Home > CICS TS, Q&A > Summary of Impact 2008 CICS Q&A session with Dave Andrews

Summary of Impact 2008 CICS Q&A session with Dave Andrews

On Monday this week, the Impact 2008 CICS Q&A session with CICS director Dave Andrews kicked off. What follows is a brief summary of what happened in-case you missed it.

The session started by looking at how you could make the most out of the Impact event. We have 60 sessions dedicated to CICS this year. With CICS Tech Zones where you can meet the experts and discuss any problems or just come for a chat. CICS is also represented at the Solutions Center with Nick Garrod and John Knutson. Also at the Solutions Center is the new z10 mainframe out in all of its glory along with plenty of vendor stalls.

The demo suite also received a mention with demos available for CICS tools and PD tools. Well worth a visit to get some hands-on time with some of the latest tooling. A sign-up is required so speak to John Knutson who will sort it all out for you.

There is also a CICS Spotlight session on Wednesday (today) at 6pm in the Marquee Suite, with free drinks and snacks.

We were also pointed at the CICS e-Newsletter as an excellent way of keeping up with the latest updates in the CICS world. It has monthly updates of offerings, new members of staff and marketing updates.

The main message was to make the most out of it. Discuss your requirements with IBM… talk to us! Engage with our experts, try out our products and tools and sign up for the beta program. By joining the beta program not only do you get early insight into the product and gain that essential competitive advantage, you can also help to shape the final product by providing essential customer feedback.

The next big section was product updates. Dave started with a disclaimer that all of this was not set in stone. The main points were that IBM is driving for smart SOA architecture. You should not be frightented of the new technologies, embrace them! A lot of the value of CICS is not about creating brand new applications (although that is definitely happening) but creating new solutions using the new functionality to provide added value to those existing applications. CICS is translating it’s core values into value for you.

We then looked at the CICS time-line focusing in on what is now available for CICS TS 3.2. We saw that CICS TS 3.2 had an enriched base, provides a web based interface into CICS and huge improvements to Java and SOA. Where are you going to put your critical applications, well CICS provides availability and robustness already. We have a steady migration to CICS TS Version 3 and the fastest migration to any CICS release yet! Come and talk to us and let us explain why this is happening.

Dave then talked about the major CICS TS 3.2 themes of Application Connectivity, Application Reuse and Service management.

The extensive beta program was again mentioned. Dave said that we get great feedback from it and it’s a great opportunity to let customers get the skills early and take a competitive advantage. It’s also a good opportunity to get an early look at any of the updated books that are available. The open beta that ran in March 2006 had over 100 participants! The adoption rate for 3.2 is incredibly high and the beta program is helping drive real quality with great reference customers.

We then went on to look at the CICS customer references and what they were getting out of CICS.

Allianz Dresdner
– Improved performance for Java
– Impressed with Web interfaces to CICSPlex SM

– Improved Java application support
– Shared Java classes between WAS and CICS

University of Florida
– Web services enablement of student course systems
– CICS was lowest cost of ownership

Moving on we looked at some of the other CICS news. Upgrades for Service Flow Feature and Rational Developer for Z. We looked at what news was coming up. New Java 5 support, Web Services data binding for XML and AnyType, improved interoperability with CICS and WAS v6.1 supporting the CSI v2 Client Auth mechanism, Web Services MTOM support over MO transport and the withdrawal of support for CICS TS v2.3 effective September 30th 2009.

One of the interesting revelations that came next was a look at the most downloaded redbooks. The list below shows a fairly interesting trend shift towards CICS Web Services and Java.
– Implementing CICS Web services
– Application develiopment for CICS Web services
– Architechting access to CICS within an SOA
– Java Application dev for CICS
– Threadsafe considerations for CICS

Dave then went on to talk about some of the CICS complementary tools. There was some brief amusement as someone asked if complementary tooling means that they are free. Dave was quick to point out that complimentary means that it complements the product and is not in fact free.

The first tool on the list was RDz v7.1. It was suggested that this was definitely worth a look… its going to get better and better! I’ve personally played with it recently and it looks very nice! Dave concluded by saying that it was going to be very important for the future of CICS application development.

Dave gave a brief overview of the CICS Tools and PDTools explaining how customers can use these to help manage their CICS environment. He used CICS IA as an example of a Tool that can assist with making applications Threadsafe and hence getting increased response time and lower CPU usage. The other tools have similar roles in helping with Application Lifecycle, Performance, Data Management and Operational Management.

We then moved on to TX Series v6.2 and mentioned updates were the removal of DCE, for improved simplicity of install and setup, a re-engineered core and a new system management console. Dave also talked about when you might want to use TX Series. Great for a departmental server in shops who understand the value of CICS.

Finally we moved on to CICS Transaction Gateway v7.1 and mentioned it’s improved debugging support. A lot more was mentioned but I’m afraid I was distracted at this point. I’ll try and find out what was discussed later.

Now for the fun stuff. CICS Future Directions. So the BIG message is that the future runs on System Z! There are also no new CICS annoucements at this time, due to the big refresh on tooling last year. The interval for CICS releases continues to be 18-24 months. You can keep up with the latest action through the beta programs and the e-Newsletters.

We looked at the CICS strategy and goals. Dave highlighted Share as one of the great places to gather customer feedback.
– The aim is to position CICS and the mainframe as preferred platform for Enterprise Level Transaction Processing. If there are holes in what we have then please tell us!
– Support non-disruptive adoption of new technologies to support innovation and agile business needs.
– Minimise specialist skills required to install, operate and develop new and exiting applications.
– Respond to key customer and market requirements.

We then moved on to talk about Enterprise level TP. Keeping the traditional focus on performance, scalability, availability, security and management. Promoting the strengths of COBOL and championing it for it’s strengths. A question was asked about whether universities are going to do anything about this? The answer was that we are working closely with the universities at the moment to promote this type of thing.

So moving on to look at the adoption of new technologies. One of these is event processing for CICS. This has huge potential for CICS and can also be provided non-disruptively. Next on the list was PHP and we are currently playing with using it for things like as a scripting language for SFF. Also big on the list was Web 2.0. If you read this blog regularly you would have seen mention of the CICS Atom SupportPac. Again this can help us provide you with more non-disruptive extra functionality for your existing applications.

We then looked at things that were being done to deal with some of the skilling problems around today. Some of the solutions CICS is pursuing are minimising specialist skills, working heavily with universities, and interestingly working on a degree level module with one of the universities on enterprise transaction management. Also getting students up to speed with the enterprise by running mainframe competitions and bringing the winners into the labs. A suggestion that customers should get in touch with the local universities and ask for the skills they need.

Dave finished the session by introducing a move towards Rich Client Platforms based on successful CICS IA user interface. If you are at Impact 2008 you should be able to get a demo of this. There is a strategy to move away from green screens, heading for the Rich Client Platform.

Categories: CICS TS, Q&A
  1. Dean Grobowsky
    April 14, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Were there any comments or discussions around a health checking tool for CICS on all platforms? From my research there is no tool at all for CICS on VSE or TXSeries. CICS on MVS used to have the Dave Mudge tool but I do not even know whether it is still available. I would appreciate any information or knowledge you can share.

    Dean Grobowsky

  2. Chris Hodgins
    April 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    Hi Dean,

    Not that I can remember. CICS on Z obviously has quite a few health-checking tools, such as CICSPlex SM and Omegamon. I believe CICS on TXSeries has some Tivoli tooling available that can check whether it is up or down.

    From what I have heard from asking around so far is that there used to be tooling available for VSE and NT platforms but I believe that is no longer the case.

    If you need more information then let me know and we can see about getting you a better answer.


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