CICS / WebSphere

CICS TS V5.1 supports non-Language Environment (LE) Assembler language programs that run in 64-bit addressing mode (AMODE(64)), providing 64-bit application support to access large data objects. This lets you run more workload in a single region to provide vertical scaling; the TCB usage will allow more dispatchable units to be run, providing horizontal scaling, and Java 7 will provide throughput along the way.

Managed Operations

Managed operations are provided through the introduction of policies to deliver automated control over critical system resources (see Figure 3). Users can set data access thresholds on SQL or file access requests through a user task. For example, you could set a threshold that abends any task that runs in a banking region that tries to use 24-bit storage because everything should be using 31-bit storage, or receive a notification if a task tries to get more than 1 MB of storage. There’s a policy that’s part of an XML document created by the CICS Explorer that consists of a threshold and an action.  

CICS policies are a declarative way of ensuring applications and platforms continue to run effectively. A policy can be applied to any combination of applications and platforms. Additionally, policies can be deployed into a single region, independently of defining a platform. Policies are applied dynamically during production operations.

Increased Availability

We examined all the cases when it was necessary for sites to either take CICS down or take some action to upgrade a resource (see Figure 4); our immediate focus was on sites introducing a new release of CICS. We’ve introduced a CICS utility that will upgrade the SVC table without the need for an IPL. This allows users to bring in a new release of CICS and move in the new SVC without an IPL. The need to shut down CICS to update the CICS SSL certificate is eliminated through the provision of a refresh command.

With more people using IP inter-connectivity and going external to their own environment, firewalls can create difficulties by closing connections if they aren’t used frequently enough. We’ve introduced a heartbeat capability so CICS IP sessions don’t get closed automatically, such as by a firewall with no notification provided, until you want to use the connection. IBM issued a Statement of Direction on an active-active availability policy for the Geographically Dispersed Parallel Sysplex (GDPS), and CICS has declared that V5.1 has functionality to support the future functions with VSAM for an active query or an active standby configuration in the GPDS active-active policy/directional statements. There are also several default values set for best practice configurations.

Deeper Insight

Improved decision-making and easier auditing have been achieved by taking a deeper look into the CICS environment. Suppose you initialized your CICS region two weeks ago and now the run-time parameters don’t match what you originally set. CICS now provides an audit trail of changes so you can see what changes were made, and when and how they were made.

Changes were made in security verification. Many users access CICS using the Web, and for performance reasons, the system does a fast verification of the combination of user ID and password. In the new version of CICS, at least one full security check a day runs and updates the security manager, preventing accounts from being disabled due to inactivity.

Changes have been made to the identity propagation function (introduced in V4.1), which is used in transaction routing, for dynamic program links (DPLs) and in function shipments. In V5.1, the ID propagation function has been extended from function shipments and DPLs to include EXEC CICS starts.

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