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CICS Portfolio e-Newsletter

CICS communication

View from Development – Dave Andrews

Dave AndrewsMy CICS development team has been very busy recently shipping a number of supporting features for CICS and CICS Tools.

CICS TS 3.2 now provides support for Java 5, as well as the MTOM/XOP specification via the WebSphere MQ protocol. SupportPac CA8K is available to download and it provides sample code to demonstrate how to generate Atom feeds from CICS. Please consult the CICS Highlight section below for more details.

I also encourage you to find out more about the new enhancements in CICS Performance Analyzer from the interview with Chris Baker in the CICS People section. As well as a series of new product development, we have a new CICS Blog called the Master Terminal written by a few of our top developers. A new section in this newsletter, Best of the Rest, delivers highlights of CICS articles and news items in other online publications.

It was great to see everyone at Las Vegas – I hope you all found it as rewarding as we did. Please read on for Rick Thomas’s thoughts on Impact 2008. It gives me great pleasure to support the second China CICS User Group Conference in May this year. Last year saw our first meeting and we are building on the success of that event to update our customers on latest enhancements and capabilities that have been introduced in the year that has passed as well as having more sessions covering a wider set of integration and application development topics. I also had the privilege of being invited to attend long established events such as GSE Nordic and I shall be hosting the Q&A at the event being held in Denmark, May 28th - 30th. You can hear and speak to CICS Technical specialists from Hursley Lab about CICS and related products. Please see the events section further down in this letter for details of how to register.

Dave Andrews,
Director, CICS Development

CICS Scene – Rick Thomas

Impact 2008 was held in Las Vegas this year and was another great success building on the inaugural event in 2007. Highlights include:

#The participation for CICS went beyond our expectations. Over 3000 Impact attendees indicated their interests in the CICS & Enterprise Track. Our Hands-on Laboratory session was over-subscribed well before the event. The CICS sessions were very well attended and, in some cases, standing-room only.

Many customers took advantage of the CICS Tech Zone and enjoyed 1-1 conversations with CICS technical specialists on a variety of CICS subjects. The Solution Center provided the opportunity for customers to see IBM’s Smart SOA offerings, as well as complementary solutions from many business partners. Out of a total of 42 IBM peds in the exhibition area, the CICS Ped was awarded the Best Ped!

You might have tested your CICS and Smart SOA knowledge at the Innov8 Smart SOA Challenge. A member of the Sogeti team won a Smart car by correctly answering CICS (and other) questions. For example, they identified all SOA enabled System z application servers, which are CICS TS, IMS, TPF and WAS.

If you were unable to attend Impact, look out for Impact Comes to You which is being run in a number of countries. Please also put a placeholder in your diary for Impact 2009 in May. Finally, check out the Impact Day 1 Highlights video on YouTube which features our very own Dave Andrews.

Richard Thomas,
Program Director, CICS Marketing

CICS highlights

New! Java 5 Support in CICS TS 3.2

APAR PK59577 provides support for Java 5 in CICS TS 3.2. This is in addition to the existing support for Java 1.4.2. Customers can choose to move to Java 5, or stay with Java 1.4.2. The IBM 31-bit Java 5 for z/OS is a completely different JVM from earlier releases, with a different Shared Class Cache model, a new Garbage Collector and a new Just-In-Time Compiler (JIT).

The Shared Class Cache is now an autonomous entity, and does not require a Master JVM to maintain it. This means that it is also independent of the CICS region which started it. The Shared Class Cache persists even across CICS restarts, so it is ready for use as soon as the the first Java request requires it. Also, when it becomes full, there is no need to restart it. New classes are simply loaded locally into the heap of the JVM which requested the class loading.

The new GC and JIT are designed for speed and efficiency. The JIT now progressively optimizes methods the more they are used, to provide the best performance on the most frequently used applications.

Customers can switch between Java 1.4.2 and Java 5 as required, but only one version of the JVM can be running in a CICS region at one time. A COLD or INITIAL start is required to switch between Java versions.

For more information please see PK59577: Providing Support for Java 5.

New! Jinsight Live for System z on CICS TS 3.2

Jinsight Live for System z is a visualization tool that allows a user to interactively trace and visualize the execution of a Java program on z/OS, and now for Java programs running in a JVM under CICS TS 3.2. A live connection allows the user to collect execution information from the Java program on the System z host and visualize it immediately on a personal computer, without having to use previously captured traces. JinsightLive for IBM System z allows Java program developers on z/OS to profile complex programs in a variety of runtime environments including CICS and WebSphere Application Server. The power of this tool is the ability to see and drill down to the lowest levels of the application in a visual manner without source code or byte code instrumentation.

You can download Jinsight Live for System z from AlphaWorks and you can find the Installation Guide here. (PDF, 382KB)

SupportPac to Deliver Atom feeds from CICS

SupportPac CA8K provides sample code to demonstrate how to generate Atom feeds to publish data contained within CICS resources or obtained by executing a CICS application.

The sample code enables you to:

There are specific interfaces to interact with CICS Temporary Storage queues, and also to link to customized service routines that can be used to access other resources and services within CICS, including an example that accesses the CICS sample file FILEA.

To find out more and download SupportPac CA8K please visit CICS SupportPac CA8K.

Full MTOM/XOP support for WebSphere MQ Transport

In standard SOAP messages, binary objects are base64-encoded and included in the message body. This increases their size by 33%, which for very large binary objects can significantly impact transmission time. Implementing MTOM/XOP provides a solution to this problem. CICS now supports MTOM/XOP in both requester and provider pipelines over HTTP, HTTPS and WMQ protocols.

Prior to the APAR PK59110, CICS supports the MTOM/XOP specification in both requester and provider pipelines when the transport protocol is HTTP or HTTPS. The development team have now enabled the support for MTOM/XOP in both requester and provider pipelines over the WebSphere MQ protocol. This means third-party systems can now send MTOM/XOP messages to CICS via WebSphere MQ.

For more information, please refer to the Technote for details.

"The Master Terminal" - A New CICS Blog

The CICS blog is written by an expanding group of people in IBM Hursley and beyond who work on CICS. Expect to see posts on conferences, code samples, tutorials, Q&A, interviews, latest news and helpful hints.

The blog has been created to help generate more of a community spirit within the CICS world by providing a direct link to the IBM CICS team, freely sharing knowledge and expert tips, and openly discussing the issues of the day. The blog provides a key starting point to building a real community around CICS. It forms part of the currently budding community including the new CICS Wiki and CICS World sites. The main goal is to get CICS users all over the world blogging about CICS. Please contact Chris Hodgins and Grant Shayler if you want to be added to the CICS blogger list.

Get blogging at the Master Terminal.

Drive value from z applications with new WebSphere MQ for z/OS

You can connect your core System z platform-hosted applications such as CICS to other System z or distributed applications, including those of your business partners, in many ways. One of the more flexible and mature solutions available to you today is IBM WebSphere MQ for z/OS. On April 1, IBM announced new WebSphere MQ for z/OS V7, which delivers a wealth of function to give you easier Web connectivity, out-of-the-box support for Web 2.0, more flexible programming options and enhanced performance.

WebSphere MQ for z/OS provides even more connectivity options to extend the reach of your mainframe applications to business data both inside and outside of your enterprise,and extract more value from your mainframe assets. In V7, publish and subscribe is integrated into the z/OS queue manager and is fully configurable in the graphical MQ Explorer tool. MQ V7 provides new Message Queue Interface (MQI) calls and adds new options for publish and subscribe messaging to existing MQI calls. If you are looking to Web 2.0 standards for new applications, WebSphere MQ V7 delivers a bridge for HTTP that links AJAX applications to the WebSphere MQ backbone using a RESTful programming model.

Learn more about ehancements in "WebSphere MQ for z/OS V7". You can join the WebSphere MQ Version 7.0 Open Beta program today here.

CICS Transaction Server V2.3 withdrawal from marketing

We have announced the withdrawal of support for CICS Transaction Server V2.3, effective September 2009 - see details in the announcement letter here. Customers still running CICS TS V2.3, or earlier releases and versions which are already out of support, should seek the advice of their local IBM sales or technical sales representatives to help plan their migration to CICS TS V3.2 in good time. When planning version-to-version migrations, don't forget that CICS Interdependency Analyzer V2.2 now contains new queries to help to identify those applications most sensitive to change, helping target testing where it is most needed.

Countdown: at May 1st, 2008, CICS TS V2.2 has gone out of service, and there are 521 days until the EOS of CICS TS V2.3.

CICS events

IBM System z Technical Conference, 5-9 May, Dresden-Germany

IBM System z - the power of many, the simplicity of one! Are your systems secure from external and internal threats? Are you concerned about costly, complex "server sprawl?" Managing security, IT costs and complexity are the top challenges facing enterprises of all types and sizes. This conference provides expert insight into the powerful capabilities of IBM System z, designed to help simplify and secure your infrastructure. This conference will help you boost your advanced mainframe skills or begin with mainframe basics, improve planning of hardware/software investments, test drive new technologies in hands-on labs, and see product demonstrations in the Solutions Center. For more information, see here.

CICS User Group 2008, 7-9 May, Sanya, China

At the second Greater China Group CICS User Group customers can learn about the value of System z, Smart SOA, and CICS through a number of presentations, demos, and case studies. This conference will also provide the opportunity for you to further understand how to better leverage CICS, its latest functions and tools, and how to make CICS and SOA work for you.

Take the opportunity to:

For more information please contact Wen Lu and register through your IBM client representative.

GSE Nordic Region Technical Conference 2008, 28-30 May, Helsingor, Denmark.

The conference format will be a six-track conference covering CICS, IMS, MQ, DB2, Development, and General Interest/Architecture. Check out the website for agenda and details

Listen to the latest CICS and WebSphere System z Software Podcasts

We have two new podcasts for you to listen to as part of our 'Did you say Mainframe?!' series, where our host Sherrie Abshire interviews technical specialists about aspects and features of the IBM premier platform, System z. Subscribe to this podcast series so that you don't miss any of the episodes.

Latest podcasts include:

For these topics and more, please visit the WebSphere System z Software Podcast page.

Register for the following upcoming Teleconferences:

CICS people

In this new series, we interview members of the CICS development team to find out more about their work and interests.

After hearing about the new exciting development relating to CICS Monitoring and Statistics, the Editor had a chat with the expert in the area to find out more. Read the interview here.

CICS people

Best of the Rest

In this new quarterly feature, we have selected some CICS related articles from the last quarter and news items from the Web for your convenience.

'The IBM wind of change' – Graham Spittle, the former Director of Hursley Lab with responsibilities including CICS, is featured on the CIO UK Magazine, discussing his recent job move, Hursley, and much more.

Impact 2008: Thoughts on CICS, WebSphereMQ and SOA – Industry analyst James Governor shares his thoughts on attending Impact 2008, meeting Yvonne Perkins, the VP of IBM Enterprise Platform Software, and leveraging existing investment.

'CICS TS 3.2 and 64-Bit Storage Support' - This article offers an overview of CICS TS’ use of storage above the bar, a capability introduced in 2007, with 64-bit support for channel/container data in CICS TS 3.2.

'CICS Serviceability Enhancement' - This recent enhancement to CICS Transaction Server V3.1 and V3.2 provides additional diagnostic information to assist in problem resolution following a wild branch-type problem.

"What's going on with CICS" – In this short blog entry, Trevor Eddolls talks about CICS, SOA, and Xepho mainframe technical journals.

Training and development

Workshops and seminars