CICS Transaction Server: Evolving Strategic Role
Since its introduction in the 1970ís, CICS has evolved from macro level coding with legacy Assembler, COBOL, PL/1, Fortran, and RPG programming languages to command level programming,
web enablement, application development with Java, and repurposing to an SOA: Service Oriented Architecture. IBMís initial CICS Internet connection option was provided in CICS/ESA 3.3, with
support for the CICS socket interface option of TCP/IP for MVS. With subsequent new releases, the featureset has been expanded: 3270 Bridge, CICS Web Support, and CICS Web
Services. There are hundreds of million of lines of CICS code which have to be maintained and transitioned to meet the requirements of organizational enterprise.
CICS Transaction Server Improvements
CICS applications can utilize thread-safe file and journal commands to take advantage of the OTE: Open Transaction Environment. With thread-safe programming a single region can do
more things at once; this can lead to improved throughput, more efficient CPU utilization, and workload consolidation. Changes have been made to CICS which support open standards. CICS Transaction
Server supports WSDL: Web Services Description Language and integrates SOA tools and environments. CICS web services support the SOAP MTOM: Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism and XML XOP:
Optimized Packaging. These services streamline web message processing by including large binary objects as attachments, instead of being embedded in the stream itself.
Increased capacity is delivered through enhancements to vertical and horizontal scalability. Fewer regions can run the same workload. Cost savings
are realized through consolidation: reduced CPU consumption and efficiencies in overhead processing - administration. There are policies for delivering automated control over system resources.
Task thresholds can be set for data access requests, storage usage, program loops, and processor utilization times. Policy breaches are managed by 1- issuing messages 2- abnormally terminating tasks 3-
emitting events which can trigger additional actions or events.
CICS and VSAM
VSAM: Virtual Storage Access Method is to process data on DASD devices in IBM z/OS and z/VSE mainframe operating systems. VSAM is used in a CICS
Transaction Server online environment to provide recoverability, data locking, integrity and data source. It is an important component of real time transaction processing system. Sharing of
VSAM data between CICS regions is done with VSAM RLS: Record-level Sharing. This adds record caching and locking. Logging and commit processing remain the responsibility of CICS; sharing of VSAM
data outside a CICS environment is severely restricted. Advanced Catalog Management provides backup and recovery capability for VSAM files and integration with other System z storage products. This
will be useful as IBM continues to position System z as a platform for data serving.
CICS and Rational Developer for System z
Rational Developer for System z is the IBM development platform for delivering new information technology services by testing and deploying cross-platform web technologies, mainframe applications, and low-level programming languages. It provides the
capability to use an interactive workstation-based environment for creating, maintaining, and reusing applications or inclusion in a service oriented architecture. Rational Developer for System z is used to access IBM z/OS datasets and System
zFS: z File System datasets and support the creation, maintenance, and debugging of CICS-based code. Integration with z/OS IBM Problem determination tools and Fault Analyzer allows for browsing ABEND reports on CICS.
Rational Developer for System z is being used in composite development environments to create and manage web services and XML for viewing, editing, and validating WSDL, DTD: Document-type Definitions, and XML schemas and transforming XML documents into text, HTML, or other XML document types. COBOL or PL/1 adapters and CICS TS V3 WSBind can be generated for converting between Web Service Description Language, XML and CICS program data in a web services environment.
CICS Training by SYS-ED
SYS-ED's hands-on CICS Transaction Server training provides the framework for learning how to code, debug, and web enable CICS programs. When information technology professionals complete a SYS-ED CICS course, they have the documentation, training aids, skeleton programs, and supervised hands-on experience to code and debug CICS programs. Case and point,
if your organization outsourced its CICS coding and program maintenance to consulting companies in the 1980ís, it more than likely was SYS-ED which trained many of the consultants who did the
actual design and coding!
Our CICS trainers include a unique collection of mainframe technologists and textbook authors: Victoria Albanese, Linda Bliden, Robert Blumfeld, Jonathan Clarke, Michael Haupt, Pacifico Lim, Karen Schwartz, and David Silverberg. Their application design, sample programs, and exercises erved as a foundation for quality CICS training. SYS-ED's CICS lesson
plans, courseware, and training aids are highly respected in increasingly hybrid and interrelated information technology. They reflect the insights and guidance created by experienced systems consultants with a mastery of the CICS architecture and cross system
expertise with IBM z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM, and open source UNIX, Linux, and Solaris operating systems. There are few software or consulting companies, which know CICS and teach CICS courses better than SYS-ED.
Our collective expertise in CICS application design, coding, debugging, and systems programming spans the onset of the modern era of data processing and provides the been there done that experience to teach the IBM mainframe systems software skillset to a new generation of IT personnel. We worked on several sizable first generation CICS projects, when the source code and program logic was available; it no longer is. This knowledge provides us with a unique insight to explain and draw
diagrams which teach why the software works or in some case doesnít work as it should. That is why IBM, Fortune 1000 /
multinational companies, government municipalities, and healthcare providers have used SYS-ED instructors to teach their software developers.
Qualifying a Training Assignment
SYS-ED will not accept a CICS Transaction Server training assignment without a consultation with the prospective client organization. We review the background of the employees to be trained,
operating environment, documented standards, and project specifications and use that information to select the code snippets, examples, skeleton programs, and hands-on exercises. We then prepare a training strategy:
lesson plan, modular courseware, training aids, and validation assessment. The pre course consultation allow us to identify and differentiate between teaching an industry standard course as compared
to the clientís true need for educational consultancy: 1- application maintenance 2- evaluation for migration to IBM or third party SOA: Service Oriented Architecture standards 3- application repurposing with
Rational Developer for System z 4- Wintel or UNIX platform migration based upon the Oracle Roadmap standards to WebLogic Server and Tuxedo or 5- application migration. And when are not confident that we can provide
a superior training outcome, will politely turn down an assignment.
Courseware Superior by Design
The CICS courseware and training aids provided in SYS-ED instructor-led and distance-learning training services are highly respected. The sample programs and exercises were developed, updated, and tailored to teach CICS in evolutionary z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM operating systems and both IBM Rational and third party development platforms. The
content and diagrams reflect a purposeful examination of program logic, access methods services, and sample programs which have been validated on consulting projects. SYS-ED's CICS Transaction Server courseware is
updated with information from technology updates, CETi knowledge base, and FAQ's frequently asked questions.
With the scarcity of up to date industry standard mainframe textbooks, courseware is an important component in SYS-ED's CICS Transaction Server training: student handout, presentation slides, reference guide, training aids, and a library of exercises. The principles of adult learning and the standards of the New York State Department of Education have been applied to the
subject matter: interpreting and translating content into performance objectives, narrative descriptions, and diagrams which explain. The full complement of training medium is used to help information
technology professionals learn.
As part of presenting an instructor-led CICS Transaction Server course at the client location, courseware is evaluated and organized for subsequent use in a web-based infrastructure and delivery medium. This
service is provided free of charge.