VSAM Training Services  

VSAM Training Services

VSAM Training Services

VSAM Training Sitemap

Submit VSAM Questions

VSAM Schedule

VSAM Training Services SYS-ED Mobile Web App 

VSAM Training Services Advanced search

Technology Driven IT Training


Contact You


VSAM Design

Coding and Optimization
VSAM System Software VSAM Usage Guidelines CICS and VSAM
DB2 and VSAM VSAM Database Comparison SYS-ED Approach to VSAM Training
Courseware for Teaching Professional Distance-learning VSAM and Mainframe Training Service
VSAM Utilization with IBM Mainframe System Software - CICS, DB2, and IMS


VSAM System Software

VSAM: Virtual Storage Access Method is used on IBM mainframe z/OS and z/VSE operating systems to process data stored on DASD: Direct Access Service Devices. The record management part of VSAM contains the access method code. VSAM organizes records into four types of datasets: key-sequenced, entry-sequenced, linear, or relative record. The primary difference among VSAM dataset types is the way records are stored and accessed.

DFSMStvs provides VSAM with the capability to provide locking, two-phase commit, backout, and logging facilities. Multiple batch update jobs then can be run concurrently with CICS for accessing the same datasets while maintaining integrity and recoverability.
VSAM Usage Guidelines Explanation
Use alternate indexes sparingly There is a price with alternate access. AIX data is structured around alternate keys and accordingly are difficult to tune. Performance can degrade due to CI: control interval and CA: control area splits.
Keep string number low for ESDS Many applications use an ESDS: Entry Sequenced Dataset as a processing log. On very active systems this means a high number of transactions per second will be vying for access to the file.
Use Local Shared Resource LSR mode allows VSAM to maintain dataset buffer pools to reduce I/O wherever possible through lookaside processing.
Size is important The CI size selected for the data component of the cluster is a balancing act between space and performance. A purposeful calculation of both the number of records in one block along with free space will be required.
Avoid larger CI sizes It will take more processing resources to move around larger chunks of data, VSAM systems locks at the CI level. Therefore, a large CI containing many records is more likely to cause waits.


CICS has options for taking advantage of LSR, and if the virtual storage is above the 16M line the buffer ratio can be increased up to 90%. CICS allows for eight separate buffer pools. Normally one is sufficient, but a very active dataset can be moved into its own pool to prevent its records from crowding out others. Buffers can be specified for index and data control intervals. This provides the opportunity to create an index-only buffer pool large enough to contain all of index CI's which will serve to make keyed access significantly faster.

DB2 and VSAM

VSAM is used as the storage controller on IBM’s DB2 database and on a mainframe system, the DB2 tablespace is a VSAM Linear Dataset.

There are issues which need to be addressed when migrating from VSAM to DB2:

  • Ensuring continued access to the data in DB2 without modification to the CICS or batch VSAM application programs and with minimal changes to the environment.

  • Facilitating better sharing between online, batch, and distributed applications.

  • Lowering the risk of file migration.

  • Improving the availability and scalability of the database.

  • Enabling the use of DB2 tools for maintenance and reorganization.

VSAM Database Comparisoncup

Attribute VSAM DB2 IMS
Organization Flat Relational Hierarchical
Controlled Redundancy None Medium High
Learning Curve Low Medium High
Data Independence No Yes Yes
Record Locking No Note No Yes
Field/Record Security No Yes Yes
Ad Hoc Reporting No Yes No
Relationship Between Items No Yes Yes
Development Speed High Medium to High Low
Communication Software None None IMS/DC
Data Manipulation Language None SQL DL/1
Data Dictionary No No Yes
DBA Required No Yes Yes
Logging Features No Yes Yes
Databases Store Data Using VSAM - - - - Yes Optional
Backup - Implementation Simple backup/recovery Full function backup/recovery Full function backup/recovery
Backup - Form Downtime needed Online backup possible Online backup possible
Recovery Optional All available. Optional
Integrity Rules - Constraints None Yes Yes
Vendor Independence Only IBM RBDMS with ANSI standard Only IBM
Referential Integrity No Yes Yes
Query Interface No Yes Yes
Web and Java Support Limited JDBC, SQLJ, Net.data Limited
Data Types Text and numbers only Images, Video, Audio Images, Video, Audio
Note: An optional product is required for record locking.

SYS-ED Approach to VSAM Training

SYS-ED's VSAM curriculum has been designed and developed for hard working IT professionals who are serious about learning not only how VSAM works, but how to make VSAM work well and what to do if things go wrong. Even if you're already using VSAM, SYS-ED's VSAM training will provide a better understanding of its capabilities and flexibility… like how to select among the options VSAM offers for configuring datasets, both batch and on-line. And offer unbiased guidelines derived from our first generation and longstanding VSAM consultancy assignments.

SYS-ED's VSAM training supports the full complement of programming languages: COBOL, Assembler, PL/1, and Fortran in both z/OS and z/VSE environments. Each course - VSAM for Programmers, VSAM Structure and Strategies, VSAM Performance and Tuning, VSAM Optimization Techniques, and Transactional VSAM utilizes a combination of case studies and hands-on workshops. A third of class time is spent coding and testing programs and using Access Method Services on our z/OS mainframe system.

SYS-ED instructors average 30 years experience in evolutionary information technology. We teach industry standard content and provide insights on VSAM as utilized in legacy programming languages and in relation to IBM's longstanding mainframe system software: CICS, IMS, and DB2. Our standard operating procedure is to work with the client and tailor the performance objectives, examples, sample programs, exercises, and validation assessment. Students are encouraged to bring programming and debugging assignments to class for analysis and discussion and submit questions which come up back on the job.

Case in Point

An insurance company provided us with the following information:

"Since we use VSAM mainly as look up tables, there is not a big need for VSAM dataset administration techniques in order to ensure a VSAM dataset is not fragmented, etc. It is important that our staff programmers understand how to use the file status code to determine whether a "READ", "OPEN", "CLOSE" statement has been successful. If it is at all possible to work in a COBOL example of reading a VSAM File both sequentially and randomly, it would be very helpful for our new programmers." 

A lesson plan was provided to the client for addressing these requirements along with guidelines for:

  • examining and analyzing legacy applications.
  • streamlining the cost of testing and rewriting applications and migrating data.
  • modernizing CICS applications.
  • migrating VSAM data to DB2.

The SYS-ED courseware used in instructor-led and distance-learning VSAM courses is highly respected. The content incorporates an analysis of the program logic and sample programs which have been validated on consultancy projects.

Upon completion of a SYS-ED instructor-led course at the client location, it is standard policy to organize content for future utilization in a web-based training infrastructure.


WebSphere MQ Training Services

Information Technology in Transition
Cross Platform Expertise and Experienced Staff

Longstanding Consultancy Experience
in Information Technology

Alternative to Source Software Companies

Alternative to the Information Technology Training
Offered by the Software Companies

Technology Updates
Learning Paths
Mainframe VSAM

VSAM Training Services Advanced search

In order to review and print course topics, prices, and dates, invoke the Search button.

Courseware for Teaching

The Computer Education Techniques courseware used in SYS-ED courses consists of student hand-outs, training aids, and industry-specific examples and exercises. The CETi knowledge base aggregates and analyzes information in the public domain. It also is a service for reviewing and answering questions. Content is selectively added to courseware. Our long-term strategy is to have our courseware recognized as a NRV: Nationally Recognized Vendor. 

VSAM: Introduction VSAM for Programmers VSAM Performance and Tuning
Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents
Copyright Acknowledgement Copyright Acknowledgement Copyright Acknowledgement
Performance Objectives Performance Objectives Performance Objectives
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 1
Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2
Index Index Index

Assembler Programming Assembler Programming - Advanced COBOL Programming
Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents
Copyright Acknowledgement Copyright Copyright Acknowledgement
Performance Objectives Performance Objectives Performance Objectives
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 1
Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2
Index Index Index

COBOL Programming - Advanced Enterprise COBOL PL/1 Programming
Table of Contents Table of Contents Table of Contents
Copyright Acknowledgement Copyright Acknowledgement Copyright Acknowledgement
Performance Objectives Performance Objectives Performance Objectives
Chapter 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 1
Chapter 2 Chapter 2 Chapter 2
Index Index  Index

VSAM Courses and Specialized Training  

Over the past year, we have had a number of inquiries regarding whether SYS-ED still offered VSAM training for information technology professionals.

The typical comments were:

1. That it is extremely difficult to find VSAM training for specific development and maintenance tasks.
2. That there is a scarcity of fast-track VSAM for Programmers and VSAM Performance and Optimization courses, 3 days or fewer in duration, geared to different operating systems and legacy programming languages.
3. That a high percentage of VSAM courses are cancelled.
4. That travel costs and living expenses in a majority of situations are a significant constraint when it comes to attending a VSAM course.
5. That it is important to have a resource for asking VSAM questions once the programming language course is complete.

Selection of Delivery Medium

Selection of Delivery Medium

In response to these questions:
VSAM Training Services Yes, SYS-ED offers multiple levels of VSAM training: z/OS and z/VSE.
VSAM Training Services Yes, since 1980, SYS-ED has taught standalone VSAM courses and as part of mainframe training programs.
VSAM Training ServicesWe have the flexibility and resources to conduct personalized training upon request.
VSAM Training Services VSAM courses are available in multiple formats: classroom, distance-learning, and blended web-based delivery.
VSAM Training Services Upon completion of a SYS-ED course, our staff is available to answer VSAM questions.

SYS-ED has been conducting courses in the public domain since 1980; however, there have been changes in the laws and regulations governing computer training in the state of New York. The schedule on our websites reflects a projected time frame for licensure with the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision and submission and approval of curriculum. It will be updated quarterly.

Professional Distance-learning Service

Definition of Service


New York State Department of Education Standards


SYS-ED's distance-learning training service is 65% lecture with the remaining 35% of the service provided in the form of scheduled interactive question and answer sessions with a subject matter expert, hands-on exercises, optional validation assessment, and submission of questions through our technology exchange websites.

Enrollment is contingent upon the prospective trainee's having been qualified by our Director of Education to have the appropriate background for the training and review of a checklist of items required for transmission of the service to the client location: bandwidth, firewall, base operating system, software requirements, web browser, and set-up of hands-on machine exercises.

Alternative web-based and e-learning training is available: self-paced, presentation through the client's authoring system, or podcast. These tailored services are offered selectively.

Courseware as Learning Center

VSAM and Mainframe Training Service 
VSAM: Virtual Storage Access Method is used to organize data and maintain information about data in a catalog. It can be used to program VSAM with IBM and non-IBM languages and interfaces.
Courseware for Teaching - VSAM VSAM and Mainframe Distance-learning Training Service

Portfolio of VSAM Clients 

VSAM Courseware  Distance-learning VSAM Clients

Mainframe Programming
Training Programs
Assembler Language
COBOL Language
PL/1 Language

Mainframe Software
Programming Skills
Compuware: File-AID
Compuware: Xpediter
VSAM and IBM Mainframe Third Party Environment
Mainframe System Software
Training Programs
CICS Transaction Server
Mainframe Entry Level
Operations and Systems Programming

Mainframe Software
CICS Transaction Server
DB2 Relational Database
IMS Hierarchical Database
IBM Mainframe Environment - Distance-learning

VSAM Training in New York

VSAM Courses in New York
SYS-ED's VSAM courses are tough, but they're worth it. Our challenging hands-on VSAM training provides a foundation and framework for Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, healthcare providers, software houses, and consulting firms to meet their VSAM staffing requirements and acquire specialized VSAM skillsets.1

SYS-ED's VSAM and mainframe courseware is highly respected in information technology. We draw upon our extensive library of courseware, sample programs, and case studies to explain, demonstrate, and teach the real-world VSAM. Our VSAM curriculum include industry standard and consultancy derived content. We have the capability to provide tailored workshops and integrated training programs for both the z/OS and z/VSE operating systems.

Teaching is Our Business
Most computer training companies are divisions of large software companies or consulting companies. Not SYS-ED. Our only goal is to provide world class VSAM training for motivated IT professionals - no more and no less. Because we're independent, we're free to concentrate on teaching - and since 1980 we have been doing it very well.

Our Teachers Know How to Teach
SYS-ED instructors combine teaching skills with broad practical experience as consultants. Our instructors average 30 years of experience with VSAM in the mainframe environment - operating systems, programming languages, 3rd party utilities/development aids, and system software. And they know how to teach it. We teach not only "how to", but "why", building a solid foundation in fundamentals and insights into advanced materials. After a course, they are available to answer questions.

Enrollment - SYS-ED VSAM Courses are NOT for Everyone
No one is allowed to enroll in a SYS-ED mainframe course, without a consultation with our Director of Education. We review the operational objectives and project specifications for the organization evaluating whether to send its employee for the training. The employee is only allowed to register if they have the background corresponding to the appropriate learning path.

Mainframe Training - Distance-learning or at your Office
VSAM courses are provided over the Internet through a distance-learning delivery medium or classroom instruction on-site at the client location. On-site courses can include the identical workshops as the programming skills and languages training offer through the SYS-ED schedule.

For additional information including outlines, availability of private courses, references, and course customization, contact David Shapiro at 212-724-2094 or register online.


Technology Exchange Websites

SYS-ED's websites compile, organize, and present software specific and established operational categorizations of information technology. They provide a framework for assessing knowledge transfer in a variety of delivery formats: web-based training, classroom instruction, technology updates, courseware, training aids, learning paths, and validation assessment.


www.coboltrainingbysysed.us www.cicstrainingbysysed.us www.db2trainingbysysed.us
www.imstrainingbysysed.us www.mainframetrainingbysysed.us www.mfutilitiesandtoolsbysysed.us
www.mqseriestrainingbysysed.us www.programmingbysysed.us www.rexxtrainingbysysed.us
www.sastrainingbysysed.us www.vsamtrainingbysysed.us www.xmltrainingbysysed.us

Copyright Acknowledgement
IBM CICS, DB2, IMS, and VSAM are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.

Footnote 1:

SYS-ED’s core VSAM and mainframe curriculum has been submitted to the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision for technical review and licensing.