In January 2018, the HostBridge Transaction Analytics Connector (HTAC) became generally available. This software has become the key tool for enabling Integration Analytics: the process of gaining insights from CICS transaction data. These insights enable precise mainframe-hybrid cloud optimization. “We developed HTAC to anchor an analytics process to help organizations understand how things outside the mainframe impact things on the mainframe,” said Russ Teubner, HostBridge CEO and developer of HTAC. “The Integration Analytics process has become necessary in our hybrid IT world. The reason is because not all cloud or hybrid applications are good citizens when it comes to how they interact with the mainframe.”

The HostBridge team has extended the capabilities of Integration Analytics even farther with a new release of HTAC, which is the foundation of an expanded Integration Analytics offering. This new offering combines proprietary CICS integration analytics tools, methodologies, and decades of technical expertise. It provides detailed insights into the activity and interactions hybrid applications, macros, or automations are having with the mainframe. “We refer to the pattern of activity these hybrid apps or automations have with the mainframe as their DNA,” said Teubner. “HTAC, and the associated Splunk dashboards, function like a microscope. We can zoom in and view the DNA of a specific hybrid integration pattern or RPA bot. This new HTAC release increases the magnification of the HTAC microscope. It provides a better view of the pathways these mainframe interactions take. We can see interactions with CICS applications and data at a whole new level of detail.”

Using Integration Analytics for Mainframe-Hybrid Cloud Optimization.

Integration Analytics Produce Quick Results

Integration Analytics engagements produce results within weeks. The results can have an immediate impact to enterprises pursuing hybrid cloud, CICS modernization, and digital transformation strategies. Enterprise IT organizations are rolling out and scaling up hybrid applications or mainframe automations. As they do, they need to quickly identify inefficiencies in the way mainframe interactions occur. HostBridge Integration Analytics insights allow IT organizations to optimize and remediate these interactions in a quick and targeted fashion.

This type of focused and insight-driven approach lowers risk and produces significant operational cost savings (effort, mainframe utilization costs).  Using HostBridge Integration Analytics recommendations, several enterprises have already implemented changes. Some are realizing a reduction in mainframe utilization as high as 20%.

Integration Analytics Use Case

One beneficiary of integration analytics is an electronics component distributor. The IT organization recently engaged HostBridge to complete an analysis to reduce mainframe CPU consumption and avoid upgrade costs. The analysis identified some integrations and macros coming from integration and application servers that are driving high CICS transaction volumes using inefficient, screen scraping methods. End users were experiencing a symptom of these inefficiencies in the form of poor response time. The IT team now knows which CICS integrations and macro interactions require remediation. The company is prioritizing replacing screen scraping interactions with API access to back-end CICS applications. They are anticipating significant mainframe utilization cost savings and substantial improvements in the end user experience.

HostBridge Provides Integration Analytics Services and Remediation Options.

“This use case is typical of what we see when we analyze CICS transaction data,” said Teubner. “Most of the enterprises we engage with know they have some inefficiencies. They come from the way the hybrid cloud or distributed automations interact with the mainframe. They’re seeing the evidence in the form of transaction spikes, production bottlenecks, or increased CPU utilization. What they can’t see is exactly where it’s all coming from and why. This new version of HTAC lets us improve the resolution of our analysis, what we’re calling Integration Analytics 2.0. Even better than before, we’re able to expose what’s going on. We can provide detailed information to prioritize and direct optimization efforts.”

Integration Analytics 2.0 lets the IT organization immediately take action. “IT organizations don’t have to waste time in trial and error trying to figure what to optimize, and how,” said Teubner. Integration analytics projects can deliver insights quickly. An initial analysis requires just a few hours of SMF data; a full analysis usually examines 24 hours of data. The HostBridge team can complete the analysis remotely, building dashboards and sharing insights within a few weeks. Furthermore, HostBridge has the expertise, tools, software, and services to help IT groups to remediate problematic integrations.

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