CICS insights from IT professionals revealed

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1 CICS insights from IT professionals revealed A CICS survey analysis report from:

2 IBM, CICS, and z/os are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. All other products mentioned herein may be service marks, trademarks, or registered trademarks of their respective companies. 2

3 Contents Introduction Summary of findings CICS in today s business environment How important is CICS? CICS challenges and technologies to address them How does CICS access business-critical data? CICS and data access: It s about VSAM and DB The place that VSAM holds with CICS DB2 usage and its relative importance Conclusions Survey methodology and profiles Survey approach Industry profile Mainframe organization profile Job function profile Survey data charts Figure 1: CICS is still important in today s mainframe environment Figure 2: CICS is Highly Important to 90% of respondents Figure 3: Top CICS challenges focus on application integration, development, and availability.. 7 Figure 4: The majority of respondents have not found technologies to solve CICS challenges.. 7 Figure 5: 99% of respondents access business-critical data using CICS Figure 6: VSAM and DB2 are the most used data sources for CICS applications Figure 7: Respondents saying % of VSAM data is accessed using batch is increasing. 10 Figure 8: Eight out of 10 respondents said concurrent access is Important Figure 9: Modernizing is the top issue driving the need for concurrency for the Important group 12 Figure 10: Growth issues drive concurrency need for Highly Important group Figure 11: Those with large amounts of data in DB2 equal those with little or none Figure 12: DB2 and Oracle are the most widely used relational databases Survey data profiles Figure 13: Distribution of respondents by industry Figure 14: Distribution of respondents by size of total organization Figure 15: Distribution of respondents by size of mainframe organization Figure 16: Distribution of respondents by CICS release Figure 17: Distribution of respondents by job function CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 3

4 Introduction Much of the world s business-critical data is still stored on mainframes.the Arcati 2013 Mainframe User Survey found that almost half of respondents have more enterprise data on mainframes than on other platforms. The Arcati survey also showed that about 67 percent of respondents reported at least 40 percent of their enterprise data resides on the mainframe. 1 At the core of many of these global business systems are CICS applications, which IBM estimates handle more than 30 billion transactions a day and that process $1 trillion of business each week worldwide. Enterprise Tech Journal (formerly named z/journal) has explored the state of CICS usage in today's organizations by conducting a CICS survey. The survey targets IT professionals with architecture responsibilities and explores the challenges, strategies, and successful approaches in organizations that use CICS. The results of the 2012 survey are presented in this report, which also discusses the significance of the data in relation to today s CICS environment. The report also compares 2012 findings with the 2011 and 2010 survey results and acknowledges any significant differences. The report addresses these topics from both a survey respondent and an H&W perspective. Summary of findings Survey responses drew a picture of CICS in the contemporary mainframe environment from a cross-section of industries and organizational sizes. CICS applications are clearly integral to business-critical data systems for the majority of survey respondents. When asked about the importance of CICS applications to their business, nine out of 10 respondents stated they are Highly Important, with 70 percent choosing Extremely important. Although CICS applications are still very important to respondents businesses, they can also pose challenges. The top tier challenges were application integration, availability, and development, with Application integration with Web services or SOA most frequently selected. To understand the comprehensive CICS landscape, the survey sought information about the relationship between CICS and its data sources. A full 88 percent of respondents said that their CICS applications rely on VSAM files, with another 79 percent citing DB2. Every organization represented in the survey maintains a portion of its business-critical data in VSAM files, and the percentage of respondents to whom concurrent access to VSAM and batch is important has been rising year over year since Respondents who cited concurrent access as being Highly Important also cited growth-focused reasons for the ranking. 1. Lillycrop, Mark and Trevor Eddolls. The 2013 Mainframe User Survey. Arcati Mainframe Yearbook 2013, (accessed January 22, 2013). 4 Introduction

5 CICS in today s business environment The survey asked several new questions about the importance of CICS and the challenges it presents. Responses showed that CICS still plays a major role in accessing businesses-critical data. The survey also presents new information on specific technologies being used to address important business issues. How important is CICS? More than half (54 percent) of the survey respondents said that at least 51 percent of their businesscritical applications are used online through CICS, with the largest number of respondents saying 51 to 75 percent (see Figure 1). Percentage of business-critical applications used online through CICS (entire group) 1-25% 20% Don t know 1% % 22% 26-50% 25% 51-75% 32% Figure 1. CICS is still important in today s mainframe environment Respondents are also keeping up with the latest CICS releases. The adoption of CICS release 4.x is steadily increasing while the use of CICS 3.x has been declining over the past three years. CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 5

6 When asked about the importance of CICS applications to their business, nine out of 10 respondents fell in the Highly Important group, with 70 percent choosing Extremely important (see Figure 2). (The Highly Important group consists of everyone who answered Extremely important or Very important.) Further analysis showed a significant relationship between the importance of CICS to the respondents and the CICS release they are using. Importance of CICS applications to organization (entire group) Somewhat important 9% Very important 21% Extremely important 70% Figure 2. CICS is Highly Important to 90% of respondents CICS challenges and technologies to address them This year s survey explored challenges specific to CICS and the technologies respondents use to address those challenges. Respondents were given a list of the top CICS challenges and asked to choose which of those challenges their organization currently faces (see Figure 3). Results split into two distinct tiers, with the first tier focused on application issues related to integration, development, and availability. The challenge most often cited was Application integration with Web services or SOA. The second tier of responses focused on performance, as well as transaction volume. 6 CICS in today s business environment

7 Top CICS challenges (entire group) Application integration with Web services or SOA Application development including updates, maintenance, and interface modernization Application availability Application integration with other platforms or systems 51% 44% 42% 41% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Figure 3. Top CICS challenges are focused on application integration, development, and availability To better understand how the respondents addressed their current CICS challenges, the survey asked them to list the specific technologies they use to address them. It is important to note that a response of None was given more than 10 times as often as any single, named technology. This seems to indicate that while respondents are facing challenges, they are struggling to find solutions. The following chart (see Figure 4) lists the 10 solutions cited most often by respondents. Technologies used to address top CICS challenges (entire group) Omegamon 16 Websphere 15 MQ Series 13 CICS Tools CICS Web Services 9 9 CPU upgrade Human Resources Web services, SOA CICS Transaction Gateway In-house development Figure 4. The majority of respondents have not found technologies to solve CICS challenges CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 7

8 How does CICS access business-critical data? The survey also asked new questions about CICS and business-critical data on the mainframe, and what types of file structures or access methods that CICS relies on. About eight out of 10 respondents said that more than half of their business-critical data is accessed through the mainframe. The majority of respondents (62 percent) said that more than half of their business-critical data on the mainframe is being accessed by CICS (see Figure 5). Percent of business-critical data on the mainframe that is accessed by CICS (entire group) 1-25% 16% Don t know 1% 26-50% 21% 51-75% 28% % 34% Figure 5. 99% of respondents access business-critical data using CICS Further analysis showed a significant relationship between the degree of importance and the percentage of mainframe data being accessed by CICS. Those who said that CICS is Extremely important also more frequently reported that more than 50 percent of their organization s businesscritical data stored on the mainframe is being accessed by CICS. 8 How does CICS access business-critical data?

9 Respondents chose VSAM and DB2 as the most common types of file structures and data access methods that their CICS applications rely on (see Figure 6). CICS file structures and access methods (entire group) VSAM 88% DB2 79% Oracle IMS 26% 25% DL/1 18% ADABAS 10% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Figure 6. VSAM and DB2 are the most used data sources for CICS applications A significant majority (88 percent) said that their CICS applications rely on VSAM files. The second most given response was DB2 (79 percent) followed by Oracle at 26 percent. CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 9

10 CICS and data access: It s about VSAM and DB2 Survey results show VSAM and DB2 as the most dominant data access methods for IT organizations. In exploring these two data sources further, the study revealed steady trends, issues of increasing importance, and new findings. The place that VSAM holds with CICS VSAM files continue to store large amounts of business-critical data. Almost all respondents (96 percent) said that some portion of their business-critical data is stored in VSAM. This VSAM data is not just being viewed historically; 95 percent said that some portion of their business-critical data in VSAM files is being accessed by batch. In fact, the number of respondents who said that 76 to 100 percent of their business-critical data in VSAM is accessed using batch has increased year over year since 2010 (see Figure 7). Percent of business-critical data in VSAM files that is accessed using batch (entire group) % 20% 22% 25% % 26-50% 1-25% 0% 0% 0% 1% 28% 22% 21% 23% 19% 24% 27% 25% 35% Don t know 2% 2% 4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Figure 7. Respondents saying % of VSAM data is accessed using batch is increasing 10 CICS and data access: It s about VSAM and DB2

11 When respondents were asked how important it is for their organization s business-critical data that is in VSAM files to be shared concurrently by both batch jobs and CICS, the results showed a significant increase over 2011 and 2010 (see Figure 8). In 2012, 53 percent reported concurrency to be Highly Important, compared to 43 percent in 2011 and 45 percent in Importance of concurrently sharing VSAM files with batch and CICS (entire group) 60% 50% 45% 43% 53% % 30% 29% 34% 27% 24% 22% % 17% 10% Highly Important Somewhat Important Not Important Figure 8. Eight out of 10 respondents said concurrent access is Important CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 11

12 The survey looked at the business issues that drive the organizational need to concurrently share VSAM files between batch and CICS (see Figure 9). The leading issues were technical in nature with Modernizing legacy applications and systems (35 percent) and A need to shrink the batch window (33 percent) as the top issues. Comparing these responses with those of last year s survey, the top two issues are the same but they have swapped places, with Modernizing coming in just ahead of last year s top choice, Need to shrink the batch window. These two comprise, for the second year in a row, the first tier of business issues driving a need for concurrency. Using Web services, A growing number of business-critical applications, Business growth, and A Growing number of transactions followed as second-tier issues. Business issues driving the need for concurrency (Important group) 40% 30% 35% 33% 26% 23% 22% Modernizing legacy applications A need to shrink the batch window Using Web services 20% 10% 18% A growing number of business-critical applications Business growth 0% A growing number of transactions Figure 9. Modernizing is the top issue driving the need for concurrency for the Important group 12 CICS and data access: It s about VSAM and DB2

13 Further analysis shows a significant relationship between the importance of concurrently sharing business-critical data in VSAM files by both batch and CICS and the growth-oriented business issues driving the need for concurrency. These issues of Business growth, A growing number of business-critical applications, A need to shrink the batch window, and Modernizing legacy applications were mentioned more frequently by people who said concurrency is Extremely important or Very important than they were by people who said concurrency is just Somewhat important (see Figure 10). Business issues driving the need for concurrency (Highly Important group) 90% 83% 80% Business growth 70% 50% 30% 10% 0% 67% 58% A growing number of business-critical applications A need to shrink the batch window Modernizing legacy applications and systems Figure 10. Growth issues drive concurrency need for Highly Important group CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 13

14 DB2 usage and its relative importance As mentioned previously, respondents cited DB2 as the second most common data source that their CICS applications rely on. Additional questions explored DB2 usage. When asked what percentage of their organization s business-critical data that is on the mainframe is being stored in DB2, responses revealed a fairly even distribution across the tiers (see Figure 11). Just as many people said they have no business-critical data in DB2 as said they have 75 to 100 percent of their business-critical data in DB2. Percentage of business-critical data on the mainframe that is stored in DB2 (entire group) 1-25% 19% 26-50% 20% 0% 18% Don t know 3% % 18% 51-75% 22% Figure 11. Those with large amounts of data in DB2 equal those with little or none Note that the question was asked about DB2 in relation to the mainframe, but not necessarily in relation to CICS applications specifically. This means the responses might or might not apply to other types of applications that access DB2 data on the mainframe. When asked if the percent of data stored in DB2 was increasing, staying the same, or decreasing, 67 percent of respondents reported an increase, with another 26 percent reporting their levels were staying about the same. Because this question was worded generally, respondents could have been sharing their DB2 usage in relation to CICS, the mainframe, other platforms, or across their entire IT environment. 14 CICS and data access: It s about VSAM and DB2

15 Finally, 77 percent of respondents stated that DB2 is a relational database that is strategic to their organization (see Figure 12). (Oracle was second with 60 percent and MS SQL was third with 42 percent; users could choose multiple answers.) Because of the way the question was worded, respondents could have meant that DB2 was strategic to their organization on the mainframe, off the mainframe, or across their entire IT environment. Strategic relational databases reported in 2012 (entire group) DB2 77% Oracle 60% MS SQL 42% Other 11% None 4% Postgres 0% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Figure 12. DB2 and Oracle are the most widely used relational databases While DB2 is a widely used relational database, it has not replaced VSAM s role in serving CICS applications, according to respondents. CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 15

16 Conclusions CICS is still vital to today's IT environment, with the majority of the survey respondents stating that CICS applications are Highly Important to their businesses. Respondents still face key CICS challenges, most heavily focusing on application integration, development, and availability. Application integration with Web services or SOA headed the list. Notable was the surprising lack of approaches for the stated CICS challenges. The overwhelming majority of respondents by a factor of more than 10 said they don't have technologies to address these challenges, suggesting that they are still struggling. When exploring the relationship between CICS and data, respondents said that their CICS applications access business-critical data residing in a variety of sources, but VSAM, followed by DB2, are the primary ones. In a finding that might surprise some, almost all respondents (95 percent) have a portion of their business-critical data in VSAM files being actively updated by batch, and not just being viewed historically. To these respondents, concurrent access for CICS and batch to business-critical data in VSAM files remains a central issue, and its importance is growing. This might be due to organizations' desires to incorporate VSAM-reliant CICS applications into Web services, which increases the pressure to reduce or eliminate the batch window. And while DB2 is used by a majority of respondents either on the mainframe or potentially off the mainframe as well it is not their only data source or perhaps a data source they use at all. Almost 40 percent of respondents said they have less than 25 percent, or even none, of their business-critical data in DB2. Finally, today's CICS applications rely neither solely on VSAM or on DB2. Rather, the two are co-existing in today's business environment to meet the dynamic needs of organizations represented by the survey respondents. If you d like to learn more To learn more about mainframes and CICS applications, see these white papers on H&W's site: Beyond cost cutting: Making mainframe assets work harder for the business today Strategies for modernizing VSAM-reliant CICS applications Overview: Conventional and current alternatives 16 Conclusions

17 Survey methodology and profiles This section discusses the survey approach and profiles the respondents by industry, size of organizations, and job functions. Survey approach The research was conducted as a web survey by Enterprise Systems Media, which publishes Enterprise Tech Journal (formerly called z/journal) in January and February Exclusive rights to the results were purchased by H&W Computer Systems, Inc. Respondents were selected from Enterprise Tech Journal s subscriber base of 25,000 IT professionals. From this, a subset of subscribers with roles related to IT architecture was selected and received the survey. From this subset, 204 responded. Questions in the survey narrowed respondents to only individuals in IT organizations that use both z/os and CICS and have architectural responsibilities. The 110 respondents who met these qualifications formed the basis of the survey results. Commonly accepted standards for statistical analysis were used to ensure validity and significance. Industry profile The survey drew upon a good cross-section of industries, with strong representation from the insurance, financial services and banking, and government sectors (see Figure 13). The Other category (17 percent) showed great diversity, with representatives from such industries as utilities, education, manufacturing, media, and entertainment. Respondents by industry (entire group) Consulting 6% Retail 6% Healthcare 7% Telecom 6% Government 14% Insurance 25% Other 17% Financial 19% Figure 13. Distribution of respondents by industry CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 17

18 For the first time, the 2012 Enterprise Tech Journal survey asked respondents to indicate the total number of employees in their organization. The largest group (43 percent) came from organizations with more than 10,000 total employees. Respondents from companies with 1,000 to 9,999 employees comprised 41 percent of the total, with the smallest number of respondents coming from businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees (see Figure 14). Respondents by total organization size (entire group) Less than % 10,000 or more 43% % 1,000-4,999 23% 5,000-9,999 18% Figure 14. Distribution of respondents by size of total organization Mainframe organization profile Most sizes of mainframe IT organizations were evenly represented in the survey (see Figure 15). The largest percentage of respondents (34 percent) came from IT organizations with mainframe employees, followed equally by IT organizations with 1,000 or more mainframe employees (23 percent) and organizations with fewer than 50 mainframe employees (23 percent). Respondents by mainframe organization size (entire group) Less than 50 23% 1,000 or more 23% % % % Figure 15. Distribution of respondents by size of mainframe organization 18 Survey methodology and profiles

19 Survey data showed that 51 percent of respondents in 2012 are now using CICS Transaction Server release 4.x, up significantly from 30 percent in This year s survey also showed that 40 percent of respondents are still using CICS Transaction Server release 3.x, which is significantly down from 63 percent just last year. Respondents by CICS release (entire group) Other CICS version 9% CICS Transaction Server 4.x 51% CICS Transaction Server 3.x 40% Figure 16. Distribution of respondents by CICS release Job function profile Respondents represented a variety of architecture responsibilities across a range of systems and applications roles. Respondents by job function (entire group) Other with architecture responsibility 4% IT or enterprise architect 21% Systems/infrastructure architect 42% Application architect 33% Figure 17. Distribution of respondents by job function CICS insights from IT professionals revealed 19

20 About H&W Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, H&W has been a leading provider of quality software solutions since H&W creates reliable, technically sound solutions like SYSB-II that provide long-term value. Today, corporations worldwide, including many Global 500 companies, trust H&W for their IT software and services needs. Call or visit North Meeker Pl., Ste. 100 Boise, ID by H&W Computer Systems, Inc. All rights reserved 20

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