The IBM z/OS Provisioning Toolkit 1.0 enables application developers to rapidly self-service provision a development environment without direct interaction with a systems programmer. Once the required workflows have been customised and published as a template using IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management for z/OS, developers can build and run images of their applications, automatically provisioning the required CICS environment. This article uses one of the examples included with the toolkit to show you how to provision a CICS Liberty environment in just a few minutes.

The HelloCICSWorld application

The example application used in this scenario can be built by following the instructions in the Developing Liberty applications for CICS blog post. It is a simple servlet that makes a JCICS call to inquire the current CICS task. This article assumes you have built the web application and exported it to zFS as HelloCICSWorld.war.

Building an image

The toolkit includes example zosptfile scripts and accompanying images for running Liberty in CICS TS V5.3. We will create a new image for the web application based on the cics_53_liberty image which is itself based on the cics_53 image that names the template to be used for provisioning CICS. The cics_53_liberty image contains the server.xml file that can be used to customise Liberty.screen-shot-zospt-images The sample zosptfile scripts provided are in the zospt/samples directory. Create a new zospt/samples/hello_world sub-directory and copy in the HelloCICSWorld.war file. Next create a new zosptfile in the same directory to build the image for the web application.screen-shot-hello_world

We will use the Liberty dropins directory so the image is very simple. The ${LIBERTY_DIR} environment variable we use to ensure the WAR file is copied to the right directory is defined in the cics_53_liberty parent image and can be customised to local naming standards by the systems programmer.
screen-shot-zosptfile

Next we use the zospt build command to build the image.
screen-shot-zospt-build-hello_world

Running an image to provision a CICS & Liberty environment

To run our application and automatically provision the CICS & Liberty development environment we use the zospt run command, naming the image we just built. Workflows customised by the systems programmer perform all the required steps to create a new CICS region and start it.
screen-shot-zospt-run

When the process is complete the configuration information required to connect to the application such as APPLID and TCP/IP port numbers is provided.

Testing the application

The CICS region is provisioned on the same system as the z/OSMF server. Using this IP address, the TCP/IP port, and WAR file name we can connect to the HelloCICSWorld application.
screen-shot-hellocicsworld

Summary

We have shown just one example of the development environments that can be dynamically provisioned with the toolkit. Also we have only described a small subset of the commands provided by the zospt command line utility to enable developers to build, run, and manage their applications. For more information please visit the IBM z/OS Provisioning Toolkit product page.

4 comments on"Provisioning a CICS & Liberty development environment in minutes with the z/OS Provisioning Toolkit"

  1. Kevin Clark March 29, 2017

    It’s still not clear what the CICS container can support besides web services .. meaning does it have FCT/PPT/PCT elements that run COBOL .. does it have normal DB2 /MQ connection points ?.

    • Dan Millwood March 30, 2017

      Hello Kevin, when zospt provisions a CICS container, a new CICS region is created and started. This is a full function CICS region. The CICS systems programmer will have configured a template in IBM Cloud Provisioning and Management for z/OS and this template determines the capabilities of the CICS region. For example the systems programmer can determine the SIT parameters, the CSD definitions that get defined and installed, the DFHRPL concatenation of the region and so on. If these configurations include DB2/MQ connections then the CICS region will have them.

      Our intention is that you can configure the template for CICS, such that a provisioned CICS region looks the same as one that you may have created manually or through other automation today.

  2. kevin Clark October 17, 2017

    We’re moving forward with this solution to support our Agile teams’ scrum environments. Do we need CICS TS 5.3 or is TS 5.2 fine ?

    • Matthew Webster October 17, 2017

      The z/OS Provisioning Toolkit supports all CICS TS V5 releases so V5.2 is fine. Each successive version of CICS includes significant improvements in the capability provided by Liberty as well as greater integration. However, the example shown is applicable to V5.2.

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