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Applications & Databases

May 4 ’10

Web services are an increasingly common design paradigm, and where these applications are to be provided is the first design decision. IBM’s CICS Transaction Server may not be an obvious choice, but CICS is a good environment for hosting some Web service applications. CICS isn’t a general-purpose Web server; it’s a 40-year-old transaction processor. Its utility for Web services boils down to secure, scalable access to existing applications and data. The Web services of interest are those based on SOAP/XML, and CICS can act as a Web service provider for these services.<…

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Applications & Databases

May 4 ’10

Traditional mainframe roles are undergoing a metamorphosis that transforms the emphasis from product-centric specialists to a multi-role generalist. With budget cutting and the mandate to “do more with less,” this transformation extends to Database Administrators (DBAs) tasked with multiple responsibilities. Often, DBAs must shift from generalist to specialist and back, and always in an increasingly dynamic, complex environment.

But has technology kept pace and helped DBAs become more effective in managing their many responsibilities? Not really. While enhancements to operating system components, software products, and hardware innovations such as the IBM mainframe specialty processors have…

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Spotlights

Apr 29 ’10

This article examines the evolution of threadsafe execution in CICS from its inception to today, and why you should exploit threadsafe in as many of your applications as possible. Other topics discussed include: 

  • How threadsafe applications run more efficiently
  • What the Task Control Block (TCB) structure means to threadsafe applications and pitfalls to avoid
  • Implementation techniques to ensure you have the correct settings for optimum performance. 

Threadsafe implementations aren’t new to CICS; they’ve been around for several releases. Not…

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Spotlights

Apr 29 ’10

Ever since command-level programming was introduced in CICS in 1975, an in-memory process called the communications area (COMMAREA) has been used to pass data from one application to another. From its inception, the size of the COMMAREA was held in a half-word data field— the EIBCALEN—which limited the size of the COMMAREA to 32KB. Although this was a problem, since most application  data was 3270-based and not, therefore, particularly resource hungry, the 32KB limit was sufficient to manage data propagation between applications. However, with the advent of Web-based applications, today’s CICS applications are required…

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IT Management

Apr 29 ’10

As the new decade begins, a look at the past 10 years shows that large-scale IT project failures were plentiful. From ERPs to CRMs, millions of IT dollars were squandered. 

Seldom is an IT fiasco in private industry made public; however, government IT fiascoes are more visible for outsiders to scrutinize. 

When collectively examining IT failures, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in the U.K. has concluded that common causes of IT failures include: 

  • Lack of a clear link between the project and the organization&rsquo…
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IT Management

Apr 28 ’10

Enterprise organizations are always looking for ways to make the mainframe more relevant in today’s service-centric IT world and more cost-effective when it comes to everyday transactional processing. With the exploitation of IBM specialty engines, these mainframe organizations are succeeding.

IBM’s desire to make the mainframe a more attractive platform for new workload is dramatically altering misperceptions about the mainframe’s viability in modern application development initiatives. In fact, the introduction of specialty engines has jump-started a mainframe integration revival that’s “reintroducing” mainframe computing benefits to enterprise IT…

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IT Management

Apr 27 ’10

Choices for Caching Data in the Enterprise

As we continue to expand and combine our data and applications into enterprisewide applications and layer them in an architecture that adds abstraction and expands usage, we find our database access activity greatly increases. Service layers are being built on top of application interfaces and then connected with various other applications across the enterprise. Designs point programmers at enterprise objects or services as the source of data, rather than data servers and databases. This allows for fast deployment of new software applications and services, and provides great flexibility in the enterprise to adapt to new requirements. It can also…

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IT Management

Apr 26 ’10

First quarter 2010 has been relatively quiet in the Linux on System z world. Both Novell and Red Hat seem to be concentrating on enhancing the distributions and application certifications, as well as extending the reach of the enterprise distributions to new customers—pretty much business as usual. That said, there have been a few interesting developments in the ecosystem around the Linux on System z world. 

The first interesting item is that it’s internship season at the colleges. I received my first résumé the other day from a college job…

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Blog

Apr 26 ’10

I am involved in an upcoming virtual trade show event that I am very excited about. It’s called May Mainframe Madness 2010 and it is undoubtedly the largest virtual event yet for mainframers.

Whether you’re an experienced mainframer, new to the field, or just curious about the technology there’s something for you in this first of its kind virtual trade show event.

Register FREE at: www.ca.com/mmm

More Information at:

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Spotlights

Apr 25 ’10

A leading insurance company and large System z shop was feeling the pain of problems typical of large organizations whose IT infrastructure had evolved over decades into a heterogeneous hodgepodge of incompatible systems. Sooner or later, management realized, the company would need to do something about the situation. Meanwhile, its systems environment was becoming increasingly expensive to maintain. Integrating applications was costly and slow, and the results often were unsatisfactory. Making changes turned into a nightmare; each change increasing the likelihood of breaking something else. The company might have continued to limp along, but a changing business environment forced…

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IT Management

Apr 21 ’10

Evolution of corporate IT systems beyond the boundaries of the traditional enterprise and the dynamic nature of the competitive landscape are creating significant business and technology challenges. These challenges present themselves in the very scale and reach of the newly created applications and the speed with which the new business models are being introduced into the extended enterprise. Modern enterprise architectures require a radically different technological approach to building and connecting applications into coherent, large-scale solutions. This dynamic business scenario renders obsolete the traditional notion of coordinated, enterprisewide architectures and introduces a more agile paradigm of loosely coupled SOA…

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IT Management

Apr 21 ’10

In today’s competitive markets, the environment can rapidly change. You may need to quickly respond to a competitor’s new product offerings or change the way you do business to reduce your exposure to risk or respond to new business regulations. Traditionally, to make the required changes, people from the business area of the organization will identify what rules need to be changed. For example, should you bring in a new offer for your services or stop offering services to customers who are too high risk? Once these changes are identified, a set of requirements is…

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Spotlights

Apr 20 ’10

Endless Education

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. “ - Henry Ford

Whether the ink on your diploma is still fresh or you have long ago forgotten where you put the thing, the real learning of life begins when you graduate and ends only when you give up.  In the IT profession, continuing education has to be a part of your career plan; the industry just changes too fast.   But how do you find the time?  Many struggling to work while attending school imagined how…

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IT Management

Apr 19 ’10

Last December, I slipped on the ice, fell, and hit my head. I also banged up a shoulder, hip, and elbow, although I wasn’t really aware of those injuries until later. But I could tell immediately that my head had bounced off the icy concrete, so I did the sensible thing; I stayed on the ground and called someone to help me get up. Within minutes, I was inside, feeling warm and lucky that nothing was broken. Then a headache hit, hard and fast, and my friends insisted I go to the ER to get checked out.<…

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Applications & Databases

Apr 19 ’10

As businesses try to do more with less and maximize their return on hardware and software investments, optimizing mainframe infrastructure is key. It can offer immediate benefits in performance and revenue, especially to those facing increasing transaction volumes and tight batch-processing windows. Maximizing the Millions of Instructions Per Second (MIPS) a mainframe processes can annually save companies millions of dollars. In situations where mission-critical applications process hundreds of thousands of transactions per hour, maximizing MIPS is imperative.

Companies can take several approaches to optimize their mainframe environments, increase capacity, and reduce costs. This article focuses on the…

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Operating Systems

Apr 19 ’10

Conditional Job Control Language (JCL) in z/VSE was a major step forward when it was introduced in the ’90s. In the intervening years, z/VSE systems programmers have developed intelligent, complex job streams. The design of conditional JCL was well done and highly functional with few restrictions of any consequence. There have been few requests for enhancements, indicating the initial designs were well-executed. 

From day one, it was understood that using conditional JCL to control the execution of a job stream wouldn’t allow branching backward (previous JCL). Users accepted that restriction as…

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IT Management

Apr 19 ’10

Solid State Drives (SSDs) based on flash memory are the premier, enterprise-class storage devices of the near future. Chances are you will be implementing SSDs in the next few years, even if the technology seems expensive today. This article explains the technology behind SSDs and provides practical implementation strategies, considering both the performance improvements SSDs provide and the reduction in spinning hard disk activity that results from moving the most active data sets to solid state. We’ll examine the pros and cons of migrating individual data sets, logical volumes, or complete storage groups and show the reductions…

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IT Management

Apr 15 ’10

Mainframe Executive recently spoke with Reed Mullen, consolidation and virtualization initiative leader for IBM System z. Mullen joined IBM in 1981 as a junior programmer in the VM/SP Development organization located in Endicott, NY. Over the years, he has held management, product planning, and strategy development positions in the IBM mainframe organization. In 1999, he played a key role in developing the Linux on S/390 business plan that leverages the mainframe’s ability to host large-scale virtual server environments. Since then, he has applied his expertise in the areas of strategy, business development, and technical marketing support to help…

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IT Management

Apr 14 ’10

Smart CIOs recognize that it’s necessary to evaluate how well the metrics they use continue to work. Many CIOs use a set of basic metrics for IT performance, such as response time, percent availability, and ROI. These sometimes serve as a “dashboard” for IT management.  

Occasionally, the metrics that formerly provided what was needed become obsolete. This can result from technology changes or, more recently, from major re-configuration of IT architecture. Sometimes it’s easy to see a fundamental change coming and other times it can take you by complete…

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CICS / WebSphere

Apr 13 ’10

This article examines the evolution of threadsafe execution in CICS from its inception to today, and why you should exploit threadsafe in as many of your applications as possible. Other topics discussed include: 

  • How threadsafe applications run more efficiently
  • What the Task Control Block (TCB) structure means to threadsafe applications and pitfalls to avoid
  • Implementation techniques to ensure you have the correct settings for optimum performance. 

Threadsafe implementations aren’t new to CICS; they’ve been around for several releases. Not…

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