CICS / WebSphere

Most of us are faced with the same challenge on a daily basis: the need to succeed in today’s dynamic and increasingly competitive marketplace. If you’re a WebSphere Application Server (WAS) administrator, developer, architect or a manager and are looking to enhance the resiliency of WAS and add mobile and cloud access to your back-end systems without buying additional software tools, then this article is for you. Learn how you can improve the availability and scalability of your WAS applications on distributed and z/OS platforms by taking advantage of new distributed dynamic clustering, intelligent routing capabilities and health management.

This article also examines a strategic, new IBM offering called WebSphere Liberty z/OS Connect, which recently became generally available. Learn how you can enable z/OS systems such as CICS and IMS to more easily participate in today’s mobile and cloud computing environments. z/OS Connect leverages your developers’ skills on distributed platforms, provides standard RESTful APIs, accepts JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) payloads and communicates with back-end systems for data and transactions. It’s also important to point out that there’s no additional charge for z/OS Connect, as it comes packaged with WAS, CICS and IMS software products.

Why Upgrade to WAS V8.5.x?
If your shop hasn’t yet migrated to WAS V8.5.x, then you need to know what key functionality has been added to this release and how you can benefit from exploiting it. WAS V8.5.x is a matured release, whereas V8.5 has been generally available since June 2012 and the latest version, V8.5.5, has been generally available since June 2013. Also, major enhancements were made to WebSphere Liberty Profile, which became generally available on June 13, 2014.

IBM continues to improve the value of the WAS total cost of ownership (TCO) through management efficiency and performance improvements. A great example of this is IBM integrating the features from WebSphere Virtual Enterprise (VE) into WAS Network Deployment (ND) V8.5. Using VE Health Management functionality on both distributed and z/OS platforms, we can now prevent or automatically circumvent issues such as Java Out of Memory condition, memory leaks, storm drain condition, high Garbage Collection (GC) overhead, excessive response time and/or timeout conditions. This very useful built-in functionality shouldn’t be overlooked. Another example of software that has been integrated into a base product with WAS 8.5.5 ND on z/OS is WebSphere Batch, which provides integration capabilities between Java batch and mainframe batch. You also can get entitlement to WebSphere eXtreme Scale with some WAS editions and take advantage of the in-memory caching. For details on entitlements with WAS V8.5.5, please reference announcement letter at http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/ShowDoc.wss?docURL=/common/ssi/rep_ca/7/897/ENUS213-137/index.html&lang=en&request_locale=en.

WAS V8.5.x also offers advances in developer productivity and application server resiliency by exploiting dynamic Liberty profile, which adapts to the requirements of the application in a finegrained manner, ensuring that only the necessary application container functions are started. Liberty profile provides a lightweight, dynamic, composable run-time where available features are user-selected and can be changed at run-time without requiring a server restart. Liberty profile in WAS V8.5 leverages Open Service Gateway initiative (OSGi) to load the applicationrequired application program interface (API) and run-time features. Liberty profile server start-up time is typically less than 5 seconds and has a memory footprint of less than 60MB.

Another reason to upgrade to WAS V8.5.x is to take advantage of the performance improvements, which can significantly reduce your CPU overhead, improve throughput rate and reduce response times. A follow-up article will cover the latest performance enhancements in WAS V8.5.x and IBM Java V6.0.1, V7.0 and V7.1. In addition, we will share WAS V8.5.5 benchmark results from our environment processing high-volume healthcare applications, where we were able to achieve up to 30 percent CPU reduction, upgrading from WAS on z/OS V7.0 to V8.5.5.1, doing Java Heap tuning and taking advantage of Flash Express with pageable Large Page support. This article will also provide WAS performance tuning recommendations and IBM and SPECjEnterprise2010 ESOPs performance benchmark metrics for distributed and z/OS platforms.

WebSphere Application Server Editions
Let’s examine what WAS V8.5.x compostable feature sets are available today:

  • z/OS Edition, which adds z/OS exploitation features
  • ND Edition, which adds centralized management and clustering features
  • Base, Express and Development Edition, which adds some Java EE 6 full profile features
  • Liberty Core Edition, which provides Java EE 6 Web Profile and core features.

Figure 1 shows the WAS editions available and the functionally of each edition.

New functionality was recently added to WAS for z/OS Liberty profile that provides a Liberty-based gateway to connect mobile and cloud applications to your mainframe applications.

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