TxMQ completes CICS Architecture Review

Recently, TxMQ was approached by our client, a large regional bank who requested a CICS HealthCheck to assess their current infrastructure to verify that their environments were running optimally (response times and availability). In addition, they requested an assessment on how they were using them in comparison with other institutions of like size and structure.
They also requested TxMQ identify opportunities presented by the technology for different and greater functionality and what business solutions might bring to the Client.
The key objective for the architecture and implementation review was to provide senior architecture consulting and a broad assessment and review. From this objective, flow documents and possible recommendations were to be devised, including, but not limited to, software and system configuration changes or upgrades/support packs needed, technical impact and performance analysis, and/or response to solutions impact and written recommendations based on meetings with stakeholders and mapping those concerns to specific infrastructure objectives.
A second key objective for this engagement was to analyze WMQ and CICS architecture, topology and configuration to eliminate any potential performance, availability and security exposure, ensuring there are no roadblocks for future growth and new applications. This included current staffing structure, number and size.
The final objective was to analyze the proposed solutions for increasing capacity and each solution impact to support increases in business processes up to 100% of the existing transaction volumes. The analysis will help the Client effectively plan their MQ/CICS capacity management strategy, identify technical dependencies and assist with identifying the costs/benefits.
TxMQ’s MQ subject matter expert spent little more than a week onsite with the CICS/MQ team at the bank where he dove into diagnosing the current OS and Middleware environment, which included CICS V3.2, WebSphere MQ V7.01 and DB2 V8.
The bank had more than 85 CICS regions deployed and may of them were used for development and testing and were stand-alone.
TxMQ’s consultant completed a review of CICS parameters and specifications for the bank’s main production regions. He also assessed the source of three system outages in the past 13-months due to application issues.
In working with the bank’s internal teams, TxMQ’s consultant was able to deep dive into the environment and architecture, thus creating a list of observations and recommendations.
Upon completion, the HealthCheck revealed no major or current issues. Our consultant’s general observations were as follows:

  • Sound Architecture
  • Highly motivated and skilled professionals
  • Excellent communication among management/teams/members
  • Need for ongoing skill updates
  • Fast problem resolution
  • Formal structure for support and problem facilitation
  • Central change management
  • No performance issues
  • Management aware and willing to address of issues
  • Good planning

The sources of the three system outages were determined to be due to application issues, and TxMQ recommended reducing additional outages by conducting thorough application testing and utilize a disaster recovery system, which is identical to the production environment.
As far as CICS parameters, no networking issues were detected and only minor changes were suggested.
The client is proactively planning upgrade activities as well as additional training for its’ staff. In addition, they also requested TxMQ’s consultant complete a similar MQ assessment. That is an ongoing project and we will have more information in the coming weeks.
If you’d like more information on TxMQ’s HealthCheck services, please contact [email protected].