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Create a DevOps Pipeline for Java Applications in CICS

Java CICS
 

DevOps isn’t unique to CICS* or IBM; it refers to a transformation that has occurred around software development, delivery, operations and maintenance for years. Several words come to mind when describing DevOps, including integration, collaboration, repeatable, continuous delivery and continuous release. This article introduces DevOps and explains how CICS tooling can be used to deploy Java* applications in CICS using a DevOps methodology.

DevOps refers to a practice that emphasizes collaboration of software development and IT operations that keep businesses running every day. It involves automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes, aiming to build a culture where building, testing and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently and reliably.

It’s the logical extension of changes made over the last decade by organizations hoping to adopt agile and lean principles within software development teams. The agile approach aims to break down the barriers between different aspects of software development, automating processes where possible, and responding to changes in demands and requirements quickly, encouraging continuous feedback during all stages of the software development lifecycle. Its goal is to reduce the time taken to deliver something tangible that can be used to start a dialog with consumers.

With DevOps, this agile methodology is extended to include all aspects of software delivery—not just development. Agile focuses on the practices of designing, developing, testing and building to produce a deliverable, which IT operations pick up and deploy. With DevOps, the scope of agile is extended, allowing collaboration into release and deployment. These practices allow consumers to get their hands on software and give feedback quicker than ever. This raises a number of questions, largely around confidence in what’s being run in a production environment.

Figure 1 shows an example of a DevOps delivery pipeline. These are the high-level areas of consideration for implementing DevOps in a software development and operations team. This includes all aspects of developers checking code into a source code management (SCM) repository, building source code, packaging it into a deployable entity and promoting that entity throughout the organization.

Tooling

Reliable, automated tooling is the key to adopting an automated DevOps pipeline. In CICS Transaction Server (TS) V5.3, three vital tools were introduced:

  1. CICS build toolkit (BT) for CICS TS V5.1 and above
  2. DFHDPLOY JCL utility for CICS TS V5.1 and above
  3. CICS TS plugin for IBM UrbanCode* Deploy (UCD); supports CICS TS V4.1 and above

Several associated CICS technologies can be used with these tools, including:

  • CICS bundles. Bundles consist of two components: a project and a resource. Bundle projects contain artifacts such as Java Enterprise Edition (EE) web applications, Open Services Gateway initiative (OSGi) bundles, prebuilt Java archive files and a set of CICS resource definitions. A bundle resource tells CICS where a bundle project is located on the z/OS* UNIX* file system (zFS) and allows control of the lifecycle of the bundle.
  • CICS cloud application, a CICS technology that includes the capability to multiversion self-contained applications. Learn more in the IBM Knowledge Center topic “Cloud enablement with platforms, applications and policies” (ibm.co/28RImNF).

This article uses bundles in examples but highlights support for CICS cloud applications where applicable.

Mark is a Software Engineer in the CICS Transaction Server development team. During his time in CICS Mark has specialized in the Java technologies, in particular using the WebSphere Liberty Profile hosted in CICS, in a production environment.


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