Sometimes new tech, sometimes old tech. Always interesting.

Oftentimes our clients need CSC’s skills with Next Gen technology; however, at times our clients still need CSC to flex its muscles with “older” technologies. My specialty is performance tuning. Sometimes it’s mobile apps, sometimes it’s e-commerce apps, and sometimes it’s back to the mainframe with CICS, DB2, RMF, SMF, WLM, TMon, MIPS, and LPAR’s.

Recently, I helped a major client achieve throughput and response time goals in a geographically dispersed parallel processing mainframe environment. We still had the off-the-mainframe WebSphere thread pools, connection pools, and web service calls to deal with. But then we got into WAS on the mainframe, MQ init queues triggering CKTI, CICS tran IDs, dispatching priority, QR and L8 TCB’s, DB2 buffer pools, TClass and WLM settings to ensure our testing didn’t overrun the Prod LPARs. The list goes on and on.

Wow. In my mind, I was transported back 35 years to an IBM 360/40 running MDOS to simulate a 7070 that was running 1401 emulator to process an insurance nightly cycle written in Autocoder. Eventually I graduated to 360 Assembler, Perl, C, and Java but I always marveled at the tricks I found in some of the old Autocoder programs. One IBM developer actually used a tape drive as “virtual memory” because the processing required more than the 16K of code space available in the IBM 1401 architecture. The processing flexibility we get today from Cloud was achieved back then using a mag tape drive.

Tomorrow I may be back to tuning Linux, Apache, WebLogic, and Oracle RAC running in a virtualized environment. Maybe toss in some newer tech such as a Zing JVM, a GemFire data grid, or maybe Hadoop or Mongo. Who knows what tomorrow may bring, but yesterday brought back memories from the past as I once again flexed my mainframe skills. It’s always fun mixing the “old” with the “new” to find that perfect solution to fit a client’s issue/environment.

Often you can’t start with a blank sheet of paper to design a completely Next Gen solution. Sometimes you have to integrate the new technologies with the old. Plus, you have to provide a phased migration from old to new. I’m always interested to hear how people integrate new technologies with old ones to solve problems. Got any stories to share?

Ken Gottry — Distinguished Engineer

Calling himself the “Everything Else Guy,” Ken Gottry is a performance engineer whose wide-ranging technical expertise ensures that systems perform, are secure, fail over, and are easy to operate and troubleshoot. If a client has technical questions about anything other than application coding and data models, they go to Ken.

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