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CICS Transaction Server

Design, Coding, and Web Enablement

CICS Transaction Server: Evolving Strategic Role CICS Transaction Server Improvements CICS and VSAM
CICS and Rational Developer for System z CICS Training by SYS-ED Courseware for Teaching
Professional Distance-learning Services CICS Training Program CICS Training Services

CICS Transaction Server


CICS, Rational Developer for System Z, WebSphere, VSAM, and z/OS are registered trademarks of IBM Corporation.

Courseware for Teaching - CICS Training
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CICS in Transition: VSAM to Rational Developer for System z

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.

  z/OS   z/OS  
  CICS Region   CICS Region  
  CICS Region   CICS Region  
  CICS Region   CICS Region  
  CICS-TS-Down-arrow   CICS-TS-Down-arrow   CICS-TS-Down-arrow  
  Foundation in
Service Oriented Architecture
  HTTP Access and
Web Development
  Threadsafe Processing  
  E-Business   Message

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.


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.


Courseware for Teaching

The Computer Education Techniques courseware used in SYS-ED courses consists of student hand-outs, training aids, and industry-specific examples and exercises. The CETi knowledge base aggregates and analyzes information in the public domain. It also is a service for reviewing and answering questions. Content is added selectively to courseware. Our long-term strategy is to have our courseware recognized as a NRV: Nationally Recognized Vendor.

CICS Transaction Server Training Services

Mainframe Programming SkillsCICS Transaction Server - Operations WebSphere MQ
Legacy Programming Languages CICS Transaction Server Programming Rational Development Platform
Mainframe Utilities CICS Transaction Server - Utilities Java Language
VSAM CICS Transaction Server Web Enablement XML Platform

Web-based Training Services

Technology Driven IT Training

Teaching Models - Return on Investment

Web-based Training Services

Professional Distance-learning Service

SYS-ED's distance-learning training service is 65% lecture with the remaining 35% of the service provided in the form of scheduled interactive question and answer sessions with a subject matter expert, hands-on exercises, optional validation assessment, and submission of questions through our technology exchange websites.

New York State Department of Education Standards
Delivery Medium
Courseware as Learning Center

Enrollment is contingent upon the prospective trainee's having been qualified by our Director of Education to have the appropriate background for the training and review of a checklist of items required for transmission of the Service to the client location: bandwidth, firewall, base operating system, software requirements, web browser, and set-up of hands-on machine exercises.

Alternative web-based and e-learning training is available: self-paced or presentation through the client's authoring system. These tailored services are offered selectively.

Grow Your Own CICS Programmers

We have had inquiries regarding whether SYS-ED still offered CICS courses for information technology professionals.

SYS-ED/New York Schedule and Content Delivery Selection CICS Training Services Delivery Medium and Private Courses - Alternative to Source Software Companies

Content Delivery Selection

Portfolio of CICS Clients

Alternative to the IT Training
Offered by the Software Companies

The typical comments were:

1. That it is extremely difficult to find CICS training which develops the specialized skills needed for application development and maintenance tasks.
2. That there is a scarcity of fast-track CICS courses, 5 or fewer days in duration, geared to Fortune 1000 corporations and their employees.
3. That a high percentage of CICS courses are cancelled.
4. That travel costs and living expenses in a majority of situations are a significant constraint when it comes to attending a CICS course.
5. That it is important to have a resource for asking CICS questions once the CICS training is complete.

In response to these questions:

CICS Training Services Yes, SYS-ED offers multiple levels of CICS training: fundamentals, application design, programming, web enablement, and performance and tuning.
CICS Training Services Yes, since 1980, SYS-ED has provided CICS courses, CICS specialized training, and CICS training programs.
CICS Training Services Yes, we have the flexibility and resources to conduct personalized training for small groups. We very rarely cancel CICS courses.
CICS Training Services CICS courses are available in multiple formats: classroom, distance-learning and blended web-based delivery.
CICS Training Services Upon completion of a SYS-ED course, our staff is available to answer CICS questions.

SYS-ED has been conducting courses in the public domain since 1980; however, there have been changes in the laws and regulations governing computer training in the state of New York. The schedule on our websites reflects a projected time frame for licensure with the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision and submission and approval of curriculum. It will be updated quarterly.

CICS Transaction Server Training Program - News for Immediate Release

Industry leading software and consulting companies utilize SYS-ED in conjunction with distance-learning for specialized z/OS mainframe training requirements - CICS, programming languages, utilities and development tools, and web enablement training.

Indications are that application server space is not going to be exclusively JEE or .NET CICS Transaction Server will account for a substantial share of overall application server market share. This CICS Transaction Server training program will highlight the new features of CICS Transaction Server.

  • Conformance with web services and SOAP standards.
  • Tools for customers to better track data going in and out of CICS.
  • 64-bit storage for channels and storage.
  • Improved TCP/IP capabilities.
  • GET and PUT container enhancements reduce application storage requirements.
  • The CICS-WebSphere MQ DPL: Dynamic Program Link bridge support for messages larger then 32K.

CICS Transaction Server: Web Enablement

Program for Client A: Mainframe Training Services
  • Distance-learning will be used for introductory training for personnel, most operator training, and programmer training on selected subjects.
  • SYS-ED will be used for their 3-day VSAM for Programmers, 4-day CICS Transaction Server: Application Design, 5-day CICS Transaction Server: Command Level Programming, and 4-day CICS Transaction Server Web Enablement.
  • IBM will be used for specialized systems programmer training.

The plan is to have the entire IT staff, webmasters, operations, and programmers, attend the distance-learning and then have the project development teams take SYS-EDís hands-on instructor-led courses. The WebSphere MQ courses and system programmer training will be attended by the project leaders and personnel who will required for managing these areas. The exact schedule will depend on the other workloads of staff members.

Evolving IT: Interrelated Technologies

It is clear that IBM is developing CICS in order for the mainframe to be the service oriented hub in data centers for new and larger workloads. SYS-ED system consultants and CETi technology partners are experienced with the implementation of SOA and the expedient management of components in memory. As mainframe shops expand their channel capability, there will be a greater incentive to  utilize SOA for web servicization and cloud programming.

Java Language WebSphere MQ Middleware Web Servers

CICS Training Services

CICS Courses
SYS-ED's CICS courses are tough, but they're worth it. Our challenging CICS training provides a foundation and framework for Fortune 1000 companies, government municipalities, healthcare providers, software houses, and consulting companies to meet their CICS staffing requirements and acquire specialized CICS skillsets.1

SYS-ED's CICS courseware is highly respected. We draw upon our extensive library of courseware, sample programs, and case studies to explain, demonstrate, and teach the real world CICS. Our CICS curricula include industry standard and consultancy derived content. We have the capability to provide tailored workshops and integrated training programs on z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM, and third party emulation work bench/platforms.

Teaching is Our Business
Most computer training companies are divisions of large software companies or consulting companies. Not SYS-ED. Our only goal is to provide quality CICS training for highly motivated information technology professionals - no more and no less. Because we're independent, we can concentrate on teaching - and since 1980 we have been doing it very well.

Our Teachers Know How to Teach
SYS-ED instructors combine teaching skills with broad practical experience as consultants. Our instructors average 30 years of experience with CICS in the mainframe environment - operating systems, programming languages, 3rd party utilities/development aids, and system software. And they know how to teach it. We teach not only "how to", but "why", building a solid foundation in fundamentals and insights into advanced subject matter. After a course, they are available to answer questions.

Enrollment - SYS-ED CICS Courses are Not for Everyone
No one is allowed to enroll in a SYS-ED mainframe course, without a consultation with our Director of Education. We review the operational objectives and project specifications for the organization evaluating whether to send its employee for the training. The employee is only allowed to register if they have the background corresponding to the appropriate learning path.

CICS Training - Distance-learning or at Your Office.
SYS-ED CICS Transaction Server courses are provided over the Internet through a distance-learning delivery medium or classroom instruction on-site at the client location. On-site mainframe courses can include the identical workshops, case studies, and hands-on approach as the mainframe training offered through the SYS-ED schedule.

Technology Exchange Websites

SYS-ED's websites compile, organize, and present software specific and established operational categorizations of information technology. They provide a framework for assessing knowledge transfer: web-based training, classroom instruction, courseware, learning paths, and validation assessment.

Footnote 1:

SYS-EDís core CICS curriculum have been submitted to the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision for technical review and licensing.