Sunday, 12 September 2010

Cheaper mainframe data access?

Accessing mainframe data and applications (including CICS) just got easier and perhaps cheaper with the announcement by HostBridge ( of  HostBridge for zIIP – shortened to HBzIIP.

HostBridge – the software rather than the company – aids mainframe integration. The HostBridge base product runs under CICS and intercepts CICS data before terminal data streams are generated as output or expected as input. HostBridge then auto-converts the data to XML documents for integration with other applications, distributed systems, Web applications, and anything using Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). The HostBridge base product is a prerequisite for all other HostBridge products, modules, and connectors.

The company has now released HostBridge Version 6.5. The extra appeal of this version is that users are able to reduce their costs by moving integration/SOA workloads to the zIIP specialty engine. The other advantages the company promises include the development of Web services with greater speed and flexibility, and the ability to add Web 2.0 functionality to integration/SOA initiatives.

zIIP (z Integrated Information Process) specialty engines allows organizations to increase mainframe processing capacity for specific workloads without higher licence fees. As we’ve said before, when looking at NEON’s zPrime product amongst others, users need to pay to have the zIIP processor activated, but then pay less for usage of the main processor because the work is being processed on the zIIP engine. For most mainframe users, it can be quite a complicated spreadsheet calculating whether using zIIP or zAAP (z Application Assist Processor) specialty processors is worthwhile. But once you’ve got them, the more processing you can run on them, the less money you pay IBM each month.

Quoting from the press release, the new version offers the following advantages:
  • HostBridge Process Automation Engine.
    The new HB Process Automation Engine is a JavaScript-based development/runtime facility that lets users integrate any CICS application or CICS-accessible data source (DB2, VSAM, DL/I, Datacom) with any distributed systems. HB Process Automation also allows users to orchestrate and automate complex CICS transaction processes as a single service.
  • Web 2.0/Lightweight Services.
    Newly-supported services technologies include REST, E4X, XPath, JSON, and Atom. They offer simpler alternatives to formal SOAP/WSDL-based services for faster, more agile integration of CICS data and business logic into new composite applications and mash-ups.
If your looking at XMLing your mainframe applications and you have zIIP running workloads already, then it’s worth a look.

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