Tag Archives: ibm

Another CICS Celebration (maybe) – Congrats, Hursley!

IBM Hursley

IBM Hursley

I recently read that CICS development was moved to Hursley, UK, on August 2, 1974. If that is true, this marks the 40th anniversary of that occasion.

However … IBM has a technote that states that CICS support was moved to Hursley in 1976. But then, the RedBook “CICS from Start to Finish” says that CICS development was moved to Hursley in 1974.

Can anyone clarify?

Regardless of the exact history, the CICS folks at Hursley, as well as their counterparts in the States, have done an incredible job for many years keeping CICS relevant in this ever-changing industry.

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z/OS Explorer and CICS Explorer

CICS Explorer

I have just installed the new z/OS Explorer, and the latest version of CICS Explorer (5.1.1) under it. If you are not running CICS/TS V5, no worries; CICS Explorer V5.1.1 supports CICS/TS V3, V4, and V5. With the z/OS Explorer, now you can view/edit MVS and zFS datasets and review output on the JES spool from the same Eclipse environment where you define/control CICS resources. In this post, I will review the steps to install these (free) products and why.

The installation process is fairly simple, but if you have not started working with the CICS Explorer, you will find using it a big sluggish compared to the  CICSPlex WUI if your workstation is low on horsepower. It does take some resources to run the Eclipse environment, but that’s just the way things are going; mainframe support personnel need beefy client workstations as well as PC developers. Maybe not as beefy, but much more so than the thin clients many use today. After all, the mainframe is a server, too.

Here is an overview of the steps I took in installing the tools:

  1. Download the zip file containing z/OS Explorer and Installation Manager
  2. Expand the zip file and run launchpad.exe
  3. Select z/OS Explorer, Installation Manager, and Eclipse
  4. Load Installation Manager and add URL http://public.dhe.ibm.com/software/htp/zos/2/1/0 to Preferences > Repositories.
  5. Choose CICS Explorer SDK

From there, just point to your z/OS FTP servers and CICSPlexes (IP address/port number), and supply authentication info. Be sure to use your CICSPlex CMCI port rather than TCP/IP port, or else the CICS view will be read-only. (I made that mistake.)

The process is much easier than it once was; IBM has done a great job of bundling everything needed. IBM  also has some great information regarding installing the z/OS Explorer and installing the new CICS Explorer. Several scenarios are covered for the installation of CICS Explorer; the process I outlined above was Scenario 1 (“new to Installation Manager and CICS Explorer V5.1.1”).

If you haven’t started using CICS Explorer, now is the time to start. The CICSPlex WUI will be going way, all the CICS tools are being engineered to use this interface, as well as all the development tools, and MQ Explorer. Get z/OS Explorer today and get started!

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Try CICS TS 5.1 – For FREE!

If you are running anything other than CICS TS 5.1, you may wish to consider installing IBM’s Free CICS TS 5.1 Developer Trial. You can install 5.1 in a test environment and check out all of the new features; the only limitations are: limited time (though you can download a new copy and install it again at no cost), some performance and capacity restrictions (to ensure that it is used only in a test environment), and licensing (you agree to only use it to test, and not for production work).

IBM has done us a tremendous favor here – take advantage of it! Whether to just check out the new features, or to “pre-install” it to prepare for upgrading to TS 5.1 (which you can do with this trial and not have the clock ticking on having two releases installed), you can’t beat free!

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CICS/TS 4.2 – For Free!

Did you know that you can bring in CICS/TS 4.2 for free? On January 27, 2012, IBM made available a Developer Trial for CICS/TS 4.2. It is totally free, and though it will expire, it can be reordered as many times as desired. A perfect way to bring the latest release of CICS in to get some hands-on experience with the new features so that you will be better prepared to justify ordering it for your production environments! Here are links to the announcement letter:

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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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New VSAM Capability in z/OS 1.12

Have you read the IBM Announcement Letter for z/OS 1.12? There is a lot of good stuff there, but the one thing that really has my interest is the new Control Area Reclaim capability for VSAM files. Like most (if not all) shops, the shop where I work has to make online VSAM KSDS files unavailable for some amount of time to reorganize them due to CA and CI splits that naturally occur when VSAM records are added. In z/OS 1.12, IBM is promising improved performance, minimized space utilization, and improved application availability with the CA Reclaim capability that will be included in the release.

Will we soon be saying goodbye to planned outages of VSAM files, to using MacKinney Systems’ CEMT from Batch (or newer MacKinney Batch to CICS product) to close files so they can be reorganized and open them again in CICS when done, and to having to monitor file I/O times to keep response time as optimal as possible? With a new world of CICS capabilities to catch up on (web services, Atom feeds, CICSPlex, CICS Explorer, and much more!), we CICS sysprogs need more time to keep up!

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IBMLink Outage – October 23-25

If you are like me and rely on IBMLink (especially ServiceLink), be aware that there is a planned outage from Friday, October 23, 2009, at 8 PM Eastern, through Sunday, October 25, 2009, at 4 PM Eastern. IBM says that the outage is due to an upgrade to IBMLink Release 7.0, which is to contain function enhancements (to be detailed later). IBM says that the outage may not last the entire span of that time and could be available earlier than the planned end of the outage window.

In case you were not aware, IBM has a maintenance window for IBMLink scheduled every Saturday night from 11 PM Eastern through 9 AM Sunday morning. This coming weekend’s outage will last well beyond their normal maintenance window (at least it will start earlier).