Solving the mainframe risks

February 26, 2020

Contrary to what people have been claiming for years, the mainframe is still alive. Not from a luxury position but because in most of the cases it is running complex, custom made, mission critical applications.

Although the mainframe itself is still functioning well in terms of technology an increasing number of risks are emerging that organizations have to deal with one way or another.

In the era of IoT in many organizations the mainframe is more connected to internet services and is as such more vulnerable for cyber-attacks. It is estimated that these risks will only increase. In case of such an attack, the mainframe may be infiltrated or even taken down with major consequences.

Lack of baby boom mainframers
The most mainframers are baby boomers and they are rapidly retiring. Despite the efforts of IBM to educate a new generation of mainframers the number of pensionados exceeds the new entrants by large numbers. Due to this lack of skills the limited available resources are all allocated to keeping the mainframe running and there’s no time for innovation. In this case the risk of failure is high, and organizations are hoping and praying that there won’t be any serious failures to the system as they do not have the staff to solve it.

The limitations of outsourcing
While outsourcing mainframe maintenance may seem a solution, you do not want to solely depend on an external party that ends up knowing your applications better than you do.
Specifically, when the mainframe is at the heart of your business, you need to be in control.

 Data analytics
There’s a ton of valuable data on the mainframe. A lot of customer data has been gathered over the years. This data is an important source of business information which helps build a competitive advantage and forms the basis for innovation. However, it is hard to get it off of the mainframe and integrate it with modern analytics applications. This could potentially weaken a company’s market position and its ability to timely adapt to changing market conditions.

The complex important stuff remains
While the most standard applications have long been migrated off the mainframe. The more complex and important mainframe applications, applications that have been developed or customized in house a long time ago remain. Often, the programmers that created it have already left and there’s little to no documentation available. The available options: rewrite, move to standard out of the box application are either very time consuming, way too expensive or extremely complex and thus risky.

So, what is the right solution?
At Asysco we have over 35 years of experience. In our approach we migrate all the code, any data structure: whether flat/index files or hierarchical, network or relational databases to a relational database (choice of Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or DB2). We convert JCL/WFL/ECL/shell scripts to VB Scripts or Windows PowerShell and any other operational component like interfacing, security, batch scheduling, user management and so on, to their Windows based equivalents.

Our AMT platform uses intelligent and adaptive conversion algorithms (Asysco intellectual property) that prevent code bloat (typically no more that 20% code expansion) and has an extremely low conversion defect rate (industry leading benchmark). Paired with integrated and automated testing tools, this ensures that 100% automated conversion is achieved in just a few iterations (“code drops”) minimizing the impact of the migration as much as possible.

By all means, talk to companies we have worked with and hear it from the horse’s mouth:
Customer Reference videos