WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime Blogging Space
Next generation solutions are moving away from a monolithic nature. The smarter way to design solutions is to do it in a collaborative environment, where tools are available for better development, deployment and integration.
Transaction processing too has gone the smarter way. WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime (WXTR), enables cobol applications to run on WebSphere Application Server, as you may have read in the previous blogs. But in addition to providing a modernization platform to legacy Business Application, WXTR is strongly backed by an array of products that aid the entire development cycle. With IBM Rational Application Developer(RAD) and IBM Rational Developer for Power Systems (RDp), developing both COBOL and Java applications is made simpler with easy integration. The following guidelines demonstrate how exactly RAD and RDp can be integrated with WAS and WXTR.
Integrating RAD and RDp with WXTR : RAD's integration with WAS is quite straightforward. On RAD, a "stub" of a server needs to be added in order to readily deploy Java applications on the server. This can be done by adding a new server File ->New-> Server. Once this is done, a stub is created for a WAS server. There are no further configurations required to setup RAD with WAS. However, in order to develop JCA/SCA applications with WXTR, the appropriate jar files need to be included (SCA - wxtrsca.jar and JCA-CCWConnector.jar). With RAD already installed, RDp can be installed as a plugin on RAD.
This "internet-of-things" enables Application developers to develop WXTR applications as well as the client applications with relative ease. With easy integration, collaborating the different components of the application becomes that much easier. For information on other available tools in the integration space, do attend the "Internet-of-Things" track at the IBM Software Universe, India on the 20th of October.
21st century COBOL
It is probably quite safe to say that the backbone of 21st century service infrastructures, is still COBOL-based applications. Innumerable industries, during the late 20th century, were built around Mainframes and COBOL applications. These applications formed the foundations, on which more features and capabilities were added in the years to come. As we moved into a Service-oriented Architecture(SOA) space, the need for the applications to become smarter and interconnected rose. Applications needed to be viewed as web services, java beans etc. made available over different transport protocols like JMS, XMS, HTTP to name a few. This opened up opportunities to apply cross technology knowledge into one single box.
WebSphere Application Server(WAS) gets WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime(WXTR)
As an application server, WAS is one of the most competent products in the market. WAS provides application deployment, monitoring, Integrated application development for Java and J2EE applications. The idea of opening up such services to legacy COBOL applications, on a Java environment is an idea that sounds exciting and impossible at the same time. However, this is exactly what is now possible through WXTR.
Possible modernization using WXTR
WXTR not only provides WAS capabilities to COBOL applications, but also opens up SOA capabilities as well. WXTR provides an SCA (Service Component Architecture) interface that enables other SCA clients (WebServices and SCA) to access COBOL applications.
An interface such as the SCA on WXTR, added to WAS capabilities means, WXTR is capable of fititng into the SOA Architecture. Each COBOL Application deployed on WXTR can be accessed as a service by any client that is part of such an SOA.
Below is an example of calling a service using WXTR's SCA methods :
API : CallCOBOL() - This API enables the Client application to call a particular COBOL program deployed on WAS.
CallCOBOLService service = new CallCOBOLService(); // A web service client calling a WXTR resource
CallCOBOL cc = service.getCallCOBOLPort();
cc.callCOBOL(ProgramName); // This line calls the COBOL program
Summing up, WXTR is something to watch out for in the future. With increasing WAS capabilities, the extent to which Enterprise Applications can be modernized to fit into the modern Application ecospace will only increase.
WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime (WXTR) is a new transaction processing software introduced by IBM this year and was made generally available June 2011. WXTR delivers a technology that helps customers to reuse existing COBOL business applications by executing them natively within WebSphere Application Server. You may refer to this link for more information on this software: http://www-01.ibm.com/software/webservers/appserv/extended-transaction-runtime/features.html
In this blog I would particularly like to highlight a feature provided by WXTR and COBOL for AIX together to help manage the data stored in VSAM formats using DB2.
Most of the legacy COBOL applications particularly written for a CICS environment use VSAM files for storing business data. On a distributed platform say Unix'es and Windows there are software available to host these VSAM data such as TXSeries provided Structured File Server (SFS) where you can create and manage KSDS, ESDS, and RRDS based VSAM datasets. However think of... if we can manage these data in a relational database and leverage the power the database technologies provide us. This is similar to a tool available on system z platforms called CICS VSAM Transparency. And this is where WXTR and COBOL For AIX provides you the feature to transparently manage the VSAM data using DB2.
What this means is that WXTR allows you to store the VSAM data on a relational database (RDBMS) such as DB2 while retaining your COBOL and/or CICS/COBOL applications as-is. With this your applications or business logic built for the underlying data wouldn't change - we don't want you to change the data model that is built already and is proven.
Not the least, there are other benefits that this feature would provide:
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Many of you might have heard about one of IBM’s latest addition to it’s product portfolio, WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime (WXTR). WXTR is a new addition in the transaction processing space as a complement to WebSphere Application Server (WAS) on distributed platforms. WXTR v1.0 is available on AIX platform only.
WXTR addresses a key space wherein enterprises are looking to modernize their existing COBOL workloads. WXTR tightly integrates Java EE applications and COBOL applications thus allowing users to re-use existing COBOL business logic while extending them with new and modern Java EE applications. Due to it's association with WAS, WXTR provides a forward looking and a modern environment for existing COBOL applications.
For a quick look, some of the key WXTR features are,
WXTR in conjunction with WebSphere Application Server and Rational tools is a solution that best fits organizations that are looking to write new code in Java EE while retaining their existing core business logic in COBOL. WXTR brings in the best of interoperability and integration. Unified administration provides a single environment to manage both COBOL and Java resources. RAD (Rational Application Developer) and RDp (Rational Developer for Power Systems) integration provides a more complete development environment together for Java EE and COBOL programs. WXTR supports CICS style programming. Users can use many of the built in features in RDp for application development e.g. command assist, syntax checking, templates etc. Seamless debugging across Java and COBOL is a reality with the use of RAD and RDp.
In summary, WebSphere eXtended Transaction Runtime brings in further simplicity , ease of use , modern facilities and much more.Thus reducing the overheads in managing COBOL and Java workloads.
Couple of references for WXTR as below,