Information is everywhere. Anything we could possibly want to know about the world around us is at our fingertips, just a click, tap, or swipe away, consumable and available continuously. The unknown is becoming known, and we regularly use this newfound knowledge to make more intelligent, informed decisions.
Gaining insight through knowledge is the core value of business Event Processing (EP). By emitting events from within business processes, it’s possible to achieve a level of visibility that lets a business react intelligently to its environment, maximizing opportunities and minimizing risk. Events can be used to monitor business performance, detect and respond to situations of interest in real-time, and even drive additional business processing.
CICS TS V4.1
For many companies, CICS Transaction Server (TS) is where core business logic runs and where some of the most interesting business events occur. In 2009, CICS TS V4.1 delivered the capability to non-invasively capture and emit events from within business applications (see Figure 1). The article “CICS: The Critical Enabler for the Event-Driven Enterprise” (z/Journal February/March 2011 available at www.mainframezone.com/it-management/cics-the-critical-enabler-for-the-event-driven-enterprise) highlighted the capabilities and explained why they’re essential for adopting business EP across the enterprise.
During development of EP in CICS TS V4.1, there were few EP-related requirements since customers had yet to consider using EP. However, without EP in CICS, many companies wouldn’t be able to extract key events of interest, reducing the compulsion to pursue business EP.
Having few requirements made it difficult for the CICS TS V4.1 development team to deliver everything customers would need for EP. The team delivered some core capabilities with three goals:
- Raise awareness of EP
- Help customers adopt business EP in their enterprise
- Generate requirements for future releases.
EP in CICS TS V4.1 has been a great success; CICS customers are finding they can easily extract data from their applications that previously would have taken months of development to expose. Moreover, customers perceive EP differently. When CICS TS V4.1 launched in 2009, a common question was: “What value is EP really going to give me?” By the IBM IMPACT conference in April 2011, customers increasingly were asking questions such as: “I have an application I need to extract events from. What’s the best way to approach it?”
Businesses now clearly see the value of EP and are seeking the best way to use it.
CICS TS V4.2
In April 2011, IBM announced CICS TS V4.2, which provides many enhancements to EP. Due to the increased interest in EP that CICS TS V4.1 sparked, these enhancements were almost entirely driven by customer requirements; the development team has worked closely with beta customers to ensure what has been delivered is what they need. This article looks at some requirements for EP and the corresponding features of CICS TS V4.2.
Separate EP Adapters
In CICS TS V4.1, every event binding had an EP adapter specification containing the format and transport that should be used to emit the events it described. Figure 2 shows several event bindings (purple) in a bundle (blue), each with their own EP adapter specification (orange).