Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg, Pat Romanski, Anders Wallgren

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

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
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
If we look at slow, traditional IT and jump to the conclusion that just because we found its issues intractable before, that necessarily means we will again, then it’s time for a rethink. As a matter of fact, the world of IT has changed over the last ten years or so. We’ve been experiencing unprecedented innovation across the board – innovation in technology as well as in how people organize and accomplish tasks. Let’s take a look at three differences between today’s modern, digital context...
The principles behind DevOps are not new - for decades people have been automating system administration and decreasing the time to deploy apps and perform other management tasks. However, only recently did we see the tools and the will necessary to share the benefits and power of automation with a wider circle of people. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Sanders, Chief Technology Officer at CloudBolt Software, explored the latest tools including Puppet, Chef, Docker, and CMPs needed to...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
The (re?)emergence of Microservices was especially prominent in this week’s news. What are they good for? do they make sense for your application? should you take the plunge? and what do Microservices mean for your DevOps and Continuous Delivery efforts? Continue reading for more on Microservices, containers, DevOps culture, and more top news from the past week. As always, stay tuned to all the news coming from@ElectricCloud on DevOps and Continuous Delivery throughout the week and retweet/favo...
Microservices are a type of software architecture where large applications are made up of small, self-contained units working together through APIs that are not dependent on a specific language. Each service has a limited scope, concentrates on a specific task and is highly independent. This setup allows IT managers and developers to build systems in a modular way. In his book, “Building Microservices,” Sam Newman said microservices are small, focused components built to do a single thing very w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...