Operating Systems

Having helped major enterprises across the world for more than 40 years, CICS continues to innovate in the field of transaction processing, delivering new capabilities that address users’ needs. CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V4.2, announced April 5, 2011, with delivery slated for June, will help users compete in the marketplace, comply with standards and regulations, and control their business.

This new release addresses more than 50 customer requirements and will help:

  • Architects looking to build systems to meet present and future line of business needs
  • CIOs and IT managers looking to reduce costs and improve service levels
  • Systems and applications programmers wanting to improve their own productivity and extend their skills.

CICS TS V4.2 provides value in the following five key technical areas:

  • Event processing
  • Java
  • Connectivity
  • Management
  • Scalability.

Events

In June 2009, CICS TS V4.1 introduced the ability to generate application events in a non-invasive manner by defining their emission points using an event binding editor built into CICS Explorer and Rational Developer for System z. CICS TS V4.2 adds the ability to emit events to notify certain changes in the system as they happen, such as when VSAM files or DB2 connections fail unexpectedly or when transactions terminate abnormally. These new system events will help systems programmers track unusual conditions in CICS systems, without incurring the polling overhead inherent in the Real-Time Analysis (RTA) mechanism built into CICSPlex System Manager. Like the application events, no changes are required to any application; it’s all managed using the event binding editor.

When application events are used to drive business processes rather than feed business analytics systems, it becomes more important that the events accurately reflect the state of the transaction data maintained by CICS. The new assured emission mode means events can be included in a single unit of work, so that if the event emission succeeds, the application will continue; however, if event emission fails and the event isn’t emitted, then the application transaction will roll back. To be effective, these assured events need to be generated using a reliable transmission medium, such as WebSphere MQ.

Even though CICS application events can be generated non-invasively (without the need to modify underlying programs), the event specifications and data formats still depend on the applications. If those applications change (e.g., if VSAM file record formats must be modified to reflect business changes), it’s then necessary to change the downstream consumers of the events. New search functions built into CICS Explorer make it easier to manage events when the applications that emit them change and evolve.

Java

Java is increasingly the language of choice for new applications, and CICS has kept pace with this trend. CICS TS V4.1 introduced the multi-threaded JVM Server environment to supplement the single-threaded JVM pools, which have been available in CICS since V1. Now, in CICS TS V4.2, the JVM servers are the preferred environment for Java-based workloads. JVM servers use the newest IBM 64-bit Software Development Kit (SDK) for z/OS (Version 6 Release 0 Modification 1) and dramatically increase the capacity to run workloads implemented in Java using the multi-threaded model. This makes it much easier to run large workloads exploiting Java and System z Application Assist Processor (zAAP) engines in CICS. The JVM server has also been extended to support OSGi bundles, with the associated tooling integrated in the latest updates to the CICS Explorer, delivering an industry standard Java run-time, application packaging, and deployment environment in CICS.

The OSGi standard removes the need to manage complex class paths, and, with its application isolation, multi-version support, prerequisite checking, and simplified package redeployment, significantly improves the management of Java applications in CICS.

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