Sunday, 6 June 2010

Staying up-to-date with IMS

IMS – Information Management System – has been around for quite some time. In fact it’ll be 42 in August. Isn’t 42 the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything? Anyway, IMS runs on IBM mainframes and provides an incredibly fast hierarchical database system and an excellent transaction processing system. And in the intervening 41 years and 10 months there have been enormous improvements not only to the way it works, but also to the thinking behind what can be done with it.

Anyone working with IMS will be able to explain to you the different types of database that exist. They’ll talk at length about Full-function databases, Fast-path databases, and High-availability fast path databases. In addition to this database side of IMS, they will also be able to explain how the transaction management system works – how end users can access information and how messages are queued to make this possible. This is great, but what IMS professionals also need is some way of ensuring they keep up-to-date with what else IMS can do. What IMS will be able to do next year when it’s 43 and work towards that.

One easy way is for IMS professionals to join the Virtual IMS Connection user group at This user group has virtual meetings every other month, so that members can watch presentations without needing to leave their office – all they need is an Internet-enabled PC and a telephone. Most of these Webinars take place at 10:30 Central Time and last around an hour.

As well as seeing a presentation by another IMS professional and the ability to ask as many technical questions as they want, they are also kept up-to-date with the latest product announcements (new products or new versions or releases of existing products) and latest IMS-related articles appearing in the press. On the Web site they can find jobs or people looking for jobs and (added quite recently) they can find consultants available for work.

The next meeting of the Virtual IMS Connection user group will be on the 8th June, and the meeting includes a presentation by Patrick Fournier of SysperTec Communications, who will be discussing “Improving the performance, efficiency, and TCO of SOA integration for IMS applications”.

The presentation will look at:
  • Web-enabling IMS and other 3270 applications. 
  • Providing a way to serve IMS application screens on thin-client Web browsers
  • Developing Web 2.0 user interfaces that combine IMS 3270 data flows with AJAX functionality and JavaScript widgets.
  • Creating interactive bi-directional connections between IMS and Web applications, eg Web applications that consume IMS transaction.

In a constantly changing industry, the only way to stay up-to-date and to keep your skills honed is join these regular Webinars. And being a virtual meeting, you don’t have to convince your company to fund your user group experience.

If you’re an IMS professional, it makes sense to join the user group and take part in a free Webinar.

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