Mainframe modernisation with “Legacy API-fication”

For decades, mainframes have been the cornerstones of IT infrastructure in many businesses, with banks at the forefront. However, the demand for increased flexibility to cope with ever-changing business processes and the need to reduce recurrent costs are forcing companies to move towards cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS); an excellent target environment to materialise a mainframe exit strategy.

The immediate benefits of transitioning from monolithic to a cloud native technologies range from greater simplicity and flexibility when integrating different technologies, to greater cost efficiency in terms of licensing, maintenance and support.

In this blog, I will not talk about ‘mainframe modernisation’ patterns, nor tools to be used during the automated code and data migration, nor test tools to assure the same functionality in the cloud platform as in the mainframe environment. Instead, I would like to show you an alternative to increase your modernisation results: “legacy API-fication”.

An oversimplified company system architecture based on mainframe, looks like the following image:

For those modernisation projects that, for any reason, do not go live in big bang mode, we will need to make an integration between the mainframe and the AWS environment. This means, we should maintain the functionality of mainframe calls between software components even when some of them are moved to the cloud. In this context, we may define an evolved system architecture improving the modernisation process in the following way:

To do that, we recommend an API management platform that accelerates the pace of digital business. It gives businesses control over and visibility into the APIs that connect applications and data across the enterprise, both on-premise and in the cloud.

API Management Platform is an end-to-end solution. From the first touch of the customer to the end touch of the API, it has all the key capabilities (security, scalability, resiliency, and more) that businesses need; and includes the following capabilities:

  1. A developer portal to attract and engage application developers, enabling them to discover, explore, purchase (or profit from), and test APIs, and register to access and use the APIs.
  2. API gateways to secure and mediate the traffic between clients and backends, and between a company’s APIs and the developers, customers, partners, and employees who use the APIs.
  3. API lifecycle management to manage the process of designing, developing, publishing, deploying, and versioning APIs.
  4. An analytics engine that provides insights for business owners, operational administrators and application developers, enabling them to manage all aspects of a company’s APIs and API programs.
  5. API monetisation to enable API providers to package, price and publish their APIs so that partners and developers can purchase access or take part in revenue sharing.

As soon as you start your mainframe modernisation journey, please consider this “legacy API-fication” to increase your digitalisation evolution, and enjoy a new way of understanding your IT.

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