SAN DIEGO -- Beta users of CICS Transaction Server 3.2 said the version's new features, like further support for Web services, make upgrading a good choice.
CICS TS 3.2, available on z/OS version 1.7 and higher, has been in different iterations of beta for more than a year and is now generally available.
At the Share user group conference in San Diego on Monday, Aug. 13, three of the 12 beta users of the Customer Information Control System (CICS) Transaction Server 3.2, an online customer transaction application, spoke about the migration. The new CICS TS 3.2 features include greater conformance with Web services and improved TCP/IP capabilities. Two users volunteered their experiences with CICS TS 3.2.
Steve Ware, systems coordinator at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla., has participated in CICS beta programs for a few versions now. He said that each consecutive beta has improved and that IBM Corp. and its software partners had also improved their support for beta customers -- especially CA, with its CICS support software.
"The 2.3 beta was not near as fun as 3.2," he said. "They were a migration inhibitor, I would say, while with 3.2, I would say they [have become] a migration contributor."
As the university upgraded from 3.1 to 3.2, Ware said the further support for Web services on CICS has become a big plus. He expects the migration to 3.2 to be complete next month. He said the Web services features, which include support for the Web Services Description Language, has helped the mainframe's integration with the university's PeopleSoft software from Oracle Corp.
Another user, from a large Midwestern manufacturer, talked mainly about CICS 3.2's ability to better multitask on z/OS by exploiting threadsafe features (where a programming operation can use multiple programming threads without unwanted interaction between them) on VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method) and WebSphere MQ. The idea is to use CICS to consolidate workloads and save CPU use.
Another beta user, Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) in Rosemead, Calif., has also made CICS central to its business; it completes 70 million transactions per month and uses a batch process that produces 250,000 customer bills every day, said Jim White, a system programmer at SCE.
In May 2006, Southern California Edison jumped into the beta program. White cited CICS 3.2's dynamic program library management, which allows you to change load library concatenations on the fly. He was particularly impressed by 3.2's ability to dive into a particular program and to trace where it's coming from, for example.
"This tells you what library and what data set the program is running from," he said. "This is a big deal, I think."
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