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CA SMF Director Substreams: What They Are and What They Can Do For You!

  • 1.  CA SMF Director Substreams: What They Are and What They Can Do For You!

    Broadcom Employee
    Posted Jan 24, 2014 01:09 PM

    In life, we all have many records that need we need to keep. Tax information, for example, has to be kept for seven years in case we are audited. Other records, such as bank statements, might need to be kept for only a couple of years. Some records, such as the deed to property, might need to be kept for many decades. The need to retain the records is based on the information within the record and how that information is used. Additionally, these records are kept in different places and locations. The bank statements in the example above are probably going to be kept in a desk drawer or file cabinet at home, while the deed for property would be kept in a safe deposit box or bank vault. In the management of z/OS systems, the information recorded and kept in SMF records has different meaning based upon the SMF Record Type, and this can dictate how information needs to be kept and for how long. These are called the Archival Properties.

    Archival Properties

    For the purposes of this article, this is the definition of Archival Properties:

    The archival properties of a piece of information describe the location and duration of that piece of information.

    So for each SMF record, the archival properties it can have relate to location and duration. Some location archival properties might include SMS class information or unit information. The duration can be either set as a retention period or as an expiration date.

    Prior to release 12.6 of CA SMF Director, the archival properties of an SMF record were determined based solely upon the system that produced the SMF record, defined as the SMF ID (SID) for that system. Each system had these properties defined but there wasn’t any way to provide different properties for high volume records (such as CICS Type 110 SMF records, or DB2 Type 100-102 records) and low volume records (such as the Type 0 IPL records). All records had the same archival properties.

    With release 12.6, we introduced the new STREAMOPTIONS control statement to allow subsets of a SID’s SMF data to be assigned archival properties based on the SMF record type. In the case where SMF logstream recording is being used, then the breakdown is one set of STREAMOPTIONS for each SMF logstream that is defined. STREAMOPTIONS are optional for logstreams as all of the archival properties can be set at the system level as before.

    An Example

    Many z/OS installations, however, have not gone to SMF logstream recording and are still using the traditional MAN files for recording SMF data. For those CA SMF Director offers substreams. Substreams allow customers to set archival properties for SMF records being recorded in MAN files based on the record type. Like SMF logstreams, the STREAMOPTIONS statement is available for defining archival properties for the records being archived in that stream. The primary difference is that for a substream a STREAMOPTIONS statement is mandatory so that the record types being archived in the substream can be identified.

    Here is an example of how to set up substreams in CA SMF Director:

    END CONFIG(1).

    In this example definition, we are setting the following archival properties by default:

    • UNIT=VTAPE (presumably a virtual tape)
    • RETPD=366

    But for CICS records (SMF Type 110), we are setting these archival properties:

    • UNIT=3390 (DASD)
    • RETPD=30

    And for DB2 records (SMF Types 100 through 102), we will use these archival properties:

    • UNIT=VTAPE (set by the system definitions)
    • RETPD=60 (set in STREAMOPTIONS)

    When the SMF MAN files are dumped and cleared on SYS1, three history archive files are produced during the dump:

    • one that contains only the 110 records (on DASD and kept for 30 days)
    • one that contains the 100, 101, and 102 records (on virtual tape, kept for 60 days)
    • one that contains all of the other SMF record types that will be kept for 366 days

    Because we have defined AUTODEL in the OPTIONS statement, once these index entries expire, they are removed from the archive index in the SMF Control Data Set (SCDS). And in the case of the CICS SMF records, since they are on DASD, SMF Director will delete the history file as well.


    With CA SMF Director, you can now manage your SMF data and archive it as needed at the record level instead of only at the system level. This benefit was available with SMF logstream recording, but now it is also available with the SMF MAN Files. If your installation is not facing the performance issues that SMF logstreams were created for, then CA SMF Director substreams can provide the flexibility of logstreams without any changes to your SMF MAN file recording.