Driving Data Management on a Solid Track Record

IBM Information Management System 13 rises to a performance challenge right out of the gate

When a new car comes out of the factory with a redesigned engine that enables it to go substantially faster and consume less fuel than previous models, it’s going to get some attention. However, prospective buyers, independent consumer testing and rating organizations, and other industry observers will also want to know a lot more about the car than what’s under the hood. They will want to know the capabilities behind all its cool features—for example, the power of its drivetrain, the durability of its suspension, and all the bells and whistles of the controls accessible from the driver’s seat.

In many ways, a very similar reaction followed the recent release of the IBM® Information Management System (IBM IMS™) transaction and hierarchical database management system built on IBM System z® servers. Not only does 2013 mark the 45th anniversary of the first release of IMS, but it also includes the October general release of IBM IMS 13.1 The partner organizations that participated in the IMS Quality Partnership Program—that essentially put the IMS beta through its paces—gave IMS 13 significantly high quality ratings. For example, an IMS systems programmer at a banking institution in the UK reported that its IMS version 12 to version 13 migrations were easily implemented and ran smoothly.

Unknown to all but a small internal team of developers and testers from different organizations, IBM issued a challenge to the IMS development team. It asked the team to test IMS scalability at its core; specifically, IBM wanted to know if IMS 13 could be deployed to drive 100,000 transactions per second (TPS). The team not only met this challenge, but in August 2013 IBM announced2 that the team exceeded its objective by achieving more than 117,000 TPS on an IMS 13 Fast Path system.3

That transaction rate benchmark is akin to the enhanced performance of a new car model powered by a redesigned engine. But enhancements to the other components and features,4 such as Database Manager and Transaction Manager, offer noteworthy capabilities to help organizations significantly reduce total cost of ownership (TCO).


Robust, agile feature enhancements

Database versioning support in IMS 13 allows applications to use different versions of the same physical database. If an organization changes the structure of a database, it needs to compile programs that reference only the changed fields and segments. This capability provides significant flexibility in how changes can be rolled out to both applications and databases. In addition, organizations with IMS High Availability Large Databases (HALDBs) and Fast Path Data Entry Databases (DEDBs) can now make structural changes to those databases without requiring an unload-and-reload step. Databases remain online, and availability is not impacted.

Remaining fairly typical for IMS releases over the years, IMS Transaction Manager in IMS 13 includes enhancements to IMS Connect, Open Transaction Manager Access (OTMA), and synchronous callout. IMS 13 is also designed to offer improved support for XML converters, the capability to exploit the IBM Resource Access Control Facility (IBM RACF®) Event Notifications, and automated notifications to the IMS Workload Manager for sysplex distributor. In addition, IMS Connect continues to be a robust gateway to IMS. OTMA enhancements help prevent hanging transaction pipe (TPIPE) clients, support asynchronous callout messages to IBM WebSphere® MQ networking, protect IMS from storage exhaustion, and much more.

SQL is ubiquitous in IMS 13. Its native SQL support for COBOL enables programmers to access data in IMS databases just as they do in relational databases. This support is in addition to the current Java-based SQL IMS application support. Moreover, distributed or off-platform access to IMS database assets is available through standards such as Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), and enhanced open access to IMS data continues to expand.

In addition, IBM published a statement of direction for IMS Data Provider for Microsoft .NET, which is intended as part of its IMS Enterprise Suite for Distributed Systems offering. Data Provider for .NET is expected to offer standard SQL access to IMS data from .NET applications. IBM also plans to enable organizations with .NET applications to transparently and directly read and manipulate IMS data without the need for intermediate steps and additional tooling.

Collectively, IMS enhancements and the efforts made to support the 100,000 TPS benchmark led to significant reduction using processor memory, which helps organizations reduce TCO. Organizations running traditional or specialized workloads can expect to see significant enhanced processor utilization/transaction. In addition, organizations using IMS 13 Universal Database Driver with type 2 connectivity can achieve up to 62 percent processor time savings for Java Batch Processing (JBP) workloads compared to using IMS 12 Universal Database Driver.5 Processor memory reduction metrics, along with Integrated Information Processor (IIP) offload capabilities plus impressive performance, all add up to another highly noteworthy IMS release within its long history.


An established tradition

As evidenced by its favorable partnership quality testing, IMS 13 is designed for workloads driven by mobile, cloud, and big data technologies. What can IMS 13 performance mean for organizations? Maybe it can offer the capability for cars to communicate with other cars to optimize traffic flow. Perhaps it can provide the capability to synchronize hospitals, pharmacies, and doctors with insurance providers to deliver safe and efficient healthcare. What can IMS 13 do for your organization? Please share your thoughts or questions in the comments.

1 IBM Information Management System (IMS) 13 transaction and database servers deliver high performance and low total cost of ownership,” IBM United States software announcement 213-381, IBM Corporation, October 2013.
2 IBM IMS: 100,000 reasons to move to IMS 13, IBM Software Information Management website.
3 IMS 13 Fast Path: High volume transaction processing,” IMS Performance Evaluation team, IBM Silicon Valley Laboratory, September 2013.
4 IBM Information Management Software for z/OS Solutions Information Center, Overview of IMS Version 13 enhancements, IBM Corporation.
5 Based on performance evaluation testing in October 2013 by the IMS Performance Evaluation team at IBM Silicon Valley Laboratory. Independent results may vary, depending on specific hardware and software configurations, workloads, and other factors. For further details on the testing configuration, methodology, and results, see IMS 13 performance evaluation summary: Reducing the cost of ownership with improved performance,” IMS Performance Evaluation team, October 2013.