CICS / WebSphere

CICS TS for z/OS V5.2, and a set of tools that complement the capabilities of the run-time, address IBM customers’ greatest concerns, which include the ability to control costs, deliver new business value faster and adapt to new technologies—particularly mobile and cloud.

In CICS TS V5.1, more than 100 customer requirements were implemented and delivered under the messages of operational efficiency and service agility with cloud enablement; in this latest release, an additional 100-plus requirements have been satisfied.

In 2013, IBM introduced several feature packs and solution packs to bring new capabilities and value to CICS. Now in 2014, the capabilities of those two feature packs, plus some improvements, have been rolled into the new release of CICS. But this new release doesn’t just build on the foundations laid in V5.1. Here we outline the enhancements to support IBM’s high-level themes of service agility and operational efficiency with cloud enablement to make this the strongest release yet of CICS.

Service Agility: Hybrid Applications and a Single Run-Time
In CICS TS V5.1, customers showed great interest in the support for the WebSphere Application Server (WAS) Liberty profile and the features required to port or reuse application code:

Converging capability levels. CICS continues to provide an ever-increasing level of support for Liberty profile-based features. In CICS TS V5.2, the focus is on enabling, porting and reusing components and allowing third-party applications to run in Liberty. There are three main areas of enhancement:

  • Java Transaction Architecture, which allows Java components to run inside CICS and integrate with the underlying unit of work
  • A Java application program interface (API) that uses Java transactions (rather than a CICS-specific API) for processes such as two-phase commit. This feature is fundamental because other feature function library components use that API to integrate with the transaction manager.
  • JAX-WS and JAXB support, which allows Java Web service support in Liberty. (JAX-RS and JavaScript Object Notation [JSON] support were already available in a feature pack released in 2013 but now SOAP and XML payloads are supported in the Liberty server, providing a solution to port from a bespoke AXIS2 implementation to a more standard one.)

Fidelity of code. CICS V5.2 also introduces support for the DataSource Java class as a way for Java applications running inside enterprise servers to establish connection with a database. Most Java components want to use a DataSource implementation, and this support removes the current requirement to change code and use a driver manager (a proprietary DB2 API) to access the CICS/DB2 connection. DataSource implementations can be configured in XML configuration files and customized to where they’re pointing, which database to connect to and the type of data source, which provides more application portability. A second advantage is that AXIS2 promotes more type 4 JDBC connectivity to a remote DB2 database for a CICS region that runs Liberty. Traditionally, you could only connect directly to a DB2 database on the same LPAR as CICS. This is still true for existing COBOL or Java applications, but a Liberty application running inside CICS can use the type 4 JDBC connectivity that Liberty provides to connect with a remote DB2 database. If you use this function, you can also use the JTA support to integrate the transaction management of the remote DB2 update with the underlying work being performed by the Liberty application.

Security support—target for third-party Liberty apps. Additional security support is provided in CICS TS V5.2 to allow forward integration between the Liberty security model and the CICS security model. This lets you use the vast security features in Liberty, such as HTTP basic authentication, single sign-on using LTPA cookies, form login, trust association Interceptors and SSl client certificate mapping. these are the types of mechanisms used by apps that you might want to port into CICS.

Service agility—mobile integration. CICS now provides support for the creation of RESTful services for JSON payloads that work in the same way as our Web services support—using all the same infrastructure. So, it will be very familiar to anyone who has already worked with Web services in CICS. This capability was introduced as a feature pack for V5.1, and is now integrated into the base of V5.2 so that installation and configuration are streamlined. It includes key enhancements to the JSON mapping technology in the feature pack around Liberty and COBOL mapping (see Figure 1).

Operational efficiency—more policies, more control. The policy-based management capability introduced in CICS TS V5.1 received a lot of positive reaction and in V5.2, we’ve doubled the number of threshold types that can be monitored. This capability provides very low cost, heavily integrated monitoring of key task behaviors and flexible actions to take if these thresholds are broken or transgressed. The actions are unchanged from V5.1; you can abend a rogue task, issue a message or emit an event that can trigger additional processing. We’ve added the new thresholds that customers requested most; for example, elapsed time on a user task (in V5.1, CPU time is available), the number of start or syncpoint requests a user task makes, and temporary storage queue and transient data queue requests (see Figure 2).

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