For many organizations, the initial decision to employ the use of a mainframe or AS/400 centered around the system’s unprecedented stability. The term (RAS) was coined by IBM, and refers to the reliability, availability and serviceability of a system.
According to IBM, for a system to be considered reliable, it must be able to self-check for errors and quickly apply any necessary updates required to recover from these problems without manual interaction. System availability refers to the system’s ability to recover from problems without impinging on other areas of the system that are performing properly. In addition to self-checking for errors and isolated self-recovery from those errors, a system should also be able to determine the cause of failure. This is known as serviceability.
Paul Baquet, a senior systems analyst at Duke Health Technology Solutions states: “In terms of stability, the mainframe is probably the best machine for transaction crunching. We service 2,000 end users at any given time, so having that kind of flexibility provides us with the ability to continue to support the healthcare environment while the mainframe processes applications and passes them down to other systems”. Legacy system integration allows organizations to capitalize on this proven solidity and use it as a foundation for new business applications.
When it comes to protecting an organization’s data and IT resources, IBM’s Power platform incorporates advanced authentication and encryption capabilities, as well as accountability and administration resources. Security policies can be implemented both system-wide and by user. These tools help organizations secure their data from internal and external security threats, meet or exceed security regulations and compliance policies, and sustain security audits. The integration of these tools with the operating system eases the administration process and provides increased reliability. The pSeries supports security management tools designed for both the platform and the enterprise level.
To accommodate business growth, systems must be scalable. Legacy systems like the mainframe are renowned for their scalability. Scalable systems can adapt to use the appropriate amount of system resources such as memory, processors and storage to run efficiently regardless of the size or complexity of the network.
Legacy system integration saves organizations money by leveraging existing resources that have already proven to increase return on investment (ROI). Many of these legacy systems have been in place for decades and have stood the test of time in terms of RAS; reliability, availability and scalability. In most cases, implementing entirely new technologies and porting existing data to these new systems is cost prohibitive.
In a recent survey sponsored by BMC software, 95% of the 1,100 IT managers that were surveyed indicated that the mainframe would continue to play a pivotal role in their information technology infrastructure. 65% of those replied that their use of this platform would continue to grow. Reliable, available and serviceable systems that are both secure and scalable provide advantages that are too plentiful for cost-conscious organizations to ignore. Legacy system integration allows organizations to leverage these advantages and integrate them with current technologies.