IBM United States
Software Announcement 201-097
April 17, 2001

Preview: VSE/ESA Version 2 Release 6 Continues Interoperability Focus

 ENUS201-097.PDF (23KB)

At a Glance

Customers need to implement the application that best meets the needs of their business, regardless of platform.

VSE/ESA V2R6 expands opportunities to create world-class, integrated e-business solutions in a hybrid environment. It protects your investments in core VSE data and applications, yet leverages advanced, open capabilities of platforms such as Linux (including Linux for S/390), Windows™ 2000, Windows™ NT, AIX®, OS/390®, z/OS, and others. VSE/ESA V2R6 e-business capabilities are based on open standards described in the powerful three-tier model outlined in IBM's Application Framework for e-business.

VSE/ESA V2R6 adds TCP/IP support for CICS External Call Interface (ECI). VSE connectors will be updated to the Java 2 standard. Internet security will be improved with the addition of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to TCP/IP. SSL exploitation includes CICS Web Support (CWS).

VSE/ESA V2R6 also supports enhanced technology including zSeries 900 (31-bit mode only), FICON, 2074, VSAM support for large 3390-9 disks, TCP/IP support for OSA Express, xSeries Enabled For S/390 (x/EFS), and Fastcopy utility exploitation of the Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) FlashCopy feature.


Many VSE customers have a hybrid IT infrastructure that includes several platforms. Application decisions, including e-business needs and opportunities, determine the platforms selected and no single platform is best for every need.

A platform is the combination of server and operating system. With the introduction of Linux for S/390®, VSE customers may now exploit the popular Linux operating system on the same IBM S/390 or IBM e(logo)server zSeries server that runs their core VSE applications. Thus even a single server may represent a hybrid environment.

In a hybrid world, interoperability is a key requirement.

VSE/ESA™ Version 2 Release 5 (V2R5) expanded VSE interoperability with the addition of e-business “connectors” based on open standards. Connectors allow easy access to VSE resources from other platforms, including, for example, Linux for S/390. They complement IBM connector middleware such as CICS® Transaction Gateway, DB2 Connect®, and MQSeries® clients.

VSE/ESA V2R6 continues the focus on interoperability. Enhancements add TCP/IP support for the CICS External Call Interface (ECI), let customers avoid SHARE OPTION 4 and the associated performance penalty when using connectors to remotely update VSAM data from another platform, and add Java™ 2 support to the VSE connector beans.

Internet security will be improved with the addition of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to TCP/IP for VSE/ESA. The SSL standard allows highly secure connections to CICS applications using CICS Web Support (CWS).

Hardware support includes zSeries 900 (31-bit mode only), FICON™ channels, 2074 management console to eliminate the non-SNA 3174 requirement, VSAM support for large 3390-9 disks, TCP/IP support for the OSA Express Adapter (available on S/390 G5/G6, and zSeries 900), IBM e(logo)server Solution — xSeries Enabled For S/390 (x/EFS), and Fastcopy utility exploitation of the Enterprise Storage Server™ (ESS) FlashCopy feature.

Fast Service Upgrade (FSU) from VSE/ESA V2R4 and VSE/ESA V2R5 will be provided.

Previews provide insight into IBM plans and direction. Availability, prices, ordering information, and terms and conditions will be provided when the product is announced.

Key Prerequisites

VSE e-business Connectors require TCP/IP for VSE/ESA V1R4 or equivalent. “Tier 2” servers require the Java Development Kit (JDK) V1.1.x or above and WebSphere™ Application Server or equivalent.

In addition, those based on a DB2® infrastructure require DB2 Server for VSE & VM and stored procedure capabilities. Tier 2 servers require DB2 Connect or equivalent.


Interoperability through e-business Connectors

To exploit e-business opportunities, low cost and fast time-to-market are key. Few customers have the time or resources to convert fully functional core VSE applications to another platform. Instead, most want to protect their extensive investment in core applications, data, business processes, and skills. Furthermore, they want to leverage that investment to advance their e-business initiatives whenever possible. Connectors address those two requirements.

VSE e-business Connectors are designed for a three-tier environment. Using the three-tier model, the user interface may be a standard Web browser (tier 1). Requests from the user are handled by a Web application server (tier 2). The target Web application server is WebSphere. WebSphere runs on a variety of server platforms such as Linux (including Linux for S/390), Windows 2000, Windows NT, AIX, OS/390, z/OS, and others. When necessary, the Web application server (tier 2) requests services from a VSE system (tier 3). The Web application server integrates local and external content into a response that is returned to the user's browser (tier 1).

The three-tier model allows VSE customers to build truly world-class e-business applications yet protect their sizeable investment in VSE skills and information assets. Leveraging core VSE applications and data may allow them to deploy e-business applications with lower cost, less risk, and quicker time-to-market than alternatives requiring wasteful conversion or replacement of core VSE applications.

These VSE e-business Connectors complement other IBM middleware such as CICS Transaction Gateway, DB2 Connect, and MQSeries. They offer additional ways to help customers more easily integrate VSE core applications and data into productive, cost-effective e-business solutions.

Customers may exploit Linux for S/390 to implement state-of-the-art applications that follow the three-tier (logical) model, but are implemented in a two-tier (physical) environment.

Enhancements to VSE Connectors

Currently the CICS External Call Interface (ECI) supports only SNA. VSE/ESA V2R6 will add TCP/IP support for ECI. For example, TCP/IP connectivity will allow VSE users to exploit WebSphere Application Server and CICS Transaction Gateway in the Linux for S/390 environment to access applications running under CICS Transaction Server for VSE/ESA.

Support for Java 2 (JDK 1.2 and 1.3) will keep VSE connectors up-to-date with current open standards. Connectors will be supported for Linux (including Linux for S/390) and Windows 2000.

In VSE/ESA V2R5 VSAM requests are handled by a VSE connector server, a long-running batch partition. If data in a file that's under the control of CICS needs to be updated, SHARE OPTION 4 was required to resolve potential contention. The resulting overhead not only increased the time needed to service a connector request, but affected the performance of production applications using the file. With VSE/ESA V2R6, requests for VSAM data may be routed to CICS. The improved design can avoid performance impacts that would have resulted from the use of SHARE OPTION 4.

Note: VSE connectors provide a basic, record-level API to VSE/VSAM and DL/I. Some Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) offer products with more capability. For example, proven ISV products are available with a rich set of application functions including a SQL language API from the client (tier 2) system, powerful mapping services, support for selected non-IBM databases, equivalent OS/390 products, and so on. Customers who need access to VSE data from another platform should consider these ISV products. VSE e-business Connectors are complementary and aren't intended to be a replacement or alternative for products that address a more fully featured part of the connector “spectrum.”

Internet Security

Internet security will be enhanced with the addition of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to TCP/IP for VSE/ESA. SSL conforms to industry standards. It provides the protocols and algorithms needed to enhance confidentiality and verify content. The SSL encryption services include both Data Encryption Standard (DES) and “Triple DES.”

The SSL feature includes secure versions of common TCP/IP for VSE/ESA applications, including TN3270 and HTTP Server. CICS Web Support (CWS) will exploit SSL. The SSL Application Programming Interface (API) can be exploited by customers for new or existing sockets-based programs.

Continuing the objective of affinity between VSE and z/OS, the SSL API in VSE/ESA V2R6 is compatible with the OS/390 and z/OS SSL API. Like TCP/IP for VSE/ESA and related features, the SSL feature is licensed from Connectivity Systems Incorporated.

Support for Leading Technology

  • zSeries 900 (in 31-bit mode only)

    VSE/ESA V2R6 supports the powerful zSeries “natively,” in an LPAR, or under VM. Because there is no VSE support for 64-bit extensions, nor is there any support planned, the combination of VSE/ESA V2R6 and z/VM is especially attractive. z/VM provides additional zSeries exploitation as well as the traditional benefits of separate VSE images for production, systems test, application testing, and so on. Besides these traditional advantages, z/VM enables customers to protect their VSE information assets and exploit multiple Linux for S/390 images for new applications such as Web application serving and Business Intelligence.

  • FICON channels

    VSE/ESA V2R6 supports the higher-speed connections possible with FICON.

  • 2074 system management console

    The new 2074 system management console eliminates the requirement for a non-SNA 3174 controller.

  • VSAM support for large 3390-9 disks

    VSAM catalogs, data spaces, clusters, and alternate indexes may now reside on large 3390-9 disks. No program or application changes are required. The capacity of the 3390 Model 9 is approximately three times that of the 3390 Model 3, until now the largest disk supported by VSAM. Support for larger disks means constraint relief with more data per volume. And with fewer volumes needed to store a given amount of data, administration and operations may be simpler.

  • TCP/IP support for Open Systems Adapter (OSA) Express

    VSE/ESA V2R6 support for OSA Express will be available for the very efficient Queued Direct Input/Output (QDIO) architecture and non-QDIO configuration.

  • IBM e(logo)server Solution — xSeries Enabled For S/390 (x/EFS)

    x/EFS combines a powerful, robust, very scalable system based on Intel microprocessors, the DYNIX/ptx® operating system, plus proven S/390 emulation technology. x/EFS addresses the needs of customers with smaller VSE workloads (under 30 “MIPS”) and a strong need for server consolidation.

    x/EFS is uniquely capable of simultaneously running S/390, UNIX®, Linux, and Windows applications. x/EFS is a desirable solution for the customer with a relatively small VSE workload that's growing modestly, but with a hybrid environment characterized by faster growing UNIX and/or Windows workloads.

  • Fastcopy utility support for Enterprise Storage Server (ESS) FlashCopy feature and RAMAC® Virtual Array's (RVA's) SnapShot feature

    The Fastcopy utility will exploit the IXFP/SnapShot interface for full volume disk-to-disk backups. FlashCopy dramatically reduces the time needed to copy complete disk volumes. This extends the IXFP/SnapShot support introduced in VSE/ESA V2R5.

    Note: SnapShot is a trademark of Storage Technology Corporation for a duplication product.

Differences between VSE/ESA V2R6 and VSE/ESA V2R5

VSE/ESA V2R6 will no longer support 3380-A/D/J DASD as a VSE/ESA systems device. However, 3380-A/D/J disks will continue to be supported for data storage.

Replacement Notice

VSE/ESA V2R6 is the replacement for VSE/ESA V2R5. Upon general availability of VSE/ESA V2R6, VSE/ESA V2R5 will no longer be marketed.

Fast Service Upgrade (FSU) from VSE/ESA V2R4 and VSE/ESA V2R5 to VSE/ESA V2R6 will be provided.

Customer Financing

IBM Global Financing offers attractive financing to credit-qualified commercial and government customers and Business Partners in more than 40 countries around the world. IBM Global Financing is provided by the IBM Credit Corporation in the United States. Offerings, rates, terms, and availability may vary by country. Contact your local IBM Global Financing organization. Country organizations are listed on the Web at:

Customized Offerings

Most product media is shipped only via Customized Offerings (that is, CBPDO, ServerPac, Systempac®). Noncustomized items (CDs, diskettes, source media, media kits) will continue to be shipped via the stand-alone product.


zSeries, xSeries, z/OS, z/VM, VSE/ESA, FICON, Enterprise Storage Server, WebSphere, and the e-business logo are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
S/390, CICS, DB2 Connect, MQSeries, DB2, AIX, OS/390, RAMAC, and Systempac are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States or other countries or both.
Windows is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc.
UNIX is a registered trademark of the Open Company in the United States and other countries.
DYNIX/ptx is a registered trademark of Sequent Computer Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM Corporation.
Other company, product, and service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

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