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Mar 01, 2017

New FTP infrastructure! On March 1st we are migrating our existing “FTP2” system with a new more feature rich FTP Solution. We will continue to offer FTP & SFTP access methods, and will be introducing an HTTPS access method. This will provide one legacy access method as well as 2 state of the art secure access methods. We strongly suggest that all customers move over to SFTP for maximum connection security. In the coming months we will be phasing out our zVM based FTP solution, and all clients will be required to use our new FTP infrastructure.

Important Dates:
* Mar 1st – FTP2 replacement (FTP2.VSOFTSYS.COM/70.88.178.99)
* TBD – FTP zVM closed down permanently (FTP.VSOFTSYS.COM /70.88.178.108)
* TBD – All FTP DNS names will resolve to the new FTP infrastructure. (FTP.VSOFTSYS.COM, FTP0.VSOFTSYS.COM, & FTP2.VSOFTSYS.COM → 70.88.178.99)


Sep 04, 2014

VSSI packages 5520 are now available on the VSSI FTP site. This package includes approximately 107 updates applied against 5518. The bulk of these updates involve the resolution of yet more FORCE/LOGOFF issues, with a smattering of refactoring for LOCK and Console Function Mode (CFM) code consolidation. Additionally, we completed the code transition to Unbased Addressing, which should make module maintenance easier in the future.

The 5520 PTFCUM packages contain HIPER fixes for base 5520 – if you download and install 5520, please download and install the latest 5520 PTFCUM.


May 03, 2014

Cumulative PTF maintenance just got a little easier. VSSI has introduced the VSPTFCUM exec in the latest VSTOOLS package (Build Number 322, date 2014-05-03). If you don't have the latest VSTOOLS, download vstools.vmarc from the VSSI FTP site (your_userid.193) and install it on your VSSI Install disk (via the vsfmtarc exec and the vmarc unpack command).

The following example illustrates use of VSPTFCUM:

. Download the relevant PTFCUM packages for your installed system (e.g., at VSSI Build Level 55nn via the vsquery vslevel command) from the VSSI FTP site (your_userid.193) to your A-disk:

. bin

. lcd A

. get vpvt55nn.ptfcum (VPARS/VTAPE customers)

. get vt55nn.ptfcum (VTAPE-only customers)

. get vd55nn.ptfcum (ShadowDisk/Z customers)

. quit

. Install the PTFCUM(s):

. vsptfcum 55nn

That's pretty much it – assuming that all PTFs were applied without errors, and after system rebuild and reboot, the vsquery vslevel command will show the updated Build Level. One-click upgrades from now on!

The VSPTFCUM exec is now documented in the VSSI Product Install Guide.


April 04, 2014

VSSI packages 5518 (aka the “Happy Monster”) are now available on the VSSI FTP site. We're very happy to get these puppies out the door. Why, might you ask? Well...

. A torturous FORCE-LOGOFF bug was fixed, this time in Loosely-Coupled (LCP) configurations.

. Several CP LOCK management issues were resolved. The lock management interface (via VSLCK macros) has been standardized in all products. This gives us the ability to validate and report on LOCK processing and possible errors (e.g., freeing a lock which was already free - which we didn't have before).

. Approximately 60 PTFs (for various and sundry issues great and small) are incorporated into this release.

The 5518 series incorporate all updates up to 550123 (inclusive). Users are urged to upgrade as soon as feasible.


September 02, 2013

We have just concluded a long (several months!) and torturous bug-hunt for several FORCE-LOGOFF issues that have been of long standing in VPARS (and hence ShadowDisk/Z also). We are happy to report that this issue has finally been hunted down (thanks to many cans of RAID and hard work/assistance from the excellent folks over at HP, who first reported this issue). In fact, most of the PTFs applied against Build 5514 pertained to this very issue; PTFs 550087 and 550088 were the final bug-killers. The new 5516 packages incorporate these updates, and also address:

. PRG001 ABENDs if using HLASM V6 on a Z9-class processor

(only affects z/VM 5.4 targets; newer z/VM releases only run on z10 and above)

. TPF IPL text truncation (on the VPARS database) when migrating from 4.1 to z/TPF

(we got an earful from this one)

. VSSI CP initialization and trace message expansion from 60 to 72 bytes (sorely needed)

We recommend that all customers upgrade to Build 5516 as soon as feasible.




August 16, 2013

We have been rapidly making updates to our products. This activity on our part has resulted in customers having to frequently download large numbers of PTFs in order to keep the product(s) up-to-date. But there is a better way!

VSSI now supports cumulative PTF (PTFCUM) packages on the VSSI FTP site. PTFCUM packages contain all PTFs for a given build (e.g., VPVT5514 PTFCUM contains all PTFs for VPARS/VTAPE Build 5514). The PTFCUM packages can be found in the same place as the regular PTF files (i.e., on your_userid.193). Each time that VSSI Support posts a new PTF to the FTP site, the PTFCUM package is automatically refreshed with the latest and greatest PTF VMARC files. An update session with a PTFCUM file is as simple as follows:

. Download VPVT5514 PTFCUM to your A-disk.

. vsfmtarc vpvt5514 ptfcum a

. vmarc unpk vpvt5514 ptfcum a = = a (repl

. vsptf (with no parameters; all accessed PTF VMARC files are evaluated for APPLY)

Beats the heck out of individual PTF application, eh?



Ever been in the situation where you downloaded and attempted to apply a PTF, but the APPLY failed due to missing PREREQ/COREQ PTFs? So you download the PREREQ, which needs yet more PREREQs, and so on... but you know how this story ends. VSSI now supplies a PREREQ checker exec, VSPTFREQ (on the latest VSTOOLS). You can use it as follows:

. Download the PTF of interest

. vsptfreq nnn (where nnn is the PTF ID (1-999)).

The EXEC will generate a report telling you which PTFs you are missing. You can then grab all missing PTFs in one shot and apply them.



June 19, 2013

And now from the “Kibbles & Bits” files:

The VSSI PTF update execs (VSPTF and friends) were getting a little “long in the tooth”.

Here are the changes that we made as of VSTOOLS build 253 (June 19, 2013):

. VSPTF now works with VMARC files only. If you download a VSSI PTF and expand it to

one of your accessed disks, the expanded UPDATE file is ignored; only the VMARC file is used.

. VSPTF can now be passed multiple PTF IDs for apply. For each ID, you can specify:

. a numeric ID value (e.g., 58)

. a numeric ID range (e.g., 58-60)

. a specific ID (e.g., VS550058)

If no IDs are specified on the VSPTF command line, all VMARC files on all accessed disks

are evaluated for APPLY.

By way of example, the following VSPTF invocation:

. vsptf 55 58 60-62 VS550065

is now perfectly legal.

. VSPTF VMARC validation and dependency checking now takes place before any update elements

are copied to the VSSI Install disk. This approach should reduce any garbage placed on the

Install disk which could potentially screw up subsequent applies.

. The older (and now deprecated) VSPTF exec has been renamed to VSPTF0, and can be used

in the event of any hiccups with the new-version VSPTF exec (hopefully, no hiccups).

The VSPTF0 exec will be removed “a few builds down the road”.

. The old (VSPTF0) and new (VSPTF) execs have been documented in the

VSSI Product Installation Guide.


May 4, 2013

Several issues have been detected in the latest 5512 packages. These issues include:

. VSPKG exec errors involving a REXX variable named blksusd

. VSINSTAL errors if the install disk resides on an SFS filesystem

. Missing/unresolved VSSI references at IPL time (i.e., HCPZXA2773I messages)

Several VSSI build EXECs have been updated to address these errors; the updated EXECs reside in

the latest VSTOOLS VMARC package on the VSSI FTP site.



All users who downloaded any 5512 package prior to April 28, 2013 should do as follows:

  1. Download the latest VSTOOLS VMARC package from the VSSI FTP site

    (ftp.vsoftsys.com, your VSSI userid and password, your_userid.193, BINARY mode).

  2. Move the VSTOOLS VMARC package to your A-disk.

  3. Reformat the package so it can be properly read by VMARC:

    . PIPE < VSTOOLS VMARC A | FBLOCK 80 00 | > VSTOOLS VMARC A F 80

  4. If you have not yet installed the 5512 package, or wish to reinstall the package:

    . vmarc unpk vstools vmarc a vspkg exec a (repl

    . vspkg ZVMvrm [VPVT|VT|VD]5512 *

    VSPKG will install the VSTOOLS VMARC on your A-disk as part of the install process.

    This action will effectively update all EXECs on the target install disk.

  5. If you are not re-installing a package, simply expand VSTOOLS VMARC to your VSSI Install disk:

    . vmarc unpk vstools vmarc a = = install-disk-filemode (repl

  6. Rebuild the system as follows:

    . vssetup

    . vssiprep

    . vscopy nuc CF1 (force (for z/VM < 6.2)

    . vscopy nuc CF1 CF0 (force (for z/VM >= 6.2)

    . Reboot and test your system.

The above steps will rebuild the VSSI TXTLIB and copy the updated TXTLIB to the CP PARM disk.




December 31, 2012

The ShadowDisk/Z product has been committed to the VSSI FTP site today. This product offers the same benefits to z/Linux developers as VPARS does for TPF developers – namely, the ability for multiple users to test application code over a base z/Linux filesystem, without altering the base copy. ShadowDisk/Z package 5512 (a.k.a. VDISK) is now available on the VSSI FTP site. Customers who wish to trial this product should contact VSSI for updated product keys.

To this end, the VSSI product installation process for all VSSI packages has been revamped and enhanced, as follows:

  1. The VSPKG exec (new with packages >= 5512) prompts the user for installation-specific parameters. Once this information has been gathered, a response file (VSPKG RESPFILE) is built on your A-disk. The response file is used to drive the actual installation. After successful installation, the response file is written to the VSSI Install disk. This approach eliminates manual configuration file editing, allows for an easier and more automated install, and preserves the responses for the next package install (i.e., from 5512 to 5514).

  2. VSSI packages can be installed cumulatively. For example, an existing VPARS or VTAPE customer can install the ShadowDisk/Z product on top of an existing install; VSPKG merges the relevant configuration files during the install process. The result is that new products can be added without the need for a separate Install disk hierarchy, and without disrupting the existing VSSI product code base. In order to use the new product, the customer will need to obtain an updated license key from VSSI; all currently-installed products continue to work with the current product key.

  3. VSSI products can be installed to multiple VSSI Install disks. Each Install disk represents a complete build environment, and can be maintained separately if needed. Again, the intent is to allow users to test VSSI products and modifications without disruption to current user activity.

  4. Product contents can be moved (not merged) from one Install disk to another.

  5. A new exec, VSLIC, can be used to copy VSSI license files to the correct VSSI PARM disk. If the disk is CPACCESSed, VSLIC will issue the appropriate CPRELease and CPACCess commands before and after the license file copy.

The VSSI Product Installation Guide has been updated to reflect the above. Currently, we will make available the Installation Guide in two versions:

. The updated Install Guide for package builds at 5512 and higher;

. The older Install Guide for package builds at 5510 and lower.

The older Installation Guide has been marked as deprecated, and will be removed “a few builds down the road”.


December 05, 2012

Users who download and installed the 5510 packages should download the latest VSTOOLS VMARC from
the VSSI FTP site and expand this to their VSSI Install disk. The updated VSTOOLS fixes an issue where
the CPNUC was not copied via VSCOPY unless the (FORCE option was also specified; i.e.:
.       vscopy nuc cf1          (sometimes fails to copy the generated CPNUC)
.       vscopy nuc cf1 (force   (re-generates, re-copies everything OK)
        Installation of the latest VSTOOLS package fixes the issue; if the FORCE option is not specified,
        VSCOPY will now correctly determine iof it needs to be copied or not.

The following VSSI UPDATEs address several remaining co-existence issues betwen VPARS and ShadowDisk/Z (a.k.a. VDISK):
             . VD5CNTRL contains an HCPENTRY for RVPIORCT which conflicts with the
            same-named entry in VP5CNTRL (VPARS).
             . VDEV contains no VDISK flags.
             . HCP modifications do not include CPEXIT calls
               to VDISK routines.
PTFs VS550043, VP550043, VD550043, and VP550044 address the above issues.
These updates are required PREREQs for ALL future product updates against VSSI
packages 5510 and above. These updates make significant changes to all VSSI HCP
hooks; the above PTFs must be applied concurrently, as follows:
1. Download the following VMARC files from the VSSI FTP site
    (URL ftp.vsoftsys.com, your VSSI-supplied userid and password, your 193 disk, BINary mode).
    . VSTOOLS    (all users)
    . VS550043   (all users)
    . VD550043   (all users)
    . VP550043   (VPARS users)
    . VP550044   (VPARS users)
2. Backup your VSSI Install disk prior to attempting to apply these updates.
3. vmarc unpk vstools vmarc * = = G  (assuming G is the filemode of the VSSI Install disk)
4. vsptf vs550043      (apply this PTF)
5. vsptf vd550043      (apply this PTF)
6. vsptf vp550043      (apply this PTF if VPARS user)
7. erase vssiasm log g (e.g., VSSI Install disk filemode G)
8. vsuasm                    (assemble all VSSI HCP hooks)
9. Check the contents of VSSIASM LOG to ensure that all assemblies completed without error (rc = 0).
     If any errors occurred:
        . Run VSCPSRC against all failed HCP modules (e.g., vscpsrc hcpdtd)
        . FTP all generated HCPSRC files (e.g., hcpdtd hcpsrc *) to VSSI
           (URL ftp.vsoftsys.com, user VSSIDUMP, password VSS$DUMP, BINary mode)
        . Restore your Install disk
10. If all assemblies are OK:
        . vsptf vp550044                        (VPARS users)
        . vsasmall                                      (compile all modules)
        . vsbldnuc                                      (build the CP NUC)
        . vscopy nuc cf1 (force         (if z/VM < 6.2)
        . vscopy nuc cf1 cf0 (force     (if z/VM >= 6.2)

November 15, 2012

Several customers have requested that the VSCOPY and VSBLDCFG tools be modified to selectively copy only changed files to their target CP PARM disks (i.e., don't just blindly copy everything).
The new utilities have therefore been modified to perform this function. As PTFs are downloaded and applied,
the PTF flags are used to build a simple date database (VSSI UDB) on the VSSI Install disk. The VSCOPY and VSBLDCFG execs
read the date fields contained in this database to determine whether the CP NUC and VSSI TXTLIB files require copying or not.
Additionally, all CONFIG files generated on the VSSI Install disk are compared to their counterparts on the CP PARM disk
to see whether copying is required or not. This enhancement should reduce the number of files to check when
your CP PARM disk is updated by VSSI build EXECs.
If the VSCOPY or VSBLDCFG execs are specified with the (FORCE option, the EXECs revert to the old
behavior; all generated files are copied to the CP PARM disk regardless of PTF status.

November 14, 2012

VSTOOLS.VMARC package level 184 contains several errors which cause the application of the latest VSSI PTFs (550037 thru 550041) to fail. Please do as follows when applying these PTFs:
.       Download the latest VSTOOLS VMARC  (build 186 or higher as reported by VSQTOOLS)
        from the VSSI FTP site.
.       Expand this VMARC file to your VSSI Install disk.
.       Download the indicated PTFs.
.       Apply the PTFs in question one-at-a-time, and in the following order, as follows:
       ,       vssetup
       ,       vsiprep
       ,       vsptf vp550037
        .       vsptf vp550038
        .       vsptf vs550039
        .       vsptf vs550040
        .       vsptf vs550041
        .       vsptf vp550040
        .       vssiprep
        .       vsptf vp550041
        .       vsptf vt550041

November 01, 2012

The following PTFs should be applied by all users -
PTF             Issue Addressed
VS550039        PRG006 and CFR001 ABENDs during license message generation
                if running on z/VM 5.4 and z/VM 6.1 (i.e., within 30 days of license expiration)
VT550035        Infinite loops in RVTIOR on z196/z114 processors
VP550032        Infinite loops in RVPIOR on z196/z114 processors
    Unpatched systems are vulnerable to system-level outages. All users are therefore strongly encouraged to apply these updates as soon as possible.
                

August 20, 2012

VSSI product package release 5508 is now available. This release includes significant fixes for the support of z196 and z114 CPUs. All VSSI PTFs up to 550036 are incorporated in this release; users are strongly encouraged to upgrade.

June 17, 2012

VSSI product package release 5506 is now available. This release includes significant fixes to VSSI shared tape device processing, as well as a number of bits required for Linux operation. All VSSI PTFs up to 550027 are incorporated in this release.

May 22, 2012

Due to customer demand, VSSI now supports secure as well as regular FTP. This support serves to meet the needs of security-conscious customers, and can be used both for:
.       Customer downloads of VSSI product packages and fixes;
.       Customer upload of sensitive data (system DUMPs, etc) to VSSI.
The Product Download Instructions page contains instructions for using either FTP server.

Mar 26, 2012

VSSI product packages for VPARS (Build 5504) and VTAPE (Build 5505) are now available. These packages incorporate all VSSI PTFs thru 550021.

Feb 05, 2012

VSSI product documentation is now available in PDF format in our Documentation area.

Jan 31, 2012

A VSSI Product Support Schedule has been published for current and previous versions of VSSI products. It can be found in the Product Support section of this Web site.

Jan 22, 2012

Customers who utilize Message Automation software that relies on VSSI message IDs should be aware that
several message IDs have changed. This action was taken to align the message IDs with the current
VSSI documentation. To see which message IDs have changed, please review VSSI PTF VS550014
in our Product Support section. 

In order to make it easier for customers to report problems to VSSI, we have provided the VSSIDIAG tool.
This EXEC gathers relevant information from your running system, which makes it more likely that we can help resolve your issue(s) faster.
To get more information, please review the VSSIDIAG exec in the Installation Documentation.

Dec 2, 2011

Concurrent with the General Availability (GA) release of z/VM 6.2, VSSI announces the immediate availability of Version 55 of our product suite (VPARS and VTAPE). 

Summary of Changes for Version 55

.       Version 55 supports all z/VM releases from 5.4.0 thru 6.2.0.

.       This version implements a new software licensing scheme. Each registered user of VSSI products will need to download the following files from the VSSI FTP site:
        .       The software package (via public userid.191 MDISK; e.g., ZVM620 VPVT5502)
        .       The license file (via private userid.192 MDISK).
               (e.g., if your userid is VPnnnnyy, download and expand Pnnnn.VMARC;
                if your userid is VTnnnnyy, download Tnnnn.VMARC).
        After download, the license file needs to be copied to the VSSI CP PARM disk as VSSI LICENSE. The product will not run without a valid VSSI license file.
        The software license code uses the customer license key to check the VSSI expiration date
        and/or running machine CPUID, as follows:
        License Type            Duration   CPUID_Checked
        Trial                           60 days       No
        1-Machine                 1 year          Yes
        2-Machine                 1 year          Yes
        3-Machine                 1 year          Yes
        Site                            1 year          No 

        The following actions are taken based on the number of days remaining until expiration:
        Days Remaining                  Action
        Greater than 30 days                  No action, no messages;
                                                        processing continues
        Between 30 and 15 days          Warning message written to OPERATOR console;
                                                        processing continues
        Between 14 and 0 days           Critical message written to user and OPERATOR consoles;
                                                        processing continues
        Between 0 and -30 days          Critical message written to user and OPERATOR consoles;
                                                        processing continues
        Greater than -30 days           Critical message written to user and OPERATOR consoles;
                                                        soft ABEND issued.                            
.       This version is designed to support a CPXLOAD/CPXUNLOAD environment.
        The code will be automatically loaded during an IPL; additionally, VSSI modules can now be dynamically loaded and unloaded by the Systems Administrator after IPL via the VSCPX EXEC,
        by component, as follows:

        Component               Load Command            Unload Command

        VSSI Common     VSCPX ENAble VS   CF1   VSCPX DISAble VS   CF1
        VPARS           VSCPX ENAble VP   CF1   VSCPX DISAble VP   CF1
        VTAPE           VSCPX ENAble VT   CF1   VSCPX DISAble VT   CF1
        All                     VSCPX ENAble ALL CF1    VSCPX DISAble ALL CF1

        The VSCPX EXEC is copied to the specified PARM disk; you can use it by
        accessing the PARM disk in read-only mode after IPL.
        For CF1 above, substitute your CP PARM disk virtual address. On z/VM 6.2,
        the primary PARM disk is typically PMAINT CF0, not MAINT CF1 as set
        in prior z/VM releases.

        VSSI has moved the bulk of product code to a TXTLIB used by the CPXLOAD commands in VSSI
        PARM disk CONFIG files to load the system. Several critical stub files, however, remain in the
        CP Nucleus (NUC). Future maintenance of the stub file code will require a system reboot;
        all of the TXTLIB code (approximately 95% of the code base) will not require a z/VM IPL.

        This approach is designed to reduce or eliminate the number of CP BLDNUC and subsequent
        re-IPL disruptions required by the application of VSSI fixes.

.       This version is designed to support a CPEXIT environment. All hooks to IBM
        HCP modules, as well as all cross-component VSSI module calls, have been converted
        to CPEXIT calls. This conversion makes it possible for the customer to disable/enable
        VSSI exits (via the VSCPX EXEC described above) while the system is still running.

.       All previous fixes applied to VSSI version 53xx have been applied to this release.

.       The VSSI build EXECs have been upgraded to support a CPXLOAD environment.
        For example, the VSCOPY EXEC now invokes a new EXEC, VSBLDCFG, to copy
        generated CONFIG files to the appropriate PARM disk. Additionally, many EXEC build
        messages have been improved for clarity. 

.       This version does not yet support the SSI facility in z/VM releases 6.2 and above;
        SSI support is forthcoming shortly.

.       This version drops previous requirements for modification of the DIRECTXA module.
        Previous VSSI DIRECTXA modifications involved the support of SPECIAL statements
        for VTAPE devices (e.g., V3480) in the user directory, which is no longer necessary
        since IBM provided directory COMMAND support. All users are therefore requested to
        change any directory SPECIAL VTAPE directory statements (e.g., SPECIAL V3480)
        to CMD DEFINE type (e.g., CMD DEFINE V3480) statements.

System Requirements

        Hardware:       zSeries Processor or higher
        Software:       z/VM 5.4 or higher
                        HLASM 1.5 or higher (HLASM 1.6 or higher is highly recommended)



Dec 1, 2011

VSSI Price List

The VSSI price list has been revised and will be effective as of December 1, 2011.