Disparate Data Sources and Targets?

Bring it all Together with TIC!IMG_002

As a firm grows, they often find themselves with several computing technologies that have been implemented over time – especially if firms merge with another company through acquisition or partnership. This can lead to technological challenges with data archiving, access, delivery, processing and reporting across frequently disparate hardware and software platforms. That’s where highly specialized IT experts like those found here at TIC come in; with our software modernization solutions to address these requirements – we can easily mingle the apples with the oranges.

Aside from comprehensive consulting services to create unique and innovative solutions for our clients, we offer a comprehensive line of products specifically designed to extend NonStop applications and integrate these with new technology. Our product offerings fall into five distinct categories:

  • Data Flow – designed to integrate NonStop data with other platforms to automate and enhance the delivery of reports and information across the enterprise. Products in this line integrate with a wide variety of communication protocols including web, email, fax and FTP.
  • Gateway Development – enables the integration of legacy applications to operate with other hardware and software platforms including Windows, .NET, SOAP, XML and Web services.
  • Business Intelligence – transforms NonStop report data into multi-dimensional views to facilitate interactive reporting that enables dynamic report building and analysis for better business decision making.
  • Application Modernization – innovative model-driven architectural solution for extending Nonstop applications and integrating with new technology – this streamlined method requires no manual coding and provides comprehensive application generation that is tested automatically as it is created, and conforms to accepted code standardization testing norms.

Since 1983, we’ve been providing our clients’ a comprehensive range of consulting services and software products all designed to keep their NonStop systems current with the latest technology – to best address their business and IT requirements. As hardware systems and software applications continue to evolve, so too do we, to strive to keep looking ahead and moving forward to anticipate our clients’ ever-changing needs. One of the things we’re most proud of is that many of our clients’ have been with us since day one – and we continue to work with them to help address, and meet, the challenges of today.

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.

Data Flow Product Suite – ‘Tele’ Technology with TIC Software

Automating &Report Delivery  via Email, Web, Fax and File Transfer

TIC_tools

Tele is a prefix that combines the meaning of the phases “reaching over a distance,” “carried out between two remote points,” and “performed or operated through electronic transmissions.” The ‘Tele’ family group technologies of TIC Software – has been designed for application modernization These Data Flow products are designed to seamlessly integrate NonStop systems with other platforms via format conversion and data delivery – enabling automated processing and delivery of reports and information and keeping the applications organizations running smoothly. Continue reading

3 Quick Ways that TIC LogWatch Can Enhance Your NonStop Appilcation Logs

logwatch-monitor-183 TIC LogWatch

Are you looking for ways to make better use of your NonStop Application logs?

TIC LogWatch is a Guardian program that watches different log files, looks for error patterns, and generates alerts when an anomaly is detected.

Here are some quick out-of-the-box ways that TIC LogWatch can be used to enhance your NonStop logs. Continue reading

Log Management- Planning Ahead Saves Time and Resources

Busy person“I am too busy to plan!”

It seems like most IT professionals today are so busy keeping up with day-to-day tasks, not to mention myriad unexpected issues that arise; that project planning and time management often take a back seat., Besides, “planning” sounds like such an “open-ended” thing that is frequently deemed a waste of time and lost in the shuffle.

 

In fact, a little proactive planning could save a lot of time and stress in the future. And it does not have to take up a lot of time, e.g. like planning how to better deal with production issues. Continue reading

Legacy Application Modernization – You Can Have it All

Obsolescence – it’s a fact of life. Wikipedia defines the term as “the state of being when an object, service or practice is no longer wanted even though it may still be in good working order.” We always want the next big thing; the latest Smartphone, the next tablet, the newest car. But with legacy systems – you can keep the past AND have the latest technology. Have your cake and eat it too…

Modernizing legacy applications with the latest enhancements for web services and communications has enabled many firms in a variety of industries to update their current platforms with today’s technology. Every day, organizations in banking and financial services, government, education, healthcare and manufacturing and distribution and other data-centric sectors, choose to keep their systems current and operating smoothly; and the firm they choose to assist with these efforts is TIC Software. Continue reading

Extend Your NonStop with XML

XML

Extensible Markup Language, or XML, defines a set of rules for structuring and coding documents in a format that are both human and machine readable. XML is developed to be non-proprietary (open standards) and simple to implement for Internet usability. XML design focuses on documents, but is also widely used to represent data structures in applications such as web services. XML has also been employed for such diverse uses as communication protocols, source code configuration and is commonly used for data interchange via the Internet such as FIX and OFX (Finance), SWIFT (Banking), ACORD (Insurance) and many others. Continue reading

“Help! My EMS is overloaded!”

Does this sound familiar? When your NonStop gets very busy, your EMS also
gets very busy. In fact, sometimes you may find that EMS processing consumes a
lot of your CPU resources just for processing the flood of error messages. Why
are there so many messages in EMS?

Does this remind you of your EMS?

EMS_mess
Many users dump EVERYTHING into EMS. The original intention of EMS is to allow
all the different errors to be analyzed and filtered in one place. But when everything
goes into this one pipe, the result is an overloaded, clogged pipe. When you dump
too much stuff into EMS:

  • It becomes difficult to find the error messages
  • It consumes a lot of CPU resource for EMS to file the messages
  • Operation tends to start ignoring messages in EMS console because they are too overwhelming

There is a better way –LogWatch

Logwatch Diagram

Instead of clogging up EMS, use LogWatch to monitor the different log files and work in conjunction with EMS.

LogWatch can monitor different files including:

  • Guardian files
  • OSS logs
  • VHS logs
  • Pathway logs
  • Third party logs, etc.

Lighten up the EMS load

Here is quick way to reduce EMS load: instead of routing your application errors to EMS, write them to disk logs.
Funnels

  • Use LogWatch to monitor these application log files for errors.
  • LogWatch is scalable – you can have different instances of LogWatch monitoring different things.
  • LogWatch is easy to set up – you can set one up in minutes, and it won’t interfere with other instances.
  • Have LogWatch route only the errors to EMS.

Perfect companion to Prognosis or MOMI
If you are using a performance monitoring tool like Prognosis or MOMI, you will find LogWatch will work with it very effectively.

  • Use LogWatch to monitor disk log files for errors.
  • Configure LogWatch to route a message to EMS with specific Message ID or text pattern.
  • Enable Prognosis or MOMI to pick up these specific messages from EMS to take corrective actions.

Take Away – “Prevention is better than cure”
More than many other IT folks, NonStop users understand and appreciate the importance of availability, the cornerstone of the platform. But applications do encounter errors, which could lead to stoppage. When that happens, it is important to recover from the failure as quickly as possible. Any extended down time due to an unavailable application translates to loss of revenue and users’ confidence. With some advanced planning and a good implementation plan for log monitoring, problems can be detected early and remedied promptly.

  • Analyze your logs – Where are the logs? What is written to the application logs? Take a look at some of the old logs and see what is going on in the environment.
  • Plan ahead – What are some of the log messages that require specific actions? What actions? Who should be responsible for actions?
  • Execute the plan – Start implementing a plan to monitor the key log files, and automate the log monitoring process with a tool like LogWatch.
moreinfo_icon LogWatch FAQ

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

448Phil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.

Modernizing SCOBOL Programs Part 2: Re-engineering using Blu Age

In Part 1 of this blog series, we discussed the benefits of modernizing SCOBOL requesters, and the challenge of handling programs with extensive business logic..
In this Part 2 installment, we will talk about how to approach these business logic embedded programs via re-engineering and the benefits of using a tool like Blu Age.
Re-engineering using framework

Re-engineering is a better approach to application modernization. Instead of selectively rewriting certain portions of the business logic to fit into a random mix of components (e.g. HTML, Java and JavaScript, etc.), re-engineering advocates redesigning the application from the ground up. By re-engineering, we mean applying a combination of human insight and automation power to migrating business logic (e.g. calculations, business rules)
to a modern technology framework.

Re-engineering wheels

A properly re-engineered application carries many benefits, including:

  • Maintainability
    Creation of code based on the new design blueprint using modern development methodology ensures there are readily available resources and tools for it to be maintained easily.
  • High performance
    Test tools are readily available in Open Source or commercial market to measure and tune applications designed with modern framework.
  • Adaptability
    Once an application has been modernized, there is a good chance that its functions will continue to evolve. Adopting a proper design framework will ensure that the new application will continue to adapt to new requirements and can be enhanced easily.

But the challenge remains the same by taking the re engineering approach: You still need to migrate the business logic in the original programs to the new code. This is where a tool like Blu Age can facilitate the process.

Introducing Blu Age – A Powerful MDA Tool

Firstly, as the saying goes:“There is no free lunch.” If you are looking for a magical “EASY” button, Blu Age is not it. Blu Age is not an automatic translator. It does not make the end product magically for you by your clicking a button. But it is a tool that can help you get the job done more easily and more quickly.

Blu Age is a tool that:

  • Helps you analyze your program source with built-in visual tools and annotation features
  • Enables you to define reusable code patterns to automate intelligent code segment identifications and conversions
  • Extracts the business logic from your code
  • Assists you in transforming the business logic to new code in Java or .NET

Re-engineering

What is Blu Age?

Blu Age is a commercial software re-engineering and modernization tool suite that follows the Model-Driven Architecture (MDA) approach to generating program code from Unified Modeling Language (UML2) diagrams. MDA is a software design approach for the development of software systems. It provides a set of guidelines for the structuring of specifications, which are expressed as models. It a standard that was launched by the Object Management Group (OMG) in 2001. Blu Age provides all of the re-engineering capabilities discussed earlier, and more. All of Blu Age’s power is based on generating and approving human-readable models that Blu Age then converts into modern code.

Re-engineering

In short, you use UML diagrams to design your application in Blu Age, and it generates the application for the targeted framework according to your specifications .

Blu Age Components
Blu Age is a tool suite built on Eclipse and contains modules that address different components of the modernization process.

Re-engineering

Blu Age Reverse Modeling (BRM)
  • It automates the process of reading your original code (e.g. SCOBOL source) and identifying the interesting and necessary business logic that it will then convert into the diagrams of your model.
  • As you interact with BRM, it identifies and extracts business rules, calculations, and business logic into Unified Modeling Language (UML2) models, ready for you to review and approve.
  • Once approved, your models feed Blu Age’s Forward Engineering (BFE) with accurate business logic functional specifications.
Blu Age Forward Engineering (BFE)
  • Blu Age then applies its code-generation capabilities to automatically transform your models into complete, modern, high-quality application code in Java or .Net.
Blue Age Delivery (BDE)
  • This ensures the quality of the code delivered by BFE. BDE operates in a modern continuous integration and testing environment that is consistent with the today’s best software engineering practices

Blu Age re-engineering approach is different from both rewriting and translating. Rewriting is a laborious set of tasks, the success of which depends of learning ad properly applying new computer languages and new software engineering techniques. Blu Age lets you focus on ensuring the right business logic is transferred from your SCOBOL program to the new target platform.

Blu Age also differs markedly form automated translators. Automated translator converts the SCOBOL program wholesale, leaving you to read through unfamiliar modern code to determine whether the translation appears successful.

Blu Age puts you in the driver’s seat to determine the steps in mapping over the business logic, while relieving you of the burden of coding in a new unfamiliar language, or trying to make sense of automatically translated code.

So, how does Blu Age methodology work? Read about it in our next blog:

Modernizing SCOBOL Programs Part 3: Blu Age Methodology

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Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of the home page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.

Take AIM – Assess. Innovate. Modernize.

people_thumbs_up Happy New Year!

2013-target-resized-600 May 2013 be a successful year to all of you. New Year always presents new opportunities, inspirations and resolutions. What are some of yours? I’d like to suggest that you consider taking up “AIM” initiatives – Assess. Innovate. Modernize.

Assess.

assess-resized-600

Too often, we get caught up in our day-to-day grind during the year that we had no time to pause and to inventory where we are. Yet, taking time to review and assess is critical to improvement in the new year.
For examples:

  • You have lots and lots of COBOL programs, but…
    Do you know what are in your application assets?
  • You know it is important to protect your “crown jewel platform”, but…
    How secure is your NonStop environment?
  • You have a whole team of operators, tech support, system managers, but…
    How efficient is your operation environment?

Now is a good time to reflect on where we are and to set some goals for improvement.

Innovate.

lightbulb

Get out of your status quo comfort zone and think outside the box! Commit some time to learn more about some of the newer technology such as

  • Mobile Apps
    Think about your users with iPad and Smartphones
  • Cloud Computing
    What SaaS can you leverage?

Now, you may think: “But what does a legacy machine like NonStop have to do with these new technologies?” Think again! In fact, integrating new technologies with Nonstop could present some exciting opportunities and ROI for your organization.

Modernize.

modernize

While you look for new technologies to jump into, don’t forget all the valuable application assets you already have on your NonStop system. Make 2013 be the year to start your modernization initiative to make these NonStop assets even more valuable. Commit to starting one (or more) of these following projects:

  • Buid a better GUI with Java or .NET
  • Improve your database and application connectivity
  • Adopt modern development methodology and tools

Need help getting started? Look for more discussions on these topics in our upcoming blogs, with tutorials, examples and success stories. We hope that you will follow these discussions, and we would love to hear about your experience as well.

Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java. Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.

Know Your OSS Logs Part 2 – Java Servlet and NS/JSP Logs

jsp-resized-600 logwatch-monitor-183 java_tomcat-logo-600

In my previous article (Know your OSS Logs Part 1), I discussed the importance of monitoring iTP Web Server logs. If you are running Java servlet or JSP applications with iTP Web Server on NonStop, it becomes even more imperative that you monitor their logs. Why? Because they are your only conduit into what’s happening in the execution environment. Is the application running correctly? Was there an environment issue? Did the application abend? All these and other useful information are kept in the logs.

In this article, I want to share with you some basic information on Java, Servlet and JSP logs. Again, all this information is already available in the HP documentation, and so I am going to give you the “Cliff Notes ” version here:

What to monitor?

servlet.out stdout. This is the default location for Servlet to write out APPLICATION messages. So, if there is any issue encountered by the applications, , e.g. Pathsend failures, or datafile security errors, etc., the messages are usually reported in this file.
servlet.err stderr. This is the location for Servlet to report errors encountered by the servlet.
JSP rollover logs
Logs related to the Servlet/JSP processing, and may contain many, many entries, which include the servlet container’s activities and status. This is a particularly difficult log to sift through, as there can be so much information in there. These logs are configured to “rollover” (create a new one) based on certain criteria, such as date or size.

servlet.out sample entry

$PM:inquiry-class failed with a server exception.
An error has occurred with the link to the server.; TS/MP error 904; File system error 201; serverclass name: $PM.inquiry-class

Note: The above entry shows that the application has failed on a Pathsend and logged this message

JSP rollover log sample entry

An error occurred at line: 36 in the jsp file: /aceviI.jsp
DataConversion cannot be resolved
33: // prepare the byte arrays
34: if (messageIn == null || messageIn.length() == 0) messageIn = ” “;
35: byte[] messageInBytes = new byte[messageIn.length()];
36: DataConversion.JavaStrToCobolStr(messageInBytes, messageIn, 0, messageIn.length(), “UTF8″);
37: byte[] messageOutBytes = new byte[maxReplyLength];

Note: The above entry shows that the application has encountered a run time environment error due to missing code.

Why monitor?

Monitoring these logs allows you to check the health of the Java Servlet or NS/JSP applications and to detect errors as soon as they occur.

  • Did your Servlet just abort?
  • Did your NS/JSP just encountered a Pathsend error?
  • What NS/JSP pages are being accessed?
  • How can you quickly find the ERROR in your logs, among all those INFO and WARNING entires?
  • Which line of code in your Java Servlet has a problem?

Where are the logs?

The locations of these log files are specified in the server configuration file, and they usually reside in <NSJSP_HOME>/logs where <NSJSP_HOME> is /usr/tandem/webserver/servlet_jsp/ or /usr/tandem/webserver/servlets/

serlvet.out /usr/tandem/webserver/servlets/logs/servlet.out
servlet.err /usr/tandem/webserver/servlets/logs/servlet.err
JSP logs /usr/tandem/webserver/servlets/logs/servlets.2012-08-02.log (rollover by date)

Who should look at them?

The Operation team members are the people that monitor these log files as it allows them to check the health of the system. However,the log entries are very important to Developers during development or QA phases as well, as the logs will help them quickly pinpoint the locations of code issues.

If there are errors, then Development may be contacted to look at them.

servlet.out Operation, Development
servlet.err Development
JSP logs Administrator, Development

How to review the logs?

If you do it manually, it can be quite a daunting task to look through all the different entries to identify what you are looking for. While you could use cat, tail and vi to review them, realistically, you would be better off downloading your files to your desktop computer and using a desktop tool to sift through the file. But the best way is to automate with LogWatch.

automate

Automate with LogWatch!

Instead of having to manually view these files in OSS directly, you can automate by using TIC LogWatch to:

      • Look for ERROR entries in the servlet logs
      • Look for any “thrown exception” messages
      • Extract the key information from the error messages and raise an alert email or EMS message to notify Operations or Development
      • Clone a copy of the entries to a Guardian file
      • All these and more can be done automatically with LogWatch

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Feedback please

Do you find this tutorial blog helpful? Let us know what you think, and how we can make it even better. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to our blogs (top right-hand corner of this page) to get automatic email notification when a new blog is available.

Phil LyPhil Ly is the president and founder of TIC Software, a New York-based company specializing in software and services that integrate NonStop with the latest technologies, including Web Services, .NET and Java.
Prior to founding TIC in 1983, Phil worked for Tandem Computer in technical support and software development.