Setup an MVS mainframe to print to RPM

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 21:03 By Dave Brooks

Q: How do I setup an MVS mainframe to print to RPM Remote Print ManagerĀ®?

A: There are several potential sources of print data on an MVS mainframe, and several possible methods for sending that data to an LPD server. Perhaps the simplest case is where the LPR command is used to print a copy of a disk file. This can be done interactively (under TSO) or in a batch job. The LPR command is a part of IBM's TCP/IP for MVS product, and it works very much like the LPR command you would find on a workstation.

On most MVS systems, though, the majority of print data will be generated by three other sources:

Batch jobs (sometimes very long reports) On-line systems running under CICS. Batch jobs normally produce printouts that go into the JES spool for printing. The output from CICS applications is designed to be sent directly to a 3270-family printer device.

There are a couple of options for intercepting both of these types of print data and sending them to a print server. One method is to use IBM's Network Print Facility, a product that comes as an optional feature of TCP/IP for MVS version 3.1. NPF includes software that can take printouts from the JES spool and LPR them off to a print server. It also has software that "pretends" to be a 3270-style printer and intercepts printouts coming from CICS; these printouts are then sent via LPR to a print server.

The other option for printing JES and CICS data at an LPD server is a combination of products from Levi, Ray and Shoup. A product called VPS/TCPIP will take printouts from the JES spool and use LPR to send them to a server. Another product called DRS emulates 3270-style printers so that it can intercept CICS printouts and then send them to an LPD server. Both IBM's NPF and Levi, Ray and Shoup's products require that the MVS system administrators define CICS printers and JES destinations to the software, and associate LPD hostnames/IP addresses with each "virtual" printer.

There is now a third, and probably the best way to send jobs to RPM from an MVS system. IBM now packages IP Printway with the IBM/MVS operating system. We do not know much about it other than it works. The configuration is a little difficult, but can definitely be done.

MVS/JES provided by Bill Kelly, Auburn University