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CICS

Customer Information Control System

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CICS Portfolio e-Newsletter

June - July 2007

Welcome to the June - July issue. We hope you find this compilation of what's happening in the busy world of CICS and System z useful, informative and enjoyable.

CICS communication

View from Development – Dave Andrews

Dave Andrews
Dave Andres
More than 4000 IBM customers and Business Partners attended IBM IMPACT 2007 in Orlando US recently. This new, week-long event featured over 400 sessions aimed at business leaders, IT executives, technical communities, and those whose roles overlap the boundary between the business and information technology.

At the event, IBM announced a raft of new software and services, and customers had the opportunity to share their experiences on how adopting an SOA strategy has made an impact on their businesses which are now more innovative, flexible and efficient as a result.

CICS was well represented at IMPACT 2007 with sessions on CICS Transaction Server V3, a workshop on building and deploying Web services for use with CICS Transaction Server V3, and the 'birds of a feather' question and answer session on the future direction of CICS.

Over 4,500 IBM customers have already realized the benefits of moving to an SOA infrastructure and have ensured that their IT systems now more closely support the goals of their businesses. For these customers, adopting the SOA approach has resulted in more adaptable IT systems allied with cost savings and productivity improvements!

At the IMPACT 2007 Steve Mills, Senior Vice President, IBM Software had some important messages about why SOA has been a growth engine for IBM as well as for its customers, and how SOA gives businesses the flexibility to focus on achieving results without being restricted by technology.

There are many players in the SOA marketplace but the difference that IBM offers is the perfect combination of technical skills plus broad industry experience.

Click the link for more information about the IBM vision of SOA.

Dave Andrews,
Director, CICS Development

CICS Scene - Rick Thomas

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 and the enhanced CICS Tools become generally available on 29 June. This key event heralds one of the most important product releases for IBM and for IBM CICS customers in 2007.

The new capabilities introduced by CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 and the enhanced CICS Tools are found in the three key areas of application connectivity, application reuse and service management.

The delivery of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 is IBM's response to the growing customer demand for the capability to build and run SOAs (Service Oriented Architectures) on the mainframe to protect existing technology investments. The success of the SOA approach is evidenced by IBM having recently reaching a milestone, with the adoption of SOA on the mainframe by 1000 of its customers.

The enhanced CICS Tools perfectly complement the new capabilities of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 by enabling better monitoring and understanding of CICS applications and their performance. The updated CICS Tools also enable optimized IT resource usage, reduced operational costs and improved user productivity. Not a bad set of business benefits!

To find out more read the announcement.

Richard Thomas,
Program Director, CICS Marketing


Mainframe

Have a 'CICS On Demand Seminar' delivered for your people at your location

CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.2 becomes generally available on 29 June so why not request a CICS On Demand Seminar to find out more. A CICS technical specialist will visit your location to talk about the amazing features and functions of this great new release. To request a CICS On Demand seminar at your site, click the link and send an email.

The editor asks...

In this new spot, we talk to a CICS expert. This month we hear from John Tilling who works in the CICS Technical Planning and Strategy group in Hursley. One of John's key roles is that of technical planner for CICS VR.

Editor: What is CICS VR?
John: CICS VR is CICS VSAM Recovery. It is part of the CICS Tools portfolio, but has been around since the late 1980s. It provides forward recovery support for CICS, back-out and forward recovery support for batch (without changing the batch application), and forward recovery support for the combined environment where a VSAM file is being shared by CICS VSAM RLS and a batch job using Transactional VSAM (TVS).

Editor: Is a forward recovery product still relevant today?
John: This question comes up a lot. The argument goes something like this... Storage subsystems and disk technology are so good these days that we don't need to bother... right? Wrong! Only recently, a customer trialling the latest release of CICS VR lost 40-50 datasets and used their production CICS VR to get them out of the hole. It does happen. I don't expect to crash my car, or let my house burn down, but that doesn't mean I don't have insurance policies for my car and my house! CICS VR is your insurance policy. Can you afford to lose integrity on your corporate VSAM data? Accidents happen, acts of nature happen, and sadly more malicious acts happen as well. I've even heard the 'storage technology is so good' argument taken to the extreme: a customer didn't even have the CICS VSAM files defined as backward recoverable. Boy, am I glad they don't manage my bank account!

Editor: What does forward recovery buy you?
John: As you know, CICS Transaction Server has recovery procedures to allow it to back out an abnormally terminating task, so the data is returned to its state at the last syncpoint. But what if the disk has crashed? The application will get an I/O error and abend, and when CICS tries to backout it too will get an I/O error. Now you have a backout failure, so how do you recover? This is where CICS VR comes in. CICS VR allows you to take the file offline, use a backup of the file and apply all the updates made to the file since the backup (using forward recovery records logged by CICS), and then bring it back online to CICS. Now CICS can retry its backout and the file is returned to its state at the last syncpoint. Integrity is restored. With CICS VR Version 4, there is even an autonomic capability between CICS VR and CICS TS to semi-automate, or fully automate this procedure, so recovery is initiated as soon as CICS detects a backout failure.

Editor: Can I afford the overhead?
John: Another misconception is that forward recovery logging is an expensive overhead. Unlike backward or undo logging where the before image must be on the system log before the vsam update can proceed, CICS TS will write forward recovery records asynchronously, and only harden them at syncpoint. The point being an in-flight unit of work can be recovered to the 'ragged end of the log' and then CICS TS will backout to the last syncpoint.

Editor: Is CICS VR being actively developed?
John: Yes indeed. We have delivered five releases over the last six years, the latest being CICS VR 4.2, available as of 27 April 2007, which is ready to provide day 1 support for CICS TS 3.2 when it GAs. This augments CICS Transaction Server's new extended ESDS support, plus batch and TVS capability and a host of other enhancements including integration with other IBM recovery products like ABARs.

More...

'Students Rush to Meet a Mainframe' contest

The UK Student Mainframe Contest recently came to its conclusion with the three winning students spending a day at Hursley and each of them walking away with a brand new T60 Lenovo Thinkpad.

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CICS Tools

Participate in CICS Tools BetaWorks programs

BetaWorks is a global IBM organization that works closely with selected customers who are given early access to new IBM products, through managed beta programs. These programs allow customers to gain early experience with new IBM products and technologies. Install, evaluate and gain early experience with CICS Tools, influence CICS Tools design, get free-of-charge CICS Tools education, become a valued CICS Tools reference site! Click the link to find out more about the BetaWorks program. Send an email to BetaWorks@uk.ibm.com to register your interest.

More...


Infrastructure

Ease your governance and control concerns with CICS enterprise system management

A recent white paper by IBM's Paul Johnson helps address the concerns of IBM CICS systems managers, system programmers, developers and testers in the area of CICS systems management.

The paper provides a high-level overview of CICS enterprise management, the related challenges and how the new capabilities of IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS, Version 3.2 help address these challenges. Essentially, it helps answer the question "What do I need to consider when managing my systems for CICS Transaction Server for z/OS, Version 3.2?" Click the link to read a summary of the paper.

More... (DOC, 74KB)


Exposing applications as Web services with WSRR

The hundreds or thousands of services in a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) require management and governance to realize the benefits of SOA, including service reuse and business flexibility. Product manager Sunil Murthy talks to CCR2's Carrine Greason about the enterprise-strength IBM WebSphere Service Registry and Repository for z/OS, a store for valuable metadata for exposing services and governing their lifecycle.

More ...


Events

Distributed CICS extends its support to the HP Integrity Platform

Distributed CICS extends its support to the HP Integrity Platform; TXSeries for Multiplatforms is the distributed member of the CICS Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) products. TXSeries for Multiplatforms Version 6.1 now supports HP-UX on the HP Integrity platform, as well as the IBM AIX, Sun Solaris, Microsoft Windows, and HP-UX (PA-RISC) platforms. Version 6.1 is a key release, with a vastly simplified infrastructure through the removal of DCE and Encina, and significantly more powerful administration capabilities through a Web-based administration console. Why not try out the enhanced user experience of TXSeries V6.1 for yourself.

More...

SHARE a non-stop technology experience

SHARE later this year is in San Diego from August 12-17. SHARE provides what no other conference venue does – a non-stop interactive experience for attendees to address their organization's technological and business needs. New in San Diego, SHARE now provides IBM Certification Testing on System z Mastery and STG and SWG Certification Tests. If you missed IBM IMPACT 2007 in May, register for SHARE.


Register for the T&M in November

Join us for the 2007 IBM European Transaction and Messaging Technical Conference in Vienna, Austria where you can find out how to more fully exploit your business applications. Get all the latest information, tips and techniques for managing your CICS and WebSphere systems.

Events worldwide in 2007

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Sophie is leaving

This month we say farewell to one of the CICS team Sophie Bradshaw, who leaves CICS this month to continue her University studies in the UK. Sophie has been responsible for distributing the email version of this newsletter and for providing additional support within CICS. Thanks Sophie and good luck!


Resources

Turn on and tune in for IT solutions on IBM TV

IBM TV

IBM TV is an interactive portal for multimedia that shows how IBM delivers IT solutions. Since IBM TV first aired in November 2006, it has been viewed over 17,000 times and is expanding its reach to 12 countries.

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Business Partners: join PartnerWorld and put the power of IBM behind your business!

Get access to the best solutions and offerings, and the skills to help you win in the marketplace. Gain quick and easy Web access to valuable IBM benefits and resources. Realize competitive advantage in industries, services and solutions. Enjoy increased opportunities to generate awareness and leads. IBM PartnerWorld: 'Teaming for success to deliver the expertise to meet client needs'.

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New white paper: Why System z is the lowest TCO platform

A recent IDC study proves that the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the mainframe is only 56% of the TCO of distributed systems, considering the costs of hardware, software, services, networking, IT staff and user downtime. Click the link to read the paper.


Training and development

Addressing the skills problem

Traditional core CICS skills that have been in demand for many years are still relevant in today's demanding business world. One area where IBM anticipated a possible problem is where traditional CICS applications that were developed a long time ago need to be modernized for use in today's fast-moving, Web-based business environment. The skills needed to do this are in relatively recent technologies such as Java and Web services. To address this issue IBM has put in place various initiatives with major universities. IBM also offers customers a comprehensive portfolio of CICS skills development activities in application programming, system programming, version-to-version migration and e-business.

More...

Workshops and seminars


Partner newsletters

IBM Training News brings you the latest information on technical training. Get late-breaking news on technical training offerings tailored to the interest areas you select in the subscription form.
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CCR2 is for the IBM System z and software community and is the leading source of information on best practices, tips for exploiting features in the latest IBM releases and trends.
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Mainstream is for the IBM System z and S390 software community. Read the latest System z and S390 news, events, success stories and related information.
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IBM SOA Newsletter brings you the latest news on the exciting world of SOA.
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To provide feedback and comments on CICS portfolio e-news please email the editor.