Given that the SNA infrastructure is fading into the sunset, the EE support on Linux permits the business logic in your SNA applications to continue to deliver for you. Your application data is transported by the latest IP technology (they grow with it) and the front-end to the z/OS resident applications is the hottest operating system in the marketplace, Linux. Consider the difference in skills requirements. Every college student entering the business world is well-versed in Linux, while the skills on SNA transport products is graying fast and certainly not readily available. Linux, along with z/OS, will carry your SNA applications into the future.
The SNA infrastructure products clearly are in the winter of their lives, but those golden SNA applications are as valuable and vital as they were when they were first deployed. In fact, they may be even more important now since most businesses grew up around them and based many of their business processes and procedures on them. They will live on and even grow on their newfound IP transport until the business logic they execute is no longer required. And that could be a very long time!
Just when you thought all the problems were solved, you realized that this solution is built on EE or as it is often called, HPR/IP (high-performance routing on the IP transport). EE is the strategic solution for enabling the transport of SNA traffic over an IP transport and it rides squarely on native IP, enjoying all the current and future benefits of IP network transports. EE will continue to ensure that SNA applications can be served by state-of-the-art IP networking technology. All that being true, we recognize that there is a contingent of customers who are, for one reason or another, still using the now very stable Subarea SNA transport.
So, you might ask, what are you going to do for my SNA Subarea transport? I still use SNA Network Interconnect and EE cannot help me with that!
Although it is highly unlikely that any vendor will ever again provide all the function that resides in the NCP on the 3745/3746 FEPs, the Linux platform could assume the SNI function, enabling Subarea customers to retire their SNA infrastructure and begin using an IP network to talk to those who will not move. Of course, it is unreasonable to expect all those who have not moved to HPR over the extended period of its life would decide in unison to move! In fact, it is even unreasonable for one business to expect that all its business partners will migrate in unison. Clearly, any solution to such problems should enable each customer to make an independent decision. That is, each can decide to migrate independent of the decisions of its business partners and providers. Calm your fears, the end of life of SNA infrastructure will not cause you to lose your SNA application investment. Rest assured that your investment will be enabled on IP well before that infrastructure goes out of service.
Of course, IBM does not provide the IP networking infrastructure today and therefore joint solutions with our major network equipment vendor partners are necessary to ensure that this EE offering not only supports APPN customers, but that there is an EE variation, which will enable Subarea SNI customers to enjoy the benefits of IP interconnectivity. EE function will expand to enable the Subarea segment of customers to consolidate to an IP network and reap the financial benefits of a single network for both SNA and IP applications.
SNA was created at a time when networks were, at best, chaos. The SNA network infrastructure was designed to address the limits of then current link transports, and it was the best transport in the world for that time. Alas, its time has passed, and with it goes the SNA network infrastructure. However, the APIs and middleware on which you built your SNA applications are as vital today as ever. Equally important is the fact that your business processes and procedures, which grew up with and are dependent upon your SNA applications, remain intact. The removal of SNA network infrastructure results in a significant network consolidation to a single IP infrastructure and reduces your overall cost of networking support. Consider the before and after network diagram shown in Figure 3; specifically, note how much more streamlined the after network diagram is than its predecessor. Also, consider the fact that only one network infrastructure management skill is now required instead of the current two. Moreover, as IP technology continues to improve, your SNA applications will continue to benefit.
In addition, this new Linux offering will enable new applications to be developed in a highly robust application development environment along with other software products, allowing Linux applications to enjoy some of the most demanded attributes of the z/OS platform, including security using RACF. Other possibilities include the reliability of z/OS and many of the features that the IT community rely on to manage their z/OS systems and wish they had available on their Linux systems.
With the combined strength of Linux and z/OS, applications will enjoy the very latest in IP and policy-based technology, and the Linux applications on zSeries will enjoy the very best security in the world as well as many of the system tools that the IT community has grown accustomed to and are not currently available on the base Linux platform.
It is amazing how well you can rest when you know that your applications are not only golden to you and your business but also to your software provider. Who says dinosaurs are extinct? Z