Mother's Day weekend is always a great opportunity to honor Mom and perform a host of chores around her house. This particular weekend, Mom required her house to be painted and as a good son should, I responded ,"Let's Git-R-Done" ...as Larry the Cable Guy would say. To begin, I saw Mom break-out the paint and a couple of paint brushes. Immediately, it dawned on me how Mom would pull out paint brushes when I was a small lad to teach and discipline me to pay attention to details. Well, not this time, I went to the local hardware store and purchased a power paint roller. This was my opportunity to teach and discipline Mom on the importance of having the appropriate tools and to demonstrate how fast and accurate we could paint and utilize the rest of our time for rest and relaxation. She appreciated my buying the new tool but if you know my Mom, she had more on her to-do list than just painting. So her mission and my workload continued throughout the weekend.
If you have not heard it enough, it is important to have the right tools to use for a specific job. After my Mom saw how quickly her house had been painted, I think she was ready to farm me out across the neighborhood to beautify the area. I think all of us have had a day when everything went just right...and for those jobs that we thought were so complex, were not complex at all when we applied the appropriate tools. My experience with Mom made me think about our CICS clients, where several sought a need to improve the efficiency of their CICS platform and how maximizing the availability or up-time of their systems is a significant requirement. Just those two requirements alone justified the creation of IBM CICS Tools to help support application transformation and CICS-based SOA implementation. Yet, the creation of a few CICS Tools was only the beginning of the ingenuity of products produced by a host of development teams at IBM Hursley Park.
The first products in the IBM portfolio of CICS Tools were introduced about ten years ago. Many new introductions were made since that period, the latest of which is IBM CICS Deployment Assistant. The best features can be characterized in a few words: discovery, insight, optimization, automation, standardization, modernize, and integration when using the plug-ins for IBM CICS Explorer.
When you think about the daily use of IBM CICS Tools, products like IBM CICS VSAM Recovery for z/OS and IBM CICS VSAM Transparency for z/OS become an integral part of the CICS and batch infrastructure. Others, like IBM CICS Performance Analyzer for z/OS (CICS PA), IBM CICS Configuration Manager (CICS CM), IBM CICS Deployment Assistant (CICS DA), and IBM CICS Interdependency Analyzer (CICS IA) are used every day:
- by architects and developers – to understand the impact of the system and application changes they make, to create controlled changes to CICS resource definitions, and to understand the performance of the applications they develop
- by system programmers – to create and deploy new CICS regions, to analyze and optimize performance, and to diagnose and resolve performance and configuration issues
- by system administrators and managers – to audit and manage change in a controlled manner, and track performance SLAs
As one of our clients said recently: “CICS Interdependency Analyzer is not a one and done tool”. Like many customers, they justified its purchase for threadsafe analysis, but quickly found it helped with application changes, CICS version upgrades, test coverage analysis, operational changes, and affinity analysis, to name a few of its capabilities.
IBM CICS Tools try to keep in synch with the latest features of the IBM CICS Transaction Server. For example, you can use the CICS IA to track the entry points for the new applications, use CICS PA to understand the actual and potential use of specialty engines both introduced in V5.1.
Whether it is banking, insurance, health care, retail, manufacturing, or government, you will find IBM CICS Tools being used.
Recently, John Knutson, IBM Software Group: Market Enablement - CICS Portfolio, commissioned the development of the Redpaper, Modernize Your Application Infrastructure with IBM CICS Tools V5.1, REDP-4953-00. He wanted to demonstrate to CICS users how the IBM CICS Tools could help them to optimize, automate, and modernize their infrastructure and applications, so that they can respond to new workload demands such as mobile. John would like to thank the authors, who have fulfilled his every wish.
I encourage you to download and view the Redpaper. The Redpaper is suitable for managers and technical users. The managers will understand the value that the tools can bring in terms of increased productivity, better control, and maintenance of standards. Technical users in all roles will recognize that CICS Tools can help them to do their jobs more effectively, with less time switching between interfaces.
I know my Mom is pleased knowing that IBM could be so thoughtful in helping to make everyone's workload much lighter. You can throw away those paint brushes now!