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tcACCESS Application Examples

Insurance

Focus:

Data processing

Environment:

  • OS390
  • Windows

Goal:

  • Providing a state-of-the-art graphical user interface to retrieve and process contract information to the internal and external employees and partners
  • Developing an interface between the PC based applications (VisualBasic 6.0 and MS-ACCESS), the different mainframe data sources (IMS, Db2, sequential files, Libraries), and the mainframe applications

Implementation:

The necessary parameter information was passed from the PC applications directly to the tcACCESS mainframe component through the API of tcACCESS. This component then passes the parameter to the existing programs by using the desired structures. Through the low level communication provided by the API only the relevant raw data is sent through the network and the existing business logic of the mainframe is used.

 

 

Insurance

Focus:

Car insurances

Environment:

  • Mainframe with z/OS
  • The production data is stored in Adabas and VSAM
  • LINUX server, Windows server, and Windows clients

Goal:

  • Software solution to connect the mainframe with the new environments
  • Development of new Java applications under Windows to replace the existing applications for the maintenance of partner data and the management of the car insurance portfolio
  • Keeping the existing business logic on the mainframe platform

Implementation:

The applications "Maintenance Partner Data" and "Maintenance Car Insurance Portfolio" are Java applications that run under Windows and access Db2/LUW databases. The new applications are based on a completely new data model, so-called ‘defined data’. This means that related information is stored in different tables instead of being part of one record. To be able to interpret the stored operational data correctly, the defined data is required. To access the Db2/LUW data, an own query language was developed; It is called SCALA-QL and is used by the application programs. Based on the queries submitted by the programs, individual SELECT statements are generated. SCALA-QL provides a fast access path to the data.

The applications use tcACCESS to retrieve account information or contract data from the mainframe. The access to the mainframe data in Adabas and VSAM is performed with the "Stored Procedures" facility provided by tcACCESS. The Java applications perform calls via the tcACCESS JDBC component to call existing CICS programs, hence integrating proven business logic into the new applications. This technique is used for read and write access. This access is completely transparent to the end users.

All calls that are sent to the mainframe with tcACCESS JDBC are processed asynchronously by a middleware software developed by the insurance company. The middleware guarantees that the processes performing the tcACCESS CALL do not have to wait for the completion at the mainframe. The applications are successfully used by 250 end users with more than several ten thousand tcACCESS accesses to the mainframe per day.

Several batch processes of the new system also use tcACCESS "Stored Procedures". These processes apply changes to Adabas and VSAM files. Due to the fact that tcACCESS is installed as a CICS application, all VSAM files that are updated are defined in a special CICS region that is started even when the productive CICS is not running anymore. The files are defined as "remote". If files are required for update processes from the other CICS, they are closed and reopened. With this technique, it was not necessary to implement VSAM record level sharing.

 

 

Furniture Industry

Focus:

Data processing; Directing domestic and foreign manufacturing plants

Environment:

  • Mainframe with z/VSE
  • The foreign locations are connected to the headquarters via MQ-Series
  • About 160 DL/I databases and applications predominantly developed in Assembler
  • The segments of the bill of materials database are internally linked and there are also links to the order database

Goal:

  • Countering the generation problem: Less and less newcomers that can handle hierarchical databases and Assembler programs
  • Switching from DL/I based applications to Db2
  • New web-based applications
  • Integration of the new web applications into the DL/I environment

Implementation:

The company uses Thin Clients, so web applications are a must. Various display functions have been integrated into the web application. The application uses tcACCESS ODBC to access the DL/I databases. The PHP application uses a MySQL database that contains information for the display components. This information consists of access and display attributes. If the user, for instance, calls the function AR01, the MySQL database tells the PHP program which fields in the DL/I database should be queried, whether certain SQL functions must be used (i.e. SUBSTR, LEFT, etc), and what color attributes should be applied to display the information in the browser. The PHP program internally generates the required SQL statement and passes it to tcACCESS; tcACCESS reads the DL/I database and passes the result set back to the PHP program which then displays the information. For each of these functions there is a record in the MySQL database. New functions can easily be implemented into this system.

 

 

Paper Industry

Focus:

Data processing

Environment:

  • IBM mainframe with VM/ESA and VSE
  • All production applications have been developed in-house
  • COBOL is the programming language
  • VSAM files host the corporate data

Goal:

  • Automation of all data transfers between the mainframe and the NT-network
  • Possibility to use this automated data transfer for the EDI procedures with the suppliers
  • Direct access to the VSAM files from PC applications

Implementation:

Some of the various projects:

  • Customer Information System
    VSAM information is selected by tcACCESS and relevant record segments are transferred to a PC. From there, the data is sent to a remote server.
  • Controlling
    tcACCESS extracts statistical information from VSAM ESDS files or reports from the VSE POWER Queue. The data is automatically converted into a WORD format.
  • Sales
    tcACCESS extracts data from multiple joined VSAM files. A VB program links this information to data from an MS SQL server database.

More than 100 different batches are used in the 20 projects developed with tcACCESS. All procedures consist of individual components which are used in all projects. All of these automated procedures create documentation and audit trails about the activities which were performed during the execution run. The components document all courses of events. This assures that all data transfers are transparent and understandable. As a side effect, these audit trails are extremely helpful in error handling. The procedures are used in various applications. They are either started automatically or initiated by a user.

Example: A host job prepares data. The operator starts a tcACCESS batch by clicking on a desktop icon. The batch uses command shell extensions from tcACCESS, i.e. dialogs. The user is asked for the data format he wants to receive the data in and how he wants the data to be processed. The options are as a ZIP file, an e-mail attachment or via FTP. From the user’s point of view, the batch actually runs like a Windows application

An important application area for tcACCESS is the order processing with EDI. Multiple tcACCESS based procedures are in use. A scheduler starts the procedures. Mainframe data will be processed and PC applications access the mainframe files using the tcACCESS ODBC component. tcACCESS also allows the integration of existing CICS programs. Ultimately the data will be stored in a special server directory of the EDI software. The EDI software takes the data and sends it to the supplier. When that step is completed, a CICS program will be started via the tcACCESS ODBC component. The CICS program is notified and performs the necessary updates against the mainframe VSAM files.

 

 

Technical Service Provider

Focus:

Back office solutions in the tourism industry

Environment:

  • Applications are run in a mainframe environment
  • The central databases accessed by RBSweb are ADABAS databases
  • CICS as the online TP monitor
  • The mainframe applications were developed using NATURAL
  • The customer’s product RBS/SAP with a central database on the mainframe which has become a standard in the German travel sector
  • RBSweb provides access to the back office data and connects travel agencies to the central system via the Internet or Intranet.

Goal:

  • Performance

The system should be capable of managing several ten thousands of user inquiries per hour and to present the results in an attractive format.

  • Security

Apart from an SSL based access, all security mechanisms already implemented on the mainframe must be compatible with RBSweb.

  • Existing Business Logic

RBSweb should also use the already operational mainframe processes.

Implementation:

tcACCESS was chosen to integrate the Adabas databases and NATURAL applications into RBSweb. The communication between RBSweb and the mainframe applications uses Adabas tables, which are filled in by our mainframe applications. RBSweb uses SQL to asynchronously read the tables and process the results

The trips are sold using so-called Frontoffice Systems (CRS). The required data will then be transferred from the corresponding data centres to the RBS/SAP system, which automatically books and balances the data and prepares it for further processing. Thanks to RBSweb, the customers can now access all data necessary to establish a professional CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and use this data in the sales process. The possibilities range from statistical analysis to marketing, accounting, and customer support information

RBSweb uses HTML, JavaScript and style sheets. The ASP application running on a mirrored NT system was developed using Visual Studio. Performance was very important during the development. Parallel threads are used and a large number of static page elements together with - for instance - 10 logins per second and machine can be processed. This equals about 30 SQL transactions per second - without expensive server farms. The communication to the mainframe is TCP/IP-based and uses the tcACCESS ODBC server.

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