IBM gives CICS a kick

Coinciding with its 35th anniversary, IBM has updated its venerable CICS (Customer Information Control System) technology by shipping a new set of integrated mainframe tools designed to optimize the performance of applications working in mixed environments.

Mixed workload applications that are created from sometimes conflicting components using standard interfaces such as EJB and the typically non-standard interfaces of much older applications require the sort of technology included in the new series in order to bridge these technical differences, IBM officials said.

The new tools include the CICS business Event Publisher for MQSeries Version 1.2, CICS VSAM Copy Version 1.1, CICS VSAM Transparency Version 1.1, CICS Performance Analyzer 1.3, and the IBM Session Manager 1.2. Hardly surprising is that the strategy behind the collection of tools is to help corporate users piece together a more effective on demand business, which has been IBM's mantra the past 18 months.

Corporate users are increasingly finding the need to integrate existing applications into new e-business-based environments. In most cases this makes it mandatory to make the information residing in legacy file systems accessible for use by the new e-business applications. The CICS Business Event Publisher in concert with the CICS VSAM Transparency products, for instance, can accomplish this more effectively, IBM officials believe.

Designed for WebSphere MQ users, the CICS Business Event Publisher tool can more smoothly integrate legacy CICS-based applications in with their other server-based applications. They can use MQSeries as the message transport without having to rewrite CICS applications or create new MQ calls, company officials said.

The CICS VSAM Transparency tool can be used to develop and implement strategies intended to modernize their legacy VSAM-based environments to better work with database systems such as DB2. It can help corporate users make their information available to a wider variety of applications residing on different platforms.

Version 1.3 of the new CICS Performance Analyzer can carry out the offline performance analysis, tuning, and capacity planning. The IBM Session Manager tool, designed for use with IBM's z/OS Version 1.2 mainframe operating system, offers access from a single terminal to multiple mainframe systems running either z/OS or OS/390 operating systems.

IBM officials have said they plan to port CICS and its accompanying tools over to Linux sometime by the end of 2005.

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