Cloning a virtual machine or user as it is called in z/VM terms from within another guest/user running Linux can be used in a lot of different scenario’s. Especially when the people managing the z/VM platform and virtual machines are less experienced with z/VM, it could be good to let them create a clone without the need to access a 3270 terminal. This scenario can also be used to let users do some self service and provide them with new instances without intervention.
In the not so far past, I spent a lot of my time working with and configuring z/OS or MVS mainframes. Over time, I managed to collect a serious collection of useful MVS-commands. Most of these commands can just be found in the forests of IBM documentation but the keyword in my previous sentence is “useful”. I found it, even as a person who was working for years in z/OS environments always difficult to get the right command for a certain action. The lack of examples and over-theoretical explanations made it, at least for me, not very accessible.
When you’re managing a z/VM host running multiple Linux images, it can be interesting to have access to the data which resides on a CMS owned minidisk. Such type of minidisk is probably used to control the z/VM related configuration of the guest itself in some way. Also, when scripting, the explained technique can be used to read or write data from and to one of the minidisks. One example could be to change the PROFILE.EXEC from a user from within the user itself.
Tersing files can be compared to tarring, zipping, rarring files on the x86 platform. It allows you to store a file or multiple files (members) in an archive. The archive is easily transferable and when the data is unpacked, it is guaranteed to be the same as the original source. Especially when transferring PDS’es and variable blocked (VB, VBS) datasets, this is important. Transferring normal datasets over FTP through other platforms from z/OS can be challenging an this article should provide some help.