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Last Chance to Save Your TSO Data!
by Shirley Yee

After several years of preparation, TSO migration formally started on April 15, 1999 with the plan to have all academic users move to the UNIX platform or departmental desktop systems within a year. Following a trend across the nation, use of TSO has been dwindling as users opt for friendlier platforms. Additional hardware and software for UNIX have been obtained to provide an environment where academic research and projects can continue. ITS will be able to provide faster, more efficient service as we focus support on UNIX and desktop system platforms. After migration, the entire IBM mainframe will be used to support expanding administrative applications.

April 15, 2000 is quickly approaching! After that date, staff support for migration will be on a time-available basis with all academic TSO IDs scheduled for termination on June 30, 2000.

For those who still have data on IBM 9-track tapes, now is the time to ensure that your data will be usable in the future. Below are some warnings concerning IBM 9-track tapes:

  • Magnetic tape is an obsolete form of media! When magnetic tapes get old, they actually become "flaky" resulting in "data checks" when trying to read the tape. Your tapes may be so old that, physically, they can only be read a few or more times. Data on 9-track tapes should be copied to cartridges as soon as possible. ITS offers free cartridges at the operator's window located in the first floor Keller lobby.

  • If the 9-track tape drives on either the TSO or UNIX systems break down, there is a strong possibility that they will not be replaced. Vendors no longer sell 9-track tape drives.

  • Tape drives on the IBM mainframe can read 1600 and 6250 bytes per inch (bpi) tapes, but not 800 bpi tapes. 800, 1600, and 6250 bpi IBM tapes and cartridges are all accessible from uhunix2. PCs cannot read IBM tapes. Files on IBM tapes must be copied to TSO or UNIX disk before they can be downloaded to a PC.

  • Although uhunix2 is able to access 9-track IBM tapes and cartridges, it can only read:

    • Standard label (SL) or No Label (NL) format (SL is preferred)
    • EBCDIC data, such as raw data or .cntl files
    • SAS transport files
    • SPSS portable files

    uhunix2 cannot read from IBM tape or cartridge:

    • IBM SAS datasets
    • IBM SPSS system files
    • IBM partitioned-datasets
    • IBM binary or executable files

Here's what needs to be done:

  • First of all, copy 9-track tape data to IBM cartridges. SL format is highly recommended.

  • Create SAS transport files from SAS datasets, and SPSS portable files from SPSS system files. After TSO migration is over, SAS datasets and SPSS system files on tape or cartridge will be useless.

  • Copy partitioned-datasets on tape or cartridge to IBM disk. Partitioned-datasets on IBM disk are easily transferable to the PC or UNIX.

And don't forget your files on IBM disk. These files have to be transferred also. SAS datasets and SPSS system files on disk have to be converted to SAS transport files and SPSS portable files before they can be transferred. If you have a lot of files on IBM disk, you can download them to your PC or copy them to IBM SL EBCDIC cartridges. PC files can later be uploaded to uhunix and files on an IBM SL EBCDIC cartridge can be copied to uhunix and if desired, downloaded to the PC.

ITS documents to assist with migration are available from the document file at the Help Desk in Keller 105 or on the Web at Look for Moving from TSO to UNIX with its addendum, and Moving Files from TSO to a PC.

If you encounter any technical problems or would like to set up a personal consultation, send e-mail to Shirley Yee at Make sure your data is safe and accessible by your platform of choice before it's too late!

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