CICS in Transition: VSAM to Rational Developer
for System z
CICS Transaction Server: Evolving Strategic Role
Since its introduction in the 1970ís, CICS has
evolved from macro level coding with legacy Assembler, COBOL, PL/1,
Fortran, and RPG programming languages to command level programming,
web enablement, application development with Java, and repurposing
to an SOA: Service Oriented Architecture. IBMís initial CICS
Internet connection option was provided in CICS/ESA 3.3, with
support for the CICS socket interface option of TCP/IP for MVS. With
subsequent new releases, the featureset has been expanded: 3270
Bridge, CICS Web Support, and CICS Web
Services. There are hundreds of million of lines of CICS code which
have to be maintained and transitioned to meet the requirements of
CICS Transaction Server Improvements
CICS applications can utilize thread-safe file and journal commands to take advantage of the OTE: Open Transaction Environment. With thread-safe programming a single region can do
more things at once; this can lead to improved throughput, more efficient CPU utilization, and workload consolidation. Changes have been made to CICS which support open standards. CICS Transaction
Server supports WSDL: Web Services Description Language and integrates SOA tools and environments. CICS web services support the SOAP MTOM: Message Transmission Optimization Mechanism and XML XOP:
Optimized Packaging. These services streamline web message processing by including large binary objects as attachments, instead
of being embedded in the stream itself.
Increased capacity is delivered through enhancements to vertical and horizontal scalability. Fewer regions can run the same workload. Cost savings
are realized through consolidation: reduced CPU consumption and efficiencies in overhead processing
- administration. There are policies for delivering automated control over system resources.
Task thresholds can be set for data access requests, storage usage, program loops, and processor utilization times. Policy breaches are managed by 1- issuing messages 2- abnormally terminating tasks 3-
emitting events which can trigger additional actions or events.
CICS and VSAM
VSAM: Virtual Storage Access Method is to process data on DASD devices in IBM z/OS and z/VSE mainframe operating systems. VSAM is used in a CICS
Transaction Server online environment to provide recoverability, data locking, integrity and data source. It is an important component of real time transaction processing system. Sharing of
VSAM data between CICS regions is done with VSAM RLS: Record-level Sharing. This adds record caching and locking. Logging and commit processing remain the responsibility of CICS; sharing of VSAM
data outside a CICS environment is severely restricted. Advanced Catalog Management provides backup and recovery capability for VSAM files and integration with other System z storage products. This
will be useful as IBM continues to position System z as a platform for data serving.
CICS and Rational Developer for System z
Rational Developer for System z is the IBM development platform for delivering new information technology services
by testing and deploying cross-platform web technologies, mainframe
applications, and low-level programming languages. It provides the
capability to use an interactive workstation-based environment for
creating, maintaining, and reusing applications or inclusion in a service oriented architecture. Rational
Developer for System z is used to access IBM z/OS datasets and System
zFS: z File System datasets and support the creation, maintenance, and
debugging of CICS-based code. Integration with z/OS IBM Problem
determination tools and Fault Analyzer allows for browsing ABEND reports
Rational Developer for System z is being used in
composite development environments to create and manage web services and
XML for viewing, editing, and validating WSDL, DTD: Document-type
Definitions, and XML schemas and transforming XML documents into text,
HTML, or other XML document types. COBOL or PL/1 adapters and CICS TS V3 WSBind can be generated for converting between Web Service Description
Language, XML and CICS program data in a web services environment.
CICS Training by SYS-ED
SYS-ED's hands-on CICS
Transaction Server training provides the framework for learning how
to code, debug, and web enable CICS programs. When information
technology professionals complete a SYS-ED CICS course, they have
the documentation, training aids, skeleton programs, and supervised
hands-on experience to code and debug CICS programs. Case and point,
if your organization outsourced its CICS coding and program
maintenance to consulting companies in the 1980ís, it more than
likely was SYS-ED which trained many of the consultants who did the
actual design and coding!
Our CICS trainers include
a unique collection of mainframe technologists and
textbook authors: Victoria Albanese, Linda Bliden, Robert Blumfeld,
Jonathan Clarke, Michael Haupt, Pacifico Lim, Karen Schwartz, and David
Silverberg. Their application design, sample programs, and exercises
served as a foundation for quality CICS training. SYS-ED's CICS lesson
plans, courseware, and training aids are highly respected in
increasingly hybrid and interrelated information technology. They
reflect the insights and guidance created by experienced systems
consultants with a mastery of the CICS architecture and cross system
expertise with IBM z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM, and open source UNIX,
Solaris operating systems.
There are few software or
consulting companies, which know CICS and teach CICS courses better than
Our collective expertise in CICS application design, coding, debugging,
and systems programming spans the onset of the modern era of data
processing and provides the been there done that experience to teach
the IBM mainframe systems software skillset to a new generation of IT
personnel. We worked on several sizable first generation CICS projects,
when the source code and program logic was available; it no longer is.
This knowledge provides us with a unique insight to explain and draw
diagrams which teach why the software works or in some case doesnít work
as it should. That is why
Fortune 1000 /
government municipalities, and
have used SYS-ED instructors to teach their software developers.
Qualifying a Training Assignment
SYS-ED will not accept a CICS Transaction Server
training assignment without a consultation with the prospective client
organization. We review the background of the employees to be trained,
operating environment, documented standards, and project specifications
and use that information to select the code snippets, examples, skeleton
programs, and hands-on exercises. We then prepare a training strategy:
lesson plan, modular courseware, training aids, and validation
assessment. The pre course consultation allow us to identify and
differentiate between teaching an industry standard course as compared
to the clientís true need for educational consultancy: 1- application
maintenance 2- evaluation for migration to IBM or third party SOA:
Service Oriented Architecture standards 3- application repurposing with
Rational Developer for System z 4- Wintel or UNIX platform migration
based upon the Oracle Roadmap standards to WebLogic Server and Tuxedo or
5- application migration. And when are not confident that we can provide
a superior training outcome, will politely turn down an assignment.
Courseware Superior by Design
The CICS courseware and training aids provided in
SYS-ED instructor-led and distance-learning training services are highly
respected. The sample programs and exercises were developed, updated,
and tailored to teach CICS in evolutionary z/OS, z/VSE, z/VM operating
systems and both IBM Rational and third party development platforms. The
content and diagrams reflect a purposeful examination of program logic,
access methods services, and sample programs which have been validated
on consulting projects. SYS-ED's CICS Transaction Server courseware is
updated with information from
CETi knowledge base, and FAQ's
frequently asked questions.
With the scarcity of up to date
industry standard mainframe textbooks, courseware is an important
component in SYS-ED's CICS Transaction Server training: student
hand-out, presentation slides, reference guide, training aids, and a
library of exercises. The principles of adult learning and the standards
of the New York State Department of Education have been applied to the
subject matter: interpreting and translating content into performance
objectives, narrative descriptions, and diagrams which explain.
The full complement of training medium is used to help information
technology professionals learn.
As part of presenting an instructor-led CICS Transaction Server course
at the client location, courseware is evaluated and organized for
subsequent use in a web-based infrastructure and delivery medium. This
service is provided free of charge.
to the Information Technology
the Software Companies
In order to review and print course topics,
prices, and dates, invoke the Search button.
The Computer Education Techniques courseware used in SYS-ED courses
consists of student hand-outs, training aids, and industry-specific
examples and exercises.
The CETi knowledge base aggregates and analyzes information in the
public domain. It also is a service for reviewing and answering
Content is added
selectively to courseware. Our long-term strategy is to have our
courseware recognized as a
Nationally Recognized Vendor.
Professional Distance-learning Service
Definition of Service
SYS-ED's distance-learning training service
is 65% lecture with the remaining 35% of the service
provided in the form of scheduled
interactive question and answer sessions with a
subject matter expert, hands-on exercises, optional
validation assessment, and
submission of questions through our technology
Enrollment is contingent
upon the prospective trainee's having been qualified
by our Director of Education to have the appropriate
background for the training and review of a
checklist of items required for transmission of the
Service to the client location: bandwidth, firewall,
base operating system, software requirements, web
browser, and set-up of hands-on machine exercises.
Alternative web-based and e-learning training is
available: self-paced, presentation through the
client's authoring system, or podcast. These
tailored services are offered selectively.
Grow Your Own CICS Programmers
Portfolio of CICS Clients
Content Delivery Selection
|Over the past year,
we have had a number of inquiries regarding whether SYS-ED still offered
CICS courses for information technology professionals.
The typical comments were:
||That it is extremely
difficult to find CICS training which develops the specialized skills
needed for application development and maintenance tasks.
||That there is a scarcity of
fast-track CICS courses, 5 or fewer days in duration, geared to Fortune
1000 corporations and their employees.
||That a high percentage of
CICS courses are cancelled.
travel costs and
living expenses in a majority of situations are a significant constraint
when it comes to attending a CICS course.
||That it is important to have
a resource for
questions once the CICS training is complete.
In response to these questions:
||Yes, SYS-ED offers multiple levels of
web enablement, and
performance and tuning.
||Yes, since 1980, SYS-ED has provided
CICS specialized training, and
CICS training programs.
Yes, we have the flexibility and resources to conduct personalized
training for small groups. We very rarely cancel CICS courses.
CICS courses are available in multiple formats:
classroom, distance-learning and
blended web-based delivery.
Upon completion of a SYS-ED course, our staff is available to answer
Transaction Server Training Program - News for Immediate Release
Industry leading software and consulting
companies utilize SYS-ED in conjunction with distance-learning for specialized
z/OS mainframe training requirements - CICS, programming languages, utilities
and development tools, and web enablement training.
Indications are that
application server space is not going to be exclusively JEE or .NET CICS
Transaction Server will account for a substantial share of overall application
server market share. This CICS Transaction Server training program will
highlight the new features of CICS Transaction Server.
- GET and PUT container enhancements reduce application storage
- The CICS-WebSphere MQ DPL: Dynamic Program Link bridge support for
messages larger then 32K.
CICS Transaction Server: Web Enablement
Information technology personnel will
need to learn new skills for the IBM mainframe environment in order to
implement the next generation of system software; CICS Transaction
Server in conjunction with IBM WebSphere MQ middleware, WebSphere
Application Server, Rational technology and other proprietary software -
Oracle WebLogic, and Microsoft .NET. In general, these skills will be
both a new and better way of doing something that they knew how to do
before. Training will cut across generations. Some very experienced
people will be learning CICS and web enablement technologies; while the
next generation of IT staff may well be using ISPF, JCL, and ďtried and
testedĒ mainframe programming languages, such as
COBOL for the first time.
Training plans based upon the utilization
of different training techniques have been chosen for suitability to the
subject matter and audience as well as scheduling and class size
requirements. The following methods will be used for introductory
material for IT personnel, most operator training, and programmer
training on selected topics.
New York State Department
of Education Standards
Client A: Mainframe Training Services
- Distance-learning will be used for
introductory training for personnel, most operator training, and programmer
training on selected subjects.
SYS-ED in New York will be used for their
3-day VSAM for Programmers,
4-day CICS Transaction Server: Application Design,
5-day CICS Transaction Server: Command Level Programming,
4-day CICS Transaction Server Web Enablement.
- IBM will be used for specialized systems
The plan is to have the entire IT staff,
webmasters, operations, and programmers, attend the distance-learning and then
have the project development teams take SYS-EDís hands-on instructor-led
courses. The WebSphere MQ courses and system programmer training will be
attended by the project leaders and personnel who will required for managing
these areas. The exact schedule will depend on the other workloads of staff
Evolving IT: Interrelated Technologies
It is clear that IBM is developing CICS in order
for the mainframe to be the service oriented hub in data centers for new and
larger workloads. SYS-ED system consultants and CETi Technology Partners are
experienced with the implementation of SOA and the expedient management of
components in memory. As mainframe shops expand their channel capability,
there clearly will be a greater incentive to develop and utilize SOA.
CICS Training Services
SYS-ED's CICS courses are tough, but they're worth it. Our challenging
"hands-on" CICS training provides a foundation and framework for Fortune
1000 companies, government municipalities, healthcare providers, software
houses, and consulting companies to meet their CICS staffing requirements
and acquire specialized CICS skillsets.1
SYS-ED's CICS courseware is highly respected. We draw upon our extensive
library of courseware, sample programs, and case studies to explain,
demonstrate, and teach the real-world CICS. Our CICS curricula include
industry standard and consultancy derived content. We have the capability to
provide tailored workshops and integrated training programs on z/OS, z/VSE,
z/VM, and third party emulation workbench/platforms.
Teaching is Our Business
Most computer training companies are divisions of large software companies
or consulting companies. Not SYS-ED. Our only goal is to provide quality
CICS training for highly motivated information technology professionals - no
more and no less. Because we're independent, we can concentrate on teaching
- and since 1980 we have been doing it very well.
Our Teachers Know How to Teach
SYS-ED instructors combine teaching skills with broad practical experience
as consultants. Our instructors average 30 years of experience with CICS in
the mainframe environment - operating systems, programming languages, 3rd
party utilities/development aids, and system software. And they know how to
teach it. We teach not only "how to", but "why", building a solid foundation
in fundamentals and insights into advanced subject matter. After a course,
they are available to
Enrollment - SYS-ED CICS Courses are not for Everyone
No one is allowed to enroll in a SYS-ED mainframe course, without a consultation with our Director of Education. We review the operational objectives and project specifications for the organization evaluating
whether to send its employee for the training. The employee is only allowed to register if they have the background corresponding to the appropriate learning path.
CICS Training - Distance-learning or at Your Office
SYS-ED CICS Transaction
Server courses are provided over the Internet through a
distance-learning delivery medium or
classroom instruction on-site at the client location. If you prefer, we'll
tailored mainframe training on-site at your organizationís facilities inclusive of mobile computer classroom set-up. On-site mainframe courses can include the identical workshops, case studies, and hands-on approach as the
mainframe training offered through the SYS-ED schedule.
For additional information including outlines, availability of private courses, references, and course customization, contact David Shapiro at 212-724-2094
or register online.
SYS-EDís core CICS curriculum have been submitted
to the New York State Department of Education - Bureau of Proprietary School
Supervision for technical review and licensing.