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A Checkup for CICS Transaction Server V3.2

Upgrade offers improved performance and enhanced features

Upgrade offers improved performance and enhanced features
Illustration by Bob Scott

The IBM* CICS* Transaction Server (CICS TS) performance group in Hursley, United Kingdom, has the responsibility of making sure that new functional enhancements meet the needs of customers in terms of performance. Its job is to find areas where code improvements can compensate these types of changes. The team also tries to ensure that these new functions have no significant effect on existing workloads and work closely with CICS developers to achieve this.

For instance, CICS TS V3.2 added support for Enterprise Workload Manager (EWLM), enhanced transaction CPU timing, made Virtual Storage Access Method Record Level Sharing (VSAM RLS) requests threadsafe and introduced tracking of better information about the transaction origin. These features add pathlength to main code paths regardless of whether you use them. The CICS TS performance group evaluated these and other new features of CICS TS V3.2; the following is a quick summary of the final product in terms of performance.

Updated CICS Features

The CICS TS performance group’s final analysis found that one of Hursley’s COBOL/VSAM migration regression workloads showed an overall increase in CPU/transaction of only 1.5 percent and another, a COBOL/DB2* workload, showed no increase when compared to CICS TS V3.1. Java* workloads showed no increase in CPU/transaction or a drop in CPU if these applications were using threadsafe file control, because now the requests can stay on the J8/9 Task Control Block (TCB) and avoid the cost of TCB switching.

Web workloads, SSL, Web services and Web-services security received performance improvements in V3.2. Datatables are no longer restricted to 2 GB, containers have moved above the bar, the WebSphere* MQ adapter is now threadsafe and you can now use Distributed Program Links (DPL) over TCP/IP connections.

Web services had performance improvements in codepage conversion, outbound message generation and the use of 64-bit containers. Although some of these improvements have now also been retrofitted back to V3.1, simpler Web-services workloads showed a 20-percent improvement over the GA version of V3.1 and workloads with more complex XML structures had even better improvements. Web-services security offers marked performance improvements in the V1.9 XML toolkit and the CICS program restructuring while using basic authentication.

CICS applications using the Web interface to communicate with other CICS regions have both better response times and reduced CPU utilization. Network flows have been reduced when opening a connection. With the removal of the “HTTP Options” flow, there are reduced CWXN transactions in the server region and better use of buffer-list processing has reduced response times. The Web workloads, which focused only on this infrastructure, showed a 30-percent reduction in CPU per transaction compared to V3.1.

John Burgess is a member of the CICS Transaction Server performance group in Hursley, U.K., that undertook this evaluation.

Trevor Clarke is a member of the CICS Transaction Server performance group in Hursley, U.K., that undertook this evaluation.


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