extend an existing eclipse, but this failed due to incompatibilities.  I used start from fresh, and this worked fine.

Adjust the z/OS Connect server configuration.

I enabled logon logging.

 <httpEndpoint id="defaultHttpEndpoint" 
    httpsPort="19443" > 
   <accessLogging enabled="true" 
     logFormat='h:%h i:%i u:%u t:%t r:%r s:%s b:%b D: %D m:%m' 
<sslOptions sslRef="defaultSSLSettings"/> 

This creates a file in the  location http_access.log within the log directory. It has output like ADCDC 08/Sep/2020:17:50:40 +0000 "GET /zosConnect/services/stockQuery HTTP/1.1" 200

You can see where the request came from (, user (ADCDC), the date and time, the request (“GET /zosConnect/services/stockQuery HTTP/1.1”), and the response code(200).

Getting started with z/OS Explorer

You need to define host connections.

If you totally disable security on your server you can use http.

  1. On z/OS explorer,display the Connections tab. (Window -> Show View -> Host connections)
  2. Right click on z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, and select New z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, Connection
    1. Name: this is displayed in the tooling
    2. Host name: I used which is my VIPA address of the server
    3. Port number:   This comes from the  httpEndpoint for the server.  The default is http:9080 and https:9443 – but as every Liberty product uses these values, your server may have different values.  I used 19080.
    4. I initially left Secure connection(TLS/SSL) unticked
    5. Click Save and Connect
  3. A panel was displayed asking for credentials. Either create new credentials (userid and password) or select an existing credential.
  4. Double click on the connection you just created.
    1. An error of “302, Found” is an http response meaning redirection.  In the z/OS connect case, this means you are trying to use an http connection when an https ( a TLS connection) was expected.  I got this because I had not disabled security in my server.

The normal way of accessing z/OS connect is to use TLS to protect the session.  As well as TLS to protect the session you can also use client certificate authentication.  This is what I used.

You will need to set up certificates, keystores and keyrings on z/OS and get the Certificate Authority certificates sent to the “other” system.  I used my definitions from using MQWEB.

  1. On z/OS explorer, set up the keystores
    1. Window -> Preferences -> Explorer-> certificate manager
    2. The truststore contains the CA certificates to validate the certificate send down from the z/OS server.  Enter the file name (or use Browse), the pass phrase, and the key store.  My truststore was JKS.
    3. The keystore contains the client certificate used to identify this client to the server.
    4. Smart card details.  Ignore this – (despite it saying you must configure a PKCS11 driver).   This section is used if you select smart card to identify yourself, and it would be better if the wording said “If you are using Smart card authentication you must configure a PKCS11 driver ).
    5. Leave the “Do not validate server certificate trust” unticked.  This will check the passwords etc of the key stores.
    6. At the bottom I used “Secure socket protocol-> TLS v1.2” though this is optional.
    7. Select Apply and Close
  2. Display the Connections tab. (Window -> Show View -> Host connections)
  3. Right click on z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, and select New z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition, Connection
    1. Name: this is displayed in the tooling
    2. Host name: I used which is my VIPA address of the server
    3. Port number:   This comes from the  httpEndpoint for the server.  The default is http:9080 and https:9443 – but as every Liberty product uses these values, your server may have different values.  I used 19443
    4. I ticked Secure connection(TLS/SSL).  If you do not select this, you will not be able to use a certificate to logon.
    5. Click Save and Connect
  4. A panel was displayed asking for credentials.   When I used an existing credential I failed to connect to the server.
    1. Select Create new credentials
    2. Click on Username and Password pull down – and select Certificate from Keystore.
    3. Enter credentials name – this is just used within the tooling
    4. Userid – this seems to be ignored.  I used certificate mapping on the z/OS to map the certificate to a userid.
    5. Choose a certificate – select one from the pull down.  In my Linux box the choice of certificates came out in yellow writing on a yellow background!
    6. Click OK
    7. The connection should appear on the Connections page, under z/OS Connect Enterprise Edition.  It should go yellow while it is connecting, and green, with a padlock once it has connected

Use z/OS Connect

Use Window-> Show View -> zOS Connect EE Servers

You should see your connection displayed  with the IP address and port. Underneath this are any APIs or Services you have defined.

If you have any APIs or Services, you should be able to right click and select Show Properties View.  You can click on the links, or copy the links and use them, for example  in a web browser directly,or via curl.

If you try to use the APIs or Services, you may not be authorised.  You will need to configure

  1. <zosconnect_zosConnectManager …>
  2. <zosconnect_zosConnectAPIs>   <zosConnectAPI name=”stockmanager”  ….
  3. <zosconnect_service>  <service name=”stockquery”

Good luck.




Planning your Liberty – this is not an escape plan

With the web being the new front end to z/OS, most z/OS products are using Liberty as their web server to deliver web content.   Each product seems to be documented as if it is the only Liberty instance on the z/OS image, for example they all default to use http port 9080.

This blog post helps identify what planning you need to do before you can configure a Liberty instance, be it z/OSMF, MQWEB, CICS, or zOS Connect EE.


Often the person installing and configuring the server is part of the “installation team”, and may not be familiar with the  detailed use of the product, or product based tooling, for example the eclipse based  z/OS tooling.   This person’s role is to configure the server so it meets the enterprise requirements, and the configuration within the server is down to the team who requested it.

Update proclib

You need to decide if each instance will need its own procedure in proclib, or one procedure can start multiple servers.

You will need an Angel process – there can only be one Angel started task across all of your Liberty instances on an LPAR.  Ensure it is at the highest service level.

If you want isolation you may want to set up an test instance with a different started task userid to the production instance.

Where do the product ZFS libraries go

Usually the product code goes in /usr/lpp/IBM/product_name. Typically you make a directory /usr/lpp/IBM/product_name, then mount the product file system over this directory.  Some times this file system needs to be mounted RW during customisation.   When you upgrade you can just mount the new file system instead of the old file system.

Where do the configuration files go?

The Liberty configuration files can go in /var/… or /u/… . If you intend for the server to be started on another LPAR, then the configuration files need to be available on the other LPAR.  Having a variable with the LPAR name as part of the directory will not work.   The configuration files are defined with the WLP_USER_DIR environment variable. You may want shell scripts which define this variable.  For example the shell script prodmqweb could have export WLP_USER_DIR=/u/mqweb/production/MQPA.   You then use sh prodmqweb to define the variable, or pass commands to it, such as sh prodmqweb dspmqweb so you can be sure you are using the right configuration file.

UNIX Directory List Utility ISPF 3.17 has space for 56 characters in the default directory name, but only 40 when working with files, such as new file or rename.   You may want to have a short prefix, or use an alias. For example /u/zoscA/servers/stockManager/server.xml instead of /MVSA/var/zosconnect/servers/stockManager/server.xml

What configuration files will be shared?

If you already have Liberty running in your environment you may be able to reuse some files, and include them in your server.xml. For example if your keystores are defined in a file you could use <include location=”…./keystore.xml”/> .

If you are providing duplicate servers for availability, you can put you common definitions in one file and share this, and server specific definitions in a different file.

It is easier to manage the configuration files if you provide small function specific files.  For example saf.xml, trace.xml,applications.xml, andr keystores.xml .

What TCPIP ports will be used

Each product will need its own ports, typically one port for http, and another port for https.   You can define multiple ports with different characteristics.  You use httpEndpoint and can specify for this port log this information, for that port log different information to a different place.

If you want to have two instances running on an LPAR using the same port,  the port needs to be defined as SHAREDPORT.

You may want to have the same port defined on each LPAR, so no matter which LPAR is used, use port 9443.

You may want to use VIPA so you have one external IP address into your SYSPLEX, and  z/OS SYSPLEX Distributor to route connection requests or distribute connection requests to available servers. If you want to do this you will need a configured VIPA TCPIP address.

You may need to specify which TCPIP instance to use if you have more than one TCPIP instance on an LPAR.

What keystores will be used

You need two keystores

  1. To identify the server – the keystore
  2. To validate certificates passed into the instance – the trust store.  Typically this has Certificate Authority certificates, and any self signed certificates.

These can be file based or SAF based using z/OS keyrings.  For example <keyStore filebased=”false” id=”racfKeyStore”
location=”safkeyring://START1/KEY” password=”password” readOnly=”true” type=”JCERACFKS”/> 

You might have enterprise keystores available to every one, or provide isolation so you have keystores for bank1 servers, and different keystores for bank2 servers.

Defining the APPL and SERVER resource

The Liberty default  APPL definition is BBGZDFLT. This allows people to access the server (the front door).  If you already have a Liberty installed then you may be able to use the existing definition.

If you want isolation, for example test and production, or between two major applications you will need to select and define different APPL resources.

You will need

<safCredentials profilePrefix="ZZZZDFLT"




   /* for z/OS Connect
RDEFINE EJBROLE ZZZZDFLT..zos.connect.access.roles.zosConnectAccess   +
PERMIT ZZZZDFLT..zos.connect.access.roles.zosConnectAccess + 

   /* for MQ Web

These tend to be mixed case, so take care when defining them.

Starting the instance

If you use

S BAQSTRT,PARM='server1'
S BAQSTRT,PARM='server2'

If you use STOP BAQSTRT then both servers will stop.

If you use


You can use STOP BAQ1 to stop just server1.

You can also use

S BAQSTRT,PARMS=’server1′,jobname=BAQ1
S BAQSTRT,PARMS=’server2′,jobname=BAQ2

Then you can use P BAQ1, and also have WLM give BAQ1 and BAQ2 different service classes, and so give them different priorities

Set up monitoring

There may be SMF data available, which you can collect if you enable the SMF collection classes.

You may have data from JMX which you collect and report.

Accessing the server

You will need to set up a profile and give permission to groups of people, just to be able to use the server.

You may need to protect individual applications, for example ability to start or stop applications, or to invoke the application.  This can be done once the basic setup has been done, and the system handed over.

For example in server.xml for z/OS connect

<service name="stockquery" 

It is good policy to only grant access to groups, and not individual ids as it simplified userid administration.  You would define a3Admin, a4Admin, a3Invoke as groups


How many servers do I need? Every one know this – or no one knows this

I was planning on installing a product on z/OS and was going through the documentation.  It is hard to see things that are not there, but I was surprised to see nothing about initial planning and how to set up the product.  I looked at other products – and they were also missing this information. It feels like this information is so obvious that every one knows – or the person responsible for the installation instructions only had experience of installing one image and documenting it.  (Tick the box, job done).

There are two reason for configuring more than one instance of a product

  1. You want multiple copies of the same configuration
  2. You want a different configuration.

This is obvious but it took me half an hour to realise this.  I’ll cover the implications of these decisions below

You want multiple copies of the same configuration

There are many reasons for this:

  1. You have to support more than one LPAR.
  2. You want to have more than one instance on an LPAR for availability, scalability and performance.  For example with a z/OS queue manager; it can support up to 10,000 channels, and log at about 100MB a second.  If you want to do more than this you need a second queue manager.
  3. You want availability by having instances running on multiple LPARs, so if one LPAR is shutdown  work can continue to flow to the other LPARs.

You want a different configuration

The main reason for this is isolation:

  1. You have different environments for example production and test.
  2. You have different customers for example you support, bank1 and bank2.  You want isolation so if bank1 fills up the disk space, bank2 is not affected.
  3. You want bank1 and bank2 systems to use different certificate authorities, so bank1 end users cannot connect to bank2 systems.
  4. You have different performance criteria – you configure bank1 systems to have higher proirity in LWM than bank2 systems.
  5. If you have bank1 and bank2 sharing a system, and you want to restart it, you have to get agreement from both the end users.  Getting agreement for a date from one bank is easier than getting agreement for a date from multiple banks.

Implications of “you want multiple copies of the same configuration”

Ideally you want to replicate a system with very little work – a so called cookie-cutter approach.

Configuration files

Create self contained configuration files.  For example with Liberty Web Server on z/OS each server has its own server.xml file.  Create a file called keystore.xml and include that in the server.xml file.  The server.xml configuration file may look like

<include location="${server.config.dir}/keystore.xml"/> 
<include location="${server.config.dir}/mq.xml"/> 
<include location="${server.config.dir}/saf.xml"/>
instance specific data

With JCL you can use


to include common configuration.

TCPIP ports

You are likely to use the same port number across different LPARs.  You can define a port as a SHAREPORT, and have multiple applications listening on the same port number on the same LPAR.

Started task userid

Have the instances start with the same userid, so they have the same  access to resources.

Liberty profilePrefix

Have the instances use the same profile prefix, default BBGZDFLT.  This is defined using RDEFINE APPLY BBGZDFLT…

Define who can access the instance using SAF EJBROLE for example giving different groups of people access to the  BBGZDFLT.zos.connect.access.roles.zosConnectAccess profile.

Isolated instances

If you want to isolate instances, then use the above list and make sure you use different values.

Future proof your definitions.

An advantage of “define something once in an include file, and reuse it” is that if you change the contents, for example /usr/lpp/mqm/V9R1M1/java/lib, you change it once, and restart the servers.

If the servers each have a unique configuration file, you have to make the same change in each file.   This can be good – for example you want to change this server this week, and that server next week.

You could also have an alias /usr/mq pointing to /usr/lpp/mqm/V9R1M1.   When you want to change the version of MQ, change the alias and restart the servers.  To undo the change, change the alias to the old version and restart.  This is much easier than changing the individual files ( how many change records would you have to raise?).

Liberty Specials.

With Liberty you have have one JCL procedure, and start multiple servers.  This environment is a mixture of multiple copies of the same configuration, and isolated instances.

Each server has its own server.xml file, but uses the same JCL file, so common userid etc.

You can start a liberty server

s baqstrt,parms='stockManager',jobname=smanager

And have WLM classify this under SMANAGER.

The default Liberty profile is stored under /var/zosconnect.  If you want to have a copy of this running on two LPARs you will need  to have the profiles store in different places.  You could have


but if you need to move the server to a different LPAR this might point to the wrong directory.

You could change the procedure so you pass in the location of the profile.

s baqstrt,parms=’stockManager’,jobname=smanager,profile=’/var/zosconnect1/instance1′



The 1960’s were great time for many – but you do not have to continue using JCL from just the 1960’s.

It is great that JCL written in the 1960s still work today.  However JCL has moved on, and there are better JCL techniques available today.  Unfortunately the SMP/E installation instructions seem to be back in the 1960’s.  Many products have customization using the same, manual, laborious techniques.

In the 1960 you edited jobs and made the same changes multiple times

I was doing an SMP/E installation and it took 5 times longer that it should.

For example part of some JCL in one PDS member

DELETE @hlqgzone@.CSI

and comments telling you to change @hlqgzone@  (High-level dataset qualifier(s) for SMP/E global zone datasets) to your value.

In another PDS member there is

// DSN=@hlqgzone@.CSI

and comments telling you to change @hlqgzone@  (High-level dataset qualifier(s) for SMP/E global zone datasets) to your value.

In another and PDS member has

// DSN=@hlqgzone@.CSI

and comments telling you to change  @hlqgzone@  (High-level dataset qualifier(s) for SMP/E global zone datasets) to your value.

There is a boring trend here.  Having to make the same change in about 10 files is tedious;  but it gets worse.

In the first and second job I change @hlqgzone@ to COLIN.SMP, and in the third job I changed it to COLIN.SMPE. Of course this did not work, so I had to spent time fixing it.  Having to manually change many files is error prone.

 A better way of doing it

Create a member called MYDEFS in the PDS for example


In each job use cut and paste at the top


No magic here; you could use these variables in the 1960s  JCL, for example use VOL=SER=&VOL.

The magic is in the ability to use symbols within the program input.


Because of the SYMBOLS=JCLONLY, the variable &HLQ is replaced with the variable.

And what’s more – it gets better!

You can have the SYMBOLS processing logged to a logging-DDname.


and the DDNAME SYMBOLS has the data


This logging-DDname option came out in z/OS 2.2 July 2015, so this may be new to some people.

And while I am grumbling…

The SMP/E install has members like


you have to follow the documentation very carefully as the jobs have to be run in a particular order.

If they were to be renamed


then it is easy to know the order of running the jobs, there should be less documentation, and it would be faster.