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IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS 5.6 is updated in the areas of developer experience, resilience, and management (January 2021)



Details are provided of recent continuous delivery updates to the latest release, 5.6, of IBM® CICS® Transaction Server for z/OS® (CICS TS).


CICS Transaction Server for z/OS overview

IBM CICS Transaction Server for z/OS (CICS TS) is a secure and scalable platform for hosting transactional business applications in a hybrid architecture. The latest generally available release, CICS TS 5.6 (June 2020), delivers significant capabilities to improve the developer experience, including the choice of APIs, frameworks, editors and build tools, while at the same time providing updates in the key areas of security, resilience, and management.

CICS TS 5.6 update

In addition to the features announced at general availability, in June 2020, the following features are available:

  • Developer experience and DevOps
    • Support for Node.js 14

      Developers can use Node.js 14 to build microservices and web applications using the latest JavaScript features and frameworks, with optimized access to CICS TS programs with the ibm-cics-api API. This feature requires either CICS TS 5.5 or 5.6 with APAR PH30707 and IBM SDK for Node.js - z/OS 14. Further details are available in IBM Knowledge Center.

    • Enhanced Zowe CLI CICS deploy plug-in

      An enhanced Zowe™ CLI CICS deploy plug-in is now available that is compatible with Zowe CLI version 1, making it simple to install and update. Developers and continuous delivery (CD) pipelines can use Zowe to easily package Node.js applications into bundles and rapidly deploy them into CICS TS, similar to the experience of deploying to a cloud platform. To download the enhanced plug-in, see topic Installing in IBM Knowledge Center.

    • New articles and samples to get started with Spring Boot Java applications in CICS

      Developers writing Spring Boot Java applications for CICS can quickly get started using how-to guides and ready-to-run samples. Topics that are covered in the guides include:

      • Integrating with CICS TS security and transactions
      • Using the JCICS API to access CICS programs and resources
      • JDBC to access IBM Db2®
      • JMS to access IBM MQ
      • Building and deploying applications using Gradle and Maven

      For more information, refer to the articles at Learning path: Spring Boot Java applications for CICS and download the latest samples from

    • Ansible IBM z/OS CICS collection to automate CICS resources and region actions

      Red Hat® Ansible® is a popular open source tool to automate configuration management and deployments on IBM z/OS and many other platforms with a consistent approach, architecture, and set of skills. It supports the combination of tasks and conditional logic into powerful Ansible playbooks, which can then be run from command line interfaces (CLI), browser dashboards, within editors, or DevOps pipelines.

      The IBM z/OS CICS collection uses existing CICS Management Client Interface (CMCI) connections to either IBM CICSPlex® System Manager (SM) or to stand-alone CICS regions. The CMCI API can be used to automate changes to CICS resources, such as deploying applications, making changes to definitions in a CICS system definition (CSD) file, installing resources, querying resource attributes, and performing actions such as NEWCOPY a program or CLOSE a file. IBM z/OS CICS collection also provides tasks to make changes to CICSPlex SM topology and interact with CICS regions. These tasks include querying configurations and performing actions, such as requesting a dump or shutting down CICS.

      The IBM z/OS CICS collection is developed as an open source project at and will be made available by the end of March 2021 from Ansible Galaxy1 and Ansible Automation Hub2.

      1IBM z/OS CICS collection in Ansible Galaxy will be available unsupported, at no charge.

      2IBM z/OS CICS collection in Ansible Automation Hub includes service and support, and will be available only as part of a Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform subscription.

    • Enhanced CICS TS plug-in for UrbanCode Deploy to support CICS TS 5.6

      To provide continuous delivery in agile development environments, CICS TS applications can be deployed to all supported environments using IBM UrbanCode® Deploy (UCD) and the CICS TS plug-in for UCD. Release 42 of the CICS TS plug-in for UCD supports CICS TS 5.6 and is available at

  • Resilience
    • Enhanced monitoring for temporary storage capacity

      CICS will issue messages when the auxiliary temporary storage (TS) data set or pool structure is approaching its capacity, enabling actions to be automated, such as freeing up storage, and issuing alerts using either a CICS policy or automation tools. CICS issues message DFHTS1316 when 75% or more of auxiliary TS is in use, and message DFHTS1317 when below 70% of auxiliary TS is in use.

      For shared pool TS, CICS issues message DFHXQ0422 or DFHXQ0423 when the percentage of entries or elements in use is above the defined threshold, and message DFHXQ0420 or DFHXQ0421 when they drop below the threshold. This feature is available for CICS TS 5.6 with APAR PH28145.

  • Management
    • Resource definition overrides

      CICS application resources often need to be installed in many CICS regions, sometimes with different resource attributes. For example, a CICS region used by a developer may require the execution diagnostics facility (EDF) to be set on for programs, and the data set name for files to point to test data. A system programmer is now able to use the same resource definitions in these environments and apply a new resource definition overrides file that contains rules that tailor resources as required. This feature provides the following advantages:

      • Saves time and effort by using the same CICS definitions in development, test, and production environments without change.
      • Easily describe and document the resource attributes to override in a separate file for that environment, using generic rules and system-specific symbols, such as the LPAR name or APPLID.
      • Apply enterprise standards by ensuring certain attribute values are always on or off, set to a specific value, or follow a naming convention.

      CICS will apply the rules to resources as they are installed. This feature is available for CICS TS 5.6 with APAR PH30590.

    • Scoping for policy task rules

      When defining a policy task rule, new rule filters are available to limit policies to only apply to:

      • A specific transaction or range of transactions.
      • A specific user ID or range of user IDs, or both.

      These filters can be set in the IBM CICS Explorer® policy definition editor, in the Rules tab and using fields Transaction ID and User. In addition, wildcards can be used in fields Transaction ID and User ID for inclusion or exclusion. This feature is available for CICS TS releases 5.4, 5.5, and 5.6 with APAR PH26145, and CICS Explorer or later, available from the IBM Mainframe DEV website.

Planned availability

  • January 22, 2021: Majority of CD enhancements
  • March 31, 2021: Remainder of CD enhancements


Product documentation for CICS TS 5.6 is hosted online in IBM Knowledge Center. The documentation is refreshed regularly to reflect feedback from users, and includes changes that result from continuous delivery and IBM Service. Detailed information is provided in What documentation is available?

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Document Information

Modified date:
25 March 2021