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z/OS Customers: Time to Swap Out Your Checkpoint Restart Tools

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Top reasons to swap your batch checkpoint solution today! 

If you’re running z/OS, in all likelihood, your batch processing jobs have been on a set-it-and-forget-it schedule for years. Your batch streams run without intervention and the people who set up those jobs are probably long gone. But batch processing remains a critical aspect of running z/OS and it is not prudent to wait till an issue sneaks up on you (a schedule over-running into an online window, output not received on time, etc.) to reassess the efficacy of your current checkpoint solution.   

There are two main reasons to consider swapping out your current z/OS batch checkpoint products:  

  • Exorbitant costs  
  • Substandard support  

Exorbitant costs:  

With the continuing rise in inflation, companies running z/OS are taking a hard look at their portfolios to simplify solution stacks and find cost savings wherever possible. But software vendors are still holding them hostage with excessive licensing and maintenance fees, with little to no software enhancements and very poor technical support. Many vendors have increased their prices dramatically. For some companies, the prices were already too high.   

One of the easiest ways to achieve cost savings is to switch to Db2 Checkpoint for your batch processing. We have been able to swap out other vendor batch checkpoint products with Db2 Checkpoint for customers to drive cost savings of 80+%.    

Substandard support:  

Software vendors have been acquired and reacquired multiple times in the mainframe space. Each time a product is acquired, not only does the cost go up, but many knowledgeable personnel leave.  What was the response time and resolution time of your last support call? Considering that batch restart products are usually part of mission-critical applications, was your vendor’s response commensurate with the critical nature of your application?  

What Does It Take: Cost & Time to Swap Out  

Changing batch application restart solutions does not have to be an intimidating task. Depending on what you have, many products can be swapped out with simple JCL changes. Others can use either a source conversion tool (SCT) or swap the pre-compiler for ours after making JCL changes.   

The point is that the task is not as daunting as you might think.  We are here to help every step of the way. We’ve been able to help a European government authority save over a million dollars a year in support fees. Additionally, a US-based insurance company has benefitted greatly from our legendary support.   

View the 30-minute session to see how easy and low risk a swap out is and the steps you can take. If you’d like to discuss your options or have any questions about the swap out process or pricing, please feel free to reach out to me at neal.lozins@freschesolutions.com or the support team at info@freschesolutions.com

SoftBase attending Regional Db2 Users Group meetings in September, 2019

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SoftBase will be represented at these Regional Db2 Users Group meetings:

St. Louis (STLDUG), September 10, 2019
Wisconsin (WDUG), September 11, 2019
Midwest (MWDUG), September 19, 2019

SoftBase sponsored lunch at the Central Ohio DB2 Usergroup Meeting December 4, 2018

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SoftBase sponsored lunch at the Central Ohio DB2 Usergroup Meeting December 4, 2018.

See the presentation on the SoftBase products


SoftBase Announces a Free Download of the TestBase SQLCODE -805 Tool

All Baseline Posts, Application Testing

SoftBase announces a free download of the TestBase SQLCODE -805 Tool which helps identify the source of Db2 SQLCODE -805 on z/OS.  Please see https://www.softbase.com/testbase_sqlcode_805_tool.php to get your copy today!


Announces SoftBase Db2 Tools (SDT) Availability

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SoftBase, a Fresche Solutions brand, is proud to announce the general availability of the SoftBase Db2 Tools suite 1.1.0 (SDT110). The SoftBase Db2 Tools suite allows developers, DBAs, and performance analysts to focus on meeting their customer demands of developing and maintaining software code.  These code, test, and deployment tools replace redundant code with proven processes that exploit features of z/OS Db2 that would otherwise require a dedicated staff to develop and to maintain.

As announced last year, the SoftBase Db2 Tools suite is a rebranding and renaming of the SoftBase Batch Healthcare flagship products with additional rich features and functionality. Along with the four products from Batch Healthcare, the suite includes the new Db2 Catalog Guide on z/OS and provides z/OS Db2 users with a high level of synergy between all five products:

  • Db2 Catalog Guide on z/OS
    The new product in the SoftBase Db2 Tools suite, Db2 Catalog Guide on z/OS, can be used to query the Db2 Catalog without writing time consuming SQL. A DBA can safely grant privileges to use this tool to application developers, testers, and production staff who need specific information that resides in the Db2 Catalog. No Db2 Locks are held on catalog tables and the SQL is 100% static.

    Db2 v12 Function Levels are key pieces of information that developers and DBAs will need to be aware of as Db2 v12 applications are created and updated.  Db2 Catalog Guide can quickly display this information without writing SQL or using the DISPLAY GROUP operator command.  We know that this light-weight tool will be the talk of your shop, so we are offering a six-month free trial to convince you.

  • Db2 Attach on z/OS
    In addition to allowing a batch application to run as a native z/OS job stream with //STEP EXEC PGM=progname rather than TSO or IKJEFT01, Db2 Attach provides a wealth of additional facilities. For example: LOGRBA, which triggers a read of the active Db2 log and a display of the high used RBA.  The user can specify a display of the high used RBA after the Db2 plan is opened and/or after the plan is opened and after each commit.  “SQL SET CURRENT item” is a facility which dynamically changes Db2 special registers.  SDT110 includes support for “SET CURRENT QUERY ACCELERATION value” which identifies when Db2 sends dynamic SQL queries to an accelerator server and what Db2 does if the accelerator server fails.  Additional Db2 Package options are available in MRF, providing more opportunity for multi-row fetch to be automatically implemented into existing batch Db2 applications without recoding.
  • Db2 Checkpoint on z/OS
    Users can have the product insert COMMITs and CHECKPOINTs into Db2 batch jobs, in many cases without even changing the application program. Db2 Checkpoint can restart Db2 batch jobs at the last CHECKPOINT prior to the point of failure, restore the working storage area, and reopen/reposition sequential files. It supports use of operator commands to ‘quiesce’ a long running job at the next successful checkpoint and restart the job at a later time. The new release also moves checkpoint buffers above the line, providing virtual storage constraint relief. and possible performance improvements.
  • Db2 Batch Analyzer on z/OS
    Helps developers maximize Db2 application tuning efforts by finding the worst performing applications first with almost no overhead. An ISPF interface allows developers to locate their own performance problems rather than using scarce systems and DBA resources. The product uses a drill down technique that allow even a novice user to identify Db2 application performance problems, down to an individual SQL statement.
  • Db2 DeadLock Advisor on z/OS
    (SQLCODE -911, SQLCODE -904) – Identifies the source of deadlock timeouts and resource unavailable conditions and presents that information on the offending and offended batch job’s log. Programmers can quickly identify the cause of deadlocks by examining the joblog of the affected application.

Upgrade Path

Existing customers will be pleased to know the upgrade path from Batch Healthcare to SoftBase Db2 Tools is the same familiar process that starts with the download of a zip file containing all five products. Each product can be installed independently and depending on the combination of products, a single product installation may complete all the installation steps for other SoftBase Db2 Tools products.

For more information, call 1-800-669-7076 or contact us here.


DB2 z/OS Development Webinar: SQLCODE -911 – Now What?

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WEBINAR: SQLCODE -911 – Now What?

Thursday, December 14 2017 2:00PM-3:00PM Eastern

Register here

The Deadlock timeout, or Db2 z/OS sqlcode -911, is a problem that Db2 developers, as well as operations and production personnel, frequently encounter. It happens when a job attempts to access a resource, such as a row, page, table, or index that is locked by another job.

Identifying the ‘participant’ job holding the lock is critical for the developer trying to diagnose the problem. Developers often don’t even know that they caused an issue for the ‘victim’ job receiving the -911. Unfortunately, this can be difficult and sometimes impossible to identify without help from a DBA or someone with higher permissions. Left unresolved, the issue can cause serious production performance degradation.

Join SoftBase’s z/OS Db2 expert Neal Lozins for a webinar on December 14th at 2PM Eastern to:

• Learn common causes of SQLCODE -911
• Understand why troubleshooting -911 is challenging
• Review manual techniques for identifying -911 error source
• Discover automated tools that can help you quickly resolve -911

Neal will also show you a live demo where you’ll learn how to quickly diagnose a -911 code with SoftBase’s Db2 DeadLock Advisor and Db2 Catalog Guide.


Register now


SoftBase Announces Rebranding of Batch Healthcare

All Baseline Posts, Uncategorized

SoftBase is proud to announce the rebranding of Batch Healthcare, our flagship product. The facilities under the Batch Healthcare umbrella will now be known as Db2 Attach, Db2 Batch Analyzer, Db2 Checkpoint / Restart, and Db2 DeadLock Advisor. Over time, each of these Db2 application deployment components have grown to support the increasing functionality of IBM Db2 for z/OS. SoftBase components’ rich features and functionality dictate a new name is needed to reflect current and future enhancements.

This name change not only shows the independence of each component, but also allows us to introduce an additional component, Db2 Catalog Guide. The Db2 catalog is a wealth of information. This information is useful to developers, testers, and production staff. Most tools, however, lock the data in the catalog or users forget to specify FOR QUERY ONLY WITH UR when querying the catalog. Even when they remember to specify it, it is often dynamic SQL which can also obtain locks on the catalog. Db2 Catalog Guide is 100% static SQL that will not lock the catalog. The catalog itself is a very complex database. Db2 Catalog Guide makes navigation of the database easy. There is a Db2 command interface as well as an explain interface for SQL in the catalog.

Please visit the SoftBase website for additional information on the complete family of SoftBase products and components.

SoftBase Announces General Availability for TestBase Release 6.1

All Baseline Posts, Application Testing

TestBase 6.1 further improves performance and Db2v12 support.


New features in TestBase 6.1 include:

  1. Pre-Compiled with Db2V11 and Db2V12
  2. Testbase divided into 7 different components that can be licensed separately ( * New Components)
    Db2 Mask – Mandatory masking of sensitive Db2 data and files
    Db2 Subset – Subset, generate data in Db2 data and files
    Db2 Edit – Edit/View data in Db2 tables and views
    Db2 Slice – Test together or independently within one set of tables and tools to unload and load data
    * Db2 Query Build – Build complex SQL statements easily
    * Db2 SQL Debug – Executes and explains SQL in Source Programs
    * Db2 Catalog Guide – View Db2 catalog objects and their relationships like ISPF option 3.4
  3. Db2 Slice and Db2 Subset can now use Db2 Utilities to load and unload
  4. TestBase display commands for use anywhere in the product:
    Option ==> RS (release summary display)
    Option ==> LI (component & license status display)
    Option ==> LIMIT (panel to reset volume limit)
  5. TestBase uses Enterprise COBOL for z/OS®, V5.2


As TestBase continually strives for better performance, items 1,3,4, and 5 deliver just that.


Interested in TestBase?

Click here to learn more about TestBase or contact us by clicking here or calling 800-669-7076.

SoftBase Announces General Availability for TestBase Release 5.2

All Baseline Posts, Application Testing

TestBase 5.2 further improves test data management with Enterprise COBOL optimization, improved data privacy features, and DB2v11 support.


TestBase helps DB2 shops test new database applications faster and with fewer resources, reducing both time to market and overall development costs. The newest version, 5.2, includes several features that enable faster extraction and manipulation of test data by through Enterprise COBOL optimization, in addition to performance enhancements inherent in DB2v11. Enhanced data management features enable users to extract a subset from an existing subset, in addition to being able to mask data by replacing the target data with data from a different source.


New features in TestBase 5.2 include:

  • Pre-Compiled with DB2V11 and DB2V10
  • V5.1 with highest level of optimization which seems to yield about a 10% performance enhancement resulting in faster file extracts, data masking and load
  • TestBase Privatize and Populate option now provides the ability to extract from an existing subset of slice data
  • TestBase Mandatory Masking (Data Privacy) now allows users to replace the object being masked with a different source (table, view, TestBase view, etc.)
  • TestBase Slice – Lock table process allows for the removal of statements from a source library
  • Some TestBase install tables add keyword VOLATILE to protect against inadvertent RUNSTATs
  • TestBase file compare – Option added to eliminate tables that match from the report


Click here to view the full release summary.

Interested in TestBase?

Click here to learn more about TestBase or contact us by clicking here or calling 800-669-7076.

Interesting Article: Back to the Future with the mainframe

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We ran across an interesting mainframe article on CA’s website: Back to the Future with the mainframe

The author, CA’s Michale Madden, makes a humourous comparison between today’s mainframe programmers and the characters from the 1980’s hit movie ‘Back to the Future’. Michael makes some excellent points as to why the mainframe isn’t going away anytime soon, and discusses how today’s cloud platforms can learn a thing or two from the mainframe, including:

  1. Multi-tenancy
  2. Dynamic scaling
  3. Unique user experience
  4. Fine-grained usage monitoring
  5. Support thousands of users with a small group of admins

You can read the full article here.