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IBM IMS Helps Support Innovation to Stay Competitive


How many times have you asked someone, “What did we do before smartphones?” Our memories of being put on hold from our landlines, filling out forms (black ink only), and writing and mailing checks are fading. We are now center stage in a digital transformation, which is happening so quickly we don’t have time to reminisce.

The reality is that all of us, with our various connected devices, are the drivers for change in this scenario. We have transformed from customers willing to wait in lines into empowered consumers who expect near-immediate responsiveness. Our buying practices and associated expectations have given rise to a new era of business; remaining competitive means continually optimizing and innovating.

As data, cloud and engagement continue to usher in new systems that serve digital transformation, IBM IMS* keeps pace, ensuring you have the innovation required to support your organization’s digital transformation. IBM z Systems* has championed innovation for decades. The IMS strategy has been to align its ongoing value proposition with that innovation to optimize and extend the value of your IMS investment. Together with IMS 14 and IMS Enterprise Suite V3.2, you can meet the digital demand, as the IMS ecosystem is poised for seamless integration across multiple strategic initiatives.

Performance, scale, availability and total cost of ownership (TCO) are not only four key benefits IMS 14 and Enterprise Suite 3.2 deliver, but they are also part of the overall IMS value proposition. IMS 14 offers improved workload balancing, increased data set sizes, dynamic database changes, reduced need for GEN and increased z Systems* Integrated Information Processor (zIIP) offload capabilities. The IMS infrastructure value is further extended into the realm of analytics with support for predictive in-transaction scoring with SPSS* and Zementis.

Unmatched Performance and Scale

When IMS 13 was released in 2013, its performance benchmark of 100,000-plus transactions per second ( was heralded. That same IMS Fast Path workload—on IMS 14 and an equivalent IBM zEnterprise* EC12—shows 15 to 34 percent better throughput than on IMS 13. IMS is the very definition of bespoke IT, capably managing expansive workloads driven by digital transformation. The numbers for Java* on IBM z13* are equally impressive: up to 56 percent better throughput than on comparable Intel* systems.

IMS applications can also benefit from z13* exploitation. COBOL, PL/I and C/C++ compilers on z13 demonstrate up to 17 percent performance improvement, including 1.5x performance gain for IMS COBOL applications that use packed decimal, and 30x performance gain for COBOL statements with single instruction, multiple data (SIMD). The performance gains driven by SIMD support are tailor-made for digital transformation; it can not only increase performance of COBOL, PL/I and C/C++, but it can also increase performance of Java (

Digital Modernization With Java

Java and IMS have been linked since the 2000 release of IMS 7. Much has happened since that time, including seven more IMS releases. From DB2* access to IMS dependent regions to Open Database and standardized SQL for IMS, adoption of industry standards, language interoperability and JDBC support, Java is a key component to modernizing applications on IMS.

Java enhancements in IMS 14 include:

  • New JDBC driver that supports standard data definition language, allowing clients to dynamically define and change IMS database schemas
  • Greater flexibility for callout messages, allowing any type of control data to be specified, including XML converter override, security credentials and endpoint data

The IMS team conducted a client survey with enterprise architects, system programmers and application developers to understand their objectives with respect to Java on z Systems. Sixty-eight percent indicated they had already completed a Java on z Systems project. More than 80 percent of those characterized the project as successful. Eighty-five percent now have Java applications in production.

The use of Java on z Systems has emerged as a strategic initiative for IBM and IMS. To IMS, modernization and Java are synonymous.

Barry Baker is the Director of IBM IMS and IBM TPF. Barry started his career with IBM in TPF, spending 8 years as an Assembler Programmer, development manager, test and service manager, and product manager. He was part of the Pure Systems team as an Offering Manager, and prior to his appointment as IMS Director, he was the Technical Assistant to Beth Smith, former IMS Director and now General Manager, Technology, for IBM Watson.

Sandy Sherrill is worldwide market manager for IBM IMS database management at IBM and responsible for market and launch strategy for IMS.

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