Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Amit Gupta

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Cousins of Cobol in Big Data Analytics

How DFSORT, REXX Support Big Data Analytics

In this  article  I would  like to look at a few tools which are overlooked when it comes to Big Data analytics. Organizations that  have  already  heavy investment  on Mainframe  and  would like to continue  with the utilization of Mainframe can consider these  tools for further  expanding their Big Data Analytics reach.

DFSORT-  Sorting & Merging Large Data Sets :

  • Much before RDBMS have taken their place, Cobol programs have 2 major file manipulation operations namely:
  • SORT operation accepts un-sequenced input and produces output in specified sequence
  • The Merge operation compares records from two or more files and combines them in order
  • DFSORT adds the ability to do faster and easier sorting, merging, copying, reporting and analysis of your business information, as well as versatile data handling at the record, fixed position/length or variable position/length field, and bit level.
  • DFSORT is designed to optimize the efficiency and speed with which operations are completed through synergy with processor, device, and system features
  • A Cobol program will typically act as a intermediary in handling the FILE inputs and passing them to DFSORT
  • After all the input records have been passed to DFSORT, the sorting operation is executed. This operation arranges the entire set of records in the sequence specified by keys.
  • Much like a SORT , MERGE statement is also called from a COBOL job
  • The MERGE statement execution begins the MERGE processing. This operation compares keys with the records of the input files, and passes the sequenced records to create a MERGED output file
  • As per the documentation from the vendor , there is no maximum number of keys which can support the needs for Big Data Analytics processing
  • Some of the advanced options of DFSORT also facilitates parallel sort processing which goes well with needs of Big Data Analytics
  • With the work loads of Big Data Analytical jobs can span multiple physical and virtual servers including mainframe, it is good to see that DFSORT has the option to sort records either in EBCDIC or ASCII or another collating sequence. This can result in uniformity of massively parallel sorting jobs if they run on heterogeneous systems
  • The Job Control Language (JCL), which gives Hadoop like management of large file processing jobs in Mainframe have good features to specify multiple input and output file options for SORT and MERGE jobs
  • As evident this article does not aim as a tutorial for DFSORT and various performance features can be looked from Mainframe manuals or can ask Mainframe Gurus in your organization.

REXX :

  • REXX (Restructured eXtended eXecutor) is another programming language that is used in the same eco system of Cobol and DFSORT and can considerably contribute to the Big Data Analytical needs of the enterprises
  • REXX has advantages in string manipulation, Dynamic data typing, Storage Management and is generally considered to be very reliable and robust
  • One of the most important strengths of REXX that is of relevance to Bigdata Analytics is its ‘'character string" handling ability.
  • There are some useful string manipulation functions like COPIES (), WORDS(), STRIP(), TRANSLATE(), which can go a long way in the Map Reduce functionality needs of typical big data analytical jobs
  • PARSE instruction is also used frequently in REXX programs. It is able to take strings from a number of sources and break them apart into constituent parts using a fairly natural notation
  • Probably PARSE could be one of the highly useful feature of REXX in its positioning as a Big Data Analytical tool
  • The REXX parse statement divides a source string into constituent parts and assigns these to symbols as directed by the governing parsing template
  • REXX, DFSORT and Cobol programs can be inter operable such that we could call a REXX program from Cobol , and all these can be tied together with JCL
  • Again this note is meant as a tutorial for REXX and lot of good documentation is available on utilizing the String manipulation features of REXX.

Summary : There is  a strong  need for enterprises  to  adopt Big Data  Analytics  and start mining the  huge sets  of  unstructured data which has been ignored so far to arrive at meaningful business decisions.  While  newer  frameworks like Hadoop  or  the new breed of  analytical databases are going to satisfy  this need,  however   enterprises  should not be spending their time on picking up the tools and languages when it comes to Big Data Analytics.

If there is a significant  investment  and organization direction is to use the legacy  platforms like Cobol, JCL, REXX, DFSORT  it is only prudent  to utilize best  of their capabilities  in arriving  at options for Big Data Analytics.

We are seeing   that  Big Data Analytics  is mainly dependent on Map / Reduce algorithms,  these  functions are aimed  at  crunching  large data sets, like reading the input files  and  create key/value pair   and map functions take these  key/value pairs  and generates  another  key/value pair.  Further Reducer function  also depends on  sorted  key/value pairs  and iterate them and reduce the output further.

If we look at the way this logic works,  there is a  heavy need for sorting, merging, string  manipulation and parsing all the way. Hence  the tools mentioned  above like DFSORT,  REXX  along with Cobol  will likely to satisfy  the Big Data needs  of large enterprises  if  they  have already invested  on Mainframe compute capacity.

 

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Arvind Radhakrishnen discussed how IoT offers new business models in banking and financial services organizations with the capability to revolutionize products, payments, channels, business processes and asset management built on strong architectural foundation. The following topics were covered: How IoT stands to impact various business parameters including customer experience, cost and risk management within BFS organizations.
Here are the Top 20 Twitter Influencers of the month as determined by the Kcore algorithm, in a range of current topics of interest from #IoT to #DeepLearning. To run a real-time search of a given term in our website and see the current top influencers, click on the topic name. Among the top 20 IoT influencers, ThingsEXPO ranked #14 and CloudEXPO ranked #17.
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The Founder of NostaLab and a member of the Google Health Advisory Board, John is a unique combination of strategic thinker, marketer and entrepreneur. His career was built on the "science of advertising" combining strategy, creativity and marketing for industry-leading results. Combined with his ability to communicate complicated scientific concepts in a way that consumers and scientists alike can appreciate, John is a sought-after speaker for conferences on the forefront of healthcare science,...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.