Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Just another milestone on a journey


31st December 2015 is a sad day. On the first day of 2016 CICS version 3 will go out of service. For more information see here:

CICS version 3 will always be a special release for me as it was the first CICS release I ever worked on. I was a member of the functional test team for the web services functionality. I spent many a day (and a few nights) building and executing test cases to try and find fault with the product. Looking back at the release it is important to note the amazing technology that CICS version 3 brought to the party.

We allowed existing customer applications to be exposed as web services. Not startling in itself but when you consider that the customer didn't even need to recompile any of their source code in order to exploit this capability. This allowed customers valued assets to be exploited by any process running on any platform in any language.

Since its inception CICS programs have been forced to share data through a 32kb area of memory known as the commarea. This area of data could be passed between programs running in different address spaces. Several customers had requested that we increase this limit to something larger as for them 32kb was becoming a constraint. Version 3 delivered channel and container technology that allowed programs to share blocks of data in named containers within a named channel. Not only did this alleviate the data limit constraint it also allowed that data to be functionally divided into separate pieces. No longer would the error code be at a certain offset into the commarea it could now be in it's own container.

We also extended our TCP/IP support to allow CICS systems to communicate over TCP/IP as a replacement for ISC connections over SNA. CICS programs could now be called over a TCP/IP network using an IPIC connection thus reducing the requirement for SNA networks. Each release since we have been adding capability to this feature, allowing function shipping over IPIC etc.

As the release of 3.1 marked the start of my CICS career it was also the start of a journey for CICS. Each release we have created capability that allows our customers to drive further value from their CICS installations. Developing new applications or deriving new value from existing programs CICS has shown that it is a modern, flexible and High quality transaction processor ready to meet the demands of a modern enterprise.

That journey continues today with the announcement of some feature packs for CICS that extend current releases of the product into new and exciting areas. For more information see:

These announcements excite me (although I have known about them for a while). Once released these capabilities will allow customers to easily integrate mobile application development with CICS resources. It will also allow them to integrate batch workload with existing transactional workloads. If you are a CICS customer why not have a look at the announcements and start thinking about where the new technology could take your business.
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