What’s New in CICS TS V5.5?

  • Node.js in CICS
  • CICS Explorer now uses GraphQL to map relations between resources
  • Security and resiliency improvements
  • Better API/SPI restrictions
  • z/OS WLM health value more prominent in CICSPlex SM workload routing decisions
     

     

2018 sees CICS enter its 50th year and with it, CICS also delivers a new release of the world favourite mixed-language application server, CICS Transaction Server Version 5.5. Now 5 releases in a single version is the most CICS has delivered since Version 1, and recent changes with Pricing has reduced pressure on reversioning. In the future, a new version will occur when we have a significant change of direction to signal to the market however, CICS TS V5.5 is very much a continuation of the innovative V5 story.

In V5.4, CICS crossed a threshold in our V5 journey, and we could legitimately stand behind a mixed-language application server message. The Liberty in Java integration had reached a point where CICS was now acting as a mixed-language application server, rather than just saying “a Transaction Monitor with a bit of Java Support”. With CICS TS V5.5 we continue to rally behind this messaging. Read on to find out more…

The innovating features of CICS TS V5.5

CICS TS V5.5 sees continued investment in Java and Liberty, keeping the Liberty run time up to date, and improving the quality of service. There are two key areas of innovation: the first is around consolidating CICS mixed-language application server capabilities. Node.js, an integral and highly recognised language in the industry across all platforms, is now supported by CICS TS V5.5. With Node.js now integrated inside CICS, application developers with JavaScript skills can now work alongside CICS.

One of the essential things this first release of the technology has is the ability to invoke other CICS services, in particular, programs from a Node application with all the local optimization, performance and response time benefits you would expect from a mixed-language application server like CICS.

Another real area of innovation is in the UI (User Interface) Explorer space, featuring new server side technology sitting behind it. In customer discussions CICS identified some gaps in Explorer capability versus the old Web User Interface (WUI), and not only closed those gaps, but exceeded the capability.

This new technology is GraphQL and it allows you to map relations between resources in a sophisticated way with great performance – a huge gain over using general REST patterns. The main areas addressed using this technology are in the ability to aggregate and summarize data. When using RESTful interfaces, a call is made for each item you want to query, and is rather chatty and very slow. With CICS TS V5.5, specific queries can count the number of resources in a given state, and show resources where there are differences between states. This is particularly valuable across a CICSPlex environment where in many regions all is fine but in a couple of regions something has not been updated correctly, and this will highlight the differences.

GraphQL also lets us define those relationships and then query them directly. So now instead of a memory test the Explorer displays changes in a tree view on a single screen which previously would have required skipping between screens.

CICS has not ignored the more traditional CICS areas either. As well as strategic platform investment in resilience, security and performance, CICS has revisited the ThreadSafe area. Some might have thought we had exhausted our ThreadSafe options but CICS has enabled TS CFDT (Coupling Facility Data Table) access, that can now be achieved on an open TCB without switchback on to QR, giving you the throughput and response time benefits that ThreadSafe gives for applications that use those. CICS TS V5.5 also allows System Programmers to restrict which APIs and SPIs can be used by an application developer on a configurable basis. This functionality will not impact your performance as the update has been implemented within the translator, so checking is not performed at runtime.

CICS TS V5.5 was announced on October 2nd 2018 and will be generally available on December 14th. It continues to respond to Requests For Enhancement (RFEs) to make this latest release a customer driven, content rich release without ignoring the core infrastructure of CICS. CICS has spent nearly 50 years getting to this point and the fine people of CICS are ensuring there is something in it for everyone. There’s a sunny future ahead for the next 50 years.

CICS TS V5.5 Announcement Resources

To learn more about CICS TS V5.5, take a look at our resources:

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