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CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V5.1

Features and benefits

CICS V5.1. Operational Efficiency and Service Agility with Cloud Enablement

Operational Efficiencies

Greater capacity

Greater capacity is delivered through significant vertical and horizontal scalability enhancements. New and improved capabilities provide:

The maximum number of user tasks that can exist in a CICS region at the same time is increased from 999 to 2000. The minimum value is increased from 1 to 10, and the default value is increased from 5 to 500. IBM recommends customers consider revising upwards their MAXTASK limits in CICS TS V5.1 to provide greater region capacity.

Most elements of the CICS infrastructure now use 64-bit (above-the-bar) storage or 31-bit (above-the-line) storage in the CICS region, in place of 24-bit (below-the-line) storage. The global work area for user exit programs can now be in 24-bit storage or in 31-bit storage. These enhancements help avoid short-on-storage conditions and can reduce the need for additional CICS regions.

The CICS transient data facility and further API and SPI commands have been made threadsafe. Additionally, CICS no longer switches to the resource-owning (RO) TCB to load a program when an application is already running on an open TCB. Instead, CICS carries out the program load on the open TCB. These enhancements can increase throughput and reduce CPU usage.

CICS TS V5.1 supports Java 7, which provides a range of benefits aiming to help developers with ease of writing and optimizing Java code. Additionally, Java applications can now access JDBC and SQLJ from its current T8 TCB, instead of switching to an L8 TCB. These enhancements can significantly improve the performance of Java applications.

CICS TS V5.1 supports non-Language Environment (LE) assembler language programs that run in 64-bit addressing mode (AMODE(64)), thus providing 64-bit application support to access large data objects.

Managed Operations

Managed operations are provided through the introduction of policies, which deliver automated control over critical system resources. Customers can now:

A new, dynamic policy-based management capability is introduced in support of both applications and platforms. Policies enable the behavior of applications and platforms to be managed by determining whether tasks running as part of a platform, as an application, or as types of operation within an application, exceed certain predefined thresholds.

Task thresholds can be set based on data access requests, storage usage, program loops and processor time used. For example, a threshold could be defined based on the amount of above-the-line storage used by a task, the number of times a task accesses IBM DB2 or a file, or the number of EXEC LINK requests issued by a user task.

After a threshold is exceeded, CICS can issue a message, or abend the task with a specific abend. Additionally, policies can be defined to trigger one or more CICS events, which can in turn initiate other actions.

CICS policies are a declarative way of ensuring that applications and platforms continue to run effectively. A policy can be applied to any combination of applications and platforms. Additionally, policies can also be deployed into a single region, independently of defining a platform. Policies are applied dynamically during production operations.

Increased Availability

Increased availability enhancements reduce the need for planned outages. New and improved capabilities enable customers to:

A new utility is provided to dynamically install the CICS Type 3 supervisor call (SVC) without the requirement to restart the z/OS system. Installation and startup support is also improved through the provision of new messages and the detection of any use of wrong level local and global catalogs. This improves availability and simplifies the overall upgrading process.

CICS support for SSL is enhanced with a new PERFORM SSL REBUILD command to refresh certificates used for SSL handshakes, without restarting the region. CICS IPIC is extended to provide a connection level heartbeat operation that enables network errors to be quickly detected. This avoids user IDs being revoked through lack of use, but still allows fast authentication which is especially useful when firewalls are being used.

CICS TS V5.1 provides replication-logging capability in support of the IBM GDPS/AA availability solution, which IBM intends to enhance to include support for replication of VSAM data for active-standby and active-query configurations. The replication logging in CICS TS is intended for use by IBM GDPS/AA to provide replication of VSAM data updated under the control of CICS. This complements replication logging in IBM CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS V5.1, which provides the same support for batch jobs.

Cross-system coupling facility groups can now be dynamically updated. The new parameter URMXCFG, can be used to dynamically set the XCFGROUP value in the DFHXCOPT table for direct EXCI requests to a region. Some CICS configuration and default values are changed to provide best operational availability practices and to reduce the amount of manual configuration required by system programmers.

Deeper Insight
Deeper insight into performance and compliance information can help to tune and audit system usage. New and improved capabilities enable:

CICS now logs configuration changes made by operational staff or automation procedures. An auditor or system administrator can use this function to monitor the SET, PERFORM, ENABLE, DISABLE, and RESYNC commands for changes made to the CICS system configuration. Identity propagation is extended to include the START command, and operators and auditors can see the distributed identity of the user for started tasks.

Auditing of user IDs is improved for requests made over IP. It is possible to specify that a full verification request be undertaken at least once a day when a VERIFY PASSWORD command is issued, or a basic authentication request is made over IP. This process ensures that user IDs record their most recent usage date for requests.

Cipher suites used for SSL connections can be identified in the monitoring records, making it easy to identify and remove redundant, less efficient or less secure cipher suites. New monitoring records also track the actual and potential use of specialty processors, such as IBM System z Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) and IBM System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP). This monitoring can be used to track both the actual amount of processor time offloaded, and also the processor time that was eligible for offload, but actually ran on a standard processor. This information can help when making hardware purchase decisions.

Status updates are provided while lost locks recovery is taking place. A new message displays the number of data sets that have completed lost locks recovery, and the total number of data sets that require lost locks recovery. This ensures that users are aware of the progress that is made.

Service Agility

First-class applications

First-class applications enable the creation of agile services from existing assets. A new declarative application resource provides the ability to:

CICS TS V5.1 delivers these capabilities in a way that positions users of CICS for the next transformational era in technology. This moves them towards a service delivery platform for cloud computing.

The large set of disparate but interrelated resources that make up a business application within CICS can be packaged into an application bundle to deploy, manage, and monitor it as a single entity. An application that is defined in this way can be versioned and rapidly moved through development, test and production environments. It provides a single point of control for application lifecycle management.

Dependency management is handled by CICS, and multiple applications can share individual resources. An application describes all its required resources. With one installation action, these resources are created and deployed in the CICS regions where the application requires them. The lifecycle of those resources can be managed together with the application. After an application is no longer required, it can be de-provisioned in its entirety by uninstalling a single application resource. Shared resources that are required by other applications are not affected.

The application binding is used to control this lifecycle, allowing an application to be configured for deployment to a specific platform. This can be through adding additional bundles to the application, which can include policy. Individual parts of the application can be deployed to a subset of the platform without having to change either the application or platform definitions. This enables the same application to be deployed to different platforms, particularly useful in multi-national implementations.

Support for measuring the resource usage of applications is provided. Application entry points can be defined that add application context data to tasks that run in CICS. Application context data is available in monitoring records to provide a way of measuring how much system resource an application is using. This helps users to manage resource usage and process internal charge-back billings. Problem determination can be undertaken in the same manner, starting with the overall application and drilling down to individual tasks and resources.

Applications can be managed dynamically by applying policies during runtime. Policies enable the behavior of applications to be managed by determining whether tasks running as part of an application, or as types of operation within an application, exceed certain predefined thresholds. CICS can take actions when thresholds are breached.

First-class platforms

First-class platforms enable the creation of agile service delivery runtimes. A new declarative platform resource provides the ability to:

Platforms are new CICS resources that deliver a simple layer of abstraction to decouple applications from the underlying region topology. This helps free the system programming and operations staff from managing at the detailed level of individual regions. Platforms are also a useful construct for managing application separation.

The new CICS platform resource provides a validated environment in which to deploy CICS applications. Newly created and existing regions with similar or identical properties can be grouped together as region types within a platform. Artifacts and resources within an application can be both dynamically deployed to the relevant region types within a platform and removed again when no longer needed.

Regions within a platform can be initialized or shut down as necessary to meet fluctuations in capacity requirements. An application can take advantage of these changes without requiring further configuration, and without interruption to the application.

Platforms can be managed dynamically by applying policies during runtime. Policies enable the behavior of platforms to be managed by determining whether tasks running as part of a platform exceed certain predefined thresholds. CICS can take actions when thresholds are breached.

Modern Interfaces

Modern interfaces enable customers to build rich web experiences for critical applications. New capabilities in CICS TS V5.1 provide:

New in CICS TS V5.1 is a fast and lightweight production-ready Java web container that provides developers with the rich features of Java servlet and JavaServer Pages (JSP) specifications, combined with CICS qualities of service.

In CICS TS V5.1, significant performance improvements can be delivered, when compared with network-connected web interfaces, by co-locating rich web interfaces with fast local access to your existing CICS applications and data.

The Java web container builds on and extends the OSGi support of the underlying JVM server. This allows for rapid roll-out of interface updates. The web container also supports the deployment of web applications as part of a composite CICS application or platform. This includes full lifecycle management and support for policy thresholds.

This new Java web container is built on WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile technology, which enhances compatibility and portability of web applications and tools in either environment. A wide range of Java development tools can be used to build these web applications, including WebSphere Application Server Developer Tools for Eclipse, and Rational Developer for System z.

Foundational Enhancements

Foundational enhancements extend the core CICS capabilities in a number of areas.

Events are enhanced to include "one-to-many" emission by specifying multiple event processing (EP) adapters and configuring an EP adapter set. Events can either be emitted to a single EP adapter or an EP adapter set. Event capture points are also extended to support the WRITE OPERATOR and MESSAGE capture points. Search support has been added to CICS Explorer for the new system message events. Application and System events can now include statically pre-defined data as part of the emitted event data. These enhancements make it even easier to non-invasively extend core system and application capabilities.

IPIC is extended to enable CICS systems to communicate with IBM IMS 13 systems over a TCP/IP network. IPIC capability exchange is enhanced to provide better warnings for communication problems. CICS Execution Diagnostic Facility (EDF) can be run in the local region to step through a program that is executing remotely over IPIC. New sample programs demonstrate auto-install of IPIC connections according to a template IPCONN resource. These capabilities allow the migration of SNA networks to TCP/IP.

Users gain greater flexibility from CICS-WebSphere MQ DPL bridge enhancements in that data can be passed as a container, and containers are not restricted to the maximum 32KB size of a COMMAREA.

Data can be appended to an existing CICS container using EXEC CICS PUT CONTAINER APPEND. Data fragments can be read from a CICS container using EXEC CICS GET CONTAINER BYTEOFFSET. These extensions can improve application flexibility and reduce application storage needs.

The CICSPlex SM Data Repository utility program EYU9XDBT is updated to export and import data repository backups in their entirety, at both the CMAS and the CICSplex context levels. Additionally, the reporting capabilities of EYU9XDBT have been enhanced to provide summary data for each command processed.

CICS can handle time changes for daylight savings all by itself. The AUTORESETTIME system initialization parameter has a new IMMEDIATE option, which is the default. When enabled, the time-of-day synchronization occurs at the next task attach. This removes the need for operator intervention. Additionally, the CICS XML and web services assistants support mapping overrides to improve the readability of generated COBOL language structures. Also, CICS monitoring and statistics provide more information about the load, capacity, and performance of the system.