Mainframe to mobile: Transforming zEnterprise applications
Christian Karasiewicz 270005XS4E Visits (9076)
This blog post is contributed by Michael Lavacca, a Technical Sales Specialist for Enterprise Modernization software with an emphasis in IBM Mobile Enterprise strategies.
When most people hear mainframe they think of massive refrigerator-sized boxes sitting in some laser-guarded underground vault, lying in wait for Tom Cruise to rappel down the ventilation shaft and hack its coveted data. IBM’s enterprise customers who are actually using the IBM System z platform, however, understand the complete fallacy of such Tom-foolery (granted though, they can get rather hefty, and it does make for a sweet action sequence).
In contrast, when most people hear mobile they think of snazzy new smartphones, tablets, watches, glasses and any other hip gadgets or gizmos for conveniently accessing information and media. Mobile has become the cultural standard for consumers and employees alike to exchange content with their favorite social networks and businesses.
What common ground could these two platforms possibly have? Much more than meets the LED-strained eye, my friend. IBM has labored over the years to not only revitalize the System z platform from its archaic image but also to enhance its (already impressive) underpinnings to effectively host and manage the latest cloud, analytics, big data and mobile platforms.
Specifically, I would like to demonstrate how we can take an old 3270 (green-screen) application running on System z and transform it to be accessible from mobile devices by using IBM enterprise modernization solutions. For this example we will take a basic Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction called EGUI (or CICS Catalog Manager) that is shipped with IBM CICS Transaction Server and give our users a new mobile interface to use. There is no source code we need to change on the original application, and it can then be accessed from multiple interfaces, based on the preference of the user. (But who wouldn’t want to use the fancy new mobile version?)
Here’s the high-level steps overview:
1. Build, test and deploy web services for the host application.
2. Build, test and deploy mobile application front end.
3. Connect the host and mobile applications.
And voila! We have a jazzy new mobile interface that can do everything the old green-screen version could and much, much more.
For a detailed write-up including all the nitty-gritty details on how we did it, see this developerWorks article authored by my esteemed colleague and mentor, Regi Barosa, who has extensive experience in the enterprise modernization arena.
Also, here is the YouTube video of Regi walking through the process step-by-step: Mobilize the Mainframe walkthrough. Pardon his Boston accent, as he would say!
Finally, here is a video I recorded specifically focused on the interface transformation from green-screen to mobile: Mainframe to mobile transformation.
For more on the beautiful coupling between IBM System z and mobility, read here.
Please comment below with your thoughts, questions and how you can see this working within your own organization!