Modernizing Mainframe Transactional Data to the Cloud
Hybrid IT | Modernization | Performance| by Jerry Rackley

The best of both worlds with performance and low risk.

Note: This article was co-authored by Bob Ellsworth, President of Mainframe Transformation Consulting.

Cloud platforms simplify enterprise computing. Mainframe applications and transactional data become more valuable through inclusion in cloud strategies. Enterprises understand they must find ways for modernizing mainframe transactional data from core enterprise systems by integrating it with or migrating it to the cloud. 

Modernizing mainframe apps to the cloud creates an optimal balance between platform operating costs, scalability, and security. Most of all, getting there quickly and in an iterative fashion is the key to successfully modernizing and balancing core enterprise systems. Enabling this transformation is all about connecting the mainframe to cloud platforms in ways that are flexible and agile. A solid API approach is the answer to this challenge.

Speeding up Modernization with Loose Coupling

Modern cloud platforms rely on robust API libraries to interoperate with the world, including mainframes. Modern APIs connect at the business data and logic level, shielding participating systems from implementation details and dependencies. They also allow for rapid innovation across inter-connected platforms that this loose coupling of systems enables. In the context of cloud-mainframe interoperability, this API-enabled loose coupling of systems drives three key benefits. 

API-enabled Hybrid Architecture with Microsoft Azure.

First and foremost, loose coupling minimizes the risk from external dependencies and disruption. Second, it allows both cloud based applications and core systems running on the mainframe to operate at peak bandwidth and performance. Finally, business level APIs allow rapid deployment of new, innovative, solutions on the cloud with full access to the rich set of data and application logic on the mainframe, combining them for mutual advantage. 

Scaling the Enterprise with Business Level APIs

Using this API approach, businesses are free to scale up and out on the cloud in rapid fashion. Business level APIs protect the core enterprise systems running on the mainframe from changes and external dependencies. With APIs in place, the organizations are now free to innovate and deploy new solutions to the cloud. Migrating and re-balancing the workload between the two platforms is a process that takes only days or weeks. It is a fast and measurable way to achieve a more cost-effective infrastructure while driving innovation at a rapid pace. Determining the best cost-per-transaction or cost-per-megabyte is now an iterative process. The process blends the flexibility and distributed deployment advantages of cloud platforms with the strengths of the mainframe: stability, security and transactional performance.

Driving Innovation in the Hybrid Cloud

Operating in a cloud-mainframe model allows dynamic workload management. Running what makes sense on the mainframe and implementing unrelated processes on the cloud optimizes run-time costs. The development process happens rapidly and without dependencies, often in parallel. Return on development investment is apparent and occurs in a shorter amount of time. Furthermore, mainframe APIs built with the API-first approach are highly reusable. They make the power of mainframe transaction processing available to virtually any cloud-based application. This capability offers not only a superior return on infrastructure and development investment, but also accelerates innovation for both enterprise users and customers alike. 

The good news is that we live in the moment where all of the necessary components exist. The HostBridge Technology API solution, HB.js, delivers business-level API access to core enterprise systems. This in turn opens the full palette of a cloud capability on platforms like Microsoft Azure for rapid and cost effective deployment of new solutions. Easily build them any core technology, from the full-stack capability of C# or SQL Server to the productivity automation of Office 365 or Microsoft Power Platform(™).

With these options, enterprises can quickly expand their footprint on the cloud, innovate rapidly and achieve optimal infrastructure cost efficiency. This approach to API enablement does not require a high risk, “big-bang” migration. It keeps existing core systems in place on the mainframe and shortens the time to get results, lowers the risk and increases organizational agility.

About Bob Ellsworth: Bob is President of Mainframe Transformation Consulting. He has 30 years of experience, beginning in 1971, working with Enterprise customers on the IBM and Amdahl Mainframe platforms and 22 years of experience at Microsoft, including launching the Mainframe Migration program in 2008.   

Leveraging 14 years of engaging with Mainframe customers on their Mainframe Migration strategy and working with Mainframe Migration partners to improve their services and tools, Bob is helping a select number of SIs, ISVs and MSP with their offerings, content, collateral, and marketing.

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