CICS / WebSphere

CICS introduces CICS Transaction Server 4.1 for z/OS almost 40 years to the day after the first version of CICS was released. CICS TS V4.1 delivers both business and technical value, enabling the enterprise to compete for new business, comply with regulations, manage risk in rapidly changing markets, and control costs for both managing existing applications or building new ones.

Introducing RESTful Web services and providing Atom support helps position CICS for participation in modern Web 2.0 architectures and development models. Another new capability being provided in CICS TS V4.1 is Service Component Architecture (SCA), which will enable customers to identify and package their applications (new or existing) in a more flexible way. This will enable reuse as components in many composite applications while simplifying and accelerating the process of assembling and deploying new business applications.

Mashups using Atom feeds or RESTful APIs can be used to integrate corporate operational data from customers’ CICS customer policy systems along with public information from sources such as electoral rolls and crime statistics, as well as mapping, weather, climate, and similar third-party information. When combined, these new representations can provide higher levels of business insight required to identify risk levels, ensure standards, policies, and regulations are adhered to, and make the correct business decisions. Mashups can be created to greatly simplify access to diverse information sources and accelerate the development process of Web 2.0 applications.

IBM also has continued to improve its now mature SOA support in CICS with data mapping and Web services addressing. The improvements to data mappings provide a faster and enhanced conversion between XML and language structures for all Web services, and new APIs to use these services, independent of Web services. CICS monitors standards and specifications set by standards bodies and supports WS-Addressing in line with the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) specification. The WS-Addressing specifications enable normalization of information usually provided by transport or message systems and allow inclusion of message routing data in SOAP headers. This removes the reliance on network-level transport to carry routing information. The framework is transport-neutral and improves interoperability of Web services using different transport mechanisms.

Governance Compliance

Sound, demonstrable governance is imperative and compliance to the measurements put in place is paramount to the management of business risk, which is becoming an increasing requirement for both enterprise lines of business and IT management alike. CICS development, in conjunction with the z/OS team, has worked to take advantage of new features in the operating system to allow ID propagation, which helps improve cross-platform accountability and auditing of access to sensitive business information and applications.

SOA and Web services are maturing and have been a part of CICS for several years; sound SOA governance to control these new services is essential. CICS offers support for WebSphere Service Registry and Repository (WSRR), providing the capability to publish and read Web service documents from WSRR. This helps customers and IT departments control the proliferation of Web services in their organization and avoid duplication. Demonstrations of this can be seen on the CICS Website (under library, demos).

A major enhancement in CICS V4 to corporate governance and control provides support for producing events that are triggered by banking, trading, or sales transactions, health insurance claims, or any other business-relevant data from CICS applications to dashboard tools. When combined with instrumentation provided in a dashboard tool, executives and managers can gain the insight they need to manage and govern their business, react to changing patterns, and respond to new opportunities. Routing those same events to a business event processing system such as WBE enables fast identification and response to out-of-line situations, such as unusual behavior patterns in bank accounts, share dealing, sales transactions, and other corporate or regulatory compliance issues.

CICS introduced the CB11 SupportPac in December 2008, enabling V3 customers to identify business events in their processes and make them available for consumption by WBE. In V4, this new CICS event technology will enable CICS to be configured to feed event processing engines and business dashboards, without the need for application change. This will better enable the line of business to ensure business processes are under control and monitor and react to compliance requirements, security breaches, and incidents of fraud.

Business event detection and emission within CICS require no changes to or retesting of existing applications, enabling the creation of production business views using dashboards in a matter of hours. When combined with the power of pattern recognition or rule compliance, end-to-end processes can be constructed to ensure follow-up for abnormal situations, alerts can be sent to prohibit potential fraud, and simple metrics can be set up to provide valuable business information that can then be used to react to and take advantage of new opportunities.

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