What is WebSphere on System z?

You could think of WebSphere on System z as the "engine" that powers SOA enterprise environments. The combination of IBM's integration, middleware software (WebSphere) on the industry's most resilient processor (System z) creates the ideal runtime environment to drive sophisticated, integrated, highly available, secure, and reliable business applications.

The WebSphere on System z product collection includes servers and tools that run on either z/OS (the native operating system) or Linux (which also runs on System z). There are many reasons why you might choose one environment over another. For example, if you want to simplify and consolidate your existing Linux infrastructure that runs across numerous distributed servers, then you could choose to run on Linux for System z on a single machine. If your goal is to run in an environment that offers the highest possible qualities of service (QoS), then you would choose to run your applications in z/OS on System z.

Qualities of Service (QoS) include availability, security, efficiency, integrity, and proximity (cross-memory connections between core business processes, applications and data).

Similar to other platforms, the foundation WebSphere products that run on System z are WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere Process Server, and WebSphere Portal. They provide the same capbilities as those provided by corresponding editions on other platforms such as UNIX, AIX, and Windows. However, they are enhanced to leverage the QoS that are unique to z/OS and System z (such as unbeatable reliability, availability, and scalability) as well as autonomic and intelligent workload management, and they deliver significant performance benefits by tightly coupling with other z/OS subsystems such as MQ, CICS, IMS, and DB2.

For example, WebSphere Application Server for z/OS provides the industy's leading Java™ 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application server capabilities for the System z platform, while other editions of the WebSphere Application Server family provide similar capabilities on other platforms. For more information see WebSphere Application Server for z/OS, to support your business objectives.

What can I do with WebSphere on System z?

You can use WebSphere on System z to build, deploy, and run J2EE applications, Web applications, business process applications, enterprise portals, Web services applications, business-to-business (B2B) applications, and to implement SOA environments. You can use related products such as CICS and IMS (included in this zone) to run high-performance, high-volume transaction applications. By using WebSphere Application Server along with WebSphere Extended Development on z/OS, you get the industry's leading platform for performance, flexibility, and reliability because of the operating efficiency of using these sophisticated core services, the business logc, and other key services (such as database managers and transaction servers) on the same, optimized platform.

What are the WebSphere on System z products?

Many WebSphere products run on System z. The primary products covered in this zone include:

  • WebSphere Application Server for z/OS provides the sophisticated and secure J2EE foundation for deploying your SOA.
  • WebSphere Extended Development for z/OS extends and optimizes the J2EE application layer base provided by WebSphere Application Server, while leveraging a single, consolidated administration console. For more information, see also the developerWorks WebSphere Extended Development resource page.
  • WebSphere Host Access Transformation Services (HATS) enables you to quickly and easily transform character-based 3270 and 5250 host applications into Web and rich client applications with easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI). In this zone, you will find article to help you use HATS; for example, Overriding HATS portlet connection parameters using the WebSphere Portal V6 Advanced URL generation API tells you how to enable users to select their backend system at run time.
  • WebSphere Classic Federation Server for z/OS gives you direct SQL access to mainframe databases and files (where most data is stored) including VSAM, IMS, CA-IDMS, CA-Datacom, Software AG Adabas, and DB2® UDB for z/OS. And, you can access this data without mainframe programming. For more information see WebSphere Classic Federation Server for z/OS: Features and benefits, and the developerWorks Information Integration resource page.
  • WebSphere MQ, the market leader for message-orientated middleware, enables you to reliably and consistently integrate applications by passing messages among applications and Web services. Instead of writing complex communications code, you can use one of the supported simple APIs (Message Queue Interface (MQI) and JMS) that are consistent across the many (over 80 now) supported operating environments, provided by IBM and business partners.
  • WebSphere Message Broker for z/OS provides universal connectivity and transformation in heterogeneous IT environments throughout your extended enterprise, while leveraging the System z QoS to ensure reliably and securely. You can use it as an enterprise service bus (ESB) to integrate applications, networks, and devices.
  • WebSphere Portal Enable for z/OS provides a complete set of portal services using the industry's leading portal software that has been optimized for z/OS. It leverages the z/OS platform's high availability, security, serviceability, and scalability; and, it provides efficient and secure access to DB2 data, CICS, IMS, and other enterprise transaction systems.
  • WebSphere Process Server for z/OS , built on enterprise service bus (ESB) technologies, provides a comprehensive run time including process choreography that supports long and short running business processes, role-based human tasks and workflow, and support for dynamic and adaptive processes based on an SOA. Like the other WebSphere on System z products, it leverages the z/OS architecture and services so you get "the" industrial-strength process server.
  • WebSphere Studio Asset Analyzer scans mainframe and distributed software assets, and stores the related application information in a DB2 repository on the mainframe. You can use this information to understand complex applications, to prepare for making changes, to document your application to meet Sarbanes Oxley (SOX), to help new team members learn the code, and for other purposes.

See also additional WebSphere on z/OS products.

Some key related products that work with WebSphere on System z are also covered in this zone. For example:

  • The COBOL family provides language products, tools and extensions to the environment to help you create, deploy, and run business applications that can work with a wide variety of applications.
  • Rational Developer for System z (previously known as WebSphere Developer for System z) provides an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in Windows or Linux for developers to create, test, and deploy applications that run on System z.
  • Countless enterprises rely on CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS V3.1 as part of the infrastructure to provide online transaction management for mission-critical applications. CICS enables you to easily and flexibly integrate modern applications with proven, production-critical, transaction-based traditional applications. For example, you can seamlessly deploy new Java applications that inherit the CICS QoS; expose CICS applications as Web services; run applications written in COBOL, PL/I, Assembler, C, C++, and Java; ensure security using WS-Security standards; consolidate your integration work on System z (if desired); and extend CICS using adapters.
  • IMS software provides the highest QoS for enterprise transactions and data, and extends these qualities to new composite applications under an SOA using the latest software technologies. For example, IMS Version 9 and the IMS Connector for Java offer enhanced Java support for the latest in standards and ease-of-use which IMS customers can to extend and modernize their existing software assets in new, on-demand business solutions. The article Options for integrating new applications with current applications that run on a mainframe describes both point-to-point and ESB-based integration options for integrating Java applications with existing mainframe CICS and IMS applications.

How do I work with WebSphere on System z?

The way you work with WebSphere on System z depends upon your role. For example:

  • Developers and testers create applications and interfaces (including portlets, portals, and composite applications) in a variety of languages such as COBOL, C++, and Java, to drive business processes. They often use Eclipse-based tools such as Rational Developer for System z and Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software. Because these tools are built on industry standards, they leverage many additional tools such as those for creating portals and portlets or those for remotely accessing and debugging code on z/OS.

    To see how to use these tools to work with mainframe applications, see Symbolically debug HLASM apps using Rational Developer for System z and Debug Tool. Although this article is about using Assember, the general technique illustrated applies to debugging code in other languages as well.

    Message application developers use the published interfaces for WebSphere MQ.
  • System administrators manage user access, security, and configuration on z/OS. He or she uses the WebSphere Application Server administrative console, and possibly the WebSphere Portal administrative interface, which includes a portal, some of the out-of-the-box portlets, and programmable utilities.

    If your environment involves messaging, your administrator would use the administrative interfaces for WebSphere MQ.

    Administrators also frequently work with other related products including a database manger such as DB2, an LDAP server such as Tivoli Directory Server, and a security manager such as Tivoli Access Manager.

How does WebSphere on System z contribute to an SOA environment?

WebSphere on System z products work together to provide the engine for the SOA environment. For example:

  • WebSphere Application Server for z/OS is a sophisticated J2EE application server that provides a scalable, cost-effective, and security-rich foundation deployment environment for your SOA.
  • WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus for z/OS, WebSphere Process Server for z/OS, and WebSphere Integration Developer V6.1 bring standards-based connectivity and process automation to your SOA.
  • Alternatively, WebSphere Message Broker for z/OS can implement your ESB. It provides a broad range of transport protocols and data formats, including C and COBOL data structures. You can use it with the WebSphere DataPower SOA Appliances to simplify MQ application connectivity with your SOA and to offload high-volume Web services security (WS-Security) processing from System z. See How to use WebSphere Message Broker to extend MQ and exploit DataPower for Web services security processing.
  • To provide a single, unified entry point for your SOA environment, you could run your company portal on WebSphere Portal Enable for z/OS and get the complete array of portal services, while also enabling efficient and secure access to DB2 data, CICS, IMS, and other enterprise transaction systems.

How can I learn more about WebSphere on System z ?

Use the WebSphere on System z zone on developerWorks to access resources to help you build, manage, deploy, support, and enhance your applications and runtime enviornment on z/OS, Linux on System z, or both.

Take a quick tour of the WebSphere on System z zone:

  • Find featured items including recently published content, product news, events, and various learning opportunities, most of which are free, in the Top story, Spotlight, and Latest content sections.
  • Use the Search technical library section to find previously published resources. You can optionally enter keywords, or just click the Go button to get a complete list. For example, enter Java, and click Go. You see a list of resources that relate to Java and WebSphere on System z, including the article Writing Java applications for System z.
  • In the Downloads section, you can access demos, tools, and free downloads or any of the current "Trials". For example, download a trial copy of Rational Developer for System z from developerWorks, and see how use it to create, access, and debug code that runs on System z. You can also purchase System z software.
  • In the Learning resources section, find product documentation, tutorials, training resources, related sites, Redbooks, events, and the leading edge WebSphere Developer Technical Journal.
  • Get quick fast access to product Support information in the next section. The popular Guidelines for a Healthy WebSphere Runtime on z/OS, from the Washington Systems Center, tells you how to configure your WebSphere Application Server on z/OS for optimal performance, reliability, availability, and security. Search for other helpful articles in the Techdocs Library. Get professional consulting assistance from IBM WebSphere Software Services.
  • Learn about individual WebSphere on System z and related products, including features and benefits, system requirements, training and certification, offerings, and events in the More product information section.