Category Archives: Basics

Implementing CICSPlex – Overview

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but now I have some time and an interesting topic, one that will span several postings. I have had it on my to-do list for some time to implement CICSPlex; it is obvious that IBM views this as a central component to managing CICS regions. It is now part of the CICS/TS installation (no need to download or install any additional components to implement); a lot of great documentation is available (a whole series of manuals dedicated to it); and CICS Explorer, touted as the “new face of CICS”, requires it as a prerequisite (or at least CICSPlex is a prerequsite for CICS Explorer in V3 of CICS/TS, but not in V4). Chris Hodgins over at The Master Terminal posted 6 reasons you should implement CICSPlex. However, I just could not find the time to put all the pieces together to get it set up in our shop. Recently I was able to dedicate a few days to it, and with the assistance of a colleague who had already been through it, I was able to get the ball rolling. In this series of postings, I hope to make clear some of the concepts and steps that had me stopped until I had the time and assistance to set it up.

Below is an overview of what is to come in future postings:

  1. Plan the environment
  2. Define the CMAS
  3. Convert an existing CICS into a WUI
  4. Set up other CICS’s as LMAS’s

So that’s four more postings that should be coming in the near future. If you have not implemented CICSPlex yet, perhaps this will help you get the ball rolling, as my colleague helped me. If your shop is like ours, you are up to your eyeballs just keeping things going and don’t have a lot of time for basic research; a little assistance can go a long ways.

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Transaction or Task?

It is important that we use the correct terms to avoid confusion when communicating. Today’s topic is one regarding basic CICS terms, but this particular pair of terms are frequently used interchangeably when they actually have distinct meanings. I am sure I have been sloppy with my language at times and have been guilty myself of using the wrong term.

A transaction is definition of a transaction id, which is associated with a program id. When a transaction is invoked, a task is started in CICS. A task is a unit of work resulting from a transaction being started. Many different end users can execute the same transaction, but each results in a separate task. If you are talking about what defines how a program gets invoked from a blank screen or from an EXEC CICS START TRAN command, you are talking about a transaction; if you are talking about the specific results of a transaction being invoked, you are talking about a task.

It is a common mistake to say “transaction” when one is really talking about a “task”. It may sound like a trivial distinction, and often it is understood which is being discussed by the context, but you can distinguish yourself as someone who is knowledgeable about CICS by using the correct term.

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