IBM Z as a service brings mainframes closer to hybrid clouds


IBM continued its long journey of mainframe modernization, this time with plans that allow developers to build and test mainframe applications as a service in the public cloud for the first time.

Complementing the new IBM Z as a Service offering in IBM Cloud, the IBM Z and Cloud modernization stack is now available to accelerate the delivery of application modernization projects.

The modernization stack allows developers to take a standardized approach to IT automation across a variety of use cases, as well as eliminate the need to hire more expensive staff with specialized software management skills. mainframe owners.

The Modernization Stack is the first product to take advantage of the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center introduced in December to help users complete digital transformation projects faster, especially those involving open source.

The new offerings demonstrate IBM’s belief that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to modernizing mainframe-based environments, said Tarun Chopra, vice president of IBM Z Hybrid Cloud. Chopra pointed out that the offerings leverage both IBM z/OS and IBM Cloud capabilities.

“Developers now have access to more technical advancements, including security and resiliency for each platform,” Chopra said. “And with hybrid clouds, they can keep their workloads where they need to be, in the cloud, on-premises and at the edge.”

The Z-as-a-Service offering gives users access to public cloud environments on a pay-as-you-go basis, allowing them to use varying amounts of resources. It also enables self-provisioning of a z/OS virtual server instance that resides on the IBM Z platform in a logically isolated and secure space on the IBM cloud, IBM said.

The new service reduces the time it takes for developers to access the z/OS development and testing environments minutes instead of days, according to IBM. Additionally, development on IBM Cloud is up to 15x faster than similarly configured x86-based development and test competitors, according to IBM internal benchmarks.

The cloud modernization stack streamlines how developers access applications and data by building secure APIs. According to IBM, it also gives them easier access to enterprise-class DevOps environments where cloud-native development takes place using industry-standard tools.

One of these industry standard tools, Kubernetes, is supported in the cloud modernization stack. An analyst sees it as a key ingredient in helping users develop apps that can work across multiple hybrid clouds.

IBM is now telling users that if you want to modernize, the best way to do so is to use open source with Kubernetes, which has become a standard computing technology.

Frank DzubeckPresident, Communications Network Architects

“IBM’s missing piece in linking clouds and mainframes was their approach to DevOps,” said Frank Dzubeck, president of Communications Network Architects. “IBM is now telling users that if you want to modernize, the best way to do it is to use open source with Kubernetes, which has become a standard computing technology.”

Another analyst sees the new offerings as a reaction to mainframe users wanting modernize critical applications but are wondering whether to do it on the mainframe or move their applications to another easier-to-use platform.

“IBM is under intense pressure from users who want to modernize but cannot because [IBM’s mainframe] the tools are not modern,” said Judith Hurwitz, independent software strategy consultant. “IBM is making a lot of money with the Z platform, which gives users the option to stay on the Z platform as these tools allow them to continue with open source. projects.”

What might prove most appealing about the offering is that it gives users the ability to test and develop remotely on IBM’s systems, while emulating the appearance of working on their own. internal systems. This frees up users’ own mainframe cycles and other resources, Hurwitz said.

As Editor-in-Chief of TechTarget’s News Group, Ed Scannell is responsible for writing and editing breaking news, news analysis, and features focused on technology issues and trends affecting IT professionals. business computing..

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