We use cookies and other similar technologies (Cookies) to enhance your experience and to provide you with relevant content and ads. By using our website, you are agreeing to the use of Cookies. You can change your settings at any time. Cookie Policy.

There are many ways to integrate distributed systems with the mainframe. The mainframe is an odd creature to integrate with because legacy applications were build on proprietary systems (like CICS) and protocols (like SNA). Open systems and more recently Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) make recently developed systems more interoperable.

To understand mainframe integration, you have to understand the underlying data structures. We then can discuss integration techniques and patterns. The data structures are represented in the existing programs written for the mainframe, which are mostly COBOL programs.

COBOL Metadata Primer
COBOL is a structured language with a data division that defines data structures including external files (file description) and internal program storage (working storage). The file description defines the file structure to the COBOL program so we can use this COBOL definition to understand the existing data for integration purposes. We essentially use the COBOL file definition as a map to the mainframe data that is external to the distributed systems.

When working with mainframe data you will hear the term copybook used to describe file structures. The copybook is a reusable file description that the COBOL complier copies into the code at compile time – there is no late binding of file structures. Since files are used over and over the copybook was created as a means to allow the COBOL definition to be done once and copied into all the programs the access the file. If the file structure changes, all the programs using the copybook generally must be recompiled – some changes do not affect the data structure and might not affect other programs.

The copybook therefore becomes a source of metadata describing file structures on the mainframe. Since flat file structures do not have a data dictionary or system catalog description (like a database would), at times the copybook is the single source of metadata about the file structure. Mainframe databases may also have a data dictionary as a source of more metadata, but the copybook is still required for COBOL and can be used for integration purposes.

The copybook is hierarchical in structure. Data definitions can be elementary (with only one level) or grouped. Grouped structures are numbered with the super-group having a lower level number (such as the 01 and 05 levels below) and subgroups higher numbers.



1  2  3  4  

   Next Page

Explore Our Topics

  • Virtual Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Roundtables

BPM in Action

March 10, 2011

The sixth annual BPM in Action 2011 Virtual Conference will explore cutting-edge market developments in BPM and describe how to leverage them for improved business operation and performance. More

View All Virtual Conferences

Smart Case Management: Why It's So Smart.

Date:Nov 05, 2009
Time:12:00 PM ET- (17:00 GMT)


Date:Oct 29, 2009
Time:15:00 PM ET- (19:00 GMT)

View All Roundtables
  • Research Library
  • Podcasts
  • News

Joe McKendrick: Part II of II: Designing Evolve-ability into SOA and IT Systems

In part two of Joe McKendrick's recent podcast with Miko Matsumura, chief strategist for Software AG, they talk about how SOA and IT systems need to change and grow and adapt with the organization around it.

Listen Now

Phil Wainewright: Helping Brands Engage with Social Media

Phil Wainewright interviews David Vap, VP of products at RightNow Technologies, and finds out how sharing best practices can help businesses understand how best to engage with online communities.

Listen Now

Peter Schooff: Making Every IT Dollar Result in a Desired Business Outcome: Scott Hebner of IBM Rati

Scott Hebner, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for IBM Rational, discusses a topic on the top of every company's mind today: getting the most from IT investments.

Listen Now

Jessica Ann Mola: Where Will BI Fit In? Lyndsay Wise Explains

In BI, this tough economy and the increasing role of Web 2.0 and MDM are certainly topics on people's minds today. WiseAnalytics' Lyndsay Wise addresses each of them in this informative podcast.

Listen Now

Dennis Byron: Talking with...Deepak Singh of BPM Provider Adeptia

Deepak Singh, President and CTO of Adeptia, joins ebizQ's Dennis Byron in a podcast that gets its hand around the trend of industry-specific BPM.

Listen Now
More Podcasts
  • Most Popular
  • Quick Guide
  • Most Discussed

Quick Guide: What is BPM?

Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Event Processing?

Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Enterprise 2.0?

A lot of people are talking about Enterprise 2.0 as being the business application of Web 2.0 technology. However, there's still some debate on exactly what this technology entails, how it applies to today's business models, and which components bring true value. Some use the term Enterprise 2.0 exclusively to describe the use of social networking technologies in the enterprise, while others use it to describe a web economy platform, or the technological framework behind such a platform. Still others say that Enterprise 2.0 is all of these things. Learn More