It barely seems like a year since i penned this blog outlining some of the core benefits of the CICS Tools included as part of the CICS Optimization Solution pack. But sure enough, we’ve made our jaunt around the Sun and in that time the development team have been busy adding some exciting new features and functionality.

So what tools are included, why should you care about them and what has changed in the latest release?

CICS Deployment Assistant

In a nutshell: Enables an automated DevOps pipeline for elastic scaling of CICS infrastructure. Including the creation of production-proving test regions and integration with existing processes via a RESTful API.

CICS DA provides a powerful discovery operation, which creates a rich model of your CICS topology and connected subsystems such as MQ. Once this model has been built you are able to extend your topology through creating clones of existing regions, or by deploying a new CMAS and WUI pair of regions as a foray into the world of CICSPlex SM. For those already using CICSPlex SM, you can also bring unmanaged regions into the scope of a CICSplex via the plexify function. The information stored within this model, and the operations it enables you to perform, can be accessed via a RESTful API to help you automate and integrate with your existing solutions.

New features in V5.3:
Ability to deprovision regions created by CICS DA’s clone operation
Enhanced API enabling you to issue discover commands, clone regions and deprovision cloned regions
New configuration tool to simplify the configuration of the CICS DA Server

CICS Performance Analyzer

In a nutshell: Simplifies detailed understanding of CICS systems and application performance. Enabling problem determination, trend analysis and capacity planning.

CICS PA provides embedded expertise through numerous customisable reports to help you get to understand and tune your CICS system. Graphical visualizations of performance data help reduce the time required to understand the data, enable you to spot trends that may be occurring and can assist with capacity planning. You can use features such as Transaction Profiling to compare against a baseline and uncover changes in key metrics such as average response time. Whilst primarily an off-line reporting tool, you can use CICS PA to help avoid online problems by using alerts to highlight developing performance issues.

New features in V5.3:
Forms-based summary reporting for CICS TS and CICS TG stats
DB2 table upgrade function
Forms for mobile workload reporting for use with the Mobile Workload Pricing tool

CICS Configuration Manager

In a nutshell: Control and automate the management of CICS application resource lifecyling, with a full audit trail and back-out capabilities.

CICS CM provides a single point of control for you to create and manage CICS definitions – whether they reside in CSDs or as part of a CICSPlex SM DREP. These definitions can be packaged and migrated through development, tests and production environments with back-out capabilities in case anything goes wrong. To help you track these changes, or to comply with audit requirements, any change made through a CICS CM interface will be recorded in a Journal.

New features in V5.3:
XSLT batch sample suite allows output XML to be processed by a Style Sheet for customized automation
BETA version of a plug-in for IBM UrbanCode Deploy
Detailed comparison of CSDs

CICS Interdependency Analyzer

In a nutshell: Maximise your operational efficiency using detailed understanding of your CICS application Topology. Allowing for provisioning of new mobile engagements with confidence in your infrastructure and facilitating on boarding with CICS cloud enablement.

CICS IA enables you to discover and visualise application structure and command flow, helping you debug problems or to understand which applications are affected by resource outages. Insights into your applications, such as threadsafe reporting, allow you to make modifications to improve performance and reduce costs & complexity. You can also use features such as affinity analysis to enable you to implement workload balancing in a high availability environment.

New features in V5.3:
Identify Application “entry points” and “dependencies” for cloud enablement of existing applications
Easier configuration and customisation
Easier administration of collector function by implementing scenario based collections

This is a pretty brief introduction to the tools, as each has so much to offer. You can find out more on the tools on the Optimization Solution Pack page on ibm.com, which also includes links to the individual tools.

tl;dr: Tools make CICS even better.

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *