The Mainframe as a First-Class SOA Participant

Today’s business imperative for IT is to do more with less, and to respond to ever-changing business requirements efficiently and inexpensively. It is vital, therefore, for organizations to get the most value possible out of legacy technology. The movement to Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) demands that we reconsider the value of legacy and enhance its continued benefit to the business.

The business imperatives of agility and efficiency are core motivations for SOA, an approach for organizing existing IT resources to support changing business requirements in a flexible manner. For those organizations with legacy technologies like mainframes, SOA becomes a strategic approach for extending the value of of existing assets.

Simply incorporating the mainframe as a passive participant in a SOA implementation, however, does not fully leverage the inherent strengths of the mainframe — reliability, performance, scalability and security, to name a few. To fully exploit the mainframe with newer technologies and architectures, it is important to select an integration approach that provides industry standard interconnectivy without adding complexity, risk and cost.

A Mainframe Service Bus like DataDirect’s Shadow can provide such an integration foundation. Shadow provides a unified architecture for mainframe transformation supporting direct SQL access, real-time events, Web enablement, and the capability to both publish and consume Web Services. This type of middleware support can change the role of the mainframe and enable it to become a full-fledged, active participant in a SOA implementation.

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