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Moving off the Academic Mainframe

By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing

This is the first in a series of articles intended to help Academic Mainframe users move data and files off of that system.

The deadline for moving files and programs off the Academic Mainframe is fast approaching. Previous articles have outlined the reasons for cessation of Academic Mainframe services as well as described a schedule for discontinuation of mainframe access. It's time to accept the fact that the mainframe services will be ending and start taking action to preserve any work which has been performed there (denial and anger stages are acceptable, but please pass through those as quickly as possible).

Getting Started: Taking Inventory on CMS

The first step toward moving off of the mainframe is taking inventory of your mainframe files and the formats in which they exist. Everyone with an Academic Mainframe UserID has a CMS account and files which are stored on the CMS minidisk. If you've never run an MVS batch job which stores a file on MVS disk or tape, your CMS files will be your only mainframe files. SAS users will need to see if any of their CMS files are SAS format data sets. These are not text files, but rather are binary files which have data and items like variable labels stored within.

Converting SAS Format Files

The following program converts SAS format files to a transportable version which can be downloaded to your PC. You will need to replace the items in italics with your own file names.

First suppose that you had created a data set using the following SAS statement:


This would have created a CMS file named 'STUFF SASFILE A'. The following CMS SAS program copies your data from that file to a transport file named 'STUFF XPORT A'.


Once your file is stored in transport format it is ready to be downloaded from CMS and available to be imported into SAS for Windows. When you download transport files, be sure to specify a binary file transfer.

Downloading files

There are two methods for downloading files from CMS. If you use a program called TCP3270 (sometimes called "Host Explorer") to log onto CMS, then you can use a file transfer method built into that program. Another way to transfer files is to use an FTP file transfer program, but this method requires that you know your CMS minidisk password. To find your minidisk password, log onto CMS and use the command,


That will generate a message like the following:

DVHREQ2288I Your MDPW request for AAnn at * has been accepted.
DVHMDP3263I MDISK 0191 * : READ=XXXXXX 20020112 WRITE=XXXXXX 20020112

Instead of X's after "READ=" you will see your minidisk password and you can use this to access your files via FTP.

Both methods of file transfer mentioned above are documented in detail on the ACS Research and Statistical Support Web page in the FAQ section under "RSS0006. How to transfer files from CMS?". Please refer to that web page if you need instructions on file transfer.

Getting Help

Academic Computing Services staff will be glad to help you with Academic Mainframe file transfer questions. Your first point of contact should be Rich Herrington, Research and Statistical Support Manager. Others who can help are Cathy Hardy Academic Mainframe Consultant, and Philip Baczewski, Associate Director of Academic Computing.

Before asking for help, however, you should at least try to take inventory of your CMS files and have an idea of what files you need to transfer. It may help to save and print out a list of your CMS files. To do so, use the "FILELIST" command to display your files and then type the command "FILE" from the filelist command line. A file name UserID FILELIST will be saved on your A disk (Refresh or exit and rerun FILELIST to see it), where "UserID" is your CMS ID.

ACS Staff will be glad to meet with you individually and develop a plan for transferring your files. The time to start is now. The closer we get to May of 2003, the less likely that staff will be available to provide you individualized attention. Use the links above to e-mail for help or call 940-565-2324 to contact us by phone. By starting now, you can ensure that you can preserve any important files you have on CMS.

Finding and transferring MVS Disk and Tape Datasets