For decades large enterprises have developed and operated their most critical workloads on the mainframe due to the scalability, security and performance demands of these business systems. But finding the talent to maintain and operate these workloads is increasingly more difficult, the business demand for faster innovation,  the downward pressure on costs and the need to remove mainframe data data lock-in is driving enterprises to look for alternatives.

The advent of mainstream cloud computing offers a genuinely new way of looking at performance, cost and scalability that can address the challenges that many customers are facing with mainframe computing today. And the experience of customers that have moved their applications to the cloud already is that they can then modernize these business systems to take advantage of cloud native services without compromising the value these applications provide.

Micro Focus Enterprise Server Blueprint now available for Google Cloud

Micro Focus Enterprise Server is a scalable production engine for securely executing mainframe applications. When combined with Google Cloud infrastructure, Enterprise Server can provide the quality of service and continuous operations that large mainframe workloads require.

Micro Focus has successfully partnered with customers to deliver thousands of successful mainframe modernization projects – each allowing the customer to modernize their application and run it on the platform of their choice.

Google Cloud provides a high-performance, reliable and high-capacity infrastructure at a low cost that is serving thousands of customers in virtually all industries and geographies.

The Blueprint allows customers to perform an automated deployment of Enterprise Server based on best practices inside a new VPC or existing VPC. The Blueprint also installs a fully functional demonstration application (BankDemo) on Enterprise Server that uses COBOL, CICS, Job Control Language (JCL), Virtual Storage Access Method (VSAM) files, and Performance and Availability Clusters (PACs).

With this solution, enterprises and public institutions can deploy an environment that can host mainframe workloads on Google Cloud (GCP) with high security, high availability, elasticity, and robust system management.

Micro Focus Enterprise Server on Google Cloud utilizes the full power of the cloud for your mainframe business workloads

Business-critical applications that run on the mainframe typically execute large numbers of transactions securely, reliably, and with Service Level Objective (SLO) at 99.99% or higher. The quality of service that businesses demand requires

  • High availability with redundancy and parallel operation built in.
  • Scalable capacity based on business needs.
  • Highly secure operations with encryption of data at-rest and in-transit, centralized authentication and authorization, audit trails, key management and policy compliance.
  • System management and administration that provide centralized monitoring, alerting, logging, metering, patching, backup, and automation.

The fastest and lowest risk way to moving your business critical mainframe applications to the cloud is to leverage the investment and unique business value of your current applications. But to do this successfully you need an application production environment and infrastructure that will not compromise on the quality of service that you need to run your business. Micro Focus Enterprise Server on Google Cloud provides this.

Enterprise Server is a scalable production engine that delivers the high levels of security, reliability, availability and serviceability demanded by even the largest mainframe workload. Existing mainframe COBOL and PL/I applications can be moved with minimal change and support is provided for online CICS and IMS transactions as well as a batch environment to support the move of current jobs, job control and batch utilities. DB2, IMS-DB, QSAM, and VSAM data can be transitioned into alternative database and file systems and you have the choice to re-platform to different Linux distributions, Windows and UNIX.

Micro Focus Reference Architecture

 

A foundational, highly-available environment can be deployed automatically with Enterprise Server deployed on a Google Compute Engine (GCE) and application data (relational and indexed) is stored in a relational database such as Cloud SQL.  In addition to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) deployment using Google Compute Engine instances, Enterprise Server can also be deployed in Docker containers and orchestrated using Kubernetes with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE).

Additional Third-party utilities for batch scheduling, output and print management can be deployed onto additional Google Compute Engine instances and integrated with the Enterprise Server environment.

Micro Focus Enterprise Server on Google Cloud architecture overview

 

Mainframe workloads can have stringent, non-functional requirements, especially around performance with massive throughput and I/O. A fit-for-purpose approach requires choice to identify the most appropriate compute, storage, IOPS, and networking services on GCP

GCP provides a wide selection of Google Compute Engine machine types and networking options to allow for scale-up scalability as well as cloud services like Google Kubernetes Engine or Cloud Run for scale-out scalability. Customers are not limited by the capacity of one or few machines (scalability bottleneck), nor are they limited to vertical scaling or peak capacity sizing (unused capacity). This means virtually unlimited availability to GCP resources through automatically scaling horizontally to deliver the capacity to process peaks in load at any point in time.

Enterprise Server can take advantage of these GCP resources and provides application scale-out capabilities through its Performance and Availability Cluster (PAC). This allows multiple distinct execution environments to run workloads in parallel that can be synchronized and managed as a single instance. This means COBOL and PL/I applications can run in active/active configurations across different zones.  And with data including mainframe data files being deployed to relational datastores, data can be shared and replicated across multiple zones that are connected through low-latency links to meet the availability requirements and SLOs.

Micro Focus Enterprise Server blueprint deployment architecture

 

Scalability to adjust the infrastructure and application capacity dynamically to meet flexible workload needs is important especially in today’s environments where demand fluctuates drastically and customers want to pay only for what they use.

The Enterprise Server PAC is designed for elasticity and horizontal scaling. Combined with Cloud Load Balancing and Managed Instance Groups, Enterprise Server Google Cloud instances can be added or removed dynamically from a cluster (that can operate across multiple Availability Zones) based on customizable thresholds such as CPU utilization. And with instances being started and stopped on demand you only pay for what you consume.

Security is also a key concern so customers moving to GCP will want to inherit best practices of policies, architecture, and operational processes built to satisfy their security requirements.

Enterprise Server itself has a robust security model that provides the high levels of authentication and resource access control mainframe customers expect. This ensures that secure access to business applications and their data can be comprehensively managed. Enterprise Serve can also leverage GCP Identity and Access Management (IAM) to centralize access control across all GCP services and regions with detailed auditing via Cloud Logging and notifications with Cloud Monitoring.

For data confidentiality, integrity, and compliance, Enterprise Server on Google Cloud provides extensive encryption of data options both at-rest or in-transit, without application changes. Standard capabilities include the encryption of data in transit when using the web-based services to interact with the customer using TLS 1.3. By supporting the latest TLS standard in Enterprise Server, customers data is fully protected and prevents private data from being visible when it is transferred within the Cloud.

Once an application has been deployed to the cloud it needs to be operated and managed and to do this Enterprise Server provides system management features and services that can be integrated into an enterprise operations framework.

For administration purposes, Enterprise Server instances and PACs when deployed onto Google Cloud instances are configured and managed using a single web console, Enterprise Server Common Web Administration (ESCWA). This also provides secure, extensible support for RESTful APIs that can be used to integrate with or automate the configuration and management.

For centralized logging and monitoring, Google operations Suite’s Cloud Logging provides real-time log management and analysis. Cloud Logging ingests VM, Enterprise Server and GCP services log data to support performance, troubleshooting, security, and business insights using Log Analytics.

Operation Suites Cloud Monitoring provides visibility into the performance, uptime, and application health. Collect metrics, events, and metadata from Google Cloud services, hosted uptime probes, application instrumentation, visualizes this data on charts and dashboards and create alerts so you are notified when metrics are outside of expected ranges.

For centralized backup,GCP supports taking snapshots of both Enterprise Server Persistent Disks and the managed database. Backup snapshots are saved in Cloud Storage, a reliable and secure object storage.

For additional system management needs, you can explore the many out-of-the-box GCP management services. These allow comprehensive management and deployments of Enterprise Server on GCP virtual machine instances in all regions, with automation and resources readily available.

Deploying your applications to Enterprise Server on GCP delivers the quality of service demanded by large-scale critical mainframe workloads and provides the high security, high availability, elasticity, operational excellence, and cost optimization that you require. Combined with Application Analysis tools and modern development environments as part of a DevOps CI/CD pipeline, you can develop, test and modernize applications faster and deliver innovation to the business sooner.

Deploy an enterprise grade mainframe infrastructure on the press of a button

Mainframe workloads moved to Micro Focus Enterprise Server and Google Cloud means customers can take advantage of a secure, low risk, high value strategy to support application, process, and infrastructure modernization.

To get started, try it for yourself so you can learn more about Micro Focus Enterprise Server on Google Cloud using the Blueprint environment. You can find the Blueprint scripts here.

 

 

By: Eddie Houghton (Director of Product Management, Micro Focus) and Ralf Merkens (Solution Engineer, Google Cloud)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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