Monday, 29 September 2008

IMS – still life in the old dog!

IBM has recently announced the IMS Version 11 beta programme. What this means is that the latest version of IMS can be tested in real environments to iron out any wrinkles before the product is made generally available in the fourth quarter next year.

IMS, which stands for Information Management System, first saw the light of day back in August 1968. Depending on who you speak to, it was either designed as a way for IBM to sell more disk capacity or to help Rockwell and Caterpillar with their Bill of Materials for the space programme. It probably was both. 

IMS comes in two parts – database management and transaction management – and both parts have been updated in V11. Enhancements to the database manager include:
  • IMS Open Database support offers direct distributed TCP/IP access to IMS data, providing cost efficiency, enabling application growth, and improving resilience.
  • Broadened Java and XML tooling eases development and access of IMS data.
  • IMS Fast Path Buffer Manager, Application Control Block library, and Local System Queue Area storage reduction utilize 64-bit storage to improve availability and overall system performance.
  • Enhanced commands and user exits simplify operations and improve availability.

Enhancements to Transaction Manager include:
  • IMS Connect (the TCP/IP gateway to IMS transactions, operations, and now data) enhancements offer improved IMS flexibility, availability, resilience, and security.
  • Broadened Java and XML tooling eases IMS application development and connectivity, and enhances IMS Web services to assist developers with business transformation.
  • Enhanced commands and user exits simplify operations and improve availability.
  • IMS Application Control Block library and Local System Queue Area reduction utilize 64-bit storage to improve availability and system performance.

Although IMS is a hierarchical database, as opposed to DB2, Oracle, SQL Server, etc, which are relational databases, it allows data to be retrieved exceptionally quickly, which is why it is used at most of the large financial institutions and other large organizations.

There is an IMS user group on the Web at, and their next virtual meeting is on the 7th October. Anyone wishing to take part in the meeting can join the user group (it’s free) and they will be sent appropriate joining details. The speaker at the next meeting is BMC’s Nick Griffin. He says, that autonomic computing is not a new approach to the problem of effectively managing database systems, but it has begun to evolve. In order to be self-managing, an autonomic database management system must understand key aspects of its workload, including composition, frequency patterns, intensity and resource requirements. In this presentation, we examine what Autonomic database computing is and where software can help you.

Full details of IBM’s IMS announcement are available from

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