Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A heads-up for CICS people

Because the August issue of Xephon's CICS Update (http://www.xephonusa.com/) journal contains such interesting articles covering important technology areas for CICS users, I thought it was worth just drawing your attention to them.

The first article is by Aseem Anand, a senior systems programmer with US-based Syntel, and it takes a detailed look at the always essential issue of CICS performance. The article is entitled "Analysing the performance of CICS systems". It describes what can be achieved through CICS performance analysis, highlighting areas such as deviation from performance objectives, system modification, and calibrating individual transactions. It discusses which metrics are useful - such as processor usage, I/O rates, message or block sizes, virtual storage limits, paging rates, and error rates. It also goes on to talk about different methods that can be used for performance analysis - measuring a system under full production load and measuring single-application transactions - and how these can be achieved.

CICS has gone from being a bet-the-business subsystem running on hardware locked away in darkened computer suites to being the bet-the-business system that anyone with a browser (and appropriate authority) can use. CICS transactions are now being made available as Web services. Another of the articles in CICS Update looks at the growth of CICS Web services. Laxminarayan Sriram's article briefly looks at CICS' first support for the Internet back in 1994, and runs through its evolution to where we are now - particularly highlighting important developments.

In a way continuing the SOA theme, an article by John Bradley, a systems programmer with Meerkat Computer Services in the UK, takes an in-depth look at bridge environments. In the article, entitled "Determining the bridge environment model for your CICS environment", John describes the four bridge models available - long-running monitor, two-task model, single-message monitor, and the direct model. The article provides the right questions to ask to help you decide on the right bridge environment, and dissects each one.

In addition, the issue also contains articles looking CICS application architecture, a brief look at Attunity's CICS-related products, and the first part of an article discussing CICS TS and Java.

I'm not telling you to rush out and buy it, it's just that sometimes with everyone's busy schedules, interesting stuff like this can be completely missed and a lot of time can be spent later searching Google (or whatever) to collect the same information for an on-site project. So, if you're interested in CICS performance or SOA at the moment, this is a heads-up for you.

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