Blog Entry Archives - TmaxSoft
TmaxSoft Named a Mainframe Modernization Software Leader for the Second Year in a Row.
Read the Full Report

How OpenFrame helped an insurance company modernize its mainframe

A nationally known insurance company burdened with an out-of-date, expensive and inflexible legacy IBM mainframe was looking to make its infrastructure more available, scalable, resilient and performance-centric. They identified migrating their workload to Microsoft Azure as the best approach but needed to determine the fastest, most affordable and least risky migration method.

After considering numerous options, they settled on TmaxSoft OpenFrame as their preferred mainframe re-platforming approach and the best way to kickstart their modernization journey.

OpenFrame benefits include:

  • Fast deployments, often as fast as six months and seldom longer than 12 months
  • Supports COBOL, Assembler, PL/I, Easytrieve and more legacy technologies
  • Reduces annual run costs
  • Horizontal and vertical scalability
  • No change to the end-user experience or application business logic
  • Supports both containers and virtualized environments


Re-platforming is the process of producing an exact copy of an application, workload, and all associated data and moving it from one environment to another. This rehosting process ensures all the functionality of the mainframe is kept complete, with the same user experience, but instead of it being housed in a costly, inflexible on-premises mainframe, it has moved to the public or private cloud.

Migrating workloads to the cloud is complicated because there are many elements to consider, among them servers, storage, networking, monitoring, identity and access management, subscription and tenant creation. Security and compliance requirements are also critical, as are system backups and disaster recovery options. While not every component needs to be 100% operational at the beginning, a plan needs to take into account every aspect, including how and when each component will be plugged in.

TmaxSoft OpenFrame is a rehosting solution that makes it easy to shift existing mainframe applications to Microsoft Azure using a no-code approach. Since the code doesn’t change, neither does the user experience, and no data is lost. TmaxSoft quickly migrates an existing application and is particularly compatible with Microsoft Azure and its landing zone architecture.

Azure Landing Zones

An Azure landing zone is an environment created to ensure all your applications are migrated, modernized and innovated safely and at scale. In other words, it’s the platform that establishes the foundation needed to host your workloads in Azure.

TmaxSoft worked with Azure to put together an OpenFrame on Azure landing zone accelerator based on their extensive experience and the methodologies within the Cloud Adoption Framework. The fully automated Azure Resource Manager template builds out the full architecture of management groups and subscriptions, along with core Azure and OpenFrame services. As the migration of the legacy mainframe workloads is mapped out, this landing zone accelerator helps to build foundational services to host workloads in Azure. This also helps to automate the future infrastructure build-out of recommended foundational services to support a continuous modernization journey to the cloud.

pictured: a mainframe flowchart

Migration, Simplified

Building the IT infrastructure for mainframe systems, ensuring it is highly scalable, available and resilient, and installing and configuring a vast array of software products is a lengthy, complex and costly process. This impacts time to market and business continuity and creates a bottleneck to business innovation. OpenFrame on Azure solves the mainframe migration problem, lowering operational costs, adding new agility, scalability and resiliency and opening the door for future modernization. By incorporating a landing zone accelerator, the proper infrastructure can also be implemented quickly and is easier to manage and operate.

By leveraging OpenFrame on Azure landing zone accelerator, the insurance company started on the right path to mainframe modernization and now has a foundational framework that lowers costs and improves functionality and infrastructure efficiency.

OpenFrame can do the same for you. Learn more by reading the article Migrate IBM mainframe applications to Azure with TmaxSoft OpenFrame.

For more information about the benefits of migration, watch our webinar “Mastering Mainframe Migration: A Case Study with Microsoft Azure.” During the webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Why OpenFrame can deliver both improved performance and cost efficiencies
  • What applications are better suited to an OpenFrame environment
  • How mainframe migration doesn’t have to disrupt operations

Watch the webinar here.


AWS Migration Made Easy With OpenFrame

While most large-scale companies have traditionally used mainframes to host and run their software applications, that’s rapidly changing. Faced with escalating maintenance costs and modernization challenges, more and more companies are migrating those applications to the cloud. The benefits are remarkable—they let companies move and innovate faster, scale globally and get better and faster insights from their data.

Unfortunately, despite the many advantages, migrating to the cloud is not always an easy decision. After all, many businesses have invested a great deal of time and expense into building and maintaining their current legacy systems. These businesses fail to consider that, over time, an obsolete mainframe system will only grow more challenging to maintain, costly and restrictive. The migration itself can also be complicated and risky.

That’s why OpenFrame from TmaxSoft is such a miraculous and ingenious solution—OpenFrame migration is faster, easier, more cost-effective than other options, and practically risk-free. OpenFrame is particularly beneficial when migrating to AWS—the most popular cloud computing platform.

Is AWS migration right for you? We’ve collaborated with AWS to list the eight business drivers that are the biggest motivators for migration. One of these is cost reduction—AWS migration can lead to up to 75% annual cost reduction per customer. Migration also can increase staff productivity. Once again, the numbers behind this motivator are impressive: AWS migration has been shown to increase IT staff productivity by 62%.

We won’t give away every reason to migrate your mainframe to AWS, but we encourage you to learn about them all by downloading our free eBook, 8 Business Drivers Motivating Mainframe Migration to the Cloud With AWS.

Download the eBook here, and see why mainframe migration is essential, and also why AWS migration with OpenFrame is the best choice.

Download the eBook now.

You will also want to watch our upcoming webinar in November, where we go into even greater detail on the mainframe migration business drivers, and why OpenFrame is the complete migration solution. Check back on our website for details soon.


TmaxSoft Named a Leader for the Second Year in a Row in the ISG Provider Lens Mainframe Services & Solutions 2022 Quadrant Report

We are excited to announce that we were recently recognized by ISG Provider Lens™ for the second year in a row as a Leader in the quadrant for Mainframe Modernization Software as part of the Mainframe Services & Solutions 2022 Quadrant Report. As part of a highly competitive market, TmaxSoft was one of 45 vendors and service providers considered across five quadrants. According to the report, “The mainframe service market continues to grow as per ISG’s expectations for both conventional mainframe outsourcing and consulting services to migrate mainframes to the cloud.”

The Mainframe Modernization Software quadrant “…is relevant to enterprises in the U.S. for evaluating vendors of modernization application software within the mainframe ecosystem.” It states, “TmaxSoft OpenFrame is a complete mainframe modernization solution to rehost and refactor applications on any x86 platform, including all public cloud providers.”

The report highlights the strengths of OpenFrame, including phased modernization capabilities, a comprehensive set of languages and technologies, and rapid access to mainframe data.

OpenFrame modernizes an existing mainframe from a monolithic architecture to a cloud-ready, multi-tier architecture. It supports both containers as well as virtualized environments for deployment on an open system. OpenFrame supports deployments that require high transactions per second and can scale to over 100,000 MIPS.

You can view the full report here.


TmaxSoft and Mage announce a strategic partnership

We are very excited to announce our new partnership with MageData, the leading enterprise data privacy and data security solutions provider. Mage will now be including Tibero, our high-performance RDBMS platform, as an integral part of their solution offering.

Tibero is the enterprise RDBMS of choice for the virtual data center, offering customers up to 97% compatibility with Oracle databases, providing a highly cost-effective alternative for companies looking to deploy the MageTM platform.

“In the current market, data security and privacy are the topmost threats for customers. MageData offers solutions that help address these threats and further strengthen them with our database, Tibero, through their integrated platform. TmaxSoft with MageData would enable customers to manage those threats while having substantial cost savings on the database front,” said Beau Kolba, Senior Marketing Manager, TmaxSoft.

Partner Spotlight: TmaxSoft
TmaxSoft is a global software innovator focused on cloud, infrastructure and legacy modernization, with solutions that offer enterprise CIOs viable alternatives to support their global IT powerhouses and drive a more competitive advantage. Founded in 1997 in South Korea, TmaxSoft now has over 1,700 employees in 20 strategic centers worldwide.

System Spotlight: Tibero
Tibero is the leading Relational Database Management System (RDBMS). A high-performance, highly secure, highly scalable system for enterprises looking to fully leverage their mission-critical data. Tibero provides an enhanced view of processing, managing and securing large-scale databases, bridging the gap between legacy relational databases and running workloads in a cloud-based environment

Partner Spotlight: Mage
Winner of seven Cyber Security Awards for 2020, Mage is the #1 solutions provider for data security and data privacy software for global enterprises. Built on a patented solution, the Mage platform enables organizations to stay on top of privacy regulations while ensuring data security and privacy. Top Swiss banks, Fortune 10 organizations, Ivy League universities and industry leaders in the financial and healthcare arenas now protect their sensitive data with the Mage platform.

View the press release from Mage here.


TmaxSoft. Celebrating Women Who Matter.

At TmaxSoft, we’re committed to innovation, and helping our customers manage mainframe modernization to leverage their critical data more efficiently. During Women’s Appreciation Month, we celebrate the outstanding achievements of exemplary women who continually work to make our technology more exceptional.

This year, we are highlighting three of our most remarkable mainframe specialists.


Eunjoo photoEunjoo Ha
VP of Project Delivery, New York

An avid golfer, Eunjoo is also on top of her game here at TmaxSoft. A mainframe specialist for 28 years, Eunjoo counts, among her many accomplishments, working on the first U.S. mainframe migration project using OpenFrame for GE Capital, as well as leading mainframe migration projects for Samsung Life Insurance and the Korean Coast Guard. Currently, Eunjoo oversees all TmaxSoft mainframe migration projects across the entire U.S.


Kate photoKate Park
Project Manager, New Jersey

As one of our valued project managers, Kate is all about teamwork. Coffee in hand, she manages her team with finesse, and leads in their successful delivery of mainframe migration projects for the likes of BMO, HPS and FBB, using OpenFrame. Kate loves hiking on the weekends, so we know she’ll have no problem rising to the top.


Teeun photoTaeeun Kwon
Software Engineer, Toronto

Taeeun lives and breathes all things mainframe. With a background in Unix and RDBMS and a keen attention to detail, she was a perfect fit for joining us at TmaxSoft. Taeeun is responsible for implementing OpenFrame by designing system specifications, testing them to meet user needs, and providing innovative mainframe migration solutions for companies such as HPS.


This month and every month, we celebrate the women of TmaxSoft. With over 170 women mainframe and IT specialists, TmaxSoft is committed to empowering women of all ages to reach their goals and achieve success in the world of technology.


Hear how OpenFrame helped one company innovate while increasing their agility and ROI

SC Data Center had their core business systems housed on an IBM mainframe. But this closed environment prevented them from quickly responding to market changes and customer demands. They needed to innovate and modernize, which meant they needed to move to the cloud. After looking at a number of modernization options, they came to the same conclusion that many companies around the world share: rehosting with OpenFrame was the best choice.

Said Steve Cretney, VP & CIO at SC Data Center, “TmaxSoft OpenFrame gave us a platform we could trust, a platform we can scale with, and a platform we knew was reliable and available to us 24/7.”

And Tyler Sievers, IT Director at SC Data Center said, “TmaxSoft OpenFrame has enabled the team to be more inventive and creative, and as a result, we’ve seen several projects kick-off which may have taken us six months to complete prior.”

Hear more from Steve Cretney and Tyer Sievers of SC Data Center about their experience working with TmaxSoft.

See the entire case study, and learn why SC Data Center now plans to make OpenFrame a hub for all the company’s technology infrastructure.

Download the complete case study

Paul Bengtson is the Vice President of Sales for TmaxSoft. He has spent more than 20 years selling technology in segments as diverse as big data, analytics, ERP, cloud and SaaS. Paul joined TmaxSoft in 2016 from EFI where he was Sales Director for its ERP solutions. He also has held senior leadership positions with Radius Solutions, where he was VP of North American Sales, and with Misomex, Artwork Systems (now Esko) and Ace Hardware. Paul has a BS in MIS from the University of Iowa and an MBA in MIS from Benedictine University.


The 7Rs of migration—where does mainframe modernization fit?

Mainframe modernization is the process of migrating or improving an enterprise’s existing legacy mainframe footprint in the areas of interface, code, cost, performance and maintainability. In some instances, mainframe modernization can encompass the complete migration of code and functionality to a platform that is based on newer technology and/or hosted in the cloud. But some organizations are falling behind. Their leaders urgently need to ask themselves a crucial question: how do I extract more value from my mainframe investment and be ready for digital transformation?

Digital transformation strategies motivate modernization of underlying systems and, more importantly, the applications that reside therein. The challenge, as usual, is deciding which applications and systems to modernize, determining how to modernize, and identifying the destination for modernized applications. This is where organizations can start to develop a migration strategy that includes mainframe modernization. Consider where your cloud journey fits into your organization’s larger business strategy and find opportunities for alignment of vision. A well-aligned migration strategy, with a supporting business case and plan, sets the proper groundwork for cloud adoption success. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has laid out six different migration options that are called the 6Rs.

What are the 6Rs?

A very crucial aspect of developing a cloud migration strategy is to collect application portfolio data and rationalize to determine which of the 6Rs--rehost, re-platform, re-factor/re-architect, re-purchase, retire, and retain--is right for your cloud migration plan.


Rehosting is a migration strategy also known as “lift and shift.” It is a quick solution for migrating to the cloud and moves applications, software, and data to the cloud with little effort. The sweet spot of lift and shift migrations is to identify applications that can take advantage of the cloud without architectural changes. Rehosting may lead companies to re-architecting in the future, once a cloud-based operation is in place. Many migration projects have shown that it is easier to re-architect applications while already in the cloud, as opposed to refactoring an application and then migrating it.


Re-platforming, also referred to as “lift, tinker, and shift,” involves moving legacy applications almost as-is, but replacing some components to take advantage of the cloud capabilities. Re-platforming may lead companies to re-architecting in the future, once a cloud-based operation is in place. In many cases, this could involve switching from self-hosted infrastructure to managed services, allowing you to scale freely on the cloud.


Re-factoring, which can also be referred to as re-architecting or rebuilding, involves breaking down the application’s components into smaller building blocks, microservices and wrapping them into containers for a deployment on a container platform. It is the strategy that usually leads to the highest transformation cost. However, it allows optimized use of the cloud, leading to cloud-native benefits and making the application future proof. In doing so, the affected application is refactored using an alternative application architecture.


Repurchasing is the strategy where the legacy application is fully replaced by a SaaS-solution that provides the same or similar capabilities. The migration effort heavily depends on the requirements and options of migrating live data. Some SaaS-replacements for on-premise products from the same vendor offer an option to quickly migrate data with little effort or even automatically. This option might not be feasible for custom built applications.


The retire strategy relies on applications that need to explicitly be phased out. This makes sense when the business capabilities this application provides are not needed anymore or are offered redundantly. We see this often in those cases where organizations recently went through mergers and acquisitions. Due to legacy operating systems and applications not being supported by cloud environments, you should take the cloud transformation project as a welcome opportunity to screen your application portfolio and reduce obsolete applications on the go.


The retain Strategy, or revisit, means that you cannot migrate the application at this point since you are lacking important information or are hindered by other factors. Unfortunately, there are some applications that if you were to move the cloud, it would not make any sense. For example, this could be due to latency requirements, compliance reasons, or simply because the benefits of a migration won't outweigh the cost and effort to be invested. You should, however, always set yourself a reminder to “revisit” the application because the technical or compliance landscape might have changed.

Relocate: An unofficial 7th R

A company called CloudSoft looked into the initial 6Rs from AWS and claimed there was an additional one. That’s why a 7th R, relocate, shows up in some migration conversations. Now, AWS is thinking about incorporating relocate into their strategies, although they have not done so yet. In this approach, the organization takes the existing system and relocates infrastructure to the cloud without purchasing new hardware, rewriting applications, or modifying the existing operations. This migration scenario is very specific to VMware Cloud on AWS and can be a faster route to the cloud for VMware customers. It requires a significant amount of planning. IT teams must determine how existing data will be migrated and leveraged in the new system and account for the business disruption of user training and learning curves

Where does mainframe modernization fit in the Rs?

There are multiple ways to approach mainframe modernization. How you proceed will vary based on a range of factors, and much depends on what resources are available and what goals the agency seeks to achieve. The adoption of mainframe modernization as an approach for updating decades-old legacy systems and applications is growing. Modernizing your mainframe, which also improves strategic services in marketing, finance, sales and other areas of the enterprise, is the most dependable option. It can quickly pay off with cost savings, greater flexibility, and adaptability to quickly changing demands from employees and customers who expect instantaneous, highly personalized experiences similar to those on their mobile devices.

Originally, when companies began to first look into mainframe modernization, they believed rehosting to be the only option. This strategy is a widely chosen due to the relatively low migration effort. The virtual machine and the application that runs in are simply copied as-is to a managed mainframe environment or vendor specific cloud environment. The most important benefit of this strategy is migration speed because no architectural refactoring needs to be done. Moreover, the migration can often be done automatically using a variety of lift-and-shift or so-called workload mobility tools.

However, rehosting has a major drawback. Using this approach, the applications are not decoupled from the operation system and restricted in terms of vendor choice. It is not possible to exploit the cloud's entire potential since the applications are not built in a cloud-native fashion. Simply rehosted applications are, compared to cloud-native applications, not decoupled from the operating system and are usually much more difficult to scale. Experience shows that from a cost perspective, rehosting usually does not lead to any major advantage. In order for the mainframe modernization to be successful, it is imperative to not only rehost, but re-platform and re-factor as well.

Mainframe modernization has its own Rs

There are three paths for enterprises embarking on this mainframe modernization journey, depending on the maturity level they plan to reach: reducing MIPS, retiring legacy orphan apps, and replacing the mainframe.

Reducing MIPS by re-platforming

MIPS, an acronym for million instructions per second, is a measurement of CPU resource consumption most often associated with batch processing and online transaction processing. When you consider how long your mainframe and its applications have been running, it is highly likely that your MIPS measure in the thousands and perhaps in the tens of thousands. The first path to mainframe modernization is to figure out how to reduce MIPS. Organizations can drastically reduce MIPS consumption by identifying high consumption workloads in their existing environments and offloading these workloads onto the cloud. If your organization decides to go this route, it becomes proactive, able to identify and address problems before they happen. By re-platforming your high MIPS consuming workloads, you can reuse the original business logic and other assets from your current mainframe system.

Replacing the mainframe by re-platforming first and then re-factoring

Sometimes an organization’s mainframe has been around for so long that its apps and systems are draining resources and slowing software and application performance. This second path solves that problem in two steps. First, it lifts and shifts all the applications residing in a single mainframe to the cloud. Once there, the applications—or a large part of their code base—is re-architected to take advantage of cloud-based features and the flexibility and elasticity that comes with them. As a result, the full value of mainframe apps can be unlocked and exposed as mobile and digital applications that are more agile and responsive to customer expectations and business changes.

No matter which R, there’s a mainframe modernization that’s right for you

Mainframe modernization with TmaxSoft can transform user experiences and unlock the value of your mainframe apps by with comprehensive technology support and platform flexibility, which enables you to choose cloud, on-premises, and container deployments. Because the operating systems are open with multiple database and utilities options, they integrate well with the newer technology required. Check out our eBook to learn more.



A mainframe rehosting story from a U.S. Bank

Banking and finance today require agility, or the ability to respond quickly when the market changes or a disruptor enters the field. Fintech startups and your savviest competitors are winning customers by delivering what they want—speed. They use the cloud, modern architectures, platforms as a service, NoSQL databases, containers, data lakes, and microservices to provide the fast, high-performance engagement customers expect.

The most successful and competitive businesses in the world are digital. What do we mean by “digital?” Think of Amazon, Uber, Google, Tesla, and Rocket Mortgage. They use the latest digital and web technology to reach customers, develop products, monitor sales and transactions, analyze data, and more. Many of them have been cloud companies from the start rather than companies who have invested millions in mainframe infrastructure to be able to send out paper bills. As more businesses leave traditional computing and analog ways of doing business and more fintechs shake up the banking sector, it’s impossible to picture any bank beating competitors without a digital overhaul.

So, 20th-century solutions such as on-premises mainframes, data centers, data warehouses, relational databases, and software, long the backbones of finance, now hold banks back. For the agility you need to win and keep the hearts and minds of your customers, it’s time to consider giving your older technology a rest and creating a modern architecture and applications by rehosting your mainframe.

The financial services industry is the most active market for rehosting right now

Various analysts and industry experts estimate that more than half of core business processes are still running on a mainframe system. In many ways, the mainframe is one of the most reliable marvels of the 20th century that still exists. However, the combination of maintaining and relying on old and usually outdated mainframe applications is a costly endeavor. And the morass of tangled patches and updates that keep them running creates an inflexible environment that affects performance.

Mainframe infrastructure is also too rigid to deliver the agility that banks need to address customer expectations for a streamlined banking experience from mobile app to ATM to branch. Cloud-first applications and modern development practices have replaced the mainframe as the source of innovation in a disruptive environment. Cost considerations and changes in the workforce are also having an impact on mainframe’s viability as a long-term technology solution.

Rehosting offers banks a solution for addressing the challenges of maintaining a decades-old mainframe and its applications. Rehosting moves your legacy business systems from a mainframe environment to a more modern, open platform. The result is the cost savings and the greater flexibility needed to drive and deliver instantaneous, highly personalized experiences similar to those on mobile devices to consumers, investors, mortgage brokers, capital markets, major accounts, and more. A number of banks have been using rehosting to solve their mainframe challenges, including a major U.S. Bank.

Mainframe hosting at a major U.S. Bank: A success story

The core business system of a global bank was housed in an IBM mainframe with a footprint of 19,000 batch processes. The company wanted to move its Portfolio Management System (PMS) suite of applications from ADS/O and COBOL/IDMS running on a mainframe, to COBOL running with Oracle on Unix without changing the user interface in the process.

As with most homegrown systems, it was built out of necessity and to serve the business as it existed at the time. Over the decades, this small system increases in size and complexity to become the central nervous system of both the company’s direct and indirect business units, comprising four highly customized implementations. With over five million account schedules, 382 interfaces, 1,700 concurrent users, and 3.5 million transactions per day running against 71 million lines of code, the PMS system had come a long way from its humble roots.

However, using such a legacy system to support the whole business was incredibly risky; if their PMS went down, the business went with it.

The Solution

To tackle this project, the company selected TmaxSoft to deliver the solution. TmaxSoft assisted with the IDMS to CICS conversion work, and used its OpenFrame solution for rehosting the converted applications on Unix. OpenFrame provided various components to emulate the functionality of the different sections of the mainframe and was the ultimate landing place for the new open systems environment hosting the PMS suite of applications.

After rehosting, the bank has a lower-cost, more manageable environment. They report enhancements in CPU capability (10,000 MIPS), improvements in transactions per second (4x), a response time of 200 milliseconds, and optimized batch processing. Cost reductions were estimated to be $17.5 million in the first five years after the project.

What does mainframe rehosting offer your bank?

As the bank’s story shows, rehosting can offer your bank a cost-effective method of addressing the challenges of maintaining a decades-old mainframe and its applications. In recent years, the banking sector has been undergoing significant transformation, and modernization is a way to to get in on the ground floor. So if you choose to rehost your mainframe, your firm will be offered many benefits, which can include:

  • Rapid time-to-deployment, ensuring the fastest ROI
  • Reduced total cost of ownership that enables increased investment in innovation
  • No change to any application business logic or to the end-user experience
  • The ability to use your existing workforce and skills
  • Container-enabled and data modernization
  • Analysis of legacy source code as part of detailed assessment
  • Conversion to multi-tiered cloud-ready software architecture
  • Measures in place for regulatory compliance remain unchanged

Other variations of mainframe rehosting are MIPS reduction and re-platforming. MIPS is an acronym for “millions of instructions per second,” and it’s a measurement of computing resource consumption. MIPS reduction offloads high-consumption workloads in mainframe environments onto less costly open systems or the cloud. Re-platforming uses automated tools to convert legacy applications and mirrors their data structures onto an open system or cloud platform. It compiles the programs, translates the sequential files, and installs and configures a new environment.

How TmaxSoft can help

Mainframe rehosting in the cloud and infrastructure modernization offered by TmaxSoft OpenFrame and our other solutions—Tibero, JEUS/WebtoB, and Tmax—provide the performance, speed and availability needed to complement the demands of banking in the 21st century. The applications that are migrated to the cloud run in a modern architecture, so your bank or finance firm is more agile and competitive with a platform for future growth. Operating systems in rehosted mainframes are open, and they integrate with the new technology required to achieve a competitive edge.

Not only are there cost savings, but you gain greater flexibility, which can drive and deliver instantaneous, highly personalized experiences similar to those on mobile devices to customers, brokers, and branches. There is no negative impact on the enterprise or on the measures already in place to address regulatory compliance and data security, and it requires minimal training.

Paul Bengtson is the Vice President of Sales for TmaxSoft. He has spent more than 20 years selling technology in segments as diverse as big data, analytics, ERP, cloud and SaaS. Paul joined TmaxSoft in 2016 from EFI where he was Sales Director for its ERP solutions. He also has held senior leadership positions with Radius Solutions, where he was VP of North American Sales, and with Misomex, Artwork Systems (now Esko) and Ace Hardware. Paul has a BS in MIS from the University of Iowa and an MBA in MIS from Benedictine University.


What is mainframe modernization?

What is mainframe modernization? Basically, it is a solution for addressing the challenges of an aging, expensive mainframe full of legacy applications. Because many mainframes now struggle—and even fail—to meet ever-changing demands for digital innovation, agility, cloud-native and mobile apps, and omnichannel experiences, mainframe modernization offers a fast and cost-effective way out. You can even choose from several options for addressing the challenge. You can lift-and-shift your mainframe applications to the cloud or open systems, write new front-ends for its applications, or completely rewrite its applications.

This post defines mainframe modernization, explains how it works, offers reasons for choosing it, and shares examples of successful rehosting projects.

What mainframe modernization is

Mainframe modernization is a cost-effective method of addressing the challenges of maintaining a decades-old mainframe and its applications. Sometimes referred to as “rehosting,” or “lift and shift,” mainframe modernization moves (“lifts”) mission-critical and core applications off the mainframe and migrates (“shifts”) them to the cloud or, in some cases, to new hardware. The most comprehensive form of mainframe modernization is sometimes referred to as “replacement,” because result is the migration of all core business programs and data housed on the mainframe onto the modern system, and then shutting it down.

Other variations of mainframe modernization are MIPS reduction and re-platforming. An acronym for “millions of instructions per second,” MIPS is a metric for computing resource consumption. To reduce MIPS, you migrate high-consumption mainframe workloads to the cloud or less costly open systems. Re-platforming modernizes legacy applications and mirrors their data structures, using automated tools to convert them on the open system or cloud platform. It compiles the programs, translates the sequential files, and installs and configures a new environment. If the applications are migrated to the cloud, re-platforming can also include rearchitecting the applications so that they are cloud native.

How mainframe modernization works

Mainframe modernization recompiles mainframe applications in an open system, such as a multi-tiered, SQL-based x86 environment or the cloud, without changing business logic. This new environment runs specialized software that provides the development and execution environment required by traditional mainframe programming technology. Once the mainframe application is migrated, it can continue to function with minimal code changes.

The most effective mainframe modernization solution breaks legacy applications into isolated tiers and provides tools for moving mainframe data to an isolated database tier that supports industry-standard SQL databases. After the move is completed, you can access mainframe data with existing data analytics tools. You also have the choice of supporting mobile with presentation tools that address the application layer.

Who Is modernizing?

Curious about companies that modernized their mainframes? Here are two success stories.

Mainframe modernization reduces costs dramatically for a global insurer

The core business system (1,600 MIPS) of a global property and casualty insurance company was housed in an IBM mainframe with a footprint of 19,000 batch processes. After mainframe modernization, the insurance carrier has a lower-cost, more manageable environment. They report enhancements in CPU capability (10,000 MIPS), improvements in transactions per second (4x), a response time of 200 milliseconds, and optimized batch processing. Cost reductions were estimated to be $17.5 million in the first 5 years after the project.

A Major U.S. retailer reduces TCO and increases ROI by modernizing six mainframes

A major U.S. retailer’s 10 core business systems (9,500 MIPS) were housed in six IBM mainframes. Each year, licensing fees and the costs of maintaining the mainframes and their massive footprint of 93,271 batch processes increased significantly. To reduce costs and become more agile, the retailer chose a mainframe modernization solution for its IMS applications. The retailer reports a significant reduction in TCO, a 50% reduction in costs, and an increase in ROI when compared to the mainframe environment.

Why modernize your mainframe?

Now that you’ve seen how well mainframe modernization has worked for two enterprises, let’s build on that with five reasons why you should consider it.

1. Modernizing your mainframe reduces costs.

Mainframe modernization has been proven to dramatically reduce infrastructure and operating costs. For example, for the financial services arm of a global conglomerate, the costs of running a portfolio management system fell by 66% after rehosting. You can reallocate these cost savings to innovation, such as replacing legacy apps with more flexible, reusable, and modern ones that can deliver new customer experiences.

2. Mainframe modernization offers the opportunity to become cloud native.

Modernizing your mainframe enables you to create a fast, flexible foundation on the cloud for quickly responding to market change and future integration requirements with no proprietary lock-in. You can take advantage of modern technology, such as reusable components, microservices, and containers, so you can do more business faster.

3. Performance and reliability improve.

Your customers and employees expect a super-fast experience. Mainframe modernization creates an environment that dynamically scales based on business demand so that, even during peak processing, your end users experience the same maximum service and reliability.

4. You can modernize your mainframe with your current resources and skills.

Mainframe, COBOL, and PL/I experts are difficult to replace because younger programmers are trained in more modern language and technology. When you modernize your mainframe, your existing resources with any or all of these skills can be utilized. There’s no need to hire more.

5. Mainframe modernization is fast and low-risk.

Modernizing your mainframe can take as little as 9 months. Also, there are no changes to the underlying business logic or user interface and no negative impact on your enterprise. Your system operates the same, and you have an environment better suited for new technology and applications.

View the infographic here

Ready to modernize?

An industry leader in mainframe rehosting, TmaxSoft OpenFrame offers flexible solutions for your enterprise. In our eBook, Lift, Shift and Modernize: Proven Mainframe Modernization Strategies that Enable Digital Transformation, you can get more details about modernization options and which will suit you best, along with an introduction toTmaxSoft OpenFrame.


Moving to the cloud? Why you should consider Tibero for your RDBMS

If legacy and on-premises databases were core to running your business before 2020, it is highly likely that this is not the case now. What the events of 2020 and 2021 demonstrated is that data centers and on-premises data base infrastructure can be stressed to the breaking point by a sudden, intense, and significant rise in work from home, software-defined wide area networks, and distributed computing across the cloud and edge.

If you have decided to take advantage of modern technology that addresses work-from-home and distributed computing, you are probably moving legacy applications and workloads to the cloud. So, how much sense does it make to move applications to the cloud but leave data behind to be managed the same old way?

For the best results, transitions to the cloud should include a high-performance, highly secure, highly scalable relational database management system (RDBMS). If you want to fully leverage your mission-critical data in the cloud, TmaxSoft Tibero offers an enhanced view of processing, managing and securing large-scale databases. Tibero is certified and available on all major cloud service providers, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform. In this blog article, we explain why you should consider give your legacy modernization strategy a boost by implementing TmaxSoft Tibero in the cloud.

The end of vendor lock-in

On-premises, legacy databases and their management systems often have usage or licensing restrictions. Many companies feel locked-in to an inflexible monolith. They have little control over licensing. They can find themselves in a situation where the vendor has announced the end of support for the version of the database they currently have installed. Not only will they have to upgrade at a higher cost, but they might also need more infrastructure.

Tibero helps eliminate that hassle and inflexibility. When installed on the cloud, it offers enterprises the option of moving database management workloads to the cloud and a simple licensing model similar to software as a service (SaaS) subscription pricing. The difference between this business model and the established vendor model is striking. The result is a dramatic increase in flexibility while cutting TCO. Kia Motors and Brazilian pension fund FUNCEF have already achieved up to 90% cost reduction in database licensing and maintenance year over year.

Remarkable reliability, scalability, and stability

Tibero delivers reliable database transactions with active clustering technology. With innovative components like the Tibero Active Cluster (TAC) and the Tibero Standby Cluster (TSC), Tibero also provides full support for redundancy and failover options in the cloud. In the case of failover, TSC immediately uses “redo logs” to replicate the exact structure of the primary TAC cluster. If there is a site failure, TSC takes over and continues delivering database services without interruption. The government of the Indian state of Gujarat chose Tibero based on its shared disk clustering system environment.

Tibero stands out for its scalability to accommodate data warehouses and data lakes while also remaining compatible with traditional databases, which are generally not designed for the type of scalability you need in a world of accelerated digital transformation. Tibero can support very large databases—even in the petabyte range—scaling appreciably without regard for headroom. And it works with most commonly available virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions.

Consistent, high performance and data protection

In a world where impatient customers and users can sour on your company if app response times—which are affected by database transactions—aren’t almost instantaneous, multi-threaded Tibero efficiently uses resources and optimizes I/O processing to ensure high performance. Separate threads access data simultaneously, so the database can perform better. Malaysia’s leading credit reporting agency, CTOS, uses Tibero, and its query response time per 100 concurrent users has decreased by 94%.

Its filesystem and volume manager, known as Tibero Active Storage, features a clustering function that directly uses TAC when using shared disk space. With two-way and three-way mirroring for superior data protection, TAS striping reduces I/O latency by load balancing across all disks. To enhance your data protection, Tibero provides full and incremental online backup with automatic recovery.

A smooth and easy transition to cloud

One of biggest reasons to choose Tibero as your RDBMS in the cloud is how easy it is to make the switch. Unlike with other database vendors, there is no massive and tricky rewrite. An SQL conversion tool automatically translates the 90% of code that is SQL compliant. Tibero also supports direct translation for most vendor extensions like Oracle data types, Oracle commands, Oracle SQL extensions, Oracle stored procedures, Oracle schemas, Oracle RAC, and more. Tibero also supports similar extensions for MS SQL, DB2, as well as others.

One Tibero customer, Heel, a European natural medicine manufacturer and pioneer reported that their migration to Tibero went smoothly and that it is really easy to use. Heel adds that Tibero has delivered an 80% improvement in processes such as data loading, importing, and BI reporting. The data they need for analysis is up-to-date, perfect for smart business decisions. In addition, a U.S. retailer says they have benefitted from migrating IMS DB and VSAM files to Tibero, and the administrators are easily adapting to the open system environment.

Key takeaways

Tibero is a truly virtual, cloud-native RDBMS. Depending on your requirements, you can gradually or quickly migrate from their current databases to Tibero with complete control. Here is a brief summary of the reasons why it should be your RDBMS for your cloud migrations:

  • It is highly compatible with popular databases, making it a great replacement for legacy systems
  • It provides application compatibility without modification.
  • It accommodates the large data lakes and data warehouses that many enterprises depend on.
  • It is multi-threaded to maximize performance.
  • It uses active clustering technology to optimize reliability.
  • Its total cost of ownership is substantially lower than that of legacy systems.

Want to learn more?

Read this excellent article by Howard Cohen or sign up for a 30-day free trial of Tibero.

Raghu Radhakrishnan is the CEO & Managing Director of TmaxSoft India. With more than 27 years of sales and marketing experience in the IT industry, he drives global enterprises to adopt TmaxSoft technologies and help them solve their perennial problem of high cost of ownership. He joined TmaxSoft in 2015 and has held senior level positions with IBM, Modi Olivetti and Digital. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, India.