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Web Services Just for CICS

IBM put a fresh coat of paint on an old door, unveiling a version of the company's 35-year-old Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction server, which is primed for Web services.

An IBM creation, CICS has traditionally made it possible for enterprises to process billions of transactions per day, totaling in the trillions of dollars. It was one of the first software engines that could process credit card purchases.

But Big Blue has been bringing the software up to date of late with the CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.1. The software allows workloads on mainframes to process Web services and business processes as an integral part of service-oriented architectures (SOAs) .

IBM said in a statement the company recognizes this as an important step at a time when many clients are demanding infrastructure to support their SOAs, or distributed computing environments that curb infrastructure costs by reusing assets, such as software.

A key part of SOAs, Web services allow application-to-application communication, and are believed to be the future driver in executing transactions on the Web.

Ideas International analyst Pierre Fricke said bringing CICS up to speed with Web services will benefit not just customers, but help IBM boost its mainframe workloads.

"It's a hot-topic with users," Fricke told internetnews.com. "Larger enterprises that have been running CICS for a long time really want to integrate CICS with their modern SOA business processes, and they don't want to have to do hand-coding to do it. This announcement really opens up CICS to a whole new vista for users."

IBM is making Java-based Web services software to compete with BEA Systems and Sun Microsystems in this space, while Microsoft is hashing out the challenges of the multi-billion-dollar market with .NET .

To wit, CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.1 now includes better integration of SSL security and WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer for CICS applications. The extension of the CICSPlex System Manager Web User Interface also provides improved workload throughput and faster performance of C/C++ software.

CICS Transaction Server for z/OS V3.1 will be available in the United States and Canada in the first quarter of 2005, with pricing based on the size of the machine.

Big Blue also upgraded CICS Transaction Gateway in version 6, which provides secure access to CICS applications in J2EE and Web Services on IBM WebSphere Application Server. V6 now has optimized performance to curb CPU overhead and better administration interfaces, enhanced SSL support and z/OS security integration.

CICS Transaction Gateway for z/OS V6 and will be available in the United States and Canada in December 2005, with pricing per processor or unit-based on z/OS.

IBM will provide updates in the first half of 2005 to simplify the process of converting CICS business logic into reusable components that can share throughout the entire enterprise.