Mainframe Modernization has gone Mainstream: Modernizing Mainframe Workloads with AWS and Micro Focus

Micro Focus’ innovation in the modernization space continues to gather pace. Eddie Houghton, Enterprise Product Director explains the latest developments in mainframe workload modernization with AWS and Micro Focus.

The Rich Micro Focus Heritage in Mainframe Modernization

Most large enterprises and public institutions run business-critical applications on mainframe environments that execute vast numbers of transactions securely, reliably, and with practically zero downtime. Over the course of the last three decades, Micro Focus has successfully partnered with customers to deliver thousands of successful mainframe modernization projects – each enabling the customer to modernize their application and run it on the platform of their choice.

Micro Focus approaches mainframe modernization with a holistic model called the “Modernization Maturity Model” which is built around a core set of capabilities delivered in our Enterprise Product Set and encompasses:

  • Understanding the business drivers for digital transformation.
  • Developing both a strategic plan and tactical steps to modernize the application itself, to modernize the processes used to develop and maintain the application, and finally, to modernize the infrastructure used to run and operate the application.

About the Amazon Web Services (AWS) / Micro Focus Technology Partnership

Over the past year, Micro Focus engineering teams have been working closely with their AWS counterparts to support AWS as they have been building their new AWS Mainframe Modernization service that greatly simplifies the process of modernizing mainframe applications. This partnership has resulted in a new AWS Service offering powered by Micro Focus Enterprise technology that delivers these key benefits:

  • Customers now have a consistent, repeatable, and patterned way to move their business-critical applications from the mainframe onto the AWS cloud.
  • Risk is greatly reduced and time to modernize is shortened by leveraging the managed service platform which handles many aspects of the development process and provides the elastic, high availability infrastructure with just a few clicks.
  • Effort is spent in the right place – delivering application value. Operational complexity is reduced. Tuning and managing the platform for high availability and elasticity are taken care of by the AWS Mainframe Modernization platform. Time is now spent where it matters most – delivering key business value by modernizing and extending the application.
  • Agility is increased. Developer productivity is improved by leveraging a modern AWS-integrated DevOps toolchain and pipeline enabling more agile processes and reduced time to publish application changes into production.
  • Robust integrations with AWS services are provided behind the scenes in the managed service including: Amazon Aurora , Amazon Cloudwatch, IAM, Amazon Cognito, Elastic Load Balancing, Amazon EFS/FSx and Amazon ElastiCache.
  • Cost effectiveness is improved via utilization of pay-as-you-go resources and automatic elasticity to meet workload needs and user demand.

Under the Hood: AWS Mainframe Modernization Key Components

The same proven Micro Focus suite of tools for mainframe modernization that have been used in thousands of customer mainframe modernization projects over the past three decades are critical components of the new AWS Mainframe Modernization solution. The tools are now exposed as part of a series of steps to enable you to move mainframe applications and data to AWS.

These steps include:

Analyze uses Micro Focus Enterprise Analyzer to build a repository of application artefacts to analyse and assess  mainframe application complexity and dependencies and then assess the impact of moving these applications to the cloud.

Develop creates a development environment and CI/CD pipeline to enable you to maintain and modernize applications using the latest development tools from Micro Focus. Enterprise Developer provides an Eclipse based environment for rapid development and, coupled with the application knowledge from Enterprise Analyzer enables developers to understand, develop, build and test application changes.

Deploy automates the creation of tailored, high availability and elastic infrastructure and the mechanisms to deploy your applications. Built around Micro Focus Enterprise Server, a scalable production engine, mainframe applications can be deployed onto alternative platforms that meet and often exceed your enterprise requirements for reliability, availability and serviceability.

Operate business critical systems deployed onto the AWS Mainframe Modernization managed runtime whether this is performing system maintenance, applying application updates, monitoring the health of the system, or diagnosing problems. The managed runtime provides the capabilities to ensure you can meet operational objectives for the applications that have been moved.

The Analyze-Develop-Deploy-Operate steps are not only used for an initial migration of your mainframe applications they are also used for ongoing application maintenance and onward modernization once you have deployed to the AWS cloud.

We will be exploring in a future blog how to automate the development and deployment process into a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) DevOps pipeline leveraging AWS DevOps infrastructure but let’s take a closer look at the managed runtime deployment environment.

Overview of AWS Mainframe Modernization managed runtime Environment

AWS Mainframe Modernization environment provisioning

The AWS Mainframe Modernization service provides a consistent and repeatable way to move business-critical applications from the mainframe onto the AWS cloud. The service provides a pre-tailored platform with high availability, elasticity, and security built-in taking full advantage of the scale out capabilities that Micro Focus Enterprise Server provides.

You choose from templated deployment patterns and the managed services provisions the infra-structure required to run the application on the Micro Focus execution environment in a high availability, elastic manner. You don’t have to design the high availability infrastructure architecture or provision and configure load balancers, clusters of compute resources, and databases. The runtime environment is managed by the service and you simply configure your operational capacity needs and make choices around security and networking requirements.

AWS Mainframe Modernization service encapsulating Enterprise Server – Standalone Runtime Environment

AWS Mainframe Modernization service encapsulating Enterprise Server – High Availability Cluster

Single instance or high availability environments can be defined that encapsulate Enterprise Server into the AWS Mainframe Modernization service.

AWS Mainframe Modernization Environment List

Customers can define multiple independent environments in the AWS Mainframe Modernization service to execute independent application workloads.

AWS Mainframe Modernization Create Application

The AWS Mainframe Modernization service enables customers to define applications independently from the environment. This process means applications definitions can be maintained as source and can be plugged in a CI/CD process to automate the deployment of changes.

Once an application has been deployed and is running in the AWS Mainframe Modernization runtime it can then be easily access through your existing 3270 interfaces by using Micro Focus Host Access for the Cloud, which is available for a free trial from the AWS Market place.

It provides 3270 terminal emulation over HTTPS for end users accessing applications deployed into the AWS Mainframe Modernization runtime environment. Crucially, from a security perspective, legacy TN3270 protocol traffic between the terminal emulator and the application environment stays within the cloud platform.

Host Access for the Cloud also provides rich support for a variety of cloud-friendly authentication methods that include multi-factor capabilities to provide authentication and authorization for host applications.

Configuring Host Access for the Cloud is very simple. All that is needed is the IP address and port of the TN3270 endpoint for the application you’ve deployed onto the AWS Mainframe Managed runtime.

Once the session is configured, users can connect to the running application interactively using a robust terminal emulation interface that supports all the traditional terminal emulation features that end users rely on today.

Host Access for the Cloud end-user Experience

Next Steps – Start Your Modernization Journey Now

The AWS Mainframe Modernization service that includes the Micro Focus Enterprise product set accelerates your modernization journey by providing a consistent, repeatable, and patterned way to move applications to the cloud. Risk is greatly reduced and time to modernize is shortened by leveraging the managed service platform which handles many aspects of the development process and provides the elastic, high availability deployment infrastructure with just a few clicks.

If you’re attending AWS re:Invent 2021 in person or virtually, visit the Micro Focus booth and landing page to get started and engaged with Micro Focus and AWS to perform a rapid assessment of your applications.

Lastly if you want to try out the AWS Mainframe Modernization Managed service for yourself then it is located here:

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