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Customer Information Control System


CICS Portfolio e-Newsletter

July / August 2008

CICS communication

View from Development – Dave Andrews

Dave AndrewsI'll open this summer issue of the CICS e-Newsletter with a short story.

In the early 17th Century, a house typical of the period of Queen Anne was built in south-west England. Better known as Hursley Park House, this building and its surrounding land has been the home to gentlemen and their families for centuries since. During World War I and II, Hursley Park provided a temporary home to many in need of respite. It has also been the base of Vickers, the engineering company, between 1940 and 1958, makers of the famous Spitfire aircraft. In 1958 IBM’s Development Laboratories in United Kingdom took out a lease to house 40 staff and their equipment in Hursley Park House. When the opportunity arose to purchase the House with some 100 acres in 1961, IBM settled into this idyllic site. In the next 50 years IBM Hursley has expanded further and seen the birth and growth of many well-known IBM products. Of course, these include CICS, which was transferred to the Hursley laboratory in 1974. So happy 50th birthday IBM Hursley – I'm sure a lot more good things are yet to come.

Talking about good things, the CICS team continues to make great progress on the new deliveries. We have recently provided enhancements to the CICS Threadsafety features. We are releasing APAR PK45354 for CICS TS 3.2 to enable applications to run file control requests against local VSAM LSR files. This change by the CICS and VSAM teams can improve CICS performance by allowing more simultaneous requests to be issued to VSAM. In addition, it can reduce the CPU cost of doing so for those applications that mix VSAM requests with DB2 or MQ. Also look out for the new release of CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS V4.3, which provides a range of enhancements to further optimize IT operations, support IT governance initiatives, and improve usability and serviceability.

Dave Andrews,
Director, CICS Development

CICS Scene – Rick Thomas

Richard ThomasPractical SOA deployments need to be built on a solid foundation, one that the IBM middleware portfolio provides. With a portfolio of this size, it is often a challenge to get our clients the information they need. This is complicated by the diversity of our client base, diversity in terms of where our clients are within the Smart SOA continuum. Some will need the very basics, including SOA terminology. Many will need an update on what we have delivered recently. Some will need detailed deployment, performance and diagnostics best practices.

There is a place where this diversity is available, all in the same place, all in the same event. There are sessions on the basics of SOA and various IBM products as well as sessions covering the latest updates across the portfolio. Included in the program are very detailed sessions on performance tuning and diagnostics. The details are presented by field tested practitioners including some of our Distinguished Engineers as well as by our clients themselves. The technical program is complemented by a large trade show area, which features a significant IBM pavilion. This is the one of the best sources of information for CICS and its contribution to the Smart SOA movement.

What am I talking about? SHARE, which meets next in San Jose, California, during the week of 10 August 2008. For more information and registration, go to this link. Dave and I look forward to seeing you there.

Richard Thomas,
Program Director, CICS Marketing

CICS highlights

New! File Control Threadsafety Enabler for Local VSAM LSR Files

The CICS and VSAM development teams have now enabled file control requests to be threadsafe for local VSAM LSR files. This has been released in APAR PK45354.

There are potentially two significant performance benefits to customers running their file control applications on open TCBs:

This function is supported on z/OS 1.9 with VSAM APAR OA20352. For more information, please refer to APAR PK45354.

Unleash the developer value in your production data, safely and securely, with Optim Move

Application testing is becoming a high priority because resolving problems early in the development stages can significantly reduce costs, but without the appropriate solutions, developers often need to write complex extract programs just to create the test data. IBM Optim Move for DB2 is a tool used to extract data quickly and easily from production files and databases to create subsets of that data for use in test environments.

Optim Move supports customers’ governance and compliance requirements by masking sensitive fields like customer name, or social security number, while retaining essential structural features such as credit card check digits, and referential integrity, even across different data sources like DB2, VSAM, IMS, and z/OS files.

Optim Move for DB2 was developed by Princeton Softech, recently acquired by IBM, and is available as part of IBM’s Problem Determination Tools family. The PD Tools family provides comprehensive support for application developers across all key System z environments including CICS, DB2, IMS, WebSphere MQ, WebSphere Application Server, and batch. A broader, multi-platform Test Data Management solution from Optim is available as part of the Information Management DB2 Tools portfolio.

For more information on Optim Move, please visit IBM Optim Move for DB2.

CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS V4.3 Update

Is your VSAM data safe? If you lost a vital data-set and needed to restore from a backup, would you lose important customer transactions? Ensuring data integrity and availability is essential in these days of Sarbanes-Oxley, Basel II, and similar national and industry governance and compliance regulations. Customers who rely on good faith could find themselves in a regulatory pickle. With CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS however, you can quickly recover CICS and batch VSAM data after physical or logical corruption, improving CICS availability, and reducing compliance risks. The product’s flexible batch back-out capabilities can also reduce batch job times, by eliminating the need for step-level backups.

CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS V4.3 will be generally available July 25th and will provide a range of enhancements to further optimize IT operations, support IT governance initiatives, and improve usability and serviceability.

For more information please visit CICS VSAM Recovery website.

Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z

Enterprise Modernization Sandbox for System z (EM4z) is helping our customers quickly explore IBM's latest modernization tools without having to configure and install them locally. The EM4z Sandbox allows you to try our latest tools and runtimes for developing new workloads on System z even if you are not a skilled mainframe programmer. The Sandbox launched as part of the z10 and Enterprise Modernization launch in February 2008 and continues to attract new visitors daily. To-date Sandbox has registered over 500 visits with approx 200 visits from customers. Come and find out how easy it is to play in the Sandbox. Click here

New! Transform terminal applications - try HATS Toolkit V7.1 at no-charge

The Rational Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) Toolkit gives you all the tools you need to easily extend your legacy applications. The HATS Toolkit is a set of plug-ins for the Eclipse-based, IBM Rational Software Delivery Platform that enables you to develop new Web, portal, and rich-client applications. HATS makes your 3270 and 5250 applications available as HTML through the most popular Web browsers, while converting your host screens to a Web look and feel. Go to this link for more information.

New Cafe opens door for IBM's newest business language, EGL

EGL, IBM's newest business language for the System z development community, has opened a new EGL Cafe on the Web. This new resource provides a space for customers, partners and the EGL team to connect, share best practices, resources, and code.

The EGL Cafe is now open. Stop by and see how

Come and visit the EGL Café.

Product Withdrawals from Marketing and Service

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 versions and releases 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 June 1st, 2008, we have 490 days until the EOS of CICS TS V2.3.

Other releases with End of Support dates coming soon are CICS Transaction Gateway V5.1 and TXSeries for Multiplatform V5.1.

For more details about support period of more CICS products, please visit the IBM Software Support Lifecycle website.

CICS events

SHARE Conference, August 10-15, San Jose, California
Hear the latest developments in enterprise IT and take part in networking activities at SHARE in San Jose, August 10-15, 2008. With valuable educational sessions on challenging technical topics such as Virtualization and SOA, the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences from users and updates from IBM developers on the new IBM System z10™ and the chance to attend presentations by one of several IBM Distinguished Engineers, SHARE is an opportunity you do not want to miss. As always, you have the opportunity to meet with the CICS team and attend a cornucopia of CICS topics.

Plus, SHARE is offering discounted rates for first-time attendees and IT professionals new to System z. Visit the event website to learn more.

Information On Demand Conference, October 26 - 31, 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada
IOD is the premier information management event for business and IT professionals. Learn how IBM Information On Demand solutions can unlock the business value of your information.

In this conference you will find topics on:

This conference will deliver:

For more information visit the event website

IBM Systems z Expo, October 13-17, 2008, Las Vegas, Nevada
Attend the IBM System z Expo – the IBM Technical Conference where you can hone your System z skills and learn how the new IBM System z10 Enterprise Class, green by design, provides significantly lower total cost of ownership, reduced energy consumption, improved security, and more. Technical experts from IBM System z development, the community of ISV providers, and customers share their experience and expertise for an unforgettable week of technical education.

For more information visit the event website.

IBM WebSphere Technical Conference and the Transaction & Messaging Technical Conference : Barcelona, November 10-14, 2008.

Two conferences at once!

The WebSphere Technical Conference
The WTC has earned the reputation for delivering deep technical content targeted at architects, developers, integrators and administrators by offering lectures and hands-on labs that focus on the best practices and practical skills required to run today's enterprises. This year will be no exception. With up to 15 different concurrent elective sessions going on at once you are sure to find content to enhance your technical skill level and product knowledge. Gain practical experience by test-driving new technology! You will also have the chance to meet with BP's, IBM product experts and fellow attendees during our Networking event. Don't miss the opportunity to pass until 3 IBM Certification tests without charge. And last but not, the latest products in the industry will be showcased by solution providers at our Solution Village!
Learn more.

The Transaction & Messaging Technical Conference
Select from over 100 technical information-packaged elective sessions on the recently announce WebSphere MQ, Version 7; IBM WebSphere Message Broker; IBM WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus (ESB); messaging in the IBM WebSpherre Application Server environment; IBM WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances; IBM CICS Transaction Server, Version 3,2; CICS connectors; CICS tools and more. Build conceptual knowledge by attending sessions on XML, service oriented architecture (SOA), Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Web services and other emerging technologies. Learn how the latest enhancements to the CICS and the WebSphere MQ family of message queuing products enable SOA and support implementation of a robust ESB CICS Transaction Server. Learn about the new enhancements, especially in the areas of CICS Application connectivity, Application reuse and Service management, and hear how you can exploit these changes from CICS Technical specialists.
Learn more.

Attend the following upcoming Teleconferences:

CICS resources

Visit the product libraries for the latest white papers, data sheets and more:

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.

CICS people

CICS peopleIn this series, we interview members of the CICS development team to find out more about their work and interests. Rachel Jackson is the Manager for CICS Test and Service. With so much going on in these departments the editor had to book some time on Rachel’s busy calendar to find out more.

Read the interview here.

Training and development

For more CICS Courses, please visit the CICS Curriculum on WebSphere Education.