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10 Things You Didn’t Know About IMS
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By Sandy Sherrill,
IMS - Worldwide Market Manager .
In the spirit of all “Top 10” lists past, present, and future, I offer up the following 9 facts about IMS. Please add your comments and help us compile the Top 10 list (or even top 100K list).
1. Apollo Space Program – If you know IMS, you know that its origins are tied to the U.S. Space program in the 1960s. John F. Kennedy challenged American industry to send an American to the moon and back. The triumvirate of IBM, North American Aviation, and Caterpillar designed and developed a system they called Information Control System and Data Language/Interface (ICS/DL/I), which was used to manage the large bill of materials needed to construct the spacecraft. Our first launch was, literally, a launch!
2. Database Paradigm Shift – The design of the hierarchical IMS database was revolutionary. It introduced the idea that the application code should be separate from the data, which was a key paradigm shift at that time. Application code could therefore focus on the manipulation of the data. The net result? The need for redundant copies of data was eliminated. Multiple applications could access and update a single instance of data. Sounds pretty basic now, but at the time, it was revolutionary.
3. Backward Compatibility – Although today’s IMS has only a superficial resemblance to the product that launched in 1969, an application program that ran on IMS at that time would still run today, unchanged, on IMS 13. In fact, we have a client who has confirmed that they have a COBOL program that was installed on the first version of IMS still in production in their shop. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s an astonishing ROI.
4. Enterprise Suite – It’s all about accessorizing. As one of the, if not THE, foundational products in the IT industry (and one that is still doing what it does best), we recognize the need to integrate with, connect to, and exploit the next big thing. Some didn’t turn out to be so big. But for the others, we have the IMS Enterprise Suite, which delivers adapters, gateways, plug-ins, APIs, GUIs, and other functions that help keep IMS as the heartbeat of your shop. In short, it supports open integration technologies. How very enterprising! Even better – it’s free to IMS customers.
5. The original no SQL big data engine – We talk to analysts. A lot. As you can imagine, industry analysts have seen a lot come and go over the past 45 years. The Clipper Group, in fact, just delivered a report that dispels many myths that continue to circulate about IMS. Earlier this year, a top analyst firm came to the IMS Development Lab to get an update. “IMS is the original no SQL database,” they remarked. We could not agree more. And given the vast amounts of data that we move and manage, we also consider ourselves a big data engine. Now when you see our Twitter tag, #theoriginalnosqlbigdataengine, you’ll know what we’re talking about.
5. SQL Access – For some reason, many of you out there are still under the impression that IMS data is locked away behind solid brick walls, and the only access is DL/I. Newsflash: you can use SQL to query IMS data! The IMS Explorer component of the Enterprise Suite makes it easy, and this video on our IMS YouTube channel can help get you started.
7. 100K – On September 19, 2013, the IMS Organization at IBM Silicon Valley Lab announced that IMS 13 achieved a record-shattering benchmark. A single IMS Fast Path system was able to sustain over 100K transactions per second, reaching, in fact, 117,292 TPS! This benchmark was an 800% improvement in IMS 12’s already impressive benchmark. We read a lot about tweets per second, and RDBMS clusters hitting 100K. For the most part, tweets are throw-away data, and the fact that one IMS system can beat a cluster of RDBMS is a pretty powerful statement.
8. IMS 13 – No worries about Triskaidekaphobia here. We think 13 is a pretty lucky number. IMS 13 was just announced by IBM, and between its new performance benchmarks, its razor sharp focus on lowering TCO, and its expanded integration capabilities, we are calling it the most exciting release of IMS in its 45-year history.
9. We’re just getting started – The previous 8 facts add up to one more: those of us in IMS are confident that we are just getting started. IMS usage is at its highest levels ever. Integration means that IMS data can go mobile, that it is a big part of Big Data, and that it can handle the transaction volumes that will follow. We’ll be here for a good long time.
It's your turn now! Tell us what else should fit in the 'Top10' list...