After Main Street Retail, Amazon Targets Big Blue

February 24, 2022

Amazon is making it easy to abandon mainframes for its cloud services, Data Center Knowledge reveals in, “AWS Is Out to Kill Mainframes.” In other words, IBM. AWS Mainframe Modernization allows companies to transfer their operations to AWS and either morph legacy applications into Java-based services or keep existing code with few changes. The service promises to automate the process with development, testing, and deployment tools. Though some folks are still mainframe aficionados, others see those systems as decidedly out of date. Writer Max Smolaks admits mainframes excel at processing power, security, and uptime. However, he explains:

“These systems are incredibly expensive and difficult to maintain, and the pool of people qualified to deal with their legacy software is shrinking all the time. AWS has been trying to get customers off mainframes and into its data centers for years. This time, the company says it has built a runtime enthronement provides all the necessary compute, memory, and storage to run both refactored and replatformed applications while automatically handling capacity provisioning, security, load balancing, scaling, and application health monitoring. Since this is all done via public cloud, there are no upfront costs, and customers only pay for the amount of compute provisioned.”

Mainframe Modernization is not yet fully deployed across the globe, but is available for preview in certain regions. We are reminded the concept of remastering legacy software has been done before:

“A similar model has been promoted by other companies, like the Swiss startup LzLabs, which has been developing a product called Software-Defined Mainframe since 2011, based on its own COBOL and Java interoperability architecture. Going in a different direction, the Open Mainframe Project founded in 2015 is attempting to make existing machines a lot more useful, by teaching them to run on Linux, rather than proprietary operating systems like z/OS.”

Smolaks notes folks have been foretelling the death of the mainframe for decades now. Will this AWS initiative be the one to finally vanquish it?

Cynthia Murrell, February 24, 2022


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