Special Issue IDMS/SQL News Summing up 2003-2006
Vol 15.1     Technical Information for Mainframe and IDMSâ Users         October 2006



A Note to our esteemed readers:

As you might have noticed, IDMS/SQL stopped active publication a few years ago. Now and then small notes appeared. Most clients have moved away from mainframe and IDMS. Though the original reasons for staying away from IDMS was (in 1990...) was related to 'relational' , client-server etc, in the end the real reasons which eventually removed the product from many places happened to be quite different - Web, Java, GUI interfaces etc.

Here we summarize some of the items which appeared on the front page in the last 3-4 years on IDMS/SQL Web Page.


IDMSDC - 110 days non-stop - crosses 100 million transactions

(as reported in March 2006) An IDMS DB/DC Partition has been up and running 110 days non-stop... spanning over the new year with no problems. The data speaks for itself. (as on 10th March 2006). Even after all these years of wonderful systems on S/370, Unix and Windows, one seldom sees a parallel to this one! No systems on this particular mainframe stays on (nonstop) not even a week! Modern systems run out of storage... A simple html page (local, not even the real web) with a lot of JPG images can break your PC storage even now! My word crashes for lesser reasons!

  DCMT   D TIME                           
     CURRENT TIME 08:36:30.77     
     CURRENT DATE 06/069          <----      
     STARTUP TIME 23:47:00.52          
     STARTUP DATE 05/324          <----      
     RUNAWAY INTV 00020                
     STALL INTV 00120                
     TIMER INTV 00001                
         Current max tasks          65    
         Times at max tasks        710    
          Allocated DCE/TCE         65    
    Number of tasks abended       4759    
  Number of tasks processed  100292369  <----
     Number of tasks active         21      

Also many counters on DCMT D STA SYS and DCMT D ACT REENT PRO have overflown and started from 0 again. Though these figures are not correct anymore, it is a great thing that the system survived all those 'zeroings'!

On behalf of IDMS/SQL, C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S!


Some Fresh Air for a Change!

- 15 September 2005

This week one of our well-wishers happened to attend a high-profile Java Conference in Europe (>1500 attendees). One of the presentations was on how to apply AOP (Aspect Oriented Programming) and JMX (Java Management Extensions) patterns while instrumenting your application for management, an issue related to distributed system management on Unix, Windows and Linux platforms. And the presenter talked about the normal lifetime of a software application now (5 or if you are very lucky 10 years) and went on to say "However I talked to one of the participants who mentioned an application clocking 1 million transactions/day still alive after more than 20 years in production. And the system is running on IDMS from Cullinet Software! No memory leaks!! No connection pool blockage!!!"

A couple of years back, DB2 Magazine had surprsingly mentioned IDMS as a database still in production at many sites.

This being the case, it is a pity that IDMS's own customers (and the vendor) are moving away from the database, eventhough all the front-ends (Java based, Application Server, Web etc) are all possible against IDMS today which can still outperform any other database in the market!

HP OpenView HP Ranked No. 1 in worldwide market share for distributed system management software


Linux - A Disappointing Experience!

One of the oldtime contributers- Manoo Tigè - sent this dispatch - Editor/IDMSSQL news, 20th July 2005

I installed my first Linux more than five years ago. That was a SuSE Linux V 6.3. I bought one for about 50 dollars. With no ADSL etc downloading was not economical those days. Also being a novice, I wanted a paper manual. And the 480 page well-printed manual was worth the price. This was real manual, not one of those 'Bibles' or 'in 21 days' stuff. This worked alright. Mostly I played with that. Soon one of my friends came and suggested RedHat 7.1 and we switched over to that. This too worked alright. KDE (K desktop) was superb. Again mainly used for playing games. But soon usage came down... Eventually the Linux disk (20 G) was reformatted to make room for my Windows needs. Now 5 years have passed. With millions of copies running in production, I assumed Linux must be a mature product now. Now comes the surprise. There is no longer free RedHat Linux. V 9 was the last one and that too not available anymore. In 2003, Red Hat abandoned its GNU Public License (GPL) version of Red Hat Linux in favor of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Instead Red Hat launched Fedora Project (~ free Linux like olden days). Now Fedora is in its 4th iteration. This should be alright. Afterall only the name is different. Fedora is RedHat 9.x in reality. I downloaded and installed the product today. ... The result was disappointing. Here are a few things (more in an article later)

  • Install without disturbing XP was not that simple... The documentation was not accurate enough... A lot of internet searching was required to get the right doc out of tons of garbage on the net. Then some manual work was required to get it running. Without my old experience with SuSE and RedHat 7.1, I would not have made it!
  • Installation had a lot of fancy stuff, like choosing the install language from Chinese and Vietnamese to about 30 Indo-European tongues. Even the English technical buzzwords didn't make sense... How are these languages going to be better?
  • Internet. The product comes with Konqueror browser (not Netscape anymore) Newspapers in non-Roman scripts did not work. In Explorer, today they all worked with dynamic fonts. I thought Internet was an important part of one's everyday PC use? How does one install fonts on Linux?
  • I tried to play MP3 . Failed!!! Then downloaded RealPlayer from the net. It came as a binary file to be executed to install the thing. But execution of the bin failed. Then tried an ordinary CD track. This worked. Then a VCD/DVD, failed again. Are these not common stuff nowadays? One can make these working with Windows 95/98 easily even today!
  • Started Eclipse (Java Dev). The whole thing hanged!!! Had to poweroff the PC.
  • Started the Office product (Sun).. Was very slow... (Not surprising. A couple of years back, Sun bought a Java tool called Forte and that hanged my PC those days. This product had a reincarnation in another name later.) To write a document in 4 fonts I could as well run a Professional Write from my diskette!
  • Recall that old RedHat 7.1 was recommending at least 16M RAM (32 recommended) and 900 M harddisk. Well, today my PC had 256 M RAM and 40 G Harddisk. Fedora base was about 3 Giga. Still something one could do with an old 386, is still slow...
  • At last I wanted to shutdown the pC. Well, shutdown prompt is nowhere to be seen under GNOME. I tried everywhere... icons, menus etc. Finally found on the net that they (Fedora release 4) missed SHUTDOWN !!! There is a patch available.

It was a total disappointment that the system failed/slow/difficult to use in the most common operations of today. It is high time that a base set of features is very very STABLE by now... but that is too much to expect....from such a dynamic product...
Almost 15 years ago, I happen to use a Unix-like operating system COHERENT installed from just 4 diskettes. Though only command level, this was a superb product. COHERENT went out of business, after the free Linux conquered the market. (To be continued...)

PS: Google has a lot of comments against Fedora's flop.

Brock Shaw passes away

It is with very great sadness we learnt that Brock Shaw passed away on 21st June 2005. Brock was born in Australia and went to the USA in 1970 where he became involved with IDMS in 1973 while working for Sperry Univac in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. He joined Cullinane Corporation in 1976 as field technical support in Atlanta, Georgia, providing IDMS support and training throughout the US for release 3.2 and on. In 1984 he moved to the UK where he worked for Cullinet until May, 1989, when he left to become an independent contractor. He was a member and officer of the UKIUA, IUA and EIUA. Given a choice he would have prefered to work for Cullinane Corporation!

Brock has been a staunch supporter of the IUA and in fact of IDMS in general for many years, and in that time he has made many friends all over the world. Brock has been a good friend of IDMS Users in Scandinavia and has addressed various gatherings especially in Finland and Norway. He will be sadly missed.

On behalf of IDMS/SQL and IDMS Community in Scandinavia, we all wish his family - Rebecca and the two children - well and all our thoughts go to them.


IBM sells PC Division to Lenovo - 8th Dec 2004

finally IBM is leaving the PC market! Today (8th Dec 2004) Chinese firm Lenovo bought the IBM PC Division for $1.25 billion.

With low margins and no software of its own (Lotus etc are a failure), IBM was making no money with its PC division.

IDMS/SQL has long maintained a view that IBM made stragetic mistakes in several areas - PC one of them. DB2 was the other big blunder. DB2 only helped to kill the mainframe market... Oracle and other simple SQL databases on the Unix/Windows were the biggest beneficiary. IDMS/SQL always opposed conversion from IDMS to DB2. In certain cases where customer had gone for such solutions, in the end they all landed up in Oracle's pocket. Most of these applications never supported a proper OLTP.

Another area is the Java based 'serious' application development. Not long ago IBM withdrew their Visual Age Java Tool. Now the flagship is an ailing Websphere. Then there is the free Eclipse (IBM is behind this too). But the market here is taken by Weblogic...... and free products like JBoss..

With all these 'fantastic technologies' the in-house application development has almost come to a standstill. The failure was covered up by many companies by outsourcing the EDP division first to a local service bureau..Eventually the software development itself is outsourced - again first locally to some big consulting companies and then abroad!! This is the eventual SUCCESS of the new technology!! Does anyone know now how to make an input/output interactive application which can cleanly update a database??? No matter what the platform is!!!


News - 9/April/2004

3 Plead Guilty in Computer Associates Case

CA in big financial Scandal. As three former executives of Computer Associates pleaded guilty to securities fraud yesterday, the federal prosecutors investigating the company's accounting practices left little doubt that they were zeroing in on Sanjay Kumar, the company's chairman and chief executive.Charles B. Wang, the company's founder and its top executive during that period, retired in 2002. In 1998, Mr. Wang, Mr. Kumar and a third executive received a $1.1 billion bonus tied to the performance of the company's stock. Details Here from New York Times.


ADS Currency Failure

It's been a long time! Well let's start straight with an ADS problem hanging around at various sites without a proper solution for more than 5 years.

Code numbers and their associated meanings are shown below:'           
'Code   Meaning'                                                 
' '                                                              
'2      AREA CREC ID NOT IN CURRENT LIST ON SAVE'                
'3      SET CREC NOT IN MR53 OR OR52 ON RESTORE'                 
'4      AREA CREC NOT IN SUBSCHEMA'                              
'6      ERROR ON NATIVE VSAM RESTORE'                            

We know it is not a user code error, though circumvented with special codes on READR AREA, not having NOREADY etc. This has been debugged recently (Summer 2003) and reported to CA. The error comes in some peculiar situations with using UNLINKED Indexes and extremely difficult to pinpoint.
UPDATE There is a PTF available now. The problem exists only if you use UNLINKED INDEX and have NOREADY statement or tailored subschemas across dialogs

IDD - Network Schema (IDMSNTWK)

Here is an html help for all records and sets in IDMSNTWK (IDD Schema). Also contains the DMCL part of the catalog area. IDMSNTWK

  IDMSPLEX Presentation Implementing and monitoring Shared Cache in a Sysplex Environment. Presentation done at IUA Meeting in Paris - June 2003. Note: Large file of 1.2m. Better right click and save first before starting PowerPoint

Hello World from IDMS to Web N E W 15/May/2002 A Simple Introduction to Web Programming for IDMS/ADS using Vegasoft Webserver. In the coming edition of IDMS/SQL News we will have a detailed coverage of these. Until then have a look at this.

Web Access to DepartmentN E W 23/May/2002 Input, Output, and all 4 DML operations against IDMS from the Web. Working example.
XML/IDMS Interaface N E W 31/May/2002 TCP/IP Based direct XML/IDMS Interface, Accessible from Web, Java


Back in Focus!

IDMS to DB2 Conversion!

IDMS/SQL News still get enquiries asking for help material in converting IDMS to DB2. As some of you have noted already, we have opposed any such conversions ever since the publication started in 1991. And we do so even more now! As per the predictions of 'Gartner Group' and other third-class analysts, all IDMS sites should have been converted to DB2/xyz by 1995. Now after 7 years the issue shouldn't arise at all.

We have seen some clients who have moved to DB2 for political reasons sitting and struggling with far inferior applications today. A few of them have again converted from DB2 to some Unix database. If DB2 is so good why did they convert within 5 years to another one? Also we have noticed some clients sitting with atrocious looking Unix applications after replacing state-of-the art IDMS systems. Very often such conversions are done by contractors and not site employees. Contract consultants don't care about the resulting systems because many of them invoice on hourly basis! We have concrete examples on all these.

As noted in another article: Many DB2 based systems made in the 90s are already being thrown away in preference to Unix based applications. IBM's own attempt to push DB2 Universal Database on Windows/OS2/Unix ended up in failures.

On the mainframe arena, there is even a shortage for getting new people to work on existing applications. In spite of being one of the very best databases on the market today, IDMS is sidelined, because of other architecture-related reasons. Logical Platforms like J2EE and "Application Servers" like Weblogic, Websphere, JBoss and many other free open source tools (ant, UML and xml tools) steal the show today. Database is no longer an issue. Any Unix based database with stored-procedure-based execution is enough. No one cares about the concurrency or performance. It just doesn't matter in a slow world of interpreted execution!

Also from San Francisco to Sydney and New York to New Delhi, we hear stories of ex-DB2 programmers with not less than 7 years experience, coming back to IDMS Projects even in 2002!!!How come one is not able to find a position in the market of the flagship product of IBM ??

We blame CA for taking an extremely passive attitude when all this nonsense was going on at customer sites. CA's sales person was only interested in signing the renewal contract. They have no idea or interest in what customers are doing. In spite of all these, we still maintain the view that IDMS can outperform all other systems in development cost, maintenance of applications, run time performance and today even for end user access using new front-ends like Web! This is because the underlying foundation with dictionary is still without equal in the industry!

In most site we know, IDMS/DB2 conversion, in the end helped Oracle! DB2 was just a bridge to eventually end up in Oracle - which seem to be the de-facto database on all Unix platforms!

Access CA-IDMS from Java

Vegasoft, Helsinki has announced Java Client Support for IDMS Database. Java applications can now exchange data with any application running under CA-IDMS/DC. The VG-Java Client communicates with the VG-Application Server running under CA-IDMS/DC/UCF . Communication protocol used internally is TCP/IP.

Vegasoft implementation does not need CA-Server or any other extra products on your PC or Network Servers. This makes implementation cleaner, easy to monitor and maintain, besides giving good performance. Integrity of the database is guaranteed by the proven code of IDMS/DB Central Version. More please visit


JavaClient Presentation

Here is the link to Bob's JavaClient Presentation at IUA Meeting. JavaClient at IUA Workshop


Web Server Presentation - Time to have a Closer Look

After coming to know about several Unix/xyz disasters, we yet again think in 2002 that mainframe IDMS is the solution for many applications. Today one can make Web applications with IDMS which can match and outperforum Unix based rubbish easily!

We will cover Vegasoft Web Product in detail in the coming months. Until then,

here is the link to Webserver Presentation at IUA done by veteran IDMS Technician Bob Currie of the Rocky Mountain group

Just one more!

Where is Java Now?

Java was introduced some time in 1995 though it took another 3-4 years before it was seriously used in any applications. The original emphasis and focus was on appliances for which it was never used in the early days. There was talk about applet... Many books appeared claiming to be helping you to make 'cool web pages' with Java! Soon it was found out that whatever applets did, Javascript could do! More importantly applet did not provide any security! Applets could be downloaded to your PC and dis-assembled - so that anyone can read the code. Not good enough for commercial applications. It was good for the Universities for simulating several mathematical (physics, chemistry too) problems.

IBM and others invented servlets - ie Java applets running on the server side and producing html output for your client side. Servlets provided the security in the sense one had no access to the servlets! Servlets programming was not bad, but Java people were not satisified with generating A_Z html from the other side - that too from a program! They went ahead and mimicked 'asp' - JSP was born. JSP is a combination of static html and Java code. Java can be plain Java or Java classes called from html. JSP soon became so complicated and unreadable ... At runtime JSPs were transalted into pure servlets and compiled. Web programming was not easy with Java. Almost 100% of the JSP/Servlet applications still used Javascript on the front-end (clinet side) validation and prompting and several other operations. This is like someone depending on VSAM files even when claiming to have developed 10% pure database (IDMS or otherwise) applications on mainframe.

In 2005 several Java gurus admitted that Java failed in several ways.We saw captions like ''web applications were a disaster!' EJB2.0 was a failure. Entity beans never worked..Container Managed Persistence never worked! One Java Guru went around the world giving seminar on 'Beyond Java!' and declared 'Java is not dead ... not yet!'.

More on this in the coming issues:

This issue located at http://www.reocities.com/idmssql/idms151.htm

IDMS/SQL is published quarterly on behalf of IDMS WatchDog Group, Scandinavia, Oslo-Helsinki-Hørsholm for free circulation among IDMS Users Worldwide. IDMS/SQL News is not a CA publication. CA-IDMS/DB, CA-IDMS/DC and CA-ADS are registered trademarks of Computer Associates International Inc. CICS, IMS- DB/DC, VSAM and DB2 are registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation. Technical examples are only guidelines and modifications might be required in certain situations and operating systems. Opinion expressed are those of the authors and do not represent the views of IDMS clients or related vendors. Permission is hereby granted to use or reproduce the information , only to IDMS Customers and Consultants, provided the material is distributed free of charge.