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The Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe: A Robust Solution for Enterprise Apps

Many organizations face a tough choice: stick with the reliable on-prem mainframe or embrace the flexibility of the cloud. But there’s a third choice — the hybrid-cloud mainframe — a blend of on-prem mainframes and cloud computing gaining popularity for digital transformation.

But why mix mainframes with the cloud? Simple: despite the trend toward cloud migration, 90% of businesses still rely on mainframes for their reliability and performance. And while many are moving some of their mainframe apps to the cloud, 63% of their workload remains on-prem. These numbers highlight the lasting appeal of on-prem setups and the potential of blending them with cloud tech to get the best of both worlds.

Read on as we discuss the hybrid-cloud mainframe approach and explain how merging on-prem with the cloud can transform your organization’s computing setup.

What is a Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe?

A hybrid-cloud mainframe combines the reliability and power of mainframes with the scalability and flexibility of the cloud. Using this strategy, organizations can use mainframes for crucial tasks needing high performance while tapping into the cloud for dynamic resource allocation and on-demand services. Companies can keep their mainframe apps while developing new ones using cloud services. 

A recent IBM study found that 71% of top IT executives consider mainframe-based applications crucial to their business strategies. Since a complete shift to the cloud isn’t feasible for these firms, the hybrid cloud mainframe is a practical solution.

Benefits of Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe Approach

Let’s look at a few reasons why hybrid cloud is increasingly driving digital transformation across industries.

No Data Left Behind

The hybrid cloud method merges mainframe data with cloud systems, ensuring valuable data isn’t lost. This integration lets organizations use existing on-prem data with cloud-native applications, maximizing business value without extensive migration.

Scalability and Flexibility

Mixing mainframe infrastructure with cloud resources offers unmatched scalability and flexibility. This allows strategic workload allocation, swift response to business dynamics, and on-demand resource adjustments without hefty upfront cloud investments.

Maximize Analytics

This method unlocks business analytics by integrating vast on-prem data pools with advanced cloud analytics tools. It empowers organizations to derive insights, make informed decisions, and gain a competitive edge for faster innovation.

Cost-Effective Modernization

Organizations can modernize affordably through the hybrid cloud approach, gradually migrating mainframe workloads to the cloud while maintaining core mainframe functions. This minimizes risk, lowers costs, and facilitates a smooth transition.

Neither an Either-Or Situation

Unlike traditional approaches, hybrid cloud doesn’t force a choice between mainframe and cloud technologies. It allows maintaining legacy systems while embracing cloud benefits, leveraging the strengths of both to meet evolving business needs.

Contact ModLogix to learn more about our cloud migration services and solutions and how we modernize strategic mainframe apps for the cloud.

Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe Apps Migration Options

Different approaches to mainframe hybrid cloud are tailored to factors like application complexity, business needs, budget, and long-term IT strategy. Let’s explore these options.

Lift-and-Shift

In Lift-and-Shift, the applications are moved from a mainframe to the cloud with minimal changes. It’s a fast way to migrate, but this mainframe modernization approach is often not practical because mainframes have few cloud equivalents.

Refactor and Containerize

Refactoring is a mainframe application modernization approach that involves restructuring code to make an application better suited for cloud environments. After refactoring, the application can be packaged into containers using tools like Docker and managed efficiently with platforms like Kubernetes. This boosts portability and scalability across various setups.

Move and Recompile with Mainframe Emulation

This method involves shifting application code to a platform like Microsoft cloud, and recompiling it to work with a mainframe emulator hosted on a virtual machine in the cloud. The emulator mimics the mainframe environment, keeping applications and data running smoothly without major changes.

Retain

Some applications are better off staying put on the mainframe without moving. This could be because they’re critical, need high performance, or have complex dependencies. In these cases, organizations may choose to leave these applications on the mainframe while moving other tasks to the cloud. 

Best Practices for Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe Migration

Here’s a breakdown of the best practices for using the hybrid cloud approach.

App Assessment

  • Thoroughly evaluate the app’s purpose, functionality, dependencies, and requirements.
  • Engage with stakeholders to gather insights.
  • Use automated tools and manual reviews to assess both code and data aspects, following established reference architectures for mainframe modernization.
  • Address the unique mainframe to cloud migration challenges and considerations, such as legacy dependencies and architecture intricacies.

Logical Breakdown

  • Break down the app into logical parts. This can be user interface, data processing, and security.
  • Evaluate the technologies used in each component and their suitability for migration to the cloud.
  • Assess which components can be migrated to the cloud based on their compatibility with cloud technologies and reference architectures.

Cloud and On-Premise Partitioning

  • Determine which components will stay on the mainframe and which to move to the cloud.
  • Implement middleware solutions to facilitate communication and interaction between mainframe and cloud components.
  • Consider factors such as data latency and processing speed when partitioning components between environments.

Tech Enablement

  • Choose tools and technologies, such as wrapping, containerization, or serverless computing, based on each application component’s specific requirements.
  • Ensure the chosen enabling technologies support seamless integration between mainframe and public cloud environments.
  • Design the migration strategy to accommodate future changes and scaling requirements, allowing for a dynamic and adaptable hybrid cloud environment.

Migration Process as It Is

Ensuring proper partitioning, migration, and mainframe application modernization is important when adopting the hybrid cloud approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to achieving these goals effectively:

  1. Modernize with Cloud Development. Use modern cloud methods like containers and serverless computing to update mainframe applications for better scalability and cost savings.
  1. Mix Strategies. Decide which apps to tweak for the cloud and which to move as they are. Keep some on-premise if they’re stable and meet your needs.
  1. Partition Applications Smartly. Split apps in a way that makes sense for cloud updates, keeping core functions intact. Choose parts that can move easily to the cloud and leave others behind if they’re better suited to stay put.
  1. Hybrid IT. Integrate mainframe and cloud tech seamlessly for the best of both worlds. This mix boosts application performance, scalability, and cost efficiency.
  1. Follow a Repeatable Process. Set up a clear process for evaluating and moving apps to the cloud, ensuring it’s smooth and doesn’t disrupt business.

ModLogix Expertise in Hybrid-Cloud Mainframe

As digital transformation continues, the question isn’t whether to adopt a hybrid cloud mainframe but when. That’s where ModLogix steps in.

ModLogix is an expert in legacy application modernization and cloud migrations, with years of industry expertise and a commitment to exceptional results. We understand mainframe systems and cloud technologies inside out and can help you accelerate mainframe application modernization.

Our dedicated team will be with you at every stage of your modernization journey, from planning to maintenance. We’ll future-proof your IT infrastructure for long-term success, adapting and scaling as your business evolves.

Partner with ModLogix today for mainframe modernization and drive business growth through transformative IT solutions.

Mainframe Opportunities for the Future

The mainframe is still going strong and remains a cornerstone of IT infrastructure. According to a 2023 BMC survey, 94% of respondents view it as a platform for long-term growth and new tasks. So, it’s essential to find a way for businesses to keep their mainframe systems while tapping into modern tech like cloud technology. 

Achieving this will require addressing two key areas. Firstly, ensuring a robust pool of mainframe skills. The next step is to accelerate mainframe application modernization, infusing them with new capabilities to drive digital transformation in organizations relying on these platforms.

Conclusion

The hybrid-cloud mainframe blends the reliability of traditional mainframes with the scalability of cloud computing, offering a potent solution for enterprise needs. By using on-premises resources for essential tasks and the cloud for less critical functions, organizations can achieve agility and cost-efficiency, and competitiveness. Its robust infrastructure can automate operations, elevate customer satisfaction, and drive faster innovation and accelerate growth, making it indispensable for modern enterprises.

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