Serena Blog

JenkinsAs the leader in deployment automation, Serena is a proud sponsor of the Jenkins User Conference 2015 World Tour. Come visit us at our booth and meet our experts in DevOps, CI/CD and enterprise release management.

Network Learn Explore @ the largest gathering of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery experts on the planet.

Want to tap the collective knowledge of a vibrant community of CI/CD practitioners? How about

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Tags: Serena turned five last October, and while five years seems like a long time in terms of the technology adoption lifecycle, DevOps and Continuous Delivery still seem perched on the Enterprise IT chasm. The Pragmatists get it. They are under pressure from the business to deliver business value faster, better and more cheaply and the Visionaries and Early Adopters have proven that Continuous Delivery fits the bill.

The problem is that Enterprise IT can

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FullSizeRenderSo we are off and running with xChange 2015. Record crowds in the breakout sessions and a packed house for the kickoff general session this morning.

Greg Hughes talked about the need to “Move Fast Without Breaking Things” and his first love … a 128k RAM, twin 320kb floppy, 32lb “portable” computer. He drove home the critical need of modern organizations to create an infrastructure environment that supports dev teams

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Tags: xChange

Serena Central - Your Serena community and marketplaceToday Serena Software launched our new community portal Serena Central which provides an enhanced user experience for customers and prospects looking to get the most out of their tools. The new site expands on our previous user communities focused around Build, Learn, and Connect.


What a terrific first meeting of the quarterly Dimensions CM Virtual User Group (VUG).VUG Group

We were joined by one of our early adopters of the innovative Dimensions CM 14 release, Carmelette Benson of Health Care Service Corporation. The VUG was treated to an exceptional upgrade story that engaged the free Upgrade Lab to advance their planning and readiness, and worked collaboratively with

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Well! We’re all set to go! We have a great agenda, a fantastic lineup of speakers and some fun activities planned. If you haven’t registered yet there is still time – you can register here.

Let’s take a quick tour of the highlights …

  • Over 70 in depth technical sessions – nearly half delivered by customer practitioners just like you
  • Major new product announcements you will only hear at xChange
  • Incredible end-to-end demo of modern software development infrastructure – “The Mother of all Demos”
  • Important new thought leadership about The Secure SDLC – new whitepaper

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We are still not there yet are we. The idea that IT is an “always on” utility, or better yet, a competitive advantage for the business.

Every year there are ton of examples illustrating that we still have a lot of work to do.  Whether it’s shutting down the Russian stock market for a couple of hours, deploying Read More

toolchainOnce the developer checks in a change, how long does it take your organization to deliver it to the customer?  The path to production can take many turns, have many dips, and fall short in terms of quality and expectations.  IT organizations struggle with major process and toolchain gaps between develop, build, deploy, and release.  Come join us at the December Serena DevOps Drive-in as Julian

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How do you become a high performance IT organization?  Earlier in the year we had Glenn O’Donnell of Forrester on our Serena DevOps Drive-in webcast to answer this question. Glenn outlined the fact that we are in the beginning of an IT industrial revolution: IT is currently too slow, has poor quality and customers don’t trust IT. This current state has

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If you are planning on coming to xChange I want to remind you that the early bird pricing expires on December 31st. Right now you can save $200 off the registration fee.

If you haven’t looked at the agenda yet I’d recommend hopping over to the xChange website so you can the amazing list of topics and keynotes we have planned for you.

See you in Washington DC in March!

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Tags: xChange

Technical blog posts

It is so easy to open Composer, make a "little" change and click Quick Deploy. But, is a Quick Deploy sometimes too quick? Have you ever waited patiently for the "Deployment Completed" message only to realize that you deployed to production instead of staging? Or, maybe you didn't realize what happened until users started to call about sudden strange behavior... Don't feel bad. It's happened to a lot of administrators. We hear from customers all the time who have deployed something to production by mistake and now need to rollback.

Here we will discuss how to prevent a quick 2 minute change from becoming a long 2 hour recovery exercise.

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Tags: SBM

Today is my 15 year anniversary with Serena. WOW! A lot has changed during this time. 



Before joining Serena I was a customer. (actually it was Merant; Serena acquired Merant in 2004). I worked for a defense contractor in the Washington DC area managing the software CM department. My very first task with this company was to move them off their outgrown, homegrown system to a COTS system.

Did I mention that I knew diddly squat about proper CM much less anything about overseeing the department? But having worked as a developer for another large defense contractor, I had firsthand experience of what life was like when things went wrong. Spent way too many late nights tracking down the elusive change that somehow didn’t make it into production.

So I used that experience as a guide into this new adventurous dark side—Change and Configuration Management. I remember the developers at my new job always got quiet whenever I entered their space. Like I was some evil person. In fact, one of the developers said to me, “you’re here to make my life harder.” Being the sweet, gentle person that I am (cough! cough!), I replied “just the opposite, I was hired to make your life easier.” I was convinced that I could convince him to see the value of good CM practices. Yea, right. 

So I took a two pronged approach. First and most importantly, I involved the developers in the evaluation process. I brought in the top three market leaders and asked the developers to help me in the selection. Dimensions came out as the winner and so began my journey with Dimensions CM.

Oh, and the second prong…..I joined their softball team. Figured I would show them that folks in the CM department are human beings too. We’re not evil, control freaks. Okay, maybe just not evil. :-)

Oh, life was simple then. I didn’t own a cell phone. Work actually had to page me after working hours. I know some of you reading this remember those days.

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Tags: Dimensions CM

Here are some simple ways to customize the Serena Request Center by editing the wrapper.htm file.

  • file location Serena/SBM/Application Engine/template/shell/SRP/wrapper.htm

In this blog, I'll be adding:

  • A tab that opens the Work Center interface.
  • A link for providing feedback in the User Links section.

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Tags: Serena Request Center



The flexibility to customize ZMF to meet your user's requirements is one of the great advantages of ZMF.  This flexibility also introduces additional complexity as you upgrade ZMF from release to release.  Customer feedback tells us that forward fitting your customizations to a new ZMF release is a significant part of every upgrade project.  At xChange 2015, we hosted a 'best practices' session on this topic which received positive feedback on the recommendation to 'take the vanilla challenge'.  For those unfamiliar with my use of the term 'vanilla', it means 'as delivered' or 'out of the box'.  The challenge for you, is to to investigate your customizations and eliminate those that are unnecessary.

So, what are the items to consider as you attempt to minimize your customizations?

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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe

The Chrome DevTools command line is an extremely powerful tool for developing/debugging/testing JavaScript in real time on your forms.  You can manipulate the UI by typing commands that use the AE JavaScript library, or even define/execute your own methods while viewing states or executing transition forms.  You can write, test, and refine your custom JS code directly in the browser, and not go back to Composer until you're pasting in the final result!

To access the Console, simply navigate to the desired SBM page and then press the "F12" key. Then, select the "Console" tab and look for the > prompt:console_1.png

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Tags: SBM

On complex forms it can be difficult for an end-user to discover and find required fields, especially when they are hidden behind tabs or collapsed sections. To make this easier in solutions like SSM, we created a small JavaScript utility for enhanced validation that finds and navigates to required fields. Just add the script to your form and you get the following features.

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Tags: SBM

Did you know that you can add links to external systems on the Request Center portal? b2ap3_thumbnail_SSM_login2.pngThis provides a one-stop Web portal for users regardless of tool. 

I add links to other SBM applications and Serena solutions such as Dimensions CM.

For my On-Demand version of SSM, I add a link to the Work Center login page. That’s what we will do in this post but the steps are applicable for any external web page.


As admin, click on the Customize menu option then select Service Request Catalog submenu.  b2ap3_thumbnail_Customize.png
 Click on the +Service Request  b2ap3_thumbnail_ServiceRequest.png

On the right hand side, under Service Request Action, select Show external web page.

Then enter the URL.

For SSM On-Demand, you can use


That’s it!

You now have link to SSM from the Request Portal.





Be sure to check out Ryan’s post on customizing the Request Center even further and Pam’s videos on KBTV for more tricks.


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Tags: Serena Request Center

Need to add several users to SSM?b2ap3_thumbnail_upload-from-excel.jpg

Need to update several users’ info in SSM?

Skipped that typing class a lot in high school?


If you answered yes to any 2 of these, then you’re reading the right post.


SSM (aka the SBM Application Administrator) provides the ability to import your users using a spreadsheet. This is the quickest way to add several users when you are not using LDAP. Other benefits are:

·        Update information for existing users.

·        Change the privilege sets, role assignments, user preferences, product-access level, etc for a set of users.

·        Add or update resource records for a set of users.


Before importing your users simply do three things:

  1. Separate your users into their respective persona.

  2. Create a template user for each persona.

  3. Prepare a spreadsheet for each persona of users.

It’s highly unlikely all your users will have the same role assignments, group membership, privileges, and preferences so you want to arrange your users together based on these characteristics.


Then create/add a user in SSM for each persona that will serve as the template user or the user for which the import will be based on. This will copy the template users’ privileges, preferences, application settings, and options except for personal data, such as login ID, password, and e-mail address.


Note, for the template user, consider using an account that derives privileges from a group or role (as opposed to privileges are granted directly to the individual user). This will improve the performance of the import operation for a large imports.


Then finally create a spreadsheet for each persona. You will need a separate file since data from the first worksheet in the file in utilized. Save your spreadsheet to .xls format. The .xlsx format is not supported.

(You can download an example here)


Now you’re ready to import your new users.


Log in to Application Administrator, select the Users icon, click on Import Now menu option, then follow the steps below. Refer to the screenshot for guidance.

Step 1: Ensure the Import user from spreadsheet is selected under the What do you want to do area.

Step 2: Browse and select your spreadsheet file under the Import user spreadsheet area.

Step 3: Select your template user in the Import users as copy of box under the Import user spreadsheet area.

Step 4: Map the User Attributes under the Import user spreadsheet area.

Step 5: Decide whether or not to Send notifications e-emails to create users under the Logging area.


We didn’t talk about the When user already exist options. This should be pretty self-explanatory.


However, the option of sending emails or not is something to consider. If you are importing for SSM users, take a look at this post where I suggest that you DO NOT have the system send emails but rather import the users and then send them a separate email with the login information.


If you are importing SBM only users, then having the system send emails to the users if perfectly fine.


That’s it. All you need to do is type in the data in the spreadsheet or export the information from another system to populate the data.


Did you really skip typing class? 

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Tags: Serena On Demand

If you add a new user via the Admin interface, the user will receive an email like the one below. The problem is, the link takes them to the Request Center and they are somehow required to magically know how to get to SSM.b2ap3_thumbnail_Welcome_to_SOD.png

So to combat this, I take extra steps when registering new users:

1. Import new users via excel without sending an email.

2. Send users an email with all the appropriate links and information to begin using SSM.

½   Created a SSM link on the Serena Request Center portal.

Import Users via Excel

This step is important. It’s the only way to register new users without the system automatically sending an email. It’s also a time saver if you have a lot of users to register with the system and you are not using LDAP.

If you are unsure how to do this, checkout the Importing Users via Speadsheet post.

Inform Users of their Account

This step is critical to say the least. It’s the only way the new users will know about their account in SSM. I send an email to each user letting them know their User Name, steps to create a temporary password, the URLs and links to online help and videos.

If you like you can download a template that I use.

Create Link to SSM from Request Center

This step is optional hence the ½. I like to provide multiple options for the users. The key to adoption of any new tool or system is to make it easy for the users to find things. The login for SSM is one of things.

If you are unsure how to do this, checkout the Add Link to External System on RC Portal post.


That’s it. Two and half simple steps to smoothly onboard your new users to Serena Service Manager and Serena Request Center whether it be On-demand or on premise.

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Tags: Serena On Demand

This video demonstrates a feature in Composer that makes it easy to reuse your forms, both within an application and between them.  When you copy a form and its underlying table changes, the fields on the form may no longer be valid.   The form copy mechanism maps fields with identical names and types, and an addition feature lets you change the table field associated with any control on the form.

If you enjoyed reading this blog entry, please subscribe to my blog by clicking the 'subscribe to updates from author' link below.

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Tags: SBM


For Serena Business Manager (SBM) versions 10.1.5.x and earlier, the provided and only supported application server was Red Hat JBoss.  Due to changing market conditions, Serena Software has decided to change the provided Application Server from Red Hat JBoss to Apache Tomcat.  

Why change from JBoss to Tomcat?

Currently, as an application server, version 4.0.5 of JBoss is distributed with SBM.  The version of Tomcat on which this version of JBoss is based is Tomcat version 5.5.  This version of Tomcat has reached its end-of-life, so a newer version of an application server needs to be distributed with SBM.  Because a new version had to be included, analysis was done to determine if upgrading JBoss was the right direction or whether an alternative would provide more value.  During this research, Serena received feedback from many customers who preferred the community version of Tomcat over the forked version found in JBoss.  It also enabled a more simplified distribution as some JBoss capabilities were not exercised by SBM.  Thus, Serena has decided to embed the community version of Tomcat directly rather than JBoss with the next major release of SBM.  A newer version of Tomcat will also benefit customers because the technology has added improvements in garbage collection, JSP parsing, performance and scalability.  And finally, the community is active on newer versions; discovering, reporting, analyzing and correcting defects in a timely manner.

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Tags: SBM

Occasionally a server configuration problem can prevent communication between the Application Engine server and the Common Services server, resulting in a failure to run the Request Center and Work Center products.  This article covers the steps to diagnose the problem or at least gather more information.

  1. Get a zip of the log files from Configurator on the Application Engine server and the Common Services server (if different server).
  2. Look at the Application Engine.Log.isapi_redirect.log to see if there are any current errors.  The isapi redirect log file is generated by the JK Connector which SBM uses to send request between the Application Engine server and the Common Services server.
  3. Check the Application Engine.Log.Application event log.evt event viewer log for errors.
  4. Check the Common.jboss405.server.default.log.server.log log for errors.  This shows errors occurring on the Common Services side.
  5. Call Serena Support for help at any step of the way.
  6. If no smoking gun has been found at this point then it's time to take things a step further!

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Tags: SBM


Dimensions Build includes a notification facility that enables you to send email messages containing information about build events. For example, you can notify users when a build is completed or when a build area is updated.

This post provides quick instructions on how to create build (email) notification templates for Dimensions CM Build. Templates are useful when you want to re-use the same subject and message in multiple notification events.

The overall steps are:

  1. Configure the Notification Server (if not already configured
  2. Create Notification Template
  3. Add Notification Events to the Stream (or Project)
  4. Add Notification Subscribers

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Tags: Dimensions CM

I commonly hear the request to have an approval step in a workflow that is going to be variable.  The other catch to this request is that the approvers change somewhat frequently, so there is a desire to not to have to make an administrative change each time the approver is going to change.

The best way to implement this is using an auxiliary table that will contain the user field with the defined approver and add permissions for a specified group of people to be able to update the auxiliary table records.

The challenge becomes, how do I get that approver field value copied to my workflow.  Before the days of orchestrations, we commonly would use TeamScript/AppScript for this.

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Tags: SBM


Amongst the most common type of issues reported to Serena Support’s ZMF team are problems related to ChangeMan ZMF security profiles.  It is reasonably common for us to discuss “Dave being unable to see or select the admin option” or “Heidi not being allowed to create a package in application TOGA”. 

So, how do we go about researching such a problem and can customers perform any self-diagnosis of such issues?  Obviously the answer to the latter is ‘yes’ or this would be a very short blog entry.  So, let’s use an example and work through the diagnosis process.   

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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe

In SBM 10.1.5, we've added a powerful and flexible new way to configure the REST Grid widget.

The Problem

In earlier releases, to configure the REST Grid widget you would enter an URL to the REST service.  Composer called that service, obtained a result and used it to determine the expected structure of the REST data so it could be used for mapping to other controls.  However, this process failed in a number of circumstances.  For example, the Composer user might not have permission to access the REST service, or the service might not always return all the data elements that might occur in production use.

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Tags: SBM

Back in SBM 10.1.3, we included a new feature to call REST web services with orchestrations.  The RESTCaller is included in the Composer interface after you upgrade.  You simply drag it onto your orchestration flow diagram and start to configure it the same way you do SOAP based web service calls.  Since this is essentially a wrapper, there is a little bit of translation that you will have to do.  There are two resources that you will want to reference. 

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Tags: SBM

When preparing for our ZMF 8.1 upgrade we have obviously all checked the Serena Support site – OEM Software Compatibility information here (you need to be logged into the Support website to access this link).  And from this we understand that z/OS 1.12 is the minimum supported operating system. 

However, we all know that we can always fire up ZMF on an earlier z/OS level and it will just about always work, right?  Well, no, that is not the case with ZMF 8.1.  


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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe


If you are part of the ChangeMan ZMF community, you may have received the ChangeMan ZMF Product Survey which went out in February of this year. If you were at xChange 2015, or if you’ve been on the last couple of Mainframe VUGs (Virtual User Groups), you have heard Mark Levy and I mention the survey.

During the kickoff session of the Mainframe track at xChange, among other topics such as the product roadmap, product futures and initiatives within R&D, I presented a glimpse of the survey results. The survey was still open so the results weren’t finalized but were consistent and in-line with what we are seeing now that the survey is closed. The results follow.

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Tags: ChangeMan ZMF/Mainframe

Part 1 of a 2 Part series (the second part will cover SBM Backup Implementation on SQL Server)

1.0 Importance of a Good Backup/Restore Strategy

SBM is used to capture important information, so it is crucial that you have a good backup and restore strategy in case anything goes wrong with your database. A media failure (disk crash), user error, or an application error can each cause problems with your database where you could lose critical data; if you are not in a position to be able to restore it from your backups.

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Tags: SBM