Why every IT architect should understand something about CICS
MartinKeen 1200007VU3 Comments (2) Visits (7479)
John Knutson is a Marketing Enablement Specialist for the CICS portfolio. As a former IT architect himself, John envisioned a book aimed at IT architects unfamiliar with CICS that would show how CICS Transaction Server can participate and contribute to an enterprise architecture. Under his leadership, that book became the IBM Redbooks publication Architects Guide to CICS on System z.
In this blog post, John explains why the rich history of CICS is an excellent pointer to the future, and how people with different job roles can benefit from having a better understanding of the capabilities of IBM's 43 year old transaction server.
Why, after 43 years, does CICS continue to be the smart choice for enterprises?
When you look at the history of CICS over four decades, we've always been refining, enhancing, and optimizing transaction processing. We spent the first 20 years perfecting the core components, and then moved on to additional components such as web support, Java, web services, and events. In CICS TS V5.1 we've expressed our direction of moving into cloud enablement. All this proves that CICS has a great history of meeting the demands of the day. And that history is a good pointer to the future - that CICS will enable its customers to move forward with confidence as new technologies emerge.
You can see that today, with CICS adding the new web container based on the WebSphere Application Server Liberty profile technology, adding applications and platforms as first class artifacts, and providing extra insight. These enhancements all indicate to architects that CICS continues to be a vibrant product.
What was the inspiration behind this Redbooks publication?
When we look at our CICS audience, there are a wide range of roles. There are lines of business professionals. There are IT architects who are the IT proxies for the lines of business and guide the developers and testers to what they need to build, what IT managers need to look after, and what the systems programmers need to deploy and manage. We knew we were doing a good job reaching systems programmers, developers, and IT managers. But we hadn't addressed lines of business and architects in a dedicated way.
This was really brought home to me after speaking with an IBM technical sales professional who had been on a customer call with a large bank. The meeting included a large group of technical IT managers, developers, and systems programmers. Also in attendance was an IBM Software IT Architect. In the meeting, the technical sales person spoke about CICS tools and some of the latest features of CICS, such as support for events. The IBM architect said "I didn't know CICS could do any of that". That struck home that it wasn't just our customers that needed help, but IT architects within IBM too. So that's what motivated me to sponsor this book. I want IT architects who are designing systems and designing applications to know what CICS is capable of, and how it can participate in a broader IT architecture.
Who would you recommend read this book?
Anyone who works with CICS, or might want to work with CICS, will find value in this book. System architects focus on high level design and the interlocking points between systems and applications. If those system architects don't know, for instance, that you can deploy servlets and JSPs into CICS, then they are aren't going to think of CICS in those situations. Application architects focus on specific applications within an environment. They will be interested in aspects of the CICS programming model covered in this book.
Systems programmers from different domains on z/OS, or perhaps administrating WebSphere Application Server on a distributed environment, can use this book to gain a good understanding of the major working parts within CICS and how you can use them. This includes understanding CICS topics such as security, auditing, workload management, and other qualities of service.
Any closing thoughts?
This is an essential book for architects, and a lot of other people besides. Even people who consider themselves CICS experts will learn something from reading it. I highly recommend it.
Download the IBM Redbooks publication Architects Guide to CICS on System z.
Martin Keen is an IBM Redbooks Project Leader. He leads publications on many areas of IBM middleware. Follow Martin on Twitter: @MartinRTP.