Microservices Expo Authors: TJ Randall, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, ColdFusion, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: 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

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
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO’s chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and microservices. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your conta...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his session at @DevOpsSummit 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will show how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that enables everyon...
DevOps theory promotes a culture of continuous improvement built on collaboration, empowerment, systems thinking, and feedback loops. But how do you collaborate effectively across the traditional silos? How can you make decisions without system-wide visibility? How can you see the whole system when it is spread across teams and locations? How do you close feedback loops across teams and activities delivering complex multi-tier, cloud, container, serverless, and/or API-based services?
Today every business relies on software to drive the innovation necessary for a competitive edge in the Application Economy. This is why collaboration between development and operations, or DevOps, has become IT’s number one priority. Whether you are in Dev or Ops, understanding how to implement a DevOps strategy can deliver faster development cycles, improved software quality, reduced deployment times and overall better experiences for your customers.
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and ...
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
“Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than being able to put more work into the system.” This is one of my favorite quotes from Gene Kim’s book, The Phoenix Project, and it plays directly into why we're announcing the DevOps Express initiative today. Tracing the Steps. For years now, I have witnessed needless work being performed across the DevOps industry. No, not within our clients DevOps and continuous delivery practices. I have seen it in the buyer’s journe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that LeaseWeb USA, a cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. LeaseWeb is one of the world's largest hosting brands. The company helps customers define, develop and deploy IT infrastructure tailored to their exact business needs, by combining various kinds cloud solutions.
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
In many organizations governance is still practiced by phase or stage gate peer review, and Agile projects are forced to accommodate, which leads to WaterScrumFall or worse. But governance criteria and policies are often very weak anyway, out of date or non-existent. Consequently governance is frequently a matter of opinion and experience, highly dependent upon the experience of individual reviewers. As we all know, a basic principle of Agile methods is delegation of responsibility, and ideally ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
Analysis of 25,000 applications reveals 6.8% of packages/components used included known defects. Organizations standardizing on components between 2 - 3 years of age can decrease defect rates substantially. Open source and third-party packages/components live at the heart of high velocity software development organizations. Today, an average of 106 packages/components comprise 80 - 90% of a modern application, yet few organizations have visibility into what components are used where.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Sheng Liang to Keynote at SYS-CON's 19th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1-3, 2016 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.