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Increase business agility with CICS Transaction Server

By Mark Cocker posted Mon April 04, 2022 09:22 PM

For those of us working in CICS development, we get a sense of how important the product is to delivering the value of your applications and data. We feel your passion and energy when we read each and every one of your ideas, when we co-create in the CICS Design Partnership, discuss prototypes at playbacks, and chat at conferences. Thank you to everyone who contributed over the last couple of years. CICS TS 6.1 is announced today and will be available in June 2022. We hope you're excited about upgrading!

We also hear from others in your enterprise via surveys, such as those detailed in Application modernization on the mainframe. Often mentioned is the need to rapidly transform and modernize your CICS applications to deliver ever more value. It strikes me that a combination of a modernized stack - from hardware, to software, and applications - and modernizing development and operations tools and practices - is where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Bringing this all together is the key to increased agility and innovation. As consumers we value things that work effortlessly together, and are frustrated when they don't.
Take for example a CICS program written years ago in COBOL. Typically it does one thing, and one thing well. Lightning fast. Reliable. Secure. What's not to like? Well, skills in your teams change, tribal knowledge is lost, development practices change, tools come and go, end users' expectations change, and so on.

Need some help?
We hear this feedback loud and clear. So alongside many new features in the core of CICS TS 6.1, the CICS team continue to work with teams across IBM and open source projects to help you modernize your experiences in all aspects of CICS applications. Here are some examples:

Development and automation
  • CICS TS resource builder - enables developers to manage resource definitions in a readable source format using modern source control management (SCM) systems and pipelines. You can try this today in the CICS TS open beta.
  • Gradle and Apache Maven - automate the build and deployment of CICS Java applications and CICS bundles with these plug-ins and API components on Maven Central.
  • Ansible - automate most things you can do in CICS Explorer, and useful for general provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment tool enabling infrastructure as code on z/OS.
  • UrbanCode Deploy CICS plug-in - automate deployment of CICS applications across all your environments.
  • Galasa - automate the testing of CICS applications at scale, and used internally to test CICS itself.
  • IBM Semeru Runtime Certified Edition for z/OS and Liberty -  enables Java developers to use their current skills in Java 11, Jakarta 9.1, Eclipse MicroProfile 5, and Spring Boot to develop and extend CICS applications whilst running completely in CICS.
  • IBM Open Enterprise SDK for Node.js - enables  full stack developers to move their Node.js 16 web and microservice components closer to the action, in particular to respond faster when they involve many interactions with CICS applications and data.
  • IBM Wazi Developer for Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces - code, analyze, develop and test CICS application in a personal, virtual, containerized OpenShift z/OS environment.
Hybrid cloud integration
  • z/OS Connect - to interact between cloud and CICS applications using REST APIs, including support for Open API 3 inbound and outbound. Available as a standalone product, or containerized. This can also be provided as part of the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack.
  • IBM MQ - integration via messaging remains an excellent options for high-volume, secure, assured delivery scenarios.
  • IBM Event Streams - integration via event streams and based on the popular Apache Kafka.
  • IBM Z Integrated Accelerator for AI - make more timely and better decisions, and achieve improved business outcomes, by capitalizing on IBM Z built in AI support within CICS applications.
  • IBM Z Security and Compliance Center - automates the collects of configuration evidence from CICS required by compliance authorities, with detailed reports to enable executives, administrators, and auditors to understand compliance metrics with ease, and to track compliance drift over time using dashboard visualizations.

Whilst everyone is at a different starting point, a good place to start your journey is at the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center - the Get started section has zones for executives, architects, and developers, and there are lots of use cases to give you ideas.

Mark Cocker
CICS TS Product Manager.