Run a storage dump for SVC: IBM mainframe troubleshooting

What is an SVC dump? Why would a mainframe operator need to take a dump from SVC storage?

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The SVC in IBM's storage virtualization system stands for System Storage SAN Volume Controller. The product is designed to improve administrators' control of storage resources, but when there's a problem, you'll need to troubleshoot with an SVC dump.

The book OS/390 MVS Diagnosis: Tools and Service Aids sums it up nicely: "SVC dump is like a burglar alarm ... It lets you know something's wrong and helps you pinpoint where it started."

An SVC dump provides a representation of the virtual storage for the system at the time the dump is taken. Most commonly, a component requests an SVC dump when an unexpected system error occurs. After the dump has completed, processing can usually continue.

An authorized program can request an SVC dump with the c macro. The operator can also request a dump by using the SLIP or DUMP command. Both are used to obtain diagnostic data to aid in problem resolution.

Manuals with more information on SVC, IBM's SAN volume controller:

OS/390 MVS Diagnosis: Tools and Service Aids

OS/390 MVS Diagnosis Reference

OS/390 MVS Diagnosis Procedures

OS/390 MVS Authorized Assembler Services Reference LLA-SDU

This was first published in October 2001

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