If you’ve logged into Twitter, LinkedIn, or even flipped on CNBC this past week, you’ve probably seen our exciting news — the new IBM z15 has launched! The z15’s cloud-native development capabilities empower developers to more easily modernize apps in place, build new cloud-native apps, and securely integrate critical workloads across the hybrid cloud. When it comes to the cloud, the shift from experimentation to digital transformation is in full swing, with enterprises demanding increasing levels of speed and scale. The ability to surface mainframe data in leading APM solutions plays a critical role in our hybrid multicloud story.

I’m so proud of the Z APM Connect team and all of their hard work that contributed to this significant milestone. In support of this big announcement, the team has been hard at work building out a number of different features that open the product up to more mainframe customers and deepen the levels of support we already offer to existing users.

CICS Transaction Gateway Support
One of the hottest items on our roadmap for some time has been support for CICS Transaction Gateway. CTG is a connector for enterprise modernization of CICS assets. It empowers various application platforms to incorporate CICS, including Java® servlets, applets, Microsoft™ .NET framework based applications, C and COBOL applications. We’re seeing a lot of customers utilizing CTG, but creating an elegant solution for this support in Z APM Connect was no easy task.

Sometimes when our development team gets lucky, adding support for new technologies is a walk in the park because there are existing and suitable integration points. For CTG, that was not the case. Part of the reason Z APM Connect has been so successful is because of our ability to work within IBM & and the Z Software organization to overcome these hurdles. Our development team was able to work with the CTG development team to design and implement a solution that would allow us to add transaction tracking for this technology. We owe a huge thank you to that team as well as other talented IBMers that have stepped up to help us devise a solution even when it felt like the deck was stacked against us. Our first round of support launching soon will focus on client applications that use CICS Transaction Gateway APIs in Java and Java Enterprise Edition. Additional CTG API support is planned, but we’d love to hear from you on what you’d like to see next. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to our product and development team to share your requirements.

Rearchitecture of the Z APM Transaction Tracking Gateway
If you’re familiar with Z APM’s product architecture, you would know that we have a component that runs off the Z platform called the Z APM Connect Transaction Tracking Gateway. This component correlates all of the data collected from the agents and sends it back to your APM to complete the end-to-end transaction tracking. Not too long ago, our distributed squad recognized that we could improve the performance of the product and make ourselves more extensible by embracing new container-based technology. Our choice to move to Kafka for our internal communication mechanism really came from two needs. The first was to make it easy for additional APM vendors to pick up our records, the second reason was to allow for us to horizontally scale our transaction gateway to support customers that have applications with very high transaction rates. While this is just a change “under the hood” this is an exciting development for our product’s maturity.

IMS—>Db2 Support
This year has been very IMS focused for our development team as we strive to reach parity with the support we offer on CICS. One of the biggest outstanding items for us has been delivering backend congruity. Our team delivered transaction tracking support for IMS–> IMS DB last quarter, and we’re excited to be rolling out IMS –> Db2 support not long after. We can’t wait to bring more IMS customers on board with this additional capability being available.

We’re constantly working on ways to improve user experience with Z APM Connect. If you’ve heard the product pitch before, you know that we surface specific identifiers that an APM user can relay to a Z SME. We aim to provide just enough detail that we don’t consume too much overhead but give the Z team an exact location of where a problem lies. A few of our customers pointed out that their troubleshooting experience could be enhanced with the addition of CICS ABEND codes. In our upcoming release, we’ll be able to surface those directly in the AppDyanmics UI when they’re generated so they can be passed along as well. We look forward to adding the same support for IMS in the next few months.

This is certainly a laundry list of items GAing shortly with even more features under development targeted for the end of this year. If you’d like to learn more about any of these items, please don’t hesitate to reach out (nicole.nemec@ibm.com), and stay tuned for what we have coming to close out the year.

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