Back in April, I posted a blog entry called The CICS TS V5.3 open beta is here (already!), summarising the major new capabilities you could get your hands on, just in time for spring. Well, now it’s July and we’ve updated the CICS TS V5.3 open beta to ‘refresh 1’ level, just in time for your summer holidays. So, order a margarita, sit back in your deck chair and open up your mobile browser of choice to see how we continue to strive to help you “do more, with less, and do it faster/better”. Things are heating up…
Do More. In the first CICS TS V5.3 open beta, we added a raft of new features to the WebSphere Liberty Profile runtime that is integrated with CICS TS V5. In this refresh, we added a few more. Support for JPA (Java persistence architecture) completes the list of capabilities needed for the Java™ EE 6 Web Profile feature set. The addition of the WebSphere embedded messaging features introduces support for JMS 1.1 without the need for additional messaging software. The CICS TS V5.3 open beta now also ships with its own JCA local ECI resource adapter, removing the requirement to use the resource adapter provided by the CICS Transaction Gateway when porting JCA applications into a CICS Liberty JVM server.
Outside of Liberty, updating OSGi bundles in an OSGi JVM server becomes much less disruptive, with the introduction of a new phase-in capability that simplifies the process for updating OSGi bundles in a running JVM server. We have also upgraded the Java infrastructure to support running multiple levels of Java. IBM Java 7.0, IBM Java 7.1 and IBM Java 8 can all be used within the CICS TS V5.3 open beta, with different JVM Servers running on different levels of Java, even within the same CICS region. This can help customers standardise Java levels across the enterprise, remove the need to upgrade Java levels as part of a CICS TS upgrade, and quicken the adoption of latest technologies such as SIMD support in Java 8 with the new IBM z13.
With Less. In addition to the many performance related enhancements delivered in the first CICS TS V5.3 open beta, the performance of running z/OS Connect inside CICS TS is now dramatically improved through the introduction of a new native JSON parser. This new processing infrastructure provides greater throughput whilst using substantially less overall CPU than the current z/OS Connect solution. This CPU usage reduction is predominantly in the Java code path, meaning you should need less zIIP CPU to run the same processing. The new function is made available as a pipeline configuration option, and is thus transparent to the application. This allows you to choose the optimal parsing infrastructure based on preference for zIIP usage or throughput rates.
In our ongoing quest to most efficiently utilise each and every MSU, over 30 additional CICS TS SPI commands have been made threadsafe. A new HTTP flow control mechanism has been introduced to prevent HTTP requests from flooding a CICS region if it has reached capacity, allowing TCP/IP to route HTTP traffic more effectively. This mechanism prevents oversupply of new HTTP connections from being received and queued within a CICS region, enabling CICS to recover more quickly, whilst using less storage and CPU. In addition, for those times when something just doesn’t go according to plan, there is a new all-in-one task dump formatter to help you get up and running at full speed again.
Faster/Better. This is all about CICS DevOps and CICS Cloud. Three major new CICS DevOps capabilities were introduced in the first CICS TS V5.3 open beta: the CICS Build Toolkit, DFHDPLOY and an IBM UrbanCode Deploy Plug-in for CICS TS (which is fully GA and available now for CICS TS V4.1 or later). With this latest beta refresh, the types of bundles that can be built using the CICS Build Toolkit has been expanded to include CICS Liberty profile applications. Also added is support for variable substitutions for attributes in CICS bundle parts, such as high level qualifiers for data set names and JVM server names. This is especially helpful when moving applications through the lifecycle, since variables can be substituted for different values appropriate for target environments such as development, test and production without changing the source.
In the original CICS TS V5.3 open beta blog post, I stated that CICS Cloud is the future of CICS application deployments. This latest beta refresh adds even more credence to that by explicitly adding DB2 schema support into an application. This is important when the DB2 data to be accessed is different depending on the deployment environment, for example whether the application is deployed in test or production. There is also an additional policy added which can be triggered when the total number of EXEC CICS requests executed by a task exceeds a predefined threshold. This brings the total number of policy types to 14, containing more than 40 items that triggers can be set against.
Wow – our software engineering teams have been busy this spring. If you’d like to take any of that new capability for a spin, the CICS TS V5.3 open beta was updated to refresh 1 on the 10th July. You can grab it from here whilst it’s still warm.
As a reminder, you won’t have to install the CICS TS V5.3 open beta to get started with some of these automation capabilities. The CICS Build Toolkit available with the open beta will run on z/OS, Linux, and Microsoft Windows operating systems, and will work with CICS TS V4.1 and later. And don’t forget, the UrbanCode Deploy plug-in for CICS is now fully supported for use with CICS TS V4.1 or later.
As always, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We in CICS would love to hear from you.
IBM CICS TS Product Manager.
NOTE: This blog post was updated on 21st July 2015 to clarify that the new JSON processing is a z/OS Connect enhancement.