On Sept 26, we took to the air with a live webcast about the IBM Configuration Assistant for z/OS Communications Server (also known as the Network Configuration Assistant or NCA) hosted by Mike Fox.
Mike went through the TCP/IP profile import interactive video and covered everything you would ever want to know about the TCP/IP profile import function in under an hour.
Mike also answered a few questions from the audience – here are some of them:
Q: Besides importing existing Stacks into NCA, can ATTLS or IPSec info be imported separately?
A: AT-TLS or IPSec can be imported using the Policy Data import function, in which NCA cooperates with Policy Agent to import policy configuration. However, that function has been deprecated since z/OS V2R2. It doesn't import any function added since V2R1 (for example TLS V1.3) and it will be removed from the NCA in the release after z/OS V2R4.
Q: I can see a lot of work has gone into the NCA but I have two questions. (1) Once I've done this, what's the benefit, and (2) What about TRLEs that are necessary for the stack to work - and OMPROUTE configuration. Thanks.
A: For question 1, you will have a consumable, graphical representation of your TCP/IP configuration. But more importantly, this will make it easier for new to Z system programmers to come up to speed on creating and managing the TCP/IP profile as NCA contains hints in the panels and helps to guide the user to create best practices error-free configuration. For question 2, the NCA does not configure VTAM (where TRLEs are defined) or OMPROUTE configuration. However, OMPROUTE is on the long-term roadmap for NCA support.
Q: We use system symbols in our profile. This same profile is brought up in the DR site, and the symbols resolve to the new subnets in the DR site. Can the system symbols be preserved in the Network Configuration Assistant? If not, how would you handle DR?
A: The NCA has the Alternate Configurations function to support this use case. With Alternate Configurations, you define a TCP/IP stack and then define alternate configurations to represent the different locations where it can be started. The values of the NCA system symbols can vary across the alternate configurations.
Q: We have a lot of documentation in our TCP/IP profiles. Does the NCA import comments?
A: The NCA imports a copy of the original configuration file which you can view from the import results panel. This copy includes the original comments that were in the file. The NCA does not import comments into its objects or preserve them in the configuration files it generates. Note that many objects in the NCA have description fields where you can place comments, and while these comments are not inserted into the configuration file that NCA generates, they are available for you when you are managing your configuration in the NCA.
To see and hear the rest of the questions and to learn more about the TCP/IP profile function, register to see the replay. You can also view the NCA interactive video that steps through a demo TCP/IP profile import.
Did you enjoy the webcast? What topic about NCA would you like to learn about next? Let us know your comments about the webcast and the interactive video below!