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Moving along with plans to extend the life of its mainframe systems, IBM introduced two new application upgrades that add Web services capabilities to traditional green-screen applications.

Announced last week, the CICS Transaction Server for z/OS 3.1 provides Web services capabilities, while the CICS Transaction Gateway 6.0 provides J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) connectivity. The software enables customers to more easily integrate business processes and extend existing mainframe-based applications with better Web services and integration capabilities.

The 3.1 version of CICS Transaction Server is combined with the latest versions of IBM’s WebSphere middleware, DB2 database and IMS (Information Management System), IBM’s transactional database management system. Additionally, CICS 3.1 includes enhanced application transformation and better performance and system management.

The upgraded application transformation is enabled through optimized CICS data exchange capabilities. At the same time, users are able to leverage WebSphere Studio Enterprise Developer for transformation and integration.

Easier administration is brought about through improved workload throughput and upgraded C/C++ performance, IBM officials in Armonk, N.Y., said.

Click here to read more about IBM’s efforts to extend the reach of mainframes.

The 6.0 version of the CICS Transaction Gateway includes optimized performance and improved scalability on z/OS. At the same time, IBM has beefed up system management and security features by including more integrated administration interfaces and better SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) support.

IBM also announced last week its CICS Batch Application Control for z/OS 1.1, which, through a series of simplified administrative tasks, allows for better batch process management.

Given the vast customer base that still uses IBM mainframe systems (about 30 million transactions per day are handled by IBM mainframes at financial institutions, manufacturers and retailers around the world) the company plans to release additional upgrades throughout the first half of next year that will make it easier for users to convert CICS business logic into reusable components, officials said.

In the meantime, CICS Transaction Server 3.1 will be available in the United States and Canada during the first quarter of next year. Transaction Gateway 6.0 will be available in the same regions in December 2005.

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