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Top 10 questions from BCPii customers
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By Shawn Meyer, z/OS BCPii Technical Support
As one of IBM's z/OS Level 2 customer support reps, I have had the good fortune to support z/OS BCPii since its initial release about 4 years ago. It is a great privilege to interact with a wide array of customers on a daily basis, and I would like to share the 10 questions about BCPii that I have been asked most frequently over the years.
BCPii is a z/OS component that runs in the HWIBCPII address space, which is started by the Master Scheduler during IPL. For the BCPii address space to start successfully, initial setup and installation must have been performed to give BCPii the authority to access the Hardware Management Console (HMC) network.
(2) BCPii isn't starting on my system. What could be wrong?
During initialization, the BCPii address space calls the BCPii HWICONN service to establish an initial connection to the local CPC. This connection is required for BCPii to start. If the HWICONN call fails with message HWI022I (written to the syslog) at IPL, it typically points to a configuration problem in one of the following areas:
(3) Do I need to create new security profiles for XCF if I want to set up XCF’s System Status Detection (SSD) partitioning protocol, which requires BCPii setup and installation?
If you have already added SE community name definitions in your security product for each CPC that is represented by the images in your sysplex, then no additional security profiles are required for SSD. However, the XCF address space (XCFAS) must be assigned the trusted attribute to permit access to BCPii resources. And to fully utilize SSD, BCPii must be started on all images within the sysplex (standard BCPii setup is required for all images).
(4) How do I code a BCPii event exit and what should I include in it?
A user event exit routine can be coded to receive control from the Event Notification Facility (ENF) when a BCPii event code (ENF68) is received for any registered BCPii event. A sample BCPii event exit routine is provided in SYS1.SAMPLIB. Member HWIXMCX1 (coded in Metal C) can be used with both C sample HWIXMCS1 and REXX sample HWIXMRS2. Things to keep in mind if you code your own event exit:
All of the BCPii events that an authorized program can register for are documented in the HWIEVENT section of the Base Control Program internal interface (BCPii) topic in z/OS MVS Programming: Callable Services for High-Level Languages.
(5) How can I get BCPii assembler sample programs? The BCPii C sample programs are very helpful.
While BCPii development is working on assembler samples that will ship in SYS1.SAMPLIB, we have informal (and unsupported) assembler samples that we can share if you contact BCPii Technical Support.
(6) When I call BCPii to issue an HWILIST CPCS request, why doesn't BCPii return all of the CPCs that I have created security profiles for on my z/OS image?
BCPii can only "see" CPCs that reside within the same cluster as the local CPC, or in other words, that reside within the same cluster as the CPC where your BCPii application is running.
(7) How do I know that the BCPii attributes I am using will return the same data I see on the HMC panels?
It can sometimes be tricky figuring out which (if any) BCPii attribute maps to the field that you are looking at on an HMC panel. All of the attributes that BCPii supports are documented in System z Application Programming Interfaces (zAPIs).
For example, if you want to find out the name of a CPC, you can connect to the CPC and specify its connect token on a call to BCPii's HWIQUERY service to query the HWI_NAME attribute. The NAME attribute is found in the zAPIs manual:
Defined CPC attributes
It gets much easier with the z/OS V2R1 BCPii documentation. The SNMP MIB Name for this object is a unique identifier. The BCPii documentation in V2R1 z/OS MVS Programming: Callable Services for High-Level Languages includes an attribute summary table for HWIQUERY and HWISET that contains the attribute suffix (1.0 for this example). See a preview of the summary tables in BCPii blog entry “News Flash: z/OS BCPii summary tables wanted!”
(8) Can BCPii be tuned to improve BCPii performance for returning list and query data? It's fast, but I want it faster!
Starting in z/OS V2R1, BCPii takes advantage of the System z Application Programming Interfaces (zAPIs) GetBulk support and improves the performance of the HWIQUERY and HWILIST APIs. By changing the way data is retrieved, BCPii is able to get the requested information in fewer communication flows to the Support Element (SE) than before. This sometimes results in lists and queries having dramatically improved performance. While your mileage may vary based on the load of both the local and targeted SE, the load of the z/OS system your BCPii app is running on, the hardware configuration, and the type of retrieval you are attempting, most retrieval requests should see improvements. It's easy to take advantage of this new V2R1 feature:
(9) Are there any logging or audit records of changes made by BCPii that I can check to see if a BCPii user is making changes within my network?
We hear you! FITS requirements MR0330112815, MR0823123813, and MR1029122527 have been opened and accepted for audit and logging of BCPii operations.
(10) Is the BCPii in Tivoli's System Automation (TSA) the same as z/OS BCPii?
In short, no. Both use a direct connection to the local support element to communicate between z/OS and the hardware. However, z/OS BCPii APIs can be invoked from ANY address space, perform faster, and have no product requirements. TSA's BCPii transport is for use only by automation run from the TSA address space. TSA is a separate product that runs on z/OS and requires IBM Tivoli NetView for z/OS and IBM Communications Server.
Shawn Meyer is an Advisory Software Engineer and Level 2 support lead for BCPii. He has worked at IBM for 25 years, primarily in customer service, supporting z/OS components including Lanres, OSA/SF, Service Aids, DFSMS Utilities, and BCPii. Shawn is an avid golfer and Denver Broncos fan. He also likes to cook, work on home projects, and spend time with his family.