• June 30, 2022

Ascent Server now available on non z/OS systems

Despite the tremendous usage of AS on System z and the value it adds to an enterprise, there have been a number of requests to deliver AS on non-System z platforms. This offering is available from Rocket and is currently named the Ascent Server and Ascent Client.

Supported platforms include: Linux, AIX, UNIX, and Windows. Not all features of the z/OS version are available, but the bulk of what we see running in client applications is provided. The developer or user can run existing AS content or create new AS content on these new environments.

[box type=”download”]Download Rocket Ascent Server datasheet[/box]

Figure 1 shows the AS features that are included (and excluded) in the current release of the Ascent Server. Note that with the inclusion of CorVu NG, we are able to produce a wide variety of graphs. CorVu NG was added to the AS family for all customers of record and future installations.

Rocket Ascent Platform
Figure 1: Ascent Server features

 

So the value that the Ascent Server delivers is multifold, but there are two significant ones we would like to highlight:

  • The offloading of processing from System z. In particular, many of the user interactions execute off the platform. If the deployment is on Linux for System z, then IFL processors are in play and there is no MSU consumption.
  • The reuse of skills and existing AS objects on platforms other than System z.

In this newsletter we show some of the capabilities of the Ascent Server and Client. If you have implemented these offerings, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact the author at any time and let us hear how you are employing Ascent.

Ascent Server –  An Overview

The Ascent Server extends the reach of AS to new data sources as well as platforms. In essence, you do not need to rewrite existing systems and business logic developed over the years, which avoids the significant costs, time, and risk of a migration project.

With the AS family, you can now connect to multiple databases, combining data from the mainframe and distributed databases and servers such as:

[twocol_one]

  • DB2 family
  • Oracle
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Postgres
  • z/OS

[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]

  • Linux
  • UNIX
  • AIX
  • Windows

[/twocol_one_last]

 

The Ascent Server is provided with current licenses of Rocket AS V6.3, which allows you to deploy your AS workload on both z/OS and other platforms at no additional cost.

Compatibility is a major requirement! However, some changes are necessary and even desirable. Thus, there are some relaxed restrictions such as character string length, etc. We have added some “enhanced” capabilities with features such as the ATTACH command. There are environmental differences such as Unicode, floating point, and configuration.

Let’s home in on the ATTACH command to illustrate some of the new power and flexibility available. With ATTACH, you can now access any data source that has a supported JDBC driver such as: DB2, MS-SQL Server, Oracle, and Postgres.

You can now have multiple, concurrent ATTACH-ments with the ability to join data from different databases such as transactional systems.

The Rocket Ascent Clients – an overview

The Rocket Ascent Clients have a Developer option and a Viewer option. The Ascent Developer client provides an Eclipse-based integrated development environment for AS application developers and AS power users. This will be familiar to Java developers who use the Eclipse IDE. The Ascent Viewer client is for users of AS applications, running the applications with a Windows, Linux, or web browser user interface.

The Ascent clients can be used with either the host AS or the multiplatform version. Some of the highlights include:

  • Your host (System z) AS applications assume an attractive, modern look with a PC style, enhancing usability and increasing user acceptance while avoiding rewriting costs.
  • With little or no development effort, host applications can be automatically converted to use controls such as menu bars, check boxes, radio buttons, dialog boxes, etc., with familiar operation for PC users.
  • The Developer client offers significant productivity gains when creating, updating, and testing AS applications, through the use of:
    • Table Explorer for browsing AS and DB2 data.
    • Multiple windows that allow simultaneous editing of several application components.
    • A command editor that provides syntax coloring, scrolling, drag-and-drop support, comments that expand and collapse, etc.
    • Import/Export dialog boxes to exchange data between AS and the client.
  • Using the Ascent Developer client, you can arrange your ‘Workbench’ to suit your preferred mode of working with windows for the Explorer, connections, output, applications, etc. to optimize your development processes.
  • The Ascent Viewer client allows an organization to present a user with just the relevant AS application window.
  • There is no need to use a PC host emulator program to use AS from a PC.
  • Ascent Client is a free download!

Figure 2 shows the Ascent Developer interface. This is an Eclipse-based UI with various panes that can be moved, sized, etc.

Rocket Ascent developer interface (Windows)
Figure 2: Ascent Developer UI

 

Note the various panes such as the area for entering commands, the actions within the UI itself, the sources of data, and the Connection Manager. This particular user has access to z/OS, z/VM, Linux, and UNIX systems. The user can now edit multiple objects at once and much, much more.

Split screen functions include the ability to view your data while editing a procedure (Figure 3). I found that in my many years of working with AS under TSO I had to jump back and forth to view data structures, and then return to editing.

Rocket Ascent developer interface (Linux)
Figure 3: Viewing data and editing simultaneously

 

Another of the advantages of the Ascent Developer: it has some significant enhancements when debugging is required, as shown in Figure 4.

Rocket Ascent developer interface - debug
Figure 4: Debugging enhancements in the Ascent Developer

 

With the addition of CorVu NG, we have added a web services component to provide a thin client deployment for broader applicability with the AS family. The list goes on and on, so we hope we have shown enough to entice you to try the Ascent multiplatform server and client options that are available with your AS license.

Rocket CorVu NG

Rocket CorVu NG is a rich client and browser-based thin client business analytics suite. It provides query, reporting, dashboards, and much more. We now offer CorVu NG as a free component of the Rocket AS family. You can ”mash up” data from a variety of sources, enable it as a web service, and much, much more.

Summary

The Rocket AS family opens new opportunities to utilize AS creatively and to more effectively deploy it throughout an enterprise. Existing AS objects may find new uses, and those with AS skills can now employ them in new ways.

AS has always been a powerful business analytics solution, but it has been restricted to use on System z. The AS Command Client offered a means to extend the usage down to the workstation, but it did not offer the sophistication and depth that the AS family does.

With the ability to reach a wider range of data and to deploy AS on multiple platforms, we hope that you are energized to do more than ever before.

Please contact us at any time to discuss your requirements and usage of the AS family of products.

Mike Biere 0 Posts

MIke Biere is a Senior Product Specialist covering the Rocket Business Intelligence and Analytics portfolio

2 Comments

  • José Roberto de Oliveira Neto Reply

    December 24, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Mike, so new customers (those who do not have the traditional AS mainframe license) that may be interested in using Ascent Server in Linux/Unix/Windows plaftforms must acquire traditional mainframe AS licenses ?

    • Mike Biere Reply

      December 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      No Jose, you have the option of acquiring the multi-platform versions interdependently if needed

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