The portal technology offers a single point of personalized control and can integrate applications of different kinds, offering centralized, customizable access to applications from Linux, z/VSE, relational data, and other enterprise applications or external Internet services.
Scalability of a solution with Linux on System z is realized comfortably with vertical scalability. Adding a processor to the existing environment increases the power of the machine without ever touching applications. This is unique and a measure of the scalability and flexibility characteristic of System z.
The existing z/VSE transactional environment can be integrated with these portal and Web technologies. Depending on the integration design, the applications in z/VSE can be extended to Web-based UIs or used as callable services from Linux on System z.
To create a modern UI, CICS applications can be extended to a Web-based interface using IBM’s Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) technology. This technology is defining a total new Web interface to existing applications and can interact with 3270-based applications of any kind and bring them into a modern Web 2.0 UI.
In case these applications need to interact with external Web services, HATS can transform 3270 calls into a Web service call on the fly. A single HATS application can also access a relational database to integrate with the CICS application and enrich the information for the Web. For example, a relational database containing the product catalog can be integrated with the ordering process running as a CICS application in z/VSE in the same Web application using HATS. The HATS application can be developed using HATS Studio or IBM Rational Developer, both Eclipse-based development environments. For CICS applications based on Basic Mapping Support (BMS) maps, the maps are imported into HATS Studio, which then generates a corresponding Web interface.
To make z/VSE CICS applications accessible from any other platform, including Linux, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) technologies can be used. If a CICS application is callable via EXEC CICS LINK, this application can be transformed into a Web service by developing an interface for it. For z/VSE, IBM provides the CICS2WS tool in the z/VSE download area on the Web. This tool can generate the Web services interface for a callable CICS application. The created CICS Web service can be integrated in SOA and Web portal environments and can be called from any other Web service.
For integration of other non-CICS z/VSE resources such as Power Reports or VSAM data, the VSE e-business connectors, which are part of the z/VSE product, deliver the Java interfaces and a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) driver for VSAM. The VSE e-business connectors can be deployed as host adapters into WebSphere. By doing that, characteristics of the Java EE Connector Architecture standard for connection and session pooling are established. Web applications using these interfaces can generate reports and have real-time access to VSAM data on z/VSE and, therefore, deliver real-time integration of processes with the Web. Applications that are modernized, or that use a Web front-end, can then be integrated into a Web portal and made available with a common look and feel and consolidated, personalized access.
Portals are an important part of today’s infrastructure and often are no longer indispensable. Today, organizations have many different applications, but also greater complexity. Integrating them into the portal and Web application servers on Linux on System z delivers a highly available, scalable solution with integrated access to z/VSE applications.
Data Warehousing and BI
The evaluation of data and information and the complexity of relationships between data are increasingly important in all enterprises. Moreover, there’s a drive to make faster business decisions based on real-time information. These are strong requirements that the IT infrastructure must support and it requires a platform able to quickly process large amounts of complex data. System z has the power and scalability to operate big databases of several terabytes.