Relationship Advice for You and Your Mainframe

February 10, 2021


In the modern world, your IT strategy should be a hybrid one. Constantly evolving and increasingly complex. Long term success requires the ability to be flexible, responsive and open. It also requires a strong foundation. One that you trust. One that helps you to grow. One that endures. It’s a lot like relationships. The more you put into them, the more you get out of them. And in this relationship, the mainframe is a perfect match!

Investing in your mainframe delivers strong ROI and integrating it into your hybrid infrastructure can advance your transformation goals, provide competitive advantage and deliver on your SLAs. Investing in your mainframe is also an excellent way to ensure you’re prepared for growth. Sure… I’ve heard the detractors. I’ve also seen risky relationships where some fall head over heels for a new tech trend only to find the honeymoon phase fizzle quickly. You know what they say, the grass isn’t always greener...

As with any relationship, you need to (be willing to) give to get. You get an epic increase in value from your mainframe by modernizing it in place, opening it up, and bringing it closer to your frontend digital apps by integrating it with your hybrid cloud. To strengthen your relationship and gain even greater value from your mainframe, here’s the idea:

First – celebrate what you have and amplify the love. You have a tremendous amount of code invested in the mainframe, and you can depend on it. Your mainframe has been with you through thick and thin. While Cloud is an attractive focus that offers tons of new potential, it isn’t the answer to every question. Recognize that your mainframe offers extraordinary value, and that ignoring it as part of your overall IT strategy would be wasted potential. It delivers transactional scale, data and user protection, and always-on availability - and, yes, it also offers tremendous new potential. Cloud? It’s well suited for horizontal scaling, web and front-end app serving. Starting fresh may sound appealing, but ultimately requires rewriting enormous amounts of good, highly optimized code with new code that is more generic, unproven and potentially vulnerable. You’ll never recover that ROI. I’ve heard from customers time and again that modernizing in place is the best way forward. It’s easier, less risky - and burns fewer of your precious resources. Continuing to invest in enduring solutions like the mainframe and working with it enables you to get a substantial return on your relationship investment.

Second – open up to new experiences. Interaction with others is what makes life rich and exciting. Just as healthy relationships don’t exist in a vacuum, thriving IT platforms don’t operate in a silo. There is no need to limit yourself to Cloud OR mainframe. You should see your future as Cloud AND mainframe. When you get the mainframe out of the back office and connect it to your front-end world of apps and mobile devices you unleash all-new strategic value. Now, all your developers can build richer, more powerful digital applications that easily integrate with mainframe processes and data using the cloud-native tools they already know and love. You dramatically expand your talent pool. Suddenly you’re seeing each other in a whole new light.


Today, new open tools and technologies make it easy for the mainframe to open up and interact with others while also increasing security. Leveraging open APIs makes it easy to connect, automate, and combine operational and other data to integrate and manage across the hybrid environment. Your infrastructure is more predictive, efficient, and protected and your DevSec and Ops teams can work with the tools they know and love.

With Zowe, the first open source project for z/OS, any developer, sys admin, or sys prog can work with the platform just as they would with any other platform or cloud. By using the Zowe API Mediation Layer and a growing list of third-party tools like Service Now, you can speed mainframe development and operations and automate tasks like systems maintenance and software installs. This is true for basic mainframe operations jobs and dataset access, but also extends to tools like SYSVIEW, Vantage, IBM zNetview, CA 7, and z/OS Connect in addition to the heavy hitters like CICS, DB2, etc.


Imagine a young developer, Jeannie, hired straight out of university to work on the mainframe. She’s excited to discover that an open mainframe with integrations between Endevor and VS Code front ends and integrated CI/CD pipelines can take advantage of modern tools such as Git and Jenkins. Or the same with David, a Systems Programmer who, working with SYSVIEW and Service Now can automate service tickets, freeing him up to work on more strategic projects. In both cases, these mainframers are now using a common toolset that allows them to interact more with front-end teams, allowing them to work more collaboratively with them and share in their culture.

Broadcom calls this approach open-first. It makes it easier to bring your mainframe closer to your front-end world of digital apps. What you get is a stronger cloud with mainframe-like qualities and a more flexible mainframe with cloud-like characteristics – and you’ll attract new talent who are inspired to work on some of the business’s most critical processes, using the tools they know and love.

Finally – look to the future and grow together. Especially in a world of cloud and continuous innovation, your mainframe has an important and indispensable role to play. It’s not only the most reliable partner in your IT relationship but allows you to deliver powerful new value to service customers in innovative ways as well. Realize that you make a great team and make the commitment to evolve together to achieve that next phase of growth.

The mainframe is well-known as a workhorse for large transactional and batch workloads. They’re all about high throughput and derive value from the stability, security, and processing speed of the platform. So, they belong close to the data. You get a single source of truth. Better performance, trust and integrity.

But it’s a hybrid world and nothing lives in isolation. When these workloads work together with other cloud-native workloads like your mobile, web and digital front ends you not only ensure you’re delivering but making the most efficient use of your resources.

Exploiting containers on the mainframe now takes the friction out of the hybrid environment and allows you to easily bring applications closer to the data they need for optimal performance. How? Containers let you better componentize apps and expose them. This allows you to more easily consume and deploy parts of those apps in the environment, bringing them closer to the data. From there they can more quickly iterate – including moving components that would traditionally run on the cloud to the mainframe. These apps and processes can then run on the mainframe, shortening the distance between the front ends and legacy code – communicating at memory speed, more secure, more performant, so better ROI again.

When it comes to containers on the mainframe, their capability and exploitation is still maturing. But there is significant excitement around them. They serve as another example of how it’s becoming easier and easier to work with the mainframe and bring the mainframe’s qualities closer to your front-end world.

At Broadcom, when it comes to IT strategy we believe organizations should think of the mainframe as an AND not an OR proposition. To help you get the most of this relationship, we are committed to forging deep partnerships - our relationship with you - and investing in your success. Our promise extends beyond leading products and solutions and includes a range of no or low-cost customizable programs focused on everything from education and staffing to flexible licensing, rationalization, migration, knowledge sharing, and more.

When it comes to your relationship with your mainframe, you have a choice. You can keep it at arms-length and weaken your ROI, or invest in the relationship by opening up, modernizing in place, and integrating it as part of your future business growth and IT strategy.


To take your mainframe relationship to the next-level, we invite you to take advantage of our no-cost mainframe value optimization assessments or design thinking workshops today. Let’s make it a date.

Tag(s): Mainframe

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