xTrace Success at Alecta, Sweden

Alecta - Company Profile

Alecta have been managing occupational pensions since 1917. The service is retirement pensions, disability pensions, family pensions and occupational group life insurance.

Alecta manages SEK 405 billion on behalf of our owners. 1.7 million private individuals and 28,000 client companies.

Background

The development environment at Alecta is .Net clients and z/OS servers generated with CA Gen targetting COBOL, CICS and DB2.

Alecta has one partition for each environment: development, system test, acceptance test and production.

All modules (action blocks) are by default dynamically called and linked to both Batch and CICS environments. Most of the systems are very batch oriented.

After changing our standards from static to dynamic linking, the tracing of batch programs became a big problem. TSO Test Facility requires that all action blocks with SQL used by a batch is relinked targeting the CAF-environment. Action Blocks linked for this environment cannot be used in a normal batch environment.

This situation was very complex for the developers and ended up with no one using theTSO Test Facility for batch tracing.

The Solution

xTrace was the solution that removed all of the above problems.

Tracing batch or CICS server is done in the same way. There is no need to set up special environments or extra JCL.

After some preparations you are ready to start tracing:

  1. Generate what is needed with Trace.
  2. Start your xTrace Monitor and tell the Monitor what to trace (procedure steps/action blocks, value breakpoints and so on).
  3. Start your Gen GUI client, your .Net client or Submit a batch JCL the normal way. That is, you start your application the same way as you always do.

At Alecta all procedure steps and action blocks are generated with Trace as the default in the Development environment in order to quickly be able to trace. GuardIEn is set up to manage that.

The xTrace runtime is installed in all environments. If needed, procedure steps and action blocks can be generated with Trace for all environments except production by authorised persons.

To trace in System test in a different machine is done exactly as a normal test without trace. You can even have one user starting the test (a test person) and another (a developer) do the tracing.

Alecta had a list of suggestions that we would like to have implemented in xTrace. All of our suggestions are now in place. As an example the xTrace option to be able to Rollback a transaction after trace. The same test case can be reused over and over again and saves a lot of time not to have to rebuild test cases.

Conclusions

xTrace has made testing in the z/OS environment faster and more effective. The features of the tool make it possible to concentrate testing on the desired parts of the application thus making problem solving easier.