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CICS Portfolio e-Newsletter

February 2008

CICS communication

View from Development – Dave Andrews

Welcome to the first 2008 edition of CICS eNews.

Dave AndrewsLet's take a moment to glance back on 2007, a fantastic year for the CICS family. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who participated in our very first open Beta, CICS TS v3.2. Over 100 people took part in this open Beta and we plan to run more in the future. We are also about to embark on a managed Beta; if you are interested in taking part, please contact Francis Burgess. With the final v3.2 product becoming available in June 2007, the adoption rate continues to exceed our expectations, and early quality indicators show that v3.2 is a robust delivery. As well as CICS TS v3.2, we saw numerous updates to the Tools, Connectors and TXSeries parts of the CICS portfolio, providing customers more tools and capabilities on their SOA journey.

As well as delivering new products and content, the development team have been looking at ways to address other issues. We have listened to your concerns about CICS skills and we are committed to transferring our skills to you all in a number of different ways. The Hursley lab will continue to offer our customized CICS On Demand Seminars (CODS) to customers around the world, talking to you about the issues important to your business. By the way, CODS have been acclaimed "an absurdly smart move by IBM" by industry analyst James Governor, so, why not call your IBM representative or write to the Lab directly, asking for a CODS nomination form.

March 2007 saw a very successful first China CICS User Group meeting, enabling new technical skills exchanges between the growing Chinese CICS community and us, and we are hoping to repeat that event in 2008. More details of that in a future CICS eNews. I have been listening closely to your comments about CICS education opportunities. I would like to suggest that people sign up to the two valuable training opportunities which are coming up – SHARE and Impact. As always, we will have extensive contents in both events for you to obtain in-depth CICS education. From my perspective, both events provide the opportunity to obtain in-depth CICS technical education. IMPACT targets a very broad IBM platform, including Executive tracks for more business-oriented information, plus customer sessions with experience sharing. SHARE provides unparalleled focus on System z and the issues and experiences related to solutions running on that platform. We are proud to support both events, and I encourage you to support and attend them both as well.

2008 is shaping up to be an exciting year for the CICS team and our customers. The industry is seeing more focus around the mainframe because of the value of running a business on System z, as well as an increasing interest in green issues. To support this focus I am pleased to say that IBM is investing more in the CICS development team, which has already expanded during 2007. You can hear from two of these new recruits in the "CICS People" section of this newsletter. This section is one of the new features being introduced this year by our new newsletter producer.

I look forward to our communications in 2008 and wish you all continued success

Dave Andrews,
Director, CICS Development

CICS Scene – Rick Thomas

SOA opens up the application environment to new opportunities for innovation and collaboration, enabling the creation of new business processes from existing application assets, and helping the business to become more agile. SOA also opens it to new risks - if these critical processes don’t execute reliably or don’t perform well, companies can be subject to financial and regulatory penalties, or to customer satisfaction issues, which can often be just as costly.

Richard ThomasCompanies need to achieve business agility without sacrificing the reliable execution of critical business processes. Process Integrity is the means to ensure consistent execution in SOA of distributed processes that often span multiple platforms, applications, data sources, and users. Process Integrity has three core components: Transaction Integrity - executing both short and long-running transactions with confidence; Interaction Integrity – enabling personalized, secure human interactions with automated business processes; and Information Integrity – ensuring a common, consistent, and synchronized view of information and data. Process Integrity also requires a focus on quality of service and security to assure the reliable execution of critical business processes in a distributed SOA environment.

CICS Transaction Server V3.2 provides excellent transaction integrity for VSAM, DB2, IMS, and third-party databases, ably supported by CICS VSAM Recovery. CICS transaction integrity is extended to the wider, SOA world using standards such as WS-Coordination and WS-AtomicTransaction, enabling CICS to work in conjunction with the new WebSphere Process Server and WebSphere Business Services Fabric releases (see details below) to help ensure both Interaction and Transaction Integrity. CICS security, scalability, performance, and availability are second to none - with features like enterprise workload management, the open transaction environment (OTE) and thread-safe applications.

To learn more about process integrity, replay this recent webcast, register now for the February webcast to hear how IBM’s CICS Tools and Problem Determination Tools can help, or visit Impact 2008 and attend some of the many sessions in the dedicated process integrity track.

Richard Thomas,
Program Director, CICS Marketing


CICS highlights

The CICS team was busy at the end of last year and early in the new year delivering a whole bunch of new additions to the CICS portfolio...

CICS Interdependency Analyzer V2.2 is a new release of the IBM discovery tool for CICS Transaction Server for z/OS, offering a wide range of new capabilities as well as supporting completely new function in CICS TS. New capabilities like threadsafe and affinity analysis, a new user interface, and Software AG Natural (Natural) support make it possible to achieve better reuse, management and control of applications, through improved understanding of an even wider range of CICS systems and resources. In particular, CICS IA makes it easier than ever to understand, reuse, and manage critical CICS Transaction Server applications. V2.2 facilitates projects like CICS version-to-version migration, Thread-safe optimization, affinity removal, and Web service re-factoring that depend for their success on deep knowledge of application, system, and resource relationships.

New capabilities in CICS IA V2.2 include:

CICS PA V2.1 provides new support for CICS TG V7.1 Statistics Records

CICS Performance Analyser became available in June 2007, providing support for CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2. In December 2007 a functional PTF (APAR PK53163) also became available, providing new support for the SMF 111 records produced by CICS Transaction Gateway for z/OS V7.1, to give customers an even broader understanding of CICS system performance.

For more information regarding CICS Tools please contact John Knutson.

CICS Transaction Gateway V7.1 delivers interoperation with CICS TS V3.2

The brand new release of CICS TG, V7.1 provides interoperation with the CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 channels and containers programming model. This allows J2EE applications to exchange large amounts of data with CICS programs, far exceeding the 32-KB limit that applies to COMMAREA-based interactions. CICS Transaction Gateway V7.1 also delivers the following:

For more information please contact Elena Wood.

New release of distributed CICS further increases user effectiveness, system resilience and interoperability

TXSeries for Multiplatforms is the distributed CICS transaction processor widely used to support CICS TS and WAS deployments for transactional mediation while utilising skills and assets in C/C++, COBOL and PL/I.

Following significant releases in recent years, the latest delivery, V6.2, provides a TXSeries transaction processing engine that is much more robust and secure with the removal of DCE and Encina components. The Web based administration console, released in V6.1, has been enhanced in V6.2 with advanced features including more easy-to-use workload management configuration and monitoring facilities.

TXSeries V6.2 further increases user effectiveness, system resilience and interoperability for many businesses worldwide. Furthermore, TXSeries has been ported to extend platform support to HP Itanium earlier this year, while continuing as the testing and debugging component in Rational Developer for System z to add effectiveness and flexibility to customers.

For more information, please contact Wen Lu.

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: as of 1st of March, 2008, we have 60 days until the End of Service (EOS) of CICS TS V2.2 and 578 days until the EOS of CICS TS V2.3

Achieve Greater Business Agility with New Business Process Management Products

Feb 1, 2008 is the General Availability date of two new Business Process Management products: WebSphere Process Server for z/OS V6.1 and WebSphere Business Services Fabric for z/OS V6.1 - - follow the links to the announcement letters. These products provide the runtime environment and composite business applications to provide greater agility to your business. While the multiplatform versions of these products became available December, 2007, the z/OS release is significant in that System z is the clear choice for business critical SOA components that demand the values only the mainframe can deliver, such as 24/7 availability, enterprise-wide exceptional end-to-end security and scalability, automated recovery, proximity, the highest possible quality of service and centralized operations. Deploying your applications on the mainframe reduces the number of systems needed, contributing to a "green" IT environment and socially responsible computing. For more information, please contact Rob Rowe.

UK Student Mainframe Contest

Well over 600 students from over 57 universities registered for this year's UK Student Mainframe Contest, which started in October 2007. Already, 200 T-shirts and over 20 Sony PSP game consoles have been won by students. Although most might never have directly used a mainframe before, participants discovered that the contest's structure and instructions helped them learn about and gain insight into mainframe technology.

The top three winners of the final stage of the competition will win IBM Thinkpads and visit Hursley Lab for a special event day. Last year's competition was similarly arranged and one of the three Stage 3 winners was accepted as an intern working for Hursley Lab over the summer.

Following on successful events in North America and UK, the event expanded in late 2007 to include Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and the Netherlands regions. There are plans for contests in Germany and Poland in early 2008. For more information visit the event website.


CICS events

Is IMPACT on your calendar?
In April 2008, more than 6000 IBM Customers and Business Partners will come together to reset the pace for innovation. Be among the first to get the hottest information on new technologies from business and technical experts from IBM, analysts, and companies like yours who have implemented SOA solutions. Choose from Four Tracks including Technical, Business Executive, IT Executive and Alignment of Business and IT.

As an attendee of Impact 2008, not only will you have access to over 450 conference sessions, but you can continue your learning before and after Impact 2008 with WebSphere Education course offerings and savings. Whether you need to build an understanding of SOA or develop advanced WebSphere and CICS product skills, there are learning opportunities available to you as an Impact 2008 attendee. Get the details here. Bring your team and take advantage of the special team discount. Register 10 people from your company and the 11th conference registration fee is complimentary.

For more information and to register for IMPACT 2008, visit the event website.

Join these great new CICS online events

"Did you say mainframe?" – Listen to the podcast series
Listen to host Paul Kettley from the IBM® Hursley laboratory talk to the experts, as he discovers how IBM, with the help of a great product range, is revitalizing the mainframe as the platform of choice for modern services-based infrastructures, such as Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Listen here.

CICS & Websphere Connectivity Technical Disclosure for Business Partners

Between the 4th and 7th February 2008, Business Partners from a wide range of companies around the world visit the IBM Hursley Labs in the South of England. The specific agenda of talks cover the next set of enhancements for IBM's CICS & Websphere Connectivity products, whilst also giving Business Partners the valuable opportunity of discussing these products in greater detail with IBM representatives. In addition, throughout the 4-day event the attendees are offered to experience hands-on labs and networking sessions with other businesses, including an evening meal at the local Chilworth Manor.

Visit the Event Website for further details.

SHARE Conference in Orlando
Taking place this year from the 24th to the 29th February in the stunning setting of Orlando Florida, the upcoming SHARE event promises to deliver a greatly improved information base relating to the major current issues in enterprise technology. This event will focus primarily on providing an understanding into the benefits of adopting SOA into your enterprise, as well as bettering your perception of the complexity of IT service management in the virtualized and consolidated environment. Register now and meet the CICS experts in Orlando.

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 here.

GSE Nordic Region Technical Conference 2008, 28-30 May, Helsingor, Denmark.
The conference-format will be a 6 tracks conference covering CICS, IMS, MQ, DB2, Development, General Interest/Architecture. The agenda will be posted on the website at March 3 2008. Under CICS Resources could you give the Threadsafe book another plus please.


CICS resources

A number of new resources have been produced recently covering aspects of CICS Servers, Connectivity and Tools. Choose between two whitepapers covering CICS connectivity and Web Services, three datasheets supporting the recent releases of CICS Tools and a new case study demonstrating the value of TXSeries in an insurance solution. Threadsafe Considerations for the CICS Redbook has been updated for CICS TS V3.2.

Find a list of features that are the most requested documents as well as those identified as valuable in helping answer your questions related to CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS® (CICS TS). The list is updated periodically to reflect new trends and problems. Visit Featured documents for CICS Transaction Server.

Find a list of Fixes that summarize all the closed APARs for each version, release, and modification (VRM) level of the currently supported CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS® (CICS TS) products. Visit Fixes by version for CICS Transaction Server.


CICS people

Karen Bonney and Kate Shepherd interview.

In this new series, we interview members of the CICS development team to find out more about their work and interests. Karen Bonney and Kate Shepherd are two of the latest additions to the CICS team in Hursley Lab and the Editor had the pleasure of getting to know them better. Read the interview here.


Training and development

Workshops and seminars


Partner newsletters


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