Live from SHARE 2017: Modern IMS Management

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I’ve spent my entire career working in high-tech, and there’s one word I hear just about every day: modern. Whether it’s videogames, entertainment devices, mobile phones or complex computing systems, everyone wants to be on the cutting edge…and no one wants to be seen as being behind the times. Which brings me to what I work on every day – IMS (Information Management System) is a database and transaction management system that has been around for almost 50 years.

IBM IMS

Image via IBM

How is it possible to work on a system that’s been around for so long and make it “modern?” Let’s take a look.

A modern enterprise system offers automation of essential, yet repetitive, tedious and error-prone tasks; tools for constant communication and collaboration; and means of performing predictive analytics. By this definition, IMS is as modern as any technology.

In terms of automation, IBM Database Solution Pack for z/OS provides a full set of tools for maintaining and managing IMS databases, including something called Autonomics Director. This tool automates ongoing database monitoring and maintenance tasks, recommends when databases should be reorganized, and provides scheduling features for sensor data collection and policy evaluation. Best of all, it’s extremely easy to use—I like to call it the “set it and forget it” feature.

To the point of remote collaboration and constant communication, you can’t do much better than IBM Management Console for IMS and DB2. This console provides a holistic view of your IMS databases from a single, intuitively-designed web interface so users can stay in touch anytime, anywhere. And it integrates with Autonomics Director for a real-time list of policy exceptions and recommended resolutions. Like Autonomics Director, it’s easy to use and it works straight “out of the box.”

Finally, there’s the power of predictive analytics. Thanks to Apache Spark integration, our IMS tools will one day have the capability to pull data from IMS logs and SMF records, as well as information about business cycles and business needs, and run it through Spark’s powerful predictive engines. This will allow database managers to produce projection reports, further powering optimal IT-business alignment.

So, as I hope to have shown here, the age of a technology doesn’t determine its “modernity”, its features do. In this sense—the only one that matters—IMS is very much a modern system.

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Joe Sacco

Joe Sacco is Senior Manager of Software Engineering in the Rocket IMS Tools group

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