Technical Tips

Making Changes To The Coms Configuration File

Activities to Ensure Security

Sumlog Expansion
Complete Security
Too Many TCP/IP Messages

NXServers and Disk Efficiency

MCP Security When Using a Network
Creating a Directory Listing
SystemsUpgrading TCP/IP from a Software Level before 44.1
A Short Version of the Power Up Sequence for the ClearPath Systems
Creating a Test Database Using the Production Database
What is a MARC Directive?
Efficiency in Disk Pack Subsystems
Non Coms Program Opening a Remote File to a Coms Station
Database Stack Priority
Assigning Attributes To A Usercode
Suppression of Headers, Trailers, and Banners

Serial Processing is Faster Than Multi-Tasking
Data Communications Printers
Mirror Disk Bennefits
Bad Habits of IS Buyers
Scheduled Tasks
Initial Pbit vs Other Pbit
Archiving Backup Files
Data base Stack Priority

Interfacing An A Series Computer To a LAN
What is a Supervisor Program?
When Do I Upgrade My Processor?
False Idle vs True Idle

Making Changes To The Coms Configuration File
Normally changes to the Coms configuration file (CFILE) are made through the Coms Utility via the ‘On Utility’ command. Individual changes can be made and they gointo effect immediately. To make one or a few changes using this method is efficient use of time and effort. To make wholesale changes with this methodology would be very time consuming. The technique to make a large number of changes is to use Utility to get to the appropriate group of items that need these changes and use the dump command. If you had chosen ‘stations’ then all stations and their attributes would be dumped to a file that can be accessed by Cande.

Exit Utility and move to Cande under the same usercode. The file created will have a name such as Coms/Dump/S/050202/091355 where the last two nodes reference the date and time of day. With Cande you may get the file as your workfile and perform one or more replace statements to change all stations with the same values to a new value. An example would be:

This statement will change all stations that are superusers to not having superuser status.
The ‘:T’ will list text. If you are making a lot of changes, you may not want to use ‘:T’.
In that case only sequence numbers will be listed for the changed items. If you want to look at things before you change them you may use the Cande command, ‘Find’, instead of ‘Replace’. You may make more changes, if desired. When you are finished making changes, save the workfile. Whether you save it with the same name or a new name does not matter.

Go back to Utility and use the load function. This is the opposite of the dump function.
Type load on the action line, your file name where it is needed, and Modify override may be needed in some cases. You do not need to use the override unless you get error messages.
Then observe the changes being made as station names are displayed. These are live changes and they go into effect immediately. You will get a warning for each station because the add statement, in the dump file, for existing stations is not valid. This completes the task.

Activities to Ensure Security

With recent statistics showing that 76% of security breaches are internal, the best tools
for every organization are:
1. Education & Awareness

2. Technology

Keep current on all virus software definitions and have them active on all work stations. In addition keep current on all software patches, use encryption on all communication, and use digital signatures when possible. Regularly backup all needed information. Password protect access to all information. Do diligence in researching all applications so that they
may be trusted.

Sumlog Expansion
When the MCP determines that the System/Sumlog is almost full, it does a transfer of the log (TL) automatically and begins a new Sumlog. For reporting purposes, it is often more convient to process reports from only one Sumlog in a given period of time, such as one day.
To do this it is now possible to change the Sumlog file size. If you type TL* at the ODT it will display the current Sumlog size in rows and records per row.

Example: Sumlog Factors: Rows = 140, Records per row = 1000

To expand the Sumlog size, you may change the number of rows, the records per row, or both. An example ODT command follows.

Example: TL ROWS 500 RECORDS 20000

Complete Security

Complete Security should include analysis and proper controls for:

1. Data Privacy - Viewing
2. Data Security - Theft or loss
3. Data Integrity - Changing orcorrupting

Too Many TCP/IP Messages

When there is a flood of messages concerning the TCP/IP network, reduce the messages significantly by typing:


NX Servers and Disk Efficiency

Recently I was involved in performance evaluation of disk units on an NX4600. I was surprised to find that the external disk drives were at least three times faster than the internal disk drives. Both internal and external drives were the same model and had the same transfer rate.
This reminded me of a statement made a couple of years ago by an I/O specialist from one of the Unisys plants. He stated that Unisys never intended that any customer run production work from the internal disk units. My investigation into this matter revealed that the external disk units interface to the system via channel adapters, but the internal units interface to the system via emulation of the MLI interface. This is not even a hardware interface.
The implication is that the internal disk drives are only useful for test and historical information. I hardily endorse this use of external disks

MCP Security When Using a Network

With internet commerce and internet banking solutions practiced today there are those who promote a network firewall as the best security measure. If your database of proprietary information resides on an LX, NX, or A Series computer, then the best security solution is to use the MCP security facilities and secure from within.
Although every piece of software needed is not available from Unisys, there is software available to tighten MCP security so that it is the best in the industry. There are so many objectives that cannot be met with external security: what a user does after gaining clearance to use the system, monitoring and auditing internal activities, and database security are just a few.
Remember that a network is just a means to gain access to the MCP environment. Security must be established from within to select those who may have access to the MCP environment and monitor and audit what they do after they gain entrance. Don't be fooled by rhetoric from pursuasive people who no not understand the details of the MCP environment.

Creating a Directory Listing

The system utility, System/Filecopy may be used to create a directory listing.
Create a WFL such as the following:
RUN *SYSTEM/FILECOPY on {packname};
FILES ((usercode)= FROM {packname}(KIND=PACK))
DECKLABEL (usercode){filename} on {packname}
The WFL will create a WFL output deck with a list of all file names under that usercode on that disk pack. The output deck can now be edited, listed or printed using your favorite method such as a Cande Write or the System/Dumpall utility.

Upgrading TCP/IP from a Software Level before 44.1

There is a major difference in the current TCP/IP implementation in 44.2 and 45.1 software releases. In older software releases BNA was central in supporting other network implementations. Now, Unisys has introduced CNS (Core Network System) as the central implementation hub for all network protocols.
The Software Installation Manual (4198 4840-003) gives a fair view of the overall installation of CNS and TCP/IP; but it neglects to include TELNET, which is now required for TCP/IP. You must install CNS, Telnet, and TCP/IP software for TCP/IP to function correctly on 44.2 and 45.1. In addition, you must add an MCS for Telnet to the datacominfo file. Make sure that you create the CNS init file with NAU or the split program included with the release. If you don't use CP2000s then the split program works fine.

A Short Version of the Power Up Sequence for the ClearPath Systems

This is a sample article from the:
NX, LX, and A Series Users
Planning and Operations Reference Manual,
published by Integrity Services
ClearPath Power Up Procedures
To power on the ClearPath system, perform the following steps:
1. Power on the mainframe hardware in the following order:
1. Apex Box..............................................6. Disk drivesMonitor
2. Monitor.................................................7. External disk drivesMain breakers
3. Main breakers......................................8. IO channelsCisco Hub main breaker
4. Cisco Hub main breaker......................9. MCP processorIO cabinet
5. IO Cabinet..........................................10. NT box
2. At the system PC, after Unix loads up into Desktop, minimize it.
3. Enter the NT password.
4. Bring up the SYCON Screen:
a. Verify that there is a 1 in the Partition Field. If not enter a 1 and press the + key.
b. Tab over to Load and press Specfy.It will take 5 - 10 minutes to load. After it is done loading, it will say Running.
5. After SYCON is done loading, switch over to ODT A by clicking on the gray area.
6. You can now proceed with normal Halt/Load procedures after the system is transferred to the MCP. Be patient, this may take a few minutes.
7. Verify the time by clicking OK.
8. Reply to the waiting entry for Job GET_HL_INFO.

Creating a Test Database Using the Production Database

Use the following steps to create a test database from the current production database:
1. Copy the production DASDL, Description file, and DMSUPPORT as new files with the test database names. Bring down the production database. Copy the control file and all structure files (such as data and key files) from the production database to the new name and disk pack family you have chosen for the test database using library maintenance.
2. Make all taylored changes to the test DASDL for the test database file location.
3. Ensure that the UPDATE card is in the test DASDL. Optionally you may specify DMCONTROL and ZIP.
4. Do a DASDL compile update to update the test Description file with the new test database attributes. Make sure that the Control files and DMSUPPORT get updated.
You should now have a production and test version of the DASDL, Description file, Reconstruct, control file, and all database files.

What is a MARC Directive?

A MARC Directive is a program that can be installed and un-installed by a MARC administrator. The functions that are available are:
1. Adding new commands with appropriate functionality.
Example: A Calc command is implemented to allow the station to function as a calculator.
2. Eliminating commands for all or selected users.
Example: The Go command, which is available even to non-commandcapable users, may be eliminated for all users.
3. Making commands that are available to selected users available to all users.
Example: The News command may be made available to non-commandcapable users

Efficiency in Disk Pack Subsystems

Efficiency in disk packs can be accomplished in three ways:
1. Spreading files across as many disk pack units as possible. The MCP is more efficient in using multiple pack families than any person can be in designing pack file layouts to single family units. Use multiple pack families as much as possible. The benefit is that files spread among many packs can do multiple I/Os almost simultaneously. Large disk packs with many files slow processing down because of single-threading I/Os.
2. Cache buffering speeds up I/Os because the more buffering that is available, the more data that can be read at micro seconds instead of milli seconds (IC chip speed versus magnetic disk speed). Large (256MB) cache memory makes disk subsystems operate with a high number of I/O operations.
3. Mirror disk. It is hard to say too much about the benefits of mirrored disk.
Benefits of Mirrored Disk
A disk pack susbsystem should be evaluated by the number of I/Os per second, not the transfer rate of individual disk packs. Don't buy disk from people who try to sell by transfer rates; they are demonstrating their ignorance.

Non Coms Program Opening a Remote File to a Coms Station
When a program not defined to Coms opens a remote file to a Coms station, Coms will respond by opening a dynamic remote file window for that station. The user must enter:
?ON REM0001
to get to the dynamic remote file window.
If the myuse attribute of the station is set to output, then Coms will automatically log the station on and assign it to the dynamic remote file window.
Remotespo is an example of a program that uses this remote interface. A user written program could accomplish the same function.

Database Stack Priority
The DMSII accessroutines (ACR) act like a library, in that they wait for a progran to request services. Just like a library the priority of the function being serviced inherits its priority from the program being serviced. The accessroutines will only use their own priority in the following situations:
1. At BOJ when it is building its own stack.
2. When executing visible database stack (DBS) commands. These commands are made directly to the ACR; and, thereby, use the ACR priority.
Because of this limited use of ACR priority, there is a limited value in changing the ACR priority. Should you desire to do so, use the following command:
WFL MODIFY [ACR title]; PRIORITY=[desired priority]

Assigning Attributes To A Usercode
There are a limited number of attributes that can be assigned and changed for a usercode in the forms mode available with MARC. In order to assign other attributes such as a menugraph to a usercode follow the form of the following example:
Using CANDE command mode or the MARC run screen type:
After BOT, home the curser and type: $LIST IGNORE
Then home the curser and type your statement such as:
USER = {usercode} MENUFILENAME = {menugraph file name};
At this point you may use any number of makeuser commands. You must home the curser or do a single line transmit for each command and terminate it with a ;. When you are finished with makeuser type: END, and it will terminate.

Suppression of Headers, Trailers, and Banners
In order to suppress one, two, or all three of the Headers, Trailers, or Banners for a print job the following common methods may be used:
1. For a usercode in the userdatafile, update the userdatafile by entering:
2. At run time enter:
3. In WFL add:
4. In MARC, go to the Printdefaults (PRDEF) menu from the Printing System (PS) menu and enter:
5. In CANDE you may enter the command:
or add the command to your START file.
6. In a program, such as an Algol program, add the statement:

For many computer professionals RAID disk is the top of the line in disk technology. It is very expensive and was designed for redundancy of data. One must keep in mind that redundancy, and not performance, is the benefit of RAID disk. In fact, RAID disk implements redundance at the expense of performance. See article by Rich Goodsell of Unisys in Unisys World (July 1996).
Knowing that RAID disk is not performance disk allows those needing performance disk to look elsewhere without being deceived that RAID disk will boost performance.
The second issue is that redundancy of information is accomplished much more efficiently and at a lower cost by using mirrored disk. Mirrored disk will normally improve performance as well as redundancy of data.

Serial Processing is Faster Than Multi-Tasking

A problem expressed to me as a concern by users from time to time is "What causes multiple tasks, using different sets in a data base, that access the same data sets to run faster serially than when multi-tasking?"
To facilitate using multiple DMSII data base tasks using different sets to access the same data sets you must:
1. Eliminate disk contention. Multiple pack families and mirrored disk should accomplish this. Spread your data bases across as many packs as possible.
2. Raise the allowedcore in the data base. Most default settings are way too low.
3. Establish resident sets - at least put the coarse tables in memory.
4. All of the above.

Data Communications Printers

When a printer device is declared in a data communications environment as an input/output (IO) device, then in order for it to function properly it must have a Default Usercode declared for the station in COMS Utility. This requirement applies whether it is a standard data communications network (NDLII or IDC) or CP2000 network. If the device is declared as output only, this requirement is not needed.

Mirror Disk Bennefits
System Availability, Data Integrity, Performance Improvements

Bad Habits of IS Buyers
1. IS personnel are untrained, part-time buyers; which makes them easy prey for wily vendors.
2. They are driven by current needs and often overlook flexible planning that will take new technologies into consideration. Five year plans do not work anymore. Two to three years is the maximum for which IS professionals can make reasonable forecasts. In the interim, technology innovations make it necessary to change strategy. Buyers must be alert for the application of new technology to their needs duing the span of the business forecast.
3. They may not understand what drives the business and, therefore, cannot distinguish between business issues and technical requirements. A faster graphical driver may not be the answer to increasing a time to market problem.
4. RFPs may be filled with misguided requests. RFPs should not be laundry lists of "bells and whistles" that are not related to real business needs. These may mask the real needs of the business and cause you to reject viable solutions. Personal bias and undue vendor influence may also mask the real needs of the business.
5. They may be deceived in planning for business needs. Fancy functionality on a PC application is not necessarily easily transportable to a large data communications environment. People time and technical equipment costs may not be understood.
6. They fail to consider all factors in buying new technology. A mainframe user may move to a client/server system without realizing that the cost will probably be greater than what they spent on the mainframe. Studies have shown this to be a fact. Network costs, a larger staff of network people for maintenance, upgrades to hardware and software infrastructure, training, and other items need to be considered.

Scheduled Tasks
Occasionally tasks get scheduled and there appears to be no apparent reason. All tasks go through the scheduling mechanism on their way to active. The situation is usually caused by one of the following:
1. The system is running out of available memory. Use the CU ODT command to verify that memory is or is not available for additional tasks (programs) to run. Each task has a memory requirement assigned to it, and the MCP verifies that the required amount of memory is available before the task is allowed to move from scheduled to active. Generally speaking, if the available memory is below 50,000, then scheduling will occur for some programs. The lower the memory available, the higher the probability that scheduling will occur. You may use the FS command to force programs from the schedule to the active, but there is memory management overhead to do this. It may be minimal and it may be serious. If the situation is a regular issue then setting memory factors will help until more memory is purchased or job scheduling uses the system more efficiently.
2. A pending CM command has been issued either on purpose or by accident. A CM- will restore the system to a normal status.
3. An operational error may have occurred that changed the memory factor 3 value. Most systems should run with a value of 100%. An accidental message such as SF 1 will set the factor to 1% and the scheduling algorithm will be adjusted to consider 1% of the available memory as being available for tasks. Type SF and read the memory factors. If memory factor 3 is less than 100%, then set it by typing SF 3 100.

Initial Pbit vs Other Pbit

Use of the U (Utilization) command displays the current processor usage for the last ten seconds. It is broken down into eight categories. Two of these categories are Initial Pbit and Other Pbit.
Pbit is a shortened form of the term, Presence bit. The presence bit is a bit contained in each descriptor on the A Series computer. A descriptor is a word of memory that points to a memory address that contains specific data. If the pbit is turned on then the data is present in memory. If the pbit is turned off then the data is on disk.
The Initial Pbit component of the 'U' display shows the percentage of processor time used to bring initial program code and data from disk for the first time and allocating memory space for the data. When a program is first initialized, all of the program code and data is on disk and all presence bits are turned off. This is the normal process to initiate or boot all programs on the A Series computers.
The Other Pbit component shows the percentage of processor time that is used to overlay and retrieve information that at one time was present in memory and has been overlaid to disk. It is this overlay process that implements the virtual memory capability on the A Series computers. The overlay process is actually the act of writing to disk and reading from disk. It is called overlay because it is using a disk overlay file.
If any of the three categories (Other pbit, Search time, or False idle) have values greater than zero, then memory management is occurring and there is processor overhead used to manage the memory of the computer.

Archiving Backup Files

Most computer sites back up the disk files to tape on a regular basis, and well they should. Those who do not are flirting with disaster.
One option that should be considered on the A Series computer is the archiving system. It was added to the standard disk subsystem file handling of the system on the 3.8 release and there is no additional charge for it. The archive copy statement works the same as the standard copy statement with the addition that it also records the information on where the files are in an archive record for the disk pack family.
If a file is removed (by accident or on purpose) and a program tries to access the file encountering a "no file" condition, then the system knows where the most recent version of the file resides. It will either tell the operator where the file is or copy it from the proper tape, depending on an option. The program is suspended until the file is present, and then it continues as if the file had been present all along.
Archiving requires a unique identification of each magnetic tape. The standard provision is the serial number. Many people have been taught to put a date in the serial number. The date is already on the tape label and doesn't need to be there twice. In fact, it is a poor operational practice to put anything except a serial number in the place for serial number. Archiving is only one issue that reveals the problem with this practice.
The archive system also has utilities to consolidate files on tapes, restore files, etc. The archive rollout statement can be used to free up needed disk space. Every site should consider using the archive system. You have already paid for it in you system software license.

Data base Stack Priority
In order to perform a DMSII function the data base accessroutines (ACR) are invoked when a program issues a request for data base services. The ACR functions in the same manner as a library, in that the ACR inherits the priority of the program requesting services.
There are only two cases where the ACR functions at its own priority. A data base open or close causes the data base stack to be built or torn down. Therefore this priority is used when a data base stack is being created or extended.
The second case for ACR to use its own priority is when a visible data base stack (DBS) command is executed. An example of this type of use is the data base status command
([mix #]SM STATUS).
Many are misled into thinking that raising the data base stack priority will cause data base programs to run faster. The above discussion should help to explain why this is a common misunderstanding and not factual. A benefit of this implementation is that the flexibility of DMSII priority usage goes down to the individual programs.

False Idle vs True Idle
When you use the U command at the ODT or elsewhere the average processor usage for the last ten seconds is displayed. It is broken down into eight categories followed by I/O information. Two of those categories are true idle and false idle.
True idle means just that; for the displayed percentage of use, there is no work for the processor. False idle is a display stating that the processor was not used for the indicated percentage of use, but could have been used if overlaying of data were not needed. The false idle time is the time the processor is waiting and could do work except that overlay is taking place.


home / who we are / resume / contact / services / software / updates
new features /
training / tips / journals / news / related sites / members
Copyright 2009© Integrity Services, Inc. All rights reserved