Auto Insurer uses HTAC to Learn What Drives Mainframe Workload
Case Studies| by Jerry Rackley

HostBridge is working with an automobile insurance provider to help it understand what is driving its mainframe workload. Using the HostBridge Transaction Analytics Connector (HTAC), this insurer has lifted the veil on CICS application performance. It’s CICS applications now feed data to Splunk via HTAC. This allows the insurer to learn for the first time exactly how business activities consume mainframe cycles.

HTAC is software that correlates non-mainframe service requests to actual work done inside CICS to process those requests. This insurer uses HTAC to get performance insights into core CICS business applications it licenses from a third-party vendor. The insurer suspected that routine business processes were spawning a lot of activity on the mainframe, consuming cycles at an unexpected rate. This activity was hard to forecast, difficult to manage, and it was costing the insurer money. From a performance perspective, these CICS applications were essentially a “black box.”

One of this insurer’s most common business transactions – adding a new vehicle to an existing auto insurance policy – was consuming a lot of mainframe CPU cycles. The insurer could only see that mainframe cycles spiked when adding an auto to a policy. It had no insight, however, about what was actually happening on the host as a result of this business transaction. After installing HTAC, and working with the HostBridge team, the insurer began getting detailed CICS application performance information through Splunk dashboards created to report this data. It discovered that this simple business transaction of adding a vehicle:

  • Spawned 7,000 IBM DB2 calls
  • These DB2 calls rippled into 14,000 CICS TCB switches
  • Each CICS TCB switch causes approximately 2,000 instructions to execute

Using HTAC, this auto insurer discovered that one of its most common business transactions was causing 28 million host instructions to execute! These instructions were unnecessary overhead.


An immediate result of using HTAC was a 50% reduction in the overhead required to execute the transaction of adding a vehicle to an insurance policy. Using with the data HTAC provided, this insurer was able to negotiate with the third-party application vendor. It has entered into discussions regarding re-architecting parts of the application to reduce overheard.

Without HTAC, this insurer would have remained blind to how its core business applications were using mainframe cycles. Now, the data and insight HTAC provides enable CICS application performance monitoring through Splunk dashboards. The insurer used these dashboards as leverage with the application vendor. The agreed upon changes will streamline application processing, reduce mainframe cycles and lower costs.

HTAC can provide end-to-end visibility of any transaction generated on a mobile device or in the cloud, all the way up to and through supporting, back-end CICS applications. To get complete visibility into what is driving your mainframe cycles, contact HostBridge to arrange for a free trial of HTAC.

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