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CICS Portfolio e-Newsletter

March 2008

CICS communication

View from Development – Dave Andrews

Dave AndrewsIt was great speaking to and meeting many of you who attended the SHARE conference in Orlando, Florida. As usual, the CICS sessions were very well attended and everyone enjoyed a lively Q&A session. I hope you have found it as rewarding as my team and I have. It was exciting to hear about the new z10 announcement - this is great news for CICS and you will hear more about it later from Rick Thomas.

My development team are currently working very hard on delivering new functions and capabilities for CICS. In this newsletter, you will find information about the new MTOM/XOP for WebSphere MQ support, and try out the new SupportPac CA8K which helps you generate atom feeds from your CICS resources. Please also stay tuned for other significant items in the near future.

I look forward to seeing you at Impact in Las Vegas. A variety of CICS topics will be covered in the CICS & Enterprise track. For example, Joe Winchester will show you The Future CICS Tooling Interfaces, and try out Building and Deploying Web Services with CICS TS in the hands-on lab led by Leigh Compton and Steve Zemblowski. New this year is an area called "Tech Zone". I encourage you to visit the CICS Tech Zone to meet members of my team who can help you with your questions and concerns.

Dave Andrews,
Director, CICS Development

CICS Scene – Rick Thomas

By now you have heard a lot about the new IBM mainframe announcement - the System z10. I am very excited about the benefits the System z10 brings to our CICS customers. The recent announcement highlights a 50-70% overall capacity increase from z9, 3 times more memory and much faster I/O. All these improvements translate to a vast performance increase for applications, lower costs due to potentially fewer number of required software licenses and reduced overall IT complexity. Read about the System z10 in more details here.

Richard ThomasIn IBM we also are looking towards a leaner, greener environment. We saw recently an announcement to consolidate 3,900 distributed servers to only 30 mainframes; which meant 85% reduction in data center square footage, and 80% savings in energy costs. So this works out beneficially for both the pocketbook and the environment!

I think the advancements in System z hardware more than ever bring with it significant performance gains that reinforce CICS' role as the ideal host for your SOA deployments. The combination of CICS and System z as the hub of your SOA IT infrastructure provides not only unequalled robustness, but it can also accommodate a vast magnitude of new users, workload and business challenges.

On another subject, I know you have been hearing a lot about our upcoming SOA conference - Impact 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. I want to encourage you to attend Impact to participate in the CICS sub-track and the CICS Tech Zone - where you'll be able to meet and discuss detailed technical topics with the experts from the Hursley lab. I also want to encourage your senior IT managers to attend Impact for the Executive and Business Leaders tracks to learn more about how CICS and System z are solving present and future business problems. In these tracks you will find Yvonne Perkins’ presentation on the Value of System z as the Hub of your SOA. Sue Eustis from Wintergreen Research will present the Total Cost of Ownership for SOA and why platform matters in choices to host your SOA infrastructure. She will also provide and a hands-on demonstration of Wintergreen's very successful Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) modelling tool on Thursday, April 10th. Please pass this on to those in your organisation who may find these and other sessions valuable.

Richard Thomas,
Program Director, CICS Marketing

CICS highlights

New! 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

New! 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.

Tools for Process Integrity

In last month's CICS eNews, we previewed a teleconference on the subject of Process Integrity. What is Process Integrity? It's the ability to conduct reliable business activity in a secure, scalable SOA environment with seamless synchronization between people, the processes they access and the information they require. Process Integrity becomes more important as you move along the Smart SOA™ continuum from Foundational, through Extend and End-to-End Transformation to Adapt Dynamically.

Process integrity has four key aspects: Transaction integrity - the ability to backout, and forward recover, updates to key data resources including DB2 and VSAM. Interaction integrity - providing users with the right access to information and content, and Information integrity - ensuring that information is consistent. Also key is high quality of service in terms of scalability, performance and availability - something that we have all come to expect from CICS Transaction Server.

If you missed the live event, you should listen to the replay - to learn how IBM's CICS and PD tools such as CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS and Application Performance Analyzer for z/OS can help to ensure that your SOA projects deliver the business agility you were looking for.

Using BPM to achieve Process Integrity
Do the key processes that support your business execute with the required integrity? If not, your organization may be forced to contend with loan or claim processing, account creation and other common business tasks that take too long. Or, you may grapple with outages that block availability of these and many other tasks. Unreliable business processes can also expose your company to regulatory risk - and hurt your bottom line.

You already know that CICS provides transactional integrity to the applications that it serves. The IBM BPM Suite extends that integrity with the processes that it manages. Within an SOA, gaining deeper visibility and control into these processes can help make your applications - and company -- more successful. Listen to the teleconference replay and download the presentation to learn how your business process management strategy can benefit by including IBM tools such as WebSphere® Process Server for z/OS®, WebSphere Business Modeler, WebSphere Business Monitor and WebSphere Integration Developer. When used on System z™, these tools can help you streamline and optimize tasks to help improve related performance, minimize downtime and maintain and extend the transactional integrity that CICS provides to the legacy applications that it serves.

Learn more about using BPM to achieve Process Integrity here.

UK Student Mainframe Contest Results

In last month's newsletter we gave you an overview of the contest and here is a final breakdown of the figures. There are three parts of the competition which gets harder the further along you get. Winning the part means getting all the questions right and getting a prize.

For Part 1, we had 247 entries with 215 winners, 66 entries for Part 2 with 18 winners, and of 44 entries for Part 3 (looks like we made it a bit tougher this year)! We had more submissions for each part than we did in the 2006 contest, which is a fantastic result as more students are getting excited about the using the mainframe. Our three Part 3 winners have been identified and will be coming to visit IBM Hursley's Laboratory on Friday 4th April 2008.

This year we will be kicking off by hosting the first Australia Student Mainframe Contest, with plans for Germany, Poland and South Africa being discussed. Hopefully at the end of the year we will kick off our 3rd UK contest.

Here are some quotes from the feedback we have received:
"I really enjoyed working on the z/OS it was a fascinating new way of programming and using a computer. I look forward to working on it again!" - Exeter University Student
"The contest made me to understand what a job of mainframe administrator might look like. It was an amazing opportunity for me (and I firmly believe that for the other contestants as well) to see how mainframes work - or at least a small portion of it, as I am sure there is much more to explore....I can't wait for the next year of the contest, because I would like to work with the mainframe again." - Imperial College London Student

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 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. 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 April, 2008, we have 29 days until the End of Service (EOS) of CICS TS V2.2 and 547 days until the EOS of CICS TS V2.3.

CICS events

See you at Impact!
Very soon, more than 6000 IBM Customers and Business Partners will come together to reset the pace for innovation in Las Vegas. Apart from the excellent IBM SOA education opportunities, 220 customer speakers will share their SOA experiences!

This year also enjoy "Tech Zones", which are a series of informal "meet the expert" activities. It would be an opportunity for conference attendees to meet and talk to you and other technical leaders outside formal lecture sessions. This would also be even less structured (and smaller) than a BOF. If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, please pop down and meet CICS technical specialists. The times is Monday 14:00 - 15:15, 15:45 - 17:00. Tuesday - Thursday 10:30 - 11:45, 13:30 - 14:45 and 15:15 - 16:30.

Customer and Business Partner attendees will get one chance to play the Innov8 Smart SOA Challenge. The objective is to answer the greatest number of Smart SOA questions correctly in the shortest amount of time and win a smart fortwo® car.

For more information and register (better late than never) please visit event website.

How to get the most out of CICS and PD Tools education at Impact
The sessions in the CICS & Enterprise Services sub-track include about 60 technical sessions aimed at helping you learn how to get the very best from your CICS systems. You'll hear CICS experts from IBM Hursley - home of CICS - and IBM Dallas Systems Center, and have a chance to meet with IBM Business Partners offering CICS solutions for you to explore. You'll be able to attend hands-on workshops where you can explore the latest performance and management tools for CICS. And you'll gain valuable technical insights into the way that IBM's CICS Tools and PD Tools complement CICS Transaction Server to ensure that you get maximum business benefit from your CICS investments.

We will also be hosting a series of informal "meet the expert" activities called Tech Zones at an area on the main conference floor that we will set up with casual meet & greet sessions through the week, giving you an excellent opportunity to meet and talk to technical leaders outside formal lecture sessions.

With so many sessions to choose from, this flyer highlights just a few of the sessions that might interest you. Check out the conference website for the full list of conference sessions available. Session times and locations are subject to change.

Download the all-in-one guide (PDF, 108KB) to System z tools at Impact.

Catch the WAVV! Chattanooga, TN, April 18-22, 2008
The 2008 World Alliance of z/VSE z/VM Linux Conference takes place at the Marriott Hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. WAVV is a user group promoting the interests of the users of the z/VSE, z/VM, and Linux operating systems. WAVV holds an annual conference consisting of over 100 educational sessions as well as a vendor show where vendors of z/VSE, z/VM, and Linux related products, can show their wares and meet with current customers. Attend sessions such as CICS Performance and CICS Futures in this five day event and exchange your experiences with other users.

For more information, visit the event website.

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.

CICS resources

Get the latest CICS and WebSphere System z Software Podcasts

Welcome to the "Did you say Mainframe?!" Podcasts! Listen to host Sherrie Abshire from the WebSphere System z Software Marketing Team talk to the experts, as she 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). Subscribe to this podcast series so you don't miss any of the episodes.

Latest podcasts added:

For all these and more, got to the WebSphere System z Software Podcast page.

Get the latest papers hot off the print
Visit the product libraries for the latest whitepapers, data sheets and more:

New! The CICS Tools Wiki

Cannot wait? You can find it here.

To access the site you will just need to register with developer works and then you will be able to use most of the facilities. This will include full access to the Q&A page and the ability to post new questions and answers, which is highly recommended. To request full access please send me an email requesting full access to the CICS Tools wiki, please include your developerWorks ID, ScreenName and email address as registered on developerworks.

CICS Resources Hints and Tips

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

Will Yates interview.In this new series, we interview members of the CICS development team to find out more about their work and interests. Editor had a good chat with Will Yates, a CICS Tester and learnt a lot more about Service Flow Feature in CICS Transaction Server V3.2. Read the interview here.

Training and development

Workshops and seminars

Partner newsletters

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