Integration, Orchestration, Optimization for CICS Applications
IBM® CICS® Transaction Server remains one of the most powerful and reliable transaction server systems in the world. For thousands of enterprise customers, CICS handles more than 30 billion transactions valued at over $140 billion per day. At one time, CICS was accessible only to trained operators inside the enterprise. Today however, thanks in large part to Web services, CICS applications are at the fingertips of 30 million employees, partners, and customers everywhere.
A Web services layer between CICS and the outside world allows CICS to interact with virtually any other information system –other business applications inside the company, systems running at partner organizations, cloud resources, or Web servers connecting to client devices of every kind. By deploying CICS Web services, user-organizations are able to make CICS a full participant in the world of modern interoperability while avoiding the expense and effort of re-engineering and migration.
Orchestrating and Automating CICS Transaction Micro Flows
Carrying out a complete business process with a terminal-oriented CICS application – e.g., getting an insurance policy overview – can require navigating through a complex micro flow involving dozens or even hundreds of screens. Whether the request is made by a human being or a distributed system, it historically required traversing one screen at a time and gathering data from screen after screen. Each interaction required a full request-response cycle and a full transit of the network, increasing process latency, impacting system performance, and reducing productivity.
HB.js handles these transaction micro flows far more efficiently, effectively, and reliably. When a requesting system or user interacts with CICS via HostBridge, they invoke a single HostBridge Web service – Get Policy Overview – that orchestrates the micro flow, automates the aggregation of data from all necessary screens, and returns a single response. The result is the highest possible system performance and a highly stable, reliable integration.
Without changing the backend application in any way, the customer has rendered it thoroughly modern, dynamic, and adaptable to meet any business need. Each business service the customer creates can be readily incorporated into modern front-end applications to radically improve human usability or integrated with other business applications and services to improve business process efficiency throughout the organization.
Reusable Web Services
Web Services Types: SOAP and REST
While there are numerous issues to consider when contemplating CICS Web services, some basic concepts help guide initial decisions. First are the types of services themselves. Web services come in two basic “flavors” – formal SOAP services and less formal RESTful services.
SOAP is more formal than REST in the sense that SOAP standards are more rigorously defined and fully developed for situations in which security, governance, and business policy are critical. SOAP services require more human planning and effort, as well as machine processing, on both sides of the connection. Deploying SOAP services is generally appropriate when:
- Different organizations own or control the systems being connected
- Systems are in different security zones, i.e., inside and outside the firewall
- The business relationship between the two parties is “loosely coupled”
- The parties are in agreement regarding use of the same SOAP standard
- A single organization owns or controls the systems being integrated
- The systems are in the same security zone, i.e., inside the firewall
The following table outlines some of the factors involved in choosing between SOAP and RESTful services:
Whether your organization plans to implement or has implemented SOAP or RESTful services for CICS integration, HostBridge can meet your need. To review the full range of Web services technologies, protocols, and transports supported by HostBridge, download our latest version data sheet with technical specifications.