Welcome!

IBM Cloud Authors: William Schmarzo, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Derek Weeks

Related Topics: IBM Cloud

IBM Cloud: Article

Why CICS?

Jack Martin, editor-in-chief of WebSphere Journal, recently sat down to chat with Rick Thomas about CICS

In this Q&A Rick discusses ways in which companies can protect their mission critical data even as they connect their networks with outside partners.

WebSphere Journal: Rick, what do you do over at IBM?
Rick Thomas: I'm the program director for the CICS Tools Marketing within the Application Integration Middleware division.

WJ: I understand that you have a pretty interesting new tool where you can get CICS and WebSphere to interoperate, which has been really hard for a lot of people. Tell me about it?
RT: This new tool is CICS Business Event Publisher. It's actually now in its second release with some interesting new capabilities. The Business Event Publisher is a tool that allows CICS to drive business processing in a mixed workload environment that includes CICS, IMS, WebSphere, WebSphere J2EE, WebSphere MQ and WBI Message Broker.

WJ: A lot of our readers are Java programmers, obviously, but not all of them are experienced with CICS. Who uses CICS today? How big a product is it? It's having its 35th anniversary.
RT: Yes, it is. We just celebrated our 35th anniversary of CICS. CICS is used by 10,000 customers worldwide and it is still the primary engine for business transactions everyday around the world. It's used in all the finance industries, insurance, retail, distribution for all purposes in all walks of life.

WJ: So that's something that's been sitting back there for a long time but a lot of people haven't migrated off it yet?
RT: That's right, and all indications are that they are not going to migrate. In fact, what they are going to do is revalidate the value of their CICS assets in mixed Web environments that include WebSphere with J2EE applications on one side and CICS applications on another.

WJ: What is the most important problem that this tool solves?
RT: The Business Event Publisher allows CICS to be in the driver's seat in business processes. Today, it is very common for customers to write WebSphere applications that drive CICS transactions.

 
Rick Thomas - Program Director for the CICS Tools Marketing

They make a customer information request, operate on it in some way, and then submit an update of that customer information. That's an environment where CICS is acting as a partner with WebSphere, but the transaction is driven by WebSphere. The Business Event Publisher allows CICS essentially to be aware of actions that occur within CICS and know where to drive outbound business processes based on that. With the Business Event Publisher, CICS now gets to query WebSphere or a WebSphere database or another information database for customer information, get that information, operate on it, and send a response or an update outbound. Business Event Publisher actually allows CICS to have a more direct outbound business process-driving capability.

WJ: Very cool. I understand that you have a new tool to make it easier to migrate from VSAM, the database for CICS, over to DB2. Tell me about that?
RT: It's called the CICS VSAM Transparency Product. This is a product that we brought to market with our eye on supporting a critical mixed workload environment between WebSphere and CICS. Specifically, VSAM Transparency allows customers to migrate their mission-critical data from VSAM into a DB2 database.

WJ: That should be very helpful for a lot of people.
RT: It's pretty helpful for all those WebSphere J2EE application developers who are trying to access that same pool of legacy data.

WJ: That makes sense. There is a lot of that out there.
RT: What you're trying to do, if you are the customer, is enable the WebSphere application developer to access that data without causing the CICS programmer to rewrite all of his or her existing CICS applications. If you were to simply move all of your VSAM data into DB2, the customer would have to rewrite some or all of their CICS applications. The VSAM Transparency product allows CICS to run as if thinking that its data is still in VSAM and allows the WebSphere applications to run against the new DB2 database. Then everybody's happy and it allows customers to deploy interesting new WebSphere applications at a fraction of what would otherwise be a very expensive migration.

WJ: Finally, I'm not an expert on CICS, as everyone knows, but I understand that you have solved a significant problem with VSAM copying. Can you explain that?
RT: Yes. There are obviously CICS systems programmers who have been copying the VSAM data for as long as there has been CICS - 35 years. The problem is that most of the products in the marketplace today have required them to take CICS offline prior to doing these kinds of copies. We have come out with a tool called CICS VSAM Copy that operates uniquely with a copy while open for update function. The copy while open for update function means that CICS does not have to be taken offline to do the copy. Taking CICS offline affects WebSphere when you're using WebSphere as a front end to CICS. So in any environment where you have a WebSphere and CICS mixed workload application, customers will find this copy function to be extremely valuable. It means CICS will no longer have to be taken offline, which means the WebSphere application will no longer have to be taken offline.

WJ: Is there anything that you want to wrap up with?
RT: I'd just like to remind you and all your readers that this is still a growing environment. There are more CICS transactions every year than there were in previous years and it's been this way for 35 years. Likewise, we're now celebrating the 10th anniversary of MQ. So customers are continuing to see significant investment in both CICS and MQ environments.

On top of that, customers are now seeing the obvious value of their WebSphere Application Server as a platform for new J2EE applications. With CICS, WebSphere MQ, and WebSphere Application Server, you have a very powerful ecosystem in which to run business-critical applications. I think that the new CICS tools we are announcing now go a long way to further enable customers to take advantage of this significant CICS investment, and their investment in the new WebSphere Application Server.

More Stories By Jacques Martin

Jack Martin, editor-in-chief of WebSphere Journal, is cofounder and CEO of Simplex Knowledge Company (publisher of Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Journal http://www.s-ox.com), an Internet software boutique specializing in WebSphere development. Simplex developed the first remote video transmission system designed specifically for childcare centers, which received worldwide media attention, and the world's first diagnostic quality ultrasound broadcast system. Jack is co-author of Understanding WebSphere, from Prentice Hall.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
SYS-CON Events announced today that App2Cloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. App2Cloud is an online Platform, specializing in migrating legacy applications to any Cloud Providers (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud).
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Consumers increasingly expect their electronic "things" to be connected to smart phones, tablets and the Internet. When that thing happens to be a medical device, the risks and benefits of connectivity must be carefully weighed. Once the decision is made that connecting the device is beneficial, medical device manufacturers must design their products to maintain patient safety and prevent compromised personal health information in the face of cybersecurity threats. In his session at @ThingsExpo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, will examine the regulations and provide insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence a...
In the enterprise today, connected IoT devices are everywhere – both inside and outside corporate environments. The need to identify, manage, control and secure a quickly growing web of connections and outside devices is making the already challenging task of security even more important, and onerous. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Rich Boyer, CISO and Chief Architect for Security at NTT i3, discussed new ways of thinking and the approaches needed to address the emerging challenges of security i...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, I provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading the...