If we could put a man on the Moon, could we also create a computer program to track the millions of rocket parts it takes? In 1966, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contractor North American Aviation (AKA Rockwell International) asked IBM that question. In response, IBM launched the world’s first commercial database management system in 1968, called the Information Control System and Data Language/Interface (ICS/DL/I). In 1969, it was renamed Information Management System (IMS).
The IMS architecture has always comprised two functions. Firstly, the database system supporting a hierarchical, tree-like structure data model (AKA IMS/DB). Secondly transaction processing software for handling complex, high-volume transactions, such as order entry, inventory management, payroll and claims processing, airline or hotel reservations, financial applications, and other transaction-oriented applications (AKA IMS/DC or IMS TM).
A unique feature of IMS is its queued system architecture, being a process that receives all transactions as they arrive and holds them until they can be processed. This allows for intelligent and commercial application processing; for example, when an airline agent enters a transaction, the automated transaction manager takes care of updating IMS, so another ticket agent doesn’t sell the same seat.
Some might say that the “business world relies on IMS” as 75+% of top Fortune 1000 companies use IMS to process more than 50 billion transactions a day, managing 15+ Million Gigabytes of mission critical business data.
From my own viewpoint, I have always enjoyed working with IMS and its arguably trail blazing functions, including but not limited to; Checkpoint Restart, Fast Path, Write Ahead Data Set (WADS), Batch Message Processing (BMP), Database Recovery Control (DBRC), et al. Whether System z or Distributed Platform product solutions or not, IMS has introduced many functions that have enhanced and optimized application processing throughout the decades. Is IMS still relevant today?
Industry analysts claim that IMS is the lowest cost transaction and hierarchical database management system for mission critical OLTP. With a TPS (Transactions Per Second) benchmark topping 117,000, IMS delivers industrial strength capabilities for managing and distributing data. IMS delivers mission critical levels of availability, performance, security and scalability. Expansive integration capabilities enable mobile and cloud applications based on IMS assets, enhanced analytics, new application development, SOA exploitation, and more.
In 2013 Gartner stated “by 2016, 40 percent of mobile application development projects will leverage cloud back-end services, causing development leaders to lose control of the pace and path of cloud adoption within their enterprises”. In this timeframe Gartner also stated “hybrid apps, which offer a balance between HTML5-based web apps and native apps, will be used in more than 50 percent of mobile apps by 2016”. Additionally, “While mobile becomes a requirement for everything, there is no single device that will meet all needs. By the end of 2013, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide and by 2016, PC shipments will be less than 50 percent of combined PC and tablet shipments”.
As the original and ground breaking “System Of Record”, combined with industry leading OLTP performance, why wouldn’t a CIO in 2016 consider IMS as the foundation for big data and even cloud based mission critical business applications? With easy and rapid application development via solutions such as RDz and mobile application integration via z/OS Connect, accessing IMS assets has never been easier. Whatever the industry vertical, IMS has facilitated “rocket science and the man on the moon race” since day #1 in the late 1960’s, while leveraging from the unparalleled System z platform for the best scalability and performance attributes in a single footprint. A modicum of lateral thinking should consider IMS as a Service, as well as IaaS and XaaS, for resolving today’s challenges of mobile applications generating unparalleled number of transactions and associated big data requiring analytics to process rapidly evolving business requirements…