Distributed Computing Environment
Caterpillar: Building a Foundation with DCE
The Customer
Caterpillar, Inc.

Business Need
Support of worldwide commercial, engineering and manufacturing endeavors

The Solution
IBM System/390 MVS OpenEdition, MVS/ESA DCE, AIX/6000 DCE, Entera

Benefit to Customer
Ability to support commercial, engineering, and manufacturing in three major data centers around the world, supporting 60 thousand users in all time zones, quickly and reliably

"MVS OpenEdition and its DCE feature will provide transparent access to the vast wealth of information stored within the System/390s in Caterpillar's global corporation."

Peter Barclay
Manager of Client/Server Services

How does a large manufacturing corporation, operating in a global market, reduce the expense and complexity of managing information resources on nonintegrated, heterogeneous computing platforms? By installing IBM's Multiple Virtual Storage/Enterprise Systems Architecture (MVS/ESA) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE) to leverage a very large System/390 processing base into the "open" world.

Over the years, Caterpillar, Inc., the world's largest earth-moving equipment manufacturer, has accumulated an array of processing platforms to support its commercial, engineering, and manufacturing applications. These platforms include offerings from Microsoft, Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. As information technology has moved from a computer-centric to a network-centric environment, Caterpillar had to find ways to take advantage of its information technology investments.

Caterpillar has a very large installed System/390 processing base to support data processing worldwide. IBM's announcement of its MVS OpenEdition affirmed Caterpillar's commitment to a 3-tiered application architecture. Caterpillar felt that MVS OpenEdition, with its DCE compliance, would be the solution to allow its Information Technology (IT) architecture to support corporate business goals. "We wanted to prove that the many disparate installed operation systems could operate together and potentially share data and applications in the evolving 'open global market'," says Peter Barclay, Manager of Client/Server Services.

Four years ago, Caterpillar started looking at distributed computing and client/server. To match their organizational changes, they wanted to move from a mainframe-based structure to a client/server-based structure. "We didn't want to be leading edge. We wanted an evolution, rather than a revolution, and knew that this transition would require the mainframe and client/server structures to coexist," Peter Barclay continues.

Specifically, Caterpillar's computing environment has 60 percent or more of its data on the mainframe in the Information Management System (IMS). Their IT organization supports 60 thousand users worldwide, a third of whom are external to Caterpillar's corporate boundaries (suppliers, dealers, and customers). Clearly, the right solution is needed to support their evolution to network-centric computing while protecting their investment in millions of lines of existing COBOL code.

Three years ago, Caterpillar organized a team to determine what its open systems architecture would look like. With design assistance from Wayne Zimmer, an IBM client consultant, the team assembled a recommended architecture guide for Caterpillar. The architecture defines the technology and industry standards that will enable Caterpillar to leverage the benefits of open systems. MVS OpenEdition is one of the products that allows Caterpillar to adhere to the evolving industry standards that are becoming the base for client/server computing.

Caterpillar is using a 3-tiered application architecture and sees DCE as a critical element of their architecture. They began piloting DCE on platforms from IBM, HP, and DEC. MVS/ESA DCE was added to their DCE solution suite three months later. Their first production application will support their Human Resources function, using a 3-tired architecture including MVS/ESA Version 5.1 with the IMS Application Server running on a 9021-982 and also on two 9021-900s. The MVS host functions as a server to other platforms, including DEC and HP-UX, and provides access to the legacy data that's running on the System/390 processors.

"We are very pleased with this system's performance."

Peter Barclay

In addition to MVS/ESA DCE and AS/IMS, Caterpillar selected Open Environment Corporation's Entera application development tools. With Entera's third-party support and DCE development tools, Caterpillar was able to provide its application programmers with an easy-to-use toolkit that helped them focus fully on implementing the business logic of the Human Resources application.

The integration offered by DCE provides Caterpillar employees with seamless, distributed access to sensitive employee benefits data. The users can get to more data and get to it faster.

By applying DCE technology, Caterpillar reduced development costs significantly and uses its information resources far more effectively. Caterpillar also gained flexibility to deploy applications across a diverse set of operating platforms and responds more quickly to its users' needs.

1998 IBM Corporation