Enabling Mainframe Modernization

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As large organizations routinely ask CIOs to deliver real-time business data to executives, partners and customers, CIOs are turning toward Service-Oriented Architectures (SOAs) to help make that happen. Because much of their core data resides on mainframe computers, they’re asking: “What’s the best approach to enable the integration of legacy data and functionality into an SOA?”

Enabling legacy modernization means surpassing the point-to-point integration approach, which isn’t open standards-based. Using Web Services to transform legacy data and functionality creates valuable assets that Java, .NET, and other application platforms can consume and reuse.

How do you “modernize” legacy assets to let them integrate with the larger enterprise into an SOA while also capitalizing on the speed, capacity, reliability, and security that make the mainframe so valuable? The first step is determining which ones are worth moving forward.

Tolerate, Integrate, Migrate or Eliminate?

You need to evaluate each legacy asset on its own merits, assigning it to one of four categories:

-        Tolerate: These are fine as is. They’re self-contained, used on a limited basis, and tend to be isolated from the rest of the organization. The best approach is to maintain and manage them without making any changes.

-        Integrate: These assets are at the core of business, carrying out complex business processes. They’re highly efficient and stable. Replacing them with new, unproven systems is too risky. Keep them on the mainframe and integrate them with the larger enterprise.

-        Migrate: These assets are no longer meeting your organization’s demands. They’re expensive to operate, require specialized skills that are in short supply, and were often developed by vendors that are no longer viable. It’s best to migrate them to another platform.

-        Eliminate: These assets aren’t needed anymore. They’ve been rendered redundant by other applications based on standardized technology. Eliminate them.  

For applications you want to integrate, consider the basic approaches to exposing legacy assets in an SOA:

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