AWS is trying to help organizations migrate their mainframe-based workloads to the cloud and potentially transform them into modern cloud-native services.
The Mainframe Modernization initiative was unveiled at the cloud giant’s Re:Invent conference late last year, where CEO Adam Selipsky claimed that “customers are trying to leave their mainframes as fast as they can. can”.
Whether this is based on reality or not, AWS recognizes that such a migration will inevitably involve the customer going through a long and complex process that requires multiple steps to discover, evaluate, test, and operate the new workload environments.
To achieve this, the Mainframe Modernization Service offers a comprehensive development and runtime environment to facilitate the modernization and running of their mainframe workloads on AWS. Alternatively, customers can keep existing applications as-is and reform them on AWS with minimal code changes, AWS explains.
The managed execution environment built into the Mainframe Modernization Service is designed to provide the compute, memory, and storage needed to run refactored and reformatted applications. It also automates capacity provisioning, security, load balancing, scaling, and application health monitoring.
This functionality is apparently powered by Micro Focus Enterprise Server, an existing application deployment environment for running IBM mainframe applications on Linux or Windows.
Phil Dawson, vice president of Gartner Research, warned that companies moving mainframe workloads to the cloud will almost certainly have to refactor or recode them at some point in the future.
“A lift and move to the cloud for COBOL applications may sound attractive, but technical debt will eventually catch up with you,” he said. The register.
Clients are not expected to do all the work themselves; AWS says that with mainframe modernization tools, systems integrators can discover mainframe workloads, assess and analyze migration readiness, and then plan migration and modernization projects.
One such integrator is Infosys, which said the new service allows it to help customers gain the benefits of the cloud while retaining years of business knowledge built into their mainframe systems.
“AWS’ Mainframe Modernization Service enables us to deliver these benefits to our customers. It has enhanced our already extensive mainframe modernization capabilities and enables us to build modern, scalable, digital native applications faster and at lower cost and risk,” said Infosys President. and CEO Eric Paternoster said in a statement.
For refactoring, AWS offers automated capabilities acquired through the purchase of migration specialist Blu Age last year. According to AWS, it can convert applications written in languages such as COBOL, PL/1, NATURAL, RPG/400, and COBOL/400 into Java services and web frameworks.
But is there really such a demand for migrating applications from mainframe systems to AWS? Many mainframes have been acquired in order to run critical services that organizations depend on, such as CICS for transaction management, and they are unlikely to be moved to a public cloud platform.
Omdia chief analyst Roy Illsley agrees, saying the mainframe modernization service will likely primarily target customers who are already using AWS for other workloads and who may have mainframe applications they might want to modernize.
“The cloud isn’t suitable for most mainframe workloads, and our data doesn’t show a massive migration from legacy to cloud. I think that’s an offering they need to be comprehensive” , he told us.
Gartner senior vice president Mike Chuba said many mainframe migration projects he’s seen never completed, and those that tend to be smaller mainframe workshops or low-hanging fruit. – i.e. applications that are not critical.
“The challenge for almost all mainframe users is that many workloads are often business-critical applications that cannot fail because if they do, the business is at serious risk. such, they must be 100% sure that a migration could be done, while ensuring that the SLAs are respected,” he explained.
The AWS Mainframe Modernization service is generally available now in AWS Regions covering the United States, Asia Pacific (Sydney), Canada, Europe, and South America, with additional Regions to be added in coming months, AWS said. ®