In an era where tools from providers like SOA Software and NetManage are already providing SOA, it’s not surprising that IBM should step up to the plate and SOA-enable its legendary CICS transaction system.
The new version, 3.2, which is the first for CICS in three years, is not the first that exposed transactions as web services (that already occurred in the previous version). But it keeps CICS current with emerging web services standards, including support for WSDL 2.0; WS-I Basic Profile 1.1 and Security Profile 1.0; WS-Security; plus MTOM (for optimizing SOAP message transmission) and XOP (XML binary attachment packaging).
Additionally, it improves processing of unstructured data such as JPG, GIF, PDF, and BLOB files contained inside web services messages.
Other enhancements include 64-bit support, elimination of storage size limitations, and better integration with WebSphere MQ messaging. Further development of the MQ adapter has moved from WebSphere to the Data Management group, which owns IBM’s databases and CICS products.
While CICS is well established technology, IBM claims that there is large interest in modernizing CICS installs. Part of the barometer is the emergence of third party offerings to service-enable CICS transactions.
The other side of the story is that, with over 1000 installs of the SIOA edition of the previous 3.1 version of CIUCS, IBM called that the fastest take-up of any CICS edition.