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IBM Db2 for IBM z/OS and IBM WebSphere Play Critical Roles in the World of Middleware

Joseph Gulla explores middleware products from categories ranging from database to web.

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This week, I am continuing this series on middleware. Two weeks ago, in the first post of the series, I concentrated on four middleware categories from database to web. Last week, my attention was on five additional categories spanning transaction processing monitors to portals. This week, I want to start to fill out the details of the categories by highlighting some powerful examples of products in these categories.

My Middleware Category List   

Here is the complete list of middleware categories or containers that I came up with from my research.

1. Database
2. Application server
3. Message 
4. Web  
5. Transaction processing monitors
6. Remote Procedure Call
7. API
8. Integration
9. Portals
I had other choices, for example object middleware, but I decided not to include them as I could tell from my research that their time had come and gone. Regarding CORBA, an example of object middleware, I discovered that it’s rarely specified for new systems. However, there are plenty of incumbent systems that you might need to connect to using their CORBA interface, as it was very popular beginning in the early 1990s.
Let me start with two middleware products first featuring database then application server.  

A Database Example Featuring IBM Db2 for IBM z/OS

IBM Db2® for IBM z/OS® is a relational database management system that runs on the mainframe in which all of the data is logically contained in tables. These databases are organized according to the relational mode, which was developed by Edgar Codd while working at IBM. With his work, Codd opened the door to a new world of data independence where users wouldn’t have to be specialists, nor would they need to know where the information was or how the computer retrieved it.
Significant Characteristics

Here is a brief list of characteristics of Db2 relating to its scope, user community and use of a standard access language.
  • Db2 for z/OS is the enterprise data server for IBM Z. Db2 is used to manage critical business data across an enterprise supporting key business applications.
  • Db2 for z/OS has a significant base of thousands of clients and millions of users who rely on it to remain continuously available, scalable and highly secure.
  • Db2 for z/OS is used to define and manipulate data by using SQL. SQL is the well-established, standard language for accessing data in relational databases. Presently, there are over 24,000 jobs posted focused on SQL skills in the United States.
Some Key Benefits
Here is a brief, top-level benefits list for Db2 for z/OS focused on scale, speed and reduced costs.
  • Faster analytical insights through highly concurrent queries that provide deeper insights
  • Scale and speed for the machine learning and AI workloads with substantial scalability and performance
  • Reduced CPU costs by providing in-memory techniques as well as continuous availability, scalability and security 
Latest Product Updates for V12
Db2 for z/OS version 12 has many new features. Here is a list of a few key ones.
  1. High-speed data load supporting analytics processing against a big data solution
  2. Enhancing analytics further with new function working closely with IBM Db2 Analytics Accelerator (formerly stand-alone hardware unit, is now available in a version that’s embedded in the IBM Z hardware chassis)
  3. Ultra-large tables in Db2 tablespaces can now be sized at 4,000 TB (4 PB) with a table in that tablespace that can now contain up to 256 trillion rows.
  4. Data encryption and data compression enhancements.  
  5. Attached processor use during Db2 load and reorganization that function as CPUs for certain specified applications with no charge for that processor’s use.  
Database middleware is world-changing software used in applications that support our global society, not just in business but many other data-driven human pursuits. Database adoption rates continue to grow as the number of developers worldwide continues to increase. We had roughly 26.4 million active developers in 2019.

IBM WebSphere Application Server: Middleware for Enterprise Applications

IBM WebSphere® Application Server (WAS) is an adaptable, security-rich Java server runtime environment for enterprise applications. It delivers superior performance, redundancy that supports availability and a range of programming models.
Significant Characteristics
A good way to list the characteristics of WAS is to spell out the attributes that specifically serve enterprise application developers. Here is a list of its significant characteristics.
  • An application server is a Java® VM (JVM) running user applications. Application servers use Java technology to extend web server capabilities to handle web application requests. The WAS full profile provides high-function application server functionality.
  • WAS has resources like Java Message Service (JMS) providers that conform to the JMS specifications
  • WAS supports virtual hosts, enabling a single host to resemble multiple logical hosts
  • WAS utilizes variables used to control settings and properties relating to the server environment. WebSphere variables are used to configure product path names such as JAVA_HOME and environmental customization values.
  • WAS supports shared libraries, or files used by multiple applications
  • WAS has administration tools including an administrative console, scripting client (wsadmin), administrative programs (Java management extensions) and command line tools. It also supports monitoring and tuning, as well as troubleshooting and diagnostic tools that help to isolate the source of problems.
Some Key Benefits
Here is a short but important list of WAS benefits involving Java support, microservices, security, management and administration tooling and compliance.
  • Provides a scalable, secure and reliable Java EE runtime
  • Supports microservices and standards-based programming models
  • Has broad support for enterprise-level security, integrated management and administrative tooling ensures compliance with regulations, including Federal Information Processing Standards and General Data Protection Regulation. 
Latest Product Updates for V9.0.5
Here is a brief summary of the product updates for WAS V9.0.5. WAS version 9.0.5 includes the existing traditional WebSphere 9.0 service stream and the Liberty continuous delivery service stream. New features have been added to Liberty since WAS, and new operational modernization components have been added to WAS Network Deployment with version
  • WebSphere Liberty core includes all of the features and enhancements that have been continuously delivered to Liberty since WAS These enhancements, built as open source through the Open Liberty project, include MicroProfile 1.x and 2.x support, Java EE 8 Web Profile support and support for Java SE 11.
  • WebSphere (base) updates are similar to WebSphere Liberty core edition as WAS (base) 9.0.5 includes all of the features and enhancements that have been continuously delivered to Liberty since WAS
  • WebSphere application navigator introduces a new hybrid management console that enables application visibility and management across cells, collectives and containers
  • IBM Cloud Pak® for Applications includes all capabilities and editions of WAS 9.0.5, including WAS Network Deployment
The application infrastructure middleware market was valued at $33.82 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach a value of $51.28 billion by 2025, growing 7.3% over the period 2020 to 2025. WAS middleware continues to enable all of the enhancements that continue to flow from enterprise languages like Java and innovation approaches like continuous delivery.

Next Post

Next week, I’ll continue with the middleware topic as I have a few product implementations to explore.   

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