Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Ruxit Blog, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Microservices Journal, Java, ColdFusion, .NET, AJAX & REA, Cloud Expo

Microservices Journal: Article

Bridging the Chasm

From Collision to Connection between the Mainframe and the Distributed World

If you are an IT manager, application owner, architect or developer in a corporation leveraging a mainframe, then today is a revolutionary day: Application Performance Management is now available end-to-end for the mainframe. Read about how this will drastically change the way we manage developing, refining, testing and bug-fixing applications involving a mainframe.

The Pain
Are you a mainframe developer that spent hours optimizing mainframe code and still receive complaints about bad mainframe performance from the distributed guys? Or are you a Java or .NET developer calling mainframe transactions and not satisfied with their performance? Stop playing the blame-game. APM extended its end-to-end scope and can now follow every single transaction into the mainframe, 24x7:

End-to-end visibility for the mainframe has arrived.

Developers and architects are now able to assess if they use the mainframe's resources such as CICS transactions appropriately or - the other way round - if the implementation on the mainframe fits the needs of the distributed part of the application.

Architects and application owners can now identify where the mainframe load is coming from. In other words, it is now possible to analyze what application, what feature of an application or even which tenant or user consumes how many mainframe cycles. This is the basis for optimization on an application level; beyond optimizing on the mainframe in isolation.

Monitoring what's driving our mainframe cycles. This example dashboard shows mainframe CPU duration per tenant.

Also, we are now able to measure the contribution of the mainframe to the response time for a particular application or even for a particular transaction, e.g. ‘click on purchase'.

The figure shows an API breakdown of an application using a mainframe. Only 8ms are spent in CICS, 2.5ms in DB2.

Why does that matter? In many enterprises, the mainframe plays a significant role in their IT infrastructure landscape. It is still running many backend legacy applications critical to the business. But at the same time organizations are also developing mainframe applications and investing in young specialized personnel. As the mainframe was acknowledged as the business machine back in the 1950s, it is still the central data repository for many corporations.

What's Happening

The sequence diagram helps us to understand the flow of the application.

End-to-end does not just end at the call to the mainframe, it continues into the CICS region all the way to the database. Thus, we have complete mainframe transaction visibility. We know exactly what's calling what, and in what context! For example if a certain value that's passed on to the mainframe routine, needs error handling, we identify a different flow on the mainframe than for usual values.

Analyzing the sequence of mainframe routines is easy when zooming into the Sequence Diagram.

The Mobile Banking Story
Now specifically let's think of a money transfer via an online banking mobile application. Besides the native mobile app for Android, iOS and Windows Mobile, we probably have a web server and an application server running before the actual execution of the money transfer. That transfer is done via a COBOL or PL-1 program on the mainframe. So we do have an interesting diversity of technologies, which potentially makes pinpointing an error or a performance bottleneck quite an endeavor. Let me use the following story to demonstrate the game-changer in full depth:

Identifying the Root Cause of a Frustrated User
The following scenario is based on our demo application easyTravel, an online booking platform, where the credit card authorization is implemented in CICS. Now, Hainer is just about to place his payment for his well-deserved vacation in Vientiane when he receives an ugly error.

Booking cannot be completed. Let's call the hotline.

When he calls the support, they can easily find the frustrating visit of Hainer and identify immediately that he tried to place the payment three times.

Looking at Hainer's visit and all the page actions he performed. We notice he tried to place the payment three times unsuccessfully.

From there, it's one-click to view the exact path from the Servlet across MQ into CICS and the DB2 statements. We identify that the CICS program wants to respond but fails to put the result in the response queue when looking up the return code 2053 on the WebSphere page.

The CICS routine cannot put the response into the queue; the call results with error 2053.

If we look further down the path we also see that the client waiting for the response runs into a one minute timeout and aborts with an error. Luckily we already have identified the root cause (i.e. the expected message was never put into the queue)! This would not be that easy without mainframe-visibility!

Client runs into a timeout with reason 2033, i.e. no message available

Summary
With APM, our goal is not to just increase mainframe performance. Rather, we want to optimize the way the mainframe is used by the distributed world, and that the mainframe routines are optimized to fit the needs of the distributed world. The need that APM had to extend to the mainframe is driven by legacy mainframe applications that are now used by distributed applications such as core banking applications which are now accessed by frontends such as mobile applications or browser UIs. Also for enterprise APM solutions it is crucial to support a wide range of technology to provide a complete view on applications. For that, the mainframe can't be left out. Let's remove that blindfold.

More Stories By Daniel Kaar

Daniel Kaar works as a Technology Strategist for Compuware’s APM Business Unit, where he contributes to the strategic development of the dynaTrace enterprise solution, focusing on application performance management in cloud environments. Daniel offers eight years of broad experience in software engineering in multiple industries. Developing software in assembler, C and C++ for microcontrollers has made him consider the performance implications of any situation. Currently, in addition, he is assistant lecturer in IT Project Engineering & Management at Johannes Kepler University, where he also received a Master’s degree in Business Informatics. Daniel has a degree in Electronics and Telecommunications and gained international experience at Goizueta Business School, Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
“This win means a great deal to us because it is decided by the readers – the people who understand how use of our technology enables new insights that drive the business,” said Matt Davies, senior director, EMEA marketing, Splunk. “Splunk Enterprise enables organizations to improve service levels, reduce operations costs, mitigate security risks, enhance DevOps collaboration, create new product and service offerings and obtain deeper insight into customer behavior. Being named Best Business App...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
This digest provides an overview of good resources that are well worth reading. We’ll be updating this page as new content becomes available, so I suggest you bookmark it. Also, expect more digests to come on different topics that make all of our IT-hearts go boom!
Cloud computing seems destined to be the way enterprises will use information technology. The drastic cost reductions and impressive operational improvements make the transition an unstoppable trend. The “What is cloud computing?” question now, however, seems to be morphing into “Where is cloud computing going?” While software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers see their market rocketing upward as the easiest and quickest path for cloud adoption, infrastructure-as-a-service providers are suffering...
I woke up this morning to the devastating news about the earthquake in Nepal. Sitting here in California that destruction is literally on the other side of the world but my mind immediately went to thinking about my good friend Jeremy Geelan. See Jeremy and his family have been living in Kathmandu for a while now. His wife, in fact, is the Danish Ambassador to Nepal!
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
Lacking the traditional fanfare associated with any technology that can use the word "container" or mention "Docker" in its press release, Ubuntu Core and its new Snappy system management scheme was introduced late last year. Since then, it's been gaining steam with Microsoft and Amazon and Google announcing support for the stripped-down version of the operating system. Ubuntu Core is what's being called a "micro-OS"; a stripped down, lean container-supporting machine that's becoming more pop...
One of the most frequently requested Rancher features, load balancers are used to distribute traffic between docker containers. Now Rancher users can configure, update and scale up an integrated load balancing service to meet their application needs, using either Rancher's UI or API. To implement our load balancing functionality we decided to use HAproxy, which is deployed as a contianer, and managed by the Rancher orchestration functionality. With Rancher's Load Balancing capability, users ...
There is no doubt that Big Data is here and getting bigger every day. Building a Big Data infrastructure today is no easy task. There are an enormous number of choices for database engines and technologies. To make things even more challenging, requirements are getting more sophisticated, and the standard paradigm of supporting historical analytics queries is often just one facet of what is needed. As Big Data growth continues, organizations are demanding real-time access to data, allowing immed...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, ...
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that a...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Ras...
The cloud has transformed how we think about software quality. Instead of preventing failures, we must focus on automatic recovery from failure. In other words, resilience trumps traditional quality measures. Continuous delivery models further squeeze traditional notions of quality. Remember the venerable project management Iron Triangle? Among time, scope, and cost, you can only fix two or quality will suffer. Only in today's DevOps world, continuous testing, integration, and deployment upend...
Chuck Piluso will present a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Speaker Bio: Prior to Data Storage Corporation (DSC), Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of ...
To manage complex web services with lots of calls to the cloud, many businesses have invested in Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Management (NPM) tools. Together APM and NPM tools are essential aids in improving a business's infrastructure required to support an effective web experience... but they are missing a critical component - Internet visibility. Internet connectivity has always played a role in customer access to web presence, but in the past few years u...