IBM brings hybrid-cloud app services to z/OS mainframes

IBM has introduced a service for its mainframe customers to create a cloud environment for developing and testing applications.

Wazi as a Service can be used to create z/OS infrastructure instances for development and testing z/OS application components in a virtualized, containerized sandbox. The instances would run on Red Hat OpenShift on x86 hardware. The service also includes access to z/OS systems and integrates with modern source-code management platforms such as GitHub and GitLab.

Wazi as a Service cannot be used for refactoring or re-engineering existing z/OS based applications with the intention to re-platform them, and cannot be used for production workloads, IBM said.

The service supports self-provisioning of z/OS systems in virtual server instances (VSI) in the IBM Cloud Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that can be used for development and testing. It has the ability to manage compute, storage, and networking resources.

The service can spin up z/OS virtual servers in six minutes or less, Alan Peacock, general manager of IBM Cloud Delivery & Operations, wrote in a blog. “You can either use a pre-installed stock image or extract components from an on-prem system and deploy a custom image onto the virtual server using IBM Wazi Image Builder in IBM Cloud’s Virtual Private Cloud environment,” he wrote. “This environment is a logically isolated, highly secured private space running in IBM Cloud, thereby eliminating the wait times involved in getting access to resources.”

Isolated development environments combined with DevSecOps testing tools enable developers to start testing at a much earlier stage of the development lifecycle, Peacock stated. “The virtual server running on real zSystems hardware provides up to 15x better performance than comparable x86 offerings. This virtual server enables you to accelerate software release cycles and improve software quality.”

The service is not generally available, and use of it requires customers to be allow-listed by IBM sales.

WAZI as a service is part of recent packages IBM offers to better integrate the Big Iron into the cloud. It recently rolled out the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack 2022.1.1 service that offers industry-standard tools to modernize z/OS applications on a pay-per-use basis. The service supports z/OS Connect, which utilizes a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) interface to tie into and link with existing applications to make Z applications and data part of a hybrid-cloud strategy.

It also supports z/OS Cloud Broker, which integrates z/OS-based services and resources into Red Hat OpenShift to create, modernize, deploy, and manage applications, data, and infrastructure.

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