Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Chris Kocher, Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Carmen Gonzalez, Jonathan Fries

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
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
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 sett...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.