Data Center Management Systems

Change Control System - Technical Overview

The Challenge (Sarbanes Oxley)
Complying with Sarbanes-Oxley is of critical importance to IT. IT must demonstrate that they have implemented the needed internal controls dictated by the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations compliance act. CCS provides the needed automation, security, controls and audits to insure compliance for the for the Application Development Lifecycle.

Today's software application environment is becoming increasingly complex.  Application software managers are required to understand and manage very complex relationships that exist among all components of an application.  Additionally, as the software development process continues to become more sophisticated the desirability and increased use of shareable and reusable modules will increase this complexity ten fold.

Information Technology management is also faced with the responsibility for insuring the continued integrity of the corporations software application assets in this complex and changing environment.  The days are long gone when you can legally or financially afford to rely only on trusted employee's memories and questionable manual documentation to insure that all of your corporations source code, copy books, reusable modules, documentation, JCL, module relationship documentation, module recreation processes, etc., are properly accounted for and documented.  Increasing enforcement and adding additional manual procedures only slows the development process and manually maintained documents are seldom useful, current, available or used.

To properly secure and effectively manage today's software environment requires that the software change process be automated as much as possible.

There are many, many issues surrounding software development, documentation, availability, implementation, reliability, serviceability, protection that need to be resolved.  If your company is experiencing one or more of these issues, it may be time to consider an alternative to your current production implementation system:

To address these issues you must be willing to commit to a comprehensive software implementation process, which could best be addressed by an automated software solution.  There are two basic approaches to solving production turnover problems:  The first is to develop a software solution in-house.  The second is to purchase a vendor supplied software solution.

The in-house approach will cost the salary of a experienced Programmer/Analyst devoted to this project for perhaps one man-year (or  more!).  Your problems (and the costs associated with them) will not be addressed until the project is completed.  The developer, assuming continues to be employed by your company, would also be required to provide ongoing support and enhancements for the in-house system for an indefinite period of time.

The second alternate is to purchase existing software.  Since there are several such products on the market, your personnel would be required to evaluate and select the one which most meets your needs.  The purchase of the software could cost between $10,000 and $250,000.  Most software vendors also require a yearly maintenance charge of between 12 and 22 percent of the cost of the product.  With either approach, your personnel would need to be trained on how to use the system.  One or two days of training is usually sufficient.

The developer of an in-house system would require strong technical programming skills and an in-depth knowledge of your current procedures and their limitations.  Experience in working with automated turnover systems is highly desirable.  In purchasing a software package, you will need someone on your staff to act as administrator.  This person will be responsible for product installation/implementation, user training and ongoing support.  This person should have a working knowledge of JCL and utilities, and a thorough understanding of your current procedures.  The remainder of the staff who are involved in production turnover will be trained as needed.

It is important to realize that the acquisition of any change management software package will require some changes to your established procedures.  Assuming the package can support your existing library configuration and can duplicate your implementation processes, it is unlikely that its use could be transparent to your development staff.  It is more likely that you would want to take this opportunity to streamline and standardize your implementation process. This will require that a percentage of your development staff will be impacted by the new process, and because some people are resistant to change, you can expect some amount of resentment should you proceed without regard to their concerns.  The early involvement in the implementation project of a few veteran programmers and the clear communication of your intentions and benefit to them can prove useful in heading off a rejection of your efforts.  It is our experience that even those developers that are most resistant to change totally embrace the new change control system within the first 30 days and if asked would never go back to the old system.

The in-house development of a software change management system will most likely prove to be too time-consuming and expensive to be a practical solution.  In addition, it causes you to rely too heavily on the developer for ongoing support.  Unless this person can be dedicated indefinitely to the system, it is unlikely to be enhanced as your requirements evolve.  Should the developer leave the company, you are faced with the temporary loss of support while a replacement is hired and trained.  The better solution is to acquire an existing software package which can meet your change management needs.  The package can be installed immediately and can be ready to use in 1 to 3 months, depending on your specific requirements and implementation schedule.  The software vendor is then responsible for maintenance, support and enhancements.  You should find a package which is versatile enough to handle your complex current environment and which can provide solutions to tomorrow's problems and needs.  You should seek out a vendor with a proven track record of providing quality, innovative software and responsive support services.  It is crucial that the vendor is dedicated to ongoing enhancements to the product, so that it will continue serve your needs in the future as the Information Technology world changes.

DCMS Change Control System (CCS)

CCS History
CCS was designed and developed by the DCMS development staff with the help of several corporations interested in addressing their real software management problems.  Since its inception in 1983, CCS has been continually enhanced to support an ever expanding variety of environments and user requirements.  The focus in recent years has been to increase its easy-of-use to both the typical user and the CCS Administrator.

CCS Design
CCS is a TSO/ISPF based system designed to manage any number of application software libraries of medium large scale Data Processing installations.  The CCS programs are written in COBOL and Assembler and use a VSAM data base.  All phases of the development process, from module checkout through production implementation, can be managed by CCS.  Modules are typically grouped and controlled by project.  During implementation detected processing errors (such as a compilation failure) is communicated to the project leader.  Normally, the entire project must be error free before any part of it can be implemented into production.  This may be overridden with special authorization.

CCS provides a very comprehensive solution to change management.  Even though CCS's price tag is a fraction of our competitors, its design enables you to easily manage your entire MVS production environment.  It can even be used to manage your applications running on other platforms, such as VSE and Client Server environments.  CCS is not labor intensive to manage.  Once CCS has been configured to your environment, only changes to your requirements would re-envolve the system administrator.

CCS Strengths
CCS's flexible design permits you to manage any entity in your production environment.  CCS is much easier to setup and use than our competitors' products.  CCS provides benefits and features not available in competitors products.  CCS also costs significantly less than comparable products.

CCS Integration with other DCMS products
When DCMS Problem Management and Reporting System (PM/RS) is also installed, batch and on-line problems display information obtained real time from CCS.  For the affected problem job and/or program, PM/RS shows the person who made the last change, the change's date, time and the change request identifier.  With the use of a single PF key, the referenced CCS request can be displayed in its entirety.  The CCS PM/RS combination also provides a management report which displays the success rates of those making production changes.

CCS Overview/Outline of major features

How easy?
DCMS provides a 60-day free trial, so you are able to easily see how CCS can perform and meet your needs.  A sample data base is included on the distribution tape.  Immediately after installing the demo/trial system, you can use the on-line functions of CCS to see sample historical data, pending requests, etc. Our customization manual will step you through the procedures required to define an 'entity type' to CCS.  You will learn first-hand how easy it is to setup CCS.

How long?
After loading the CCS software and demo/trial data base from the DCMS web site download, you are guided through an on-line system generation dialog.  The entire process can be accomplished in one hour, after which you are ready to begin your evaluation.

Staff requirements
The product installation and system generation requires someone with some technical skills.  Typically this activity is performed by a Systems Programmer or an Operations Analyst.  The evaluator should have an understanding of the change management issues and requirements.

How easy?
CCS is distributed with the capability of managing a four tier library configuration (test, staging, production and minus 1) supporting most of the commonly used production entity types.  If your site's requirements are typical, implementation can be simply a matter of updating a few tables and turning the system on.  If your site requirements call for variations in our recommended configuration or support of unique entity types or unusual processing, you can easily make modifications to the supplied model JCL.

How long?
The length of time required to implement CCS can vary greatly, depending on your site's unique processing and configuration requirements, the relative skills of those working on the project and the amount of time they can dedicate to the effort.  CCS has been fully implemented in as little as two weeks.

Staff requirements
DCMS recommends that at least two individuals from your company be trained as CCS Administrators.  This provides adequate coverage during sick days and vacations and can lessen the impact when a trained Administrator leaves the company.  The Administrator candidates must possess a knowledge of MVS JCL and your current turnover procedures and processes.  An understanding of OS Utilities, TSO/ISPF, library utilities (Panvalet/Librarian, etc.) and VSAM is highly recommended.  DCMS is now offering onsite turnkey implementation services.  CCS typically takes us two weeks to implement. Implementation includes planning, installation, customization and training.

CCS includes the following manuals.

DCMS CCS Administrator Guide
DCMS CCS Technical Overview
DCMS CCS User Guide
DCMS CCS Utilities Guide

The following training classes are available:
CCS User Training - A 4 hour class in which the CCS features, operating environment and on-line functions are explained.

CCS Administrator Training - 16 to 20 hours of instruction covering CCS internals, tables, security and utilities.
The DCMS support line is available 7 days/week, 24 hours/day.

CCS Hardware/Software requirements
DASD for software libraries: 80 cylinders.  DASD for system VSAM files 20 cylinders.   

Products are licensed (Perpetual and Renewable) on a per processor basis.  Multiple processor and DCMS product discounts are available.  Pricing is tiered based on Processor Software Group.  Annual maintenance for perpetual licenses (after the first year) is calculated at a rate of 15% of the current license fee.

Q:  Does CCS support the use of PANVALET or LIBRARIAN?
A:  Yes, CCS can manage an environment using up to 39,000 PANVALET (Computer Associates) libraries, 39,000 LIBRARIAN (Computer Associates) masters and/or 39,000 Partitioned Datasets.

Q:  How many entity types can be defined to CCS?
A:  There is no upper limit.

Q:  Can we setup CCS so that it does not perform the final production compile?
A:  Yes.  CCS implements changes by submitting installation tailored model JCL, so any manner of batch processing can be performed.  However if CCS does not manage the production compile, either during staging or implementation, it cannot insure that the source matches the executable and that the proper compilation options were used.

Q:  How can CCS help us manage vendor supplied application packages?
A:  It is common for vendors to supply only a portion of the package's source code, so compiling these programs into production would not be possible.  For this type of situation, CCS can be setup to migrate only the executable load modules, JCL and parameters.  Some CCS sites have defined an entity type in which actions ADD, DELETE and REPLACE manipulate a single load module in the package and an action of RESET implements an entire new release library.

Q:  Is CCS capable of printing a formatted document, describing a change request which is ready to be implemented, so that we can route a request form to users and managers for their approvals?
A:  Yes, CCS does provide this capability.  But do you really need a piece of paper to prove a request carries the proper authorizations?  CCS's on-line approval process prevents users with insufficient authority from approving or releasing changes.  If each TSO user has a unique LOGON identifier and keeps their password secret, forged approvals are more difficult through CCS than with paper and ink.

Q:  Does CCS support DB2?
A:  Yes.  During the implementation of a DB2 program into production CCS prompts for the DB2 Bind options and then executes the DB2 Bind process.  CCS fully supports the use of DB2 packages and plans.

Q:  Which 4GL languages/products does CCS support?
A:  Gener/OL (Computer Associates), BMS-GT (GT Software), Progeni, and APS are among the many products supported by CCS at our customer sites.  The design of CCS provides the flexibility to support any entity type in which migration can occur in a batch mode.

Q:  Does CCS 'footprint' the production load modules to insure the source module matches?
A:  CCS can modify the IDRDATA, placing the change request identifier in the load module.  Although, we recommend that you insure production module integrity by update-protecting all of your production libraries.

For additional information, contact your DCMS Representative at (800)998-3848 or