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Crucial CICS Products from the Catalog

Joseph Gulla begins a new series of posts that focus on various aspects of CICS systems management with a product focus.

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This is the first in a new series of posts that will focus on various aspects of CICS® systems management with a product focus. But before I jump right into CICS management software, I want to discuss the different CICS server software. This is a good starting place for a future discussion about CICS management and for that matter, other products in the catalog like CICS Batch Application Control for z/OS® and CICS Interdependency Analyzer for z/OS.

CICS Transaction Server for z/OS

IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS has evolved to become the world’s most powerful mixed-language application server because no single programming language is optimal for every application requirement. The CICS products have thrived for over five decades, knowingly transformed by IBM and focused on key client wants and needs. Today, CICS Transaction Server enables developers to create new applications in their language of choice, like Node.js or COBOL, with the necessary support for high-transaction output. There’s a second version of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS called Value Unit Edition.

CICS Transaction Server for z/OS Value Unit Edition

IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS Value Unit Edition provides the speed, reliability and usefulness of CICS Transaction Server with a one-time charge price model. This CICS transaction server is for Java® applications deployed in qualifying IBM Z® New Application License Charge (zNALC) LPARs. These Java applications running in zNALC LPARs are designated as eligible workloads. These instances of CICS Transaction Server can be integrated and managed alongside existing CICS transaction server workloads using IBM CICSPlex System Management.

CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE

IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE supports large transaction volumes with fast, consistent response times and provides high availability and scalability at a low cost per transaction. CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE 2.2 is the newest release and offers CICS Explorer monitor and update capability, channel and container support, and an upgrade of CICS Web Support to HTTP 1.1 to improve performance and security. IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE V2.2 is the only CICS version that can be used with z/VSE V6.2.

CICS TX on Cloud  

IBM CICS TX on Cloud is a mixed-language application server that provides cloud deployment options for appropriate CICS applications. Since cloud strategy is the key initiative for many businesses today, IBM developed CICS TX on Cloud to enable cloud-based applications to elastically scale and respond to business needs in an agile manner.
CICS TX on Cloud features support for containerization of CICS online applications using industry standard tools, management of application clusters using helm charts, monitoring support with open-source tooling like Prometheus and Grafana, support for horizontal scaling of CICS online applications without requiring application changes, and integration with enterprise products. The integration support includes CICS TS on IBM Z and TXSeries for Multiplatforms. It can also extend transaction capabilities with WebSphere® Application Server using CICS Transaction Gateway and share data and business logic.

CICS Server Products for a Variety of Needs and Operating Environments

These four products tell the CICS Transaction Server story for today. CICS Transaction Server for z/OS is the CICS product that has been transformed into a high performing and flexible platform that supports transactions written in a variety of programming languages. This CICS supplies many internal functions like file and database access, program control and queuing tools to trigger actions or store data temporarily. CICS Transaction Server for z/OS Value Unit Edition is a kind of CICS server targeting Java workloads priced in a way to attract new applications to the platform.
CICS Transaction Server for z/VSE is a scalable, low-cost-per-transaction platform. IBM z/VSE is an OS for the IBM Z platform that runs both real-time transactions and batch workloads. And, with connectors, it can be integrated in a hybrid IT environment and colocated in a Linux® on Z environment. CICS TX on Cloud is built on top of the capabilities of IBM TXSeries for Multiplatforms V9.1 and it supports a subset of APIs and features of CICS Transaction Server for z/OS. Supported by this are containerize-suitable CICS online applications using docker technology to make them portable across cloud platforms. Containerization also allows simplified continuous integration/continuous delivery (called a CI/CD pipeline) for DevOps implementations.

Next Step 

Next week, I will start the discussion of 12 different CICS products that have systems management uses. I will use a two-part framework for the discussion of these products. The parts will be orientation and focus. For orientation, the discussion will answer the question: Is the product used for systems, applications or both? For focus, the debate will answer the question: Does the product have a system or application management focus and what specifically is that focus. Is it analysis, availability, build, change, configuration, deploy, manage, performance, problem or some other area?
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