Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Search Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Cloud Best Practices Network, AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Leo Reiter

Related Topics: Cloud Expo

Cloud Expo: 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

Srinivasan is passionate about ownership and driving things on his own, with his breadth and depth on Enterprise Technology he could run any aspect of IT Industry and make it a success.

He is a seasoned Enterprise IT Expert, mainly in the areas of Solution, Integration and Architecture, across Structured, Unstructured data sources, especially in manufacturing domain.

He currently works as Technology Head For GAVS Technologies.

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
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Even as cloud and managed services grow increasingly central to business strategy and performance, challenges remain. The biggest sticking point for companies seeking to capitalize on the cloud is data security. Keeping data safe is an issue in any computing environment, and it has been a focus since the earliest days of the cloud revolution. Understandably so: a lot can go wrong when you allow valuable information to live outside the firewall. Recent revelations about government snooping, along with a steady stream of well-publicized data breaches, only add to the uncertainty
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...