Latest Entries

Live servers jumped more than fivefold from 6 million in 1996 to a stunning 32 million globally in 2007. They were mostly distributed servers. This sprawling flood of servers had dire effects. Blame the RISC-UNIX and x86/x64 cartel vendors for hyping and pushing these distributed servers to users. This last decade of wild proliferation in scale-out distributed computing drove the huge increases in IT operating costs detailed below…

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Like most 40 year-olds, CICS is wiser and smarter than it was in its younger years, but doesn’t look quite as good from the outside as it did as a teenager. System administration or development typically involves interacting with green-screen programs being run inside a 3270 emulation program launched from a PC desktop. However, surrounding the emulated green screen are likely to be any number of other applications such as email clients, a Web browser, and other graphical applications. Users will interact with these using the mouse, metaphors such as drag and drop, copy and paste, and expect features such as integrated help, wizards, support for undo, and other items that make them productive…

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Ever since command-level programming was introduced in CICS in 1975, an in-memory process called the communications area (COMMAREA) has been used to pass data from one application to another. From its inception, the size of the COMMAREA was held in a half-word data field— the EIBCALEN—which limited the size of the COMMAREA to 32KB. Although this was a problem, since most application  data was 3270-based and not, therefore, particularly resource hungry, the 32KB limit was sufficient to manage data propagation between applications. However, with the advent of Web-based applications, today’s CICS applications are required to process larger quantities of structured parameter data in both XML and non-XML formats, meaning the constraints imposed on the COMMAREA size by the 32KB limit are too restrictive. Furthermore, if an XML document has to be exchanged, the parameter data contained in it is quite different from the data format historically known to CICS programmers…

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IBM’s CICS transaction processing software has been enhanced in recent releases to extend its support for the Open Transaction Environment (OTE). This article describes the background and history of OTE, and offers some examples and guidance on several problems that may be encountered when exploiting OTE. This article also describes how to prepare your CICS systems and applications to efficiently exploit OTE.  

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Batch Optimization Using Graphic JCL IDEs

Mature software systems start as clean, carefully crafted architectural solutions founded on the best modern design techniques and good intentions. Over time, however, the purity of the architectural lines gives way to the practical reality of ad hoc extensions that, for the sake of business expediency, are hastily added to the core system structure. There’s nothing wrong with this; after all, in the real world, IT systems are built to perform requisite business functions and not necessarily to delight the aesthetical sensibilities of their software architects…

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This year’s IT budgets are forcefully framed by the worldwide adverse economical climate. Cost-cutting and a sharpened focus on ROI are the key drivers that shape these budgets. It’s universal wisdom that most budget reduction activities will weaken IT organizations and temporarily impact their ability to service the full spectrum of enterprise computing needs. However, not every budget reduction activity will have such a negative impact. In this context, legacy modernization projects can be viewed as proactive, strategic initiatives that, while reducing immediate operating costs, will ultimately produce more agile, streamlined application portfolios. These new generations of modernized application portfolios will be better aligned with enterprise business needs and more responsive to future enterprise growth once the economy recovers…

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Sanity Check

Recently, the Microsoft-leaning CTO of a large organization showed me the roadmap he had created for dumping the mainframe in favor of either a Lintel (Linux on Intel) or Wintel (Windows on Intel) server farm. So, I asked him if he was familiar with the difference in Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities between those two platforms, and how Lintel had a considerably better track record for decreasing downtime (RTO [Recovery Time Objective]) and avoiding data loss (RPO [Recovery Point Objective]). His lengthy response revealed his convictions regarding the nobility of keeping the roadmap pure from technology considerations and the importance of not haggling about petty platform distinctions, because many bright people are continuously working to eliminate shortcomings, wherever they may exist…

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Companies are relying on Business Intelligence (BI) like never before, given the rapid pace of competition and innovation in a difficult economy. But the new push for system-resident BI goes far beyond the boardroom and executive offices, into the province of line managers who are expected to make real-time decisions as new business situations develop…

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