There are precedents for moving mainframe applications to other servers, but there are also several adjustments and risks involved.
Application reengineering started in the 1990s. The mainframe was supposedly dying, so applications were rebuilt to run on other types of servers.
The data center industry formulated several mainframe application migration methods. You can forklift the application in an emulation mode onto distributed servers, rebuild applications by rewriting them for the new system or find a replacement application that already runs on distributed servers.
Physically getting an application to run on new servers is only one consideration.
Workflows might change via business process reengineering to allow other applications and workflows to use the data on distributed servers.
Also consider security. The mainframe is an Evaluation Assurance Level 5+ environment, the strongest security rating in the computing industry. Reevaluate your security precautions if applications migrate to other platforms, especially when you're working with applications for the banking and financial industries.
Data proximity is also a potential issue. Generally, the closer data is to a processor, the faster the application performs. If you move the app to distributed servers, processing speed will decrease. If you choose to snapshot data from a mainframe to a distributed server and then massage that data, it could create a data management issue.
If you undergo a mainframe application migration to a distributed computing environment, performance might suffer. Most IT professionals don't understand the mainframe's huge I/O subsystem that enables it to deal with large volumes of information and transactions. Mainframe processors can focus on compute activities as opposed to managing I/O. Determine whether that distributed environment has the resources to match the mainframe in terms of I/O processing. It might mean that the right distributed environment hardware and software costs significantly more than the mainframe.
About the author:
Joe Clabby is the president of Clabby Analytics and has more than 32 years of experience in the IT industry, with positions in marketing, research and analysis. Clabby is an expert in application reengineering services, systems and storage design, data center infrastructure, and integrated service management. He has produced in-depth technical reports on various technologies, such as virtualization, provisioning, cloud computing and application design.
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