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J2 on the Academic Mainframe

By Cathy Hardy, Academic Database Administrator

Have you ever sent a job to Academic OS/390 (also known as MVS or batch) and you never saw it again? Did it go into that nebulous bit bucket in the sky? If you are logged into CMS (Conversational Monitor System) on VM/ESA and you submit JCL to OS/390, you probably expect some feedback. On a great day, that feedback would be output with no programming errors (but I digress). On a bad day, feedback never shows up in your CMS account. So, what do you do first? (Hint: Cursing won't help.) (Hint2: Submitting another copy of the same (unchanged) JCL will not help.) Why not check the OS/390 queue?

If you have followed University naming conventions for your job, the job card will begin with your CMS 4 character userid (XXnn) and you can look for it on the MVS queue with J2. Just type J2 at the CMS Ready; prompt and the system will let you look at jobs on the MVS queue with job names beginning with your 4 character userid. If a batch job abends before it reaches the route cards in your JCL, it won't know where to route and will be sitting on the MVS queue.

If you find your job on there, use PF11 to list the dataset(s), open it (them) and find out what the problem is. OS/390 (MVS) reads your JCL top to bottom and begins with the job card. If there is a problem with the job card (for example: wrong password, expected continuation not found, etc.) MVS stops the job. Consequence: OS/390 never gets to the Route cards you've carefully coded to get your output back to you, so your job never returns to your CMS machine and will be on the MVS queue until you discard it.

Before we had the J2 interface, many students (in their infinite optimism) just kept resubmitting the same JCL over and over, apparently in the hope that the system would become impatient, run the job anyway and send them output. No such luck. MVS is either VERY patient, or very dumb. If you don't communicate in language it can comprehend and relate to, you are the one who is out of luck.

Between semesters Mainframe Technical Support upgraded J2 to version 6 (we were using version 3 in the fall semester). For help with J2, just type Help J2 at the CMS Ready; prompt. For security reasons, you can only look at your own jobs (J2 matches your CMS login ID with the first four characters of your job card).

For questions, contact your professor or the Computing Center HelpDesk at helpdesk@unt.edu or 940-565-2324.