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December 2009

CICS communication

A View from Development - Dave Andrews, Director - CICS Products

Hi, welcome to the final CICS newsletter of 2009. What a year CICS has seen! Despite extraordinary economic conditions I have continued to send my technical specialists around the world to visit customers as part of our CICS Smart Seminar initiative. We have made several significant product deliveries from CICS Transaction Server, CICS Tools, PD Tools and complementary products like ILOG and Rational. And, of course the CICS family celebrated 40 years as an IBM program product in July this year. My team have striven to give you the best possible capabilities from our software so I hope that you are finding new ways to extract value from your CICS. Later in this newsletter you will see events that CICS personnel will be participating in through 2010 so I urge you to check out the links and make a date to attend, be they conferences, Podcasts, Webcasts or a new red book, they will all give you insightful information on how to better take advantage of your CICS environment. I’d like to wish you and your families very happy seasonal holidays and a happy new year, I hope to see as many of you as I can in 2010 at customer visits and conferences.

Product highlights

CICS Explorer V1.0.0.4

The latest updates to the CICS Explorer base and associated plug-ins for CICS Tools will be made available on Friday, December 18. While this is a relatively minor update, there are some important new capabilities:

CICS Explorer base

CICS Configuration Manager plug-in

Minor fixes have also been applied to the CICS Interdependency Analyzer plug-in, and with this version you can now use the Eclipse Software Updates function to update the CICS Performance Analyzer plug-in. If you have been tracking the CICS Explorer updates, you may be wondering what happened to V1.0.0.3. Don't worry, you didn't miss an update - we used that number for an internal release.

CICS Configuration Manager V2.1 update

In addition to the new facilities provided in its updated CICS Explorer plug-in (see previous article), CICS Configuration Manager V2.1 will deliver the following key enhancements in APAR PK95899:

For more details, please see http://tinyurl.com/PK95899 (link resides outside of ibm.com)

CICS Interdependency Analyzer V3.1 update

If you use CICS Interdependency Analyzer and have COBOL programs that use Dynamic calls, APAR PK95283 (PTF UK51920) will be of interest to you. This APAR provides the capability to correctly record dynamic COBOL calls in the CICS Dependency data and the Command Flow Data. The call will only be collected for LE COBOL program if the Language Environment option, CBLPSHPOP, is active. It will also report the correct program name, program length and offset for commands issued from dynamically called LE COBOL programs at EXEC CICS,DB2 SQL, MQ and DLI requests.

For more details visit http://tinyurl.com/PK95283 (link resides outside of ibm.com)

Debug Tool V10 ships DTCN plug-in for CICS Explorer

The latest version of IBM Debug Tool (V10) now ships with a CICS Explorer plug-in. This plug-in provides the same capability that the CICS DTCN transaction delivers, enabling you to set up your debugging profiles directly from your desktop Eclipse environment without needing to use a 3270 connection. The plug-in is delivered with your DT installation library - just download to your workstation and copy the jar file to your CICS Explorer dropins directory. For more details, visit the Debug Tool web site http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/debugtool/.

ILOG BRMS Rules for COBOL V7.0

The latest version of ILOG BRMS Rule for COBOL is now available. It includes a fully-supported version of the Channels/Containers rules linking technology that was documented in Redbook Updating Rules for COBOL Generated Code to Use CICS Channels and Containers (available for download at http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstracts/REDP4589.html?Open). This technology was previously shipped as SupportPac CA0A.

Events

CICS related events planned for 2010

To help you plan for next year, we thought it might be useful to see some of the international events where CICS will be featured, with speaking sessions, exhibitions and demonstrations.

We don't have all of the dates and cities yet, but we'll get you more details on these events in our first CICS eNewsletter in 2010, or visit the CICS Events web page at http://ibm.com/cics/events/.

CICS Seminars

System z Technology Summit
Take advantage of your mainframe’s potential ... attend one of our free mainframe technical seminars
Keeping up on the latest technology is essential — from hardware to software to the tools that maximize their value. Join us at a city near you for this unique technical update and learn how System z solutions can help you stay on top of your job and your business.

Whether you’re an IT manager trying to run a smarter enterprise, an application developer wanting to master new approaches to asset reuse, a proactive DBA or system programmer trying to stem the drain on resources, or an architect seeking insight into connectivity issues, this unique IBM technology update has a track for you and your peers.
The Technology Summit will visit seven cities in North America in during from January to March 2010. Don't miss out! Register now at http://ibm.com/software/systemz/summit:http://www.ibm.com/software/info/lmi/zpotential/

CICS resources

Two new whitepapers

Boost mainframe workload deployment with IBM System z Solution Edition for Application Development
The IBM System z® mainframe is well known for its operational value. Across a number of industries, including finance, government and retail, it is the de facto online transaction processing server and high-end database.
ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/tserver/library/7272_Boost_mainframe_workload_White_Paper_ZSW03135-USEN-00_Final_Nov13_09.pdf (PDF, 283KB)

Service Component Architechture (SCA)
This paper sets out the advantages to be gained from adopting a SOA approach to CICS applications through the use of the SCA technology included in CICS Transaction Server v4.1 and provides an introduction to the concepts involved.
ftp://ftp.software.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/pdf/sca_white_papers.pdf (PDF, 142KB)

Upcoming z family Webcasts and Teleconferences

Teleconference 13 Jan 2010 Shorten cycles for application development and problem determination http://www.ibm.com/software/os/systemz/telecon/13jan/index.html

Teleconference 27 Jan 2010 Take agile to the enterprise – Rational Developer for System z and Rational Team Concert for System z http://www.ibm.com/software/os/systemz/telecon/27jan/index.html

Podcasts
Visit http://www.ibm.com/software/os/systemz/podcasts/websphereonz/ for the latest in our series of Did You Say Mainframe? podcasts, including Daniel Donnelly from the WebSphere ILOG Synergies Team at IBM Hursley explaining why business rules are important and how the ILOG BRMS capabilities can be readily applied to COBOL applications running in CICS. (Dan is also featured in our CICS People segment, later in the newsletter.)

We are also in the process of posting a two-part podcast with Joe Winchester speaking about the CICS Explorer, so to be notified when that appears, why not subscribe to the podcast series RSS feed but popping this URL into your favourite feed reader http://www.ibm.com/podcasts/software/websphere/systemz/index.rss.

Social Networking
CICSFluff YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/CICSfluff (link resides outside of ibm.com)
CICS Explorer YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/CICSExplorer (link resides outside of ibm.com)
Come and join our I ♥ CICS Facebook (link resides outside of ibm.com) group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=4907254593(link resides outside of ibm.com)
Twitter CICS: http://twitter.com/IBM_CICS (link resides outside of ibm.com)
Twitter System z: http://twitter.com/IBM_System_z (link resides outside of ibm.com)
CICS Explorer forum: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=1475&start=0
CICS blog: http://themasterterminal.com/ (link resides outside of ibm.com)
CICS Explorer blog: http://cicsexplorer.com/ (link resides outside of ibm.com)

Product libraries pages
For the latest white papers, data sheets and more:
CICS Server Library
http://www.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/tserver/v32/library/index.html
CICS Connectors Library
http://www.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/library/connectors.html
CICS Tools Library
http://www.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/library/tools.html
PD Tools Library
http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/deployment/library/

Training and development

With low cost e-learning bundles for System z, you can boost your IBM System z® skills when it’s convenient for you—and save big! For only $350 a bundle, you receive three months of unlimited access to 55 comprehensive System z courses through the IBM e-learning portal. The Programming bundle includes six CICS classes, plus others covering COBOL, Assemble, Java, PL/I, JCL, SDSF and other key z/OS technologies. More details are available at http://www.ibm.com/training/us/zbundles

Business Partner News

We have compiled a list of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) who have indicated that they support CICS TS V4.1 . That list is available from the CICS TS web page, or directly by following this link http://www.ibm.com/software/htp/cics/partners.html. If you plan to upgrade to CICS TS V4 and are reliant on vendor products which are not shown, please communicate that directly to your ISV or contact your local IBM representative. ISVs who have software that supports CICS TS V4 who would like to be added to this list should contact us (CICSETP@uk.ibm.com).

To learn more about how one vendor is supporting and exploiting CICS TS V4.1, read
Seagull Software Leverages Compete, Control and Comply Features of CICS TS V4.1 at http://www.reuters.com/article/idUS166183+26-Aug-2009+BW20090826 (link resides outside of ibm.com)

CICS People

In this series, we interview members of the ILOG Synergies and Integration team to find out more about their work and interests. Chris Backhouse and Dan Donnelly are software developers working on WebSphere ILOG JRules for BRMS (Business rule management systems).

Editor: Welcome Chris and Daniel, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview. Let’s start by finding out a bit more about you.

Editor: Why did you join IBM and what were you doing before?
Chris: I liked the idea of working for a large company that had many different areas I could work in. I joined IBM as a graduate from Southampton University in 1999.
Dan: I joined IBM in the test department of the CICS development group in Hursley just over 8 years ago. A couple of years prior to this I had worked in the CICS Function Verification team for a year as part of my Computing Science degree at the University of Ulster.

Editor: Where do you currently work in IBM?
Dan: I work in the WebSphere ILOG Synergies Team. This team has been set up to help identify (and produce collateral to support) synergies between products IBM acquired during the ILOG acquisition and our existing portfolio.
Chris: I work in the ILOG JRules development/product management area and with Dan in the synergies team.

Editor: What other areas of IBM have you previously worked in?
Dan: As I mention previously, prior to joining my current team I was a member of CICS development. I have been both a tester and developer on CICS and spent most of my time working on CICSPlex System Manager (CPSM). For a number of years I was the lead developer for the Web User Interface of CPSM.
Chris: I started in IBM working in CICS Solution Test, looking at implementing customer like integration scenarios for CICS. This then expanded across all the IBM WebSphere products as the Hurlsey Scenario development team. Around 6 years ago I returned to work in CICS development where I was part of the Web services, then Service Flow and most recently as one of the architects on the Event Processing development teams.

Editor: What changes have you seen since your time here?
Dan: One of the major changes that I’ve seen is on the mainframe, where the technology has constantly evolved to keep the hardware and software relevant in the marketplace. Technologies like Web Services mean that our CICS customers are able to open up their existing applications to new areas of their enterprise. New graphical tools such as Rational Developer for z and the CICS Explorer are making it easier for those people not from a mainframe background to participate on the mainframe.
Chris: Most of my IBM career has been based around the mainframe. Here I have seen a change from customers looking to migrate applications off the mainframe to reaching the realisation that the technologies now exist to allow those valuable assets to be repurposed and reused rather than replaced.

Editor: Is there any other area’s in the business you’ve wanted to work in?
Chris: Had a fairly diverse career so far, so wouldn’t rule anything out ….. except sales never liked talking money!

Editor: Sounds like you’ve both had quite a lively profession, so after all this, why did you join ILOG?
Chris: I had a great time as part of the event processing team but having been back in CICS for about 4-5 years decided I wanted a change to try something completely different.
Dan: I was interested in joining the Synergies team as it’s something IBM hasn’t really done before. It’s a new way of trying to more quickly and effectively get products that we acquire as part of an acquisition integrated into our existing architectures and solutions. I was also interested as this job was a completely different style of working to what I did before. A typical CICS release can take around 18 months from when the requirements are gathered to release. This involves a lot of long term planning and long term projects. In this new team projects are much shorter and therefore require different ways of working.

Editor: What are you working on at the moment?
Chris: In ILOG I have mainly focused on the JRules business rules management product. I currently have a split personality. Half my time is spent as one of the product managers for the ILOG Rules on z offerings and half my time is spent looking at integration opportunities between ILOG and CICS, WebSphere Message Broker, Business Events, ESB and Application Server.
Dan: Currently I am working on how we can use the WebSphere ILOG Business Rules Management products on System z to bring agility and flexibility to mainframe applications. I am also currently investigating synergies between the ILOG BRMS products and products from one of our most recent acquisitions SPSS.

Editor: How have you seen ILOG develop?
Chris: Over the last year I have seen a transition from a medium sized company with stand alone products to one embracing the challenge of being part of a much larger organisation and the opportunities that offers its customers.

Editor: What do you see in your future with ILOG?
Chris: Lots of work and interesting opportunities to bring the benefits of rule execution to our customers.

Editor: Where do you see ILOG in 10 years?
Chris: I think I can see the JRules piece being the core of something larger, Decision Management, growing from business rules to something that encompasses the end to end process of implementing business decisions.
Dan: One emerging area that we’ll see become more and more prominent is Decision Management. Decision Management relates to how software is used to manage how decisions get made in an enterprise. It involves analysing what is happening in your business today, changing your rules and systems to get better outcomes, then analysing the results of those changes to see if they have had the desired effect. The ILOG Business Rules Management System is going to be one of the products that play a central role in a Decision Management solution.

Editor: What do you think would happen without ILOG?
Chris: I think the JRules piece has a lot to offer particularly our z customers. The ILOG rules products give us another way to help add agility to and reuse existing trusted z based assets.
Dan: Without ILOG Business Rule Management there would be a number of companies and organisations today that simply would not be able to respond rapidly and effectively to changing market conditions. Some of our customers could take weeks or months to change a service or offering that was not getting as favourable a response as they would have expected. That’s a long time to be losing money while you get a new, better offer in place. After bringing in ILOG Business Rules these companies have been able to respond in a matter of days or hours instead.

Editor: Do you have any insights and tips for customers who are using ILOG with CICS?
Chris: I would love to talk with any customers who are interested in using the two together. There are lots of options available to integrate rules into CICS applications. If you have applications that you’re finding a need to update on a regular basis to implement new business policies then ILOG rules offerings may well be an answer to reducing the costs of those changes.
Dan: My colleague Janet Wall and I recently gave a webcast on how WebSphere ILOG Business Rule Management can be used with CICS. Readers can access this webcast at:
http://www.ibm.com/software/os/systemz/telecon/oct7/

Again thank you very much to our interviewees for taking the time out to feature in this month’s CICS e-Newsletter. Readers can find out more information about WebSphere ILOG JRules BRMS at: http://www.ibm.com/software/integration/business-rule-management/jrules-family/

To provide feedback and comments on CICS portfolio e-news please email the editor.