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AWS re:Invents Mainframe Modernization

Posted January 26, 2022 in News

Written by Jason Kelley, Xpanxion Technical Writer

AWS re-invent conference

It looks like the new year will get off to a good start for clients of Amazon Web Services.

That is according to the updates that came out of the 2021 re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. There were several interesting updates, announcements, and previews of things to come, including a first-time address from the new AWS CEO, Adam Selipsky. AWS has heard user requests and is looking to improve many of its core services like storage, cloud computing, database, and mainframe modernization. 

The main announcement at the conference was the preview of the C7g instances, powered by the next gen ARM processor Graviton 3. They say the updated processors will provide better compute, which in modern computing terms refers to the computer workloads that require processing. This will improve performance with compute intensive processes like HPC, batch processing, media encoding, scientific modeling, and CPU-based machine learning. 

But the message that may be the most promising for modern businesses was the announcement of a new service that makes it faster and easier for customers to migrate legacy mainframe processes to the cloud: AWS mainframe modernization. So, what is a mainframe? The simple answer is that it is a high-performance computer with a lot of memory and superior processing capabilities. Mainframes need to be capable of processing billions of small calculations and transactions in real time. They are machines that are essential for use as professional databases and cloud servers. They run applications that require high resiliency, security, and throughput.

Now, why does a computer like this need modernization? 

Mainframe modernization is really any process that improves an existing mainframe in one of the functions it is designed for. Functions like the interface, performance, maintenance, and cost. Today, modernization efforts focus a lot on migrating legacy workloads to the cloud. 

Cloud computing has been around for a while now, but many businesses are either not aware of, or just haven’t taken advantage of the amazing benefits that the cloud offers. Lower upfront capital expenditure, better efficiency, cost savings, security, easy ability to update, and loss prevention are just some of the reasons, to update a database with cloud capabilities. A survey by the International Data Group shows that 69% of businesses use the cloud in some capacity. 18% of businesses that don’t use the cloud, say they plan to implement some kind of cloud-based solutions in the future. A report from Dell shows businesses that use the cloud have up to 53% greater revenue growth than those that don’t.  

The number of businesses that use cloud-based mainframes are on the rise

But still, migrating old systems to the cloud can be time consuming and expensive. Even the most well-maintained mainframes require complex work to migrate to the cloud when they have legacy workloads to migrate. If the mainframe is specialized enough, it might require experts that are well versed in the outdated technology in question. As time moves on, those specialists become harder and harder to come by, and they certainly won’t be growing in number. But even in the best-case scenarios, mainframe applications are complex. Now, when a company wants to migrate their workloads to AWS, they rely on SIs (that’s system integrators). These are software professionals that locate and access the legacy applications, migrate them to the cloud, then test and operate them in the new environment. This steps in this process are always the same, yet the task required to complete each step can vary drastically between the mainframes of different companies. They often need to be calibrated to each individual system. 

 With the new Mainframe Modernization service, AWS aims to help their customers migrate “as fast as they possibly can.” The service offers a simpler development and runtime environment, making it easier for customers to migrate, modernize, and run their workloads on the cloud. The Idea is that whether you want to update a workload written in an old-fashioned programming language like Cobol to be refactored into something conventional like Java, or if you just want to re-platform the whole thing as written to AWS, the Mainframe Modernization environment will have the tools needed to migrate the way that works best for you. Once migrated, the service includes all the benefits of a fully managed service and automatically handles capacity provisioning, security, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring. 

 AWS Mainframe Modernization will also provide continuous integration and continuous delivery capabilities to ensure that once a system has been migrated to the cloud, it can be run as a truly modern system with all the flexibility, speed, and cost savings, that come with the cloud. AWS Mainframe Modernization is set to accelerate the time it takes to migrate legacy systems to the cloud, while at the same time decreasing the skill required up front to do so. 

The age of cloud computing is here so if your mainframe has been left behind, it is time to get in touch with the professionals that can make your mainframe migration easy and effective. See what Xpanxion can do for you. 


About Xpanxion - Solving business problems with technology. We are software product engineering experts with over 20+ years of experience delivering the technologies, software architectures, processes and people critical to delivering success. As a trusted partner, we focus on business solutions and alliances that provide end-to-end value to solving our customer’s problems. We focus on providing best-in-class solutions by developing custom solutions with modern technologies or by delivering industry recognized off the shelf solutions.

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