Latest Entries

z/Data Perspectives: DB2 V7 B4 V8

Much excitement has been generated the past few months since IBM announced Version 8 of DB2 for z/OS. While this excitement is warranted, those of us here in the trenches still have to get production work done. V8 is not expected to become generally available until sometime late this year or early in 2004. In addition, many of us are just now coming up to speed on V7. So, let’s take a moment to highlight a few V7 features that we should be adopting before we become too giddy about V8…

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VSE TCP/IP PROGRAMMING

For many years, SNA has been the communications method for IBM mainframes. However, the IBM mainframe has been dragged — clawing and screaming — into the world of IP. Now application programmers are being asked to write TCP/IP programs to communicate with off-platform applications. These off-platform applications can be a simple customer balance inquiry or a complicated modeling tool. The primary IBM Application Programming Interface (API) for IP is the EZA interface. The EZASMI macro is used for Assembler while the EZASOKET High-Level Language (HLL) interface is used for COBOL and sometimes Assembler. Although additional options are available when using the macro interface, a programmer can easily write a full-featured IP program using the HLL interface. Examples in this article will discuss the HLL interface with the end result being a programming example designed for use in a CICS environment. However, the calls discussed here can also be used in the batch environment. There are actually three major methods to use IP: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), User Datagram Protocol (UDP), and Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP). An application programmer would normally only use TCP, so this article will not discuss UDP or ICMP…

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z990 Opportunities

Based on the continued evolution of the z/OS platform, it is only normal that we expect faster processing speeds, more capacity, and price/performance improvements. The z990 announced in May satisfies these expectations and provides new opportunities. I’ll let IBM and others review the announcements for you; I will focus on two z990 opportunities — consolidation and HiperSockets.

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Web Services & The Mainframe

When Atlanta-based National Account Service Co. LLC (NASCO) needed to help its customers, large health insurers, provide their own customers with control of their benefits, it turned to Web services to provide everything from claim status information to personal healthcare spending accounts. Similarly, when MeadWestvaco, an $8 billion producer of packaging, specialty papers, consumer and office products, and chemicals, wanted to leverage its use of SAP to improve order management and achieve greater flexibility, it turned to Web services…

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Inside IBM

z/OS DB2 TOOLS

Easily overshadowed by the announcement of eServer zSeries (100-322, 200-352, 200-358), three weeks later, on Sept. 12, 2000, IBM entered the z/OS database tools market (200- 298 to 302). Today, industry analysts peg IBM as DB2 tools market leader with 40 percent market share. Analysts’ opinions range from “good enough” to better than the competition, though they all agree that very complex database environments may need to look elsewhere…

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z/Vendor Watch:  Keeping the Intruders Out

Most mainframers would claim that the S/390 platform is the most secure in the world. Certainly, when it comes to bulletproof log-ins, support for the highest levels of cryptography, and the flexible partitioning and control of access to data and system resources, the zSeries is hard to beat. RACF, ACF2, and CA-Top Secret have offered a unique type of security environment for decades, and one of the strongest arguments for consolidating Linux apps on the mainframe is that they can benefit from security facilities that are unavailable elsewhere…

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During the late 1990s, organizations worldwide spent billions of dollars to remediate their portfolio of mainframe systems in order to make them Year/2000-compliant. This was done as a matter of survival. However, many observed that this inordinately large expenditure was a reaction to a non-existent or, at best, over-hyped problem. Most companies treated the cost of remediation as an expense and blamed it for delaying the development of a meaningful Web presence. A “meaningful presence” meant one that exposes customer-oriented internal processes to reduce transaction costs and increase customer satisfaction. This presence is frequently realized through providing self-service operations for employees, business partners, and customers…

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Are You Reorganizing Your VSAM Files Too Often?

After reviewing VSAM usage for many years, one of the biggest unrecognized problems I’ve seen was (and still is) directly related to batch window processing and online performance. In fact, the issue is large enough that several vendors have created VSAM add-on enhancement products, but unfortunately, they may actually make this situation worse. What is this horrible problem, you ask? The Swami, knowing the answer even before you asked it, wrote this article to give you the answer!…

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With the ever-increasing ability to provide online applications direct access to multiple stores of data, many companies find that they can improve customer service by providing service representatives with direct access to all available customer data online. The convenience of being able to access such services has proven popular with an ever-growing number of people, but this popularity has been shadowed by a concern over lack of security and privacy in the online world. So far, customers are expressing this concern primarily through their elected representatives, resulting in numerous state and federal privacy bills. It would appear to be only a matter of time, however, before privacy concerns start to affect customers’ decisions, and the ability to provide a privacy capability becomes a marketing feature…

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