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Unleash your mainframe applications by augmenting new channels on AWS with IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack

By JACQUI SHAWLEY posted Tue November 22, 2022 06:17 AM


Unleash your mainframe applications by augmenting new channels on AWS with IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack


Kyle Charlet, CTO zSystems Software, IBM

Brenesh Stanslas, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect, AWS


The IBM mainframe remains a widely used enterprise system, hosting core business critical applications for the world’s leading banks, airlines, insurers and more.

To meet the ever growing digital transformation demands, and to achieve faster time to market, enterprises are building modern channel-facing applications and new web front-ends as cloud native applications on AWS. These applications often require access to business critical applications and data running on the IBM mainframe.

REST APIs have become the ubiquitous choice for integrating applications running on AWS with the IBM mainframe.

Industry Use cases driving API adoption: Many industries including telecommunication, retails and supply chain are today driven by agile methodology, looking to simplify the IT and business process in order to speed up new features implementation and reduce the time to market. Hence, API adoption appears an obvious choice. In the financial services industry, banks in  Europe are mandated to expose Open Banking and PSD2 APIs (*1)  to expose customer data as part of the Open banking regulation. In addition to this, Fintech Revolution has changed the way we do banking by offering new digital value-added services and have mandated the need for Integration with a Fintech platform through APIs, Banks have seen a new “Payment initiation” & “Payment Plan” methods with open banking.


Similar to the fintech revolution, there are technology driven disruptors across industry segments. These disruptions mandate digital transformation driven by standards based REST APIs and zSystems are at the center of it.

Solution Overview

IBM Z and Cloud Modernization stack on AWS, a flexible platform with common tools and capabilities, needed to modernize z/OS environments and applications. The z/OS Connect capability, a low-code API Solution component of the IBM Z & Cloud Modernization stack, provides scalable and secured z/OS APIs on Red Hat OpenShift on AWS. This enables a simple way for cloud native applications in AWS to securely access mainframe applications and data through RESTful API’s using Open-API standards.

Developers can create a secured API starting from an existing Open-API 3.0 definition, using a “contract first” approach that can support a company’s API governance models and can ensure that the APIs are readily consumable by the business applications. The containerized deployment and tooling model integrates fully with the team’s DevOps approach, allowing developers to work in parallel building the APIs they need whilst system administrators maintain control through the container orchestration platform.

Key capabilities include:

  • z/OS Connect server, helps to unlock and integrate IBM Z workload and data with RESTful APIs and create consumable APIs in minutes to make zSystems applications and data available to the new channel and services running on AWS.
  • z/OS Connect Designer, a web user interface that provides a low-code approach, allowing APIs to be created in minutes. It is delivered as a stand -alone container image, ready to run on AWS alongside IBM Wazi for Dev Spaces, to deliver a cloud native experience for creating and managing end-to-end flows.
  • Open-API 3 support
  • Tool based approach enabling the transformation of z/OS data with rich functional mapping capabilities to speed the process of finding and transforming the right operations and data for consumption by the applications, whilst minimizing the time to fill out boiler plate functions.
  • Enhanced role-based security model provides more control to security administrators. This security model takes advantage of the improved security schemes provided by the OpenAPI 3 specification, to deliver more granular control of user authorization at the API operation level.


AWS Reference Architecture


IBM Z and Cloud modernization Stack along with Amazon API Gateway, Elasticache, auto-scaling services provides a low-latent, horizontally scalable integration of on-premise mainframe applications and data.

Platform connectivity between the AWS and IBM zSystems can be established with AWS Direct Connect and VPN link to securely connect the platforms securely with low-latency.

APIs created with IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack can be integrated with enterprise API management solutions like Amazon API Gateway, a fully managed serverless service that makes it easy to create, publish and secure API’s at any scale.

As newer use cases and channels drive growth, Red Hat OpenShift(*2) can be scaled . Amazon Cognito can be used for Web & Mobile Apps, where end-users can login through Cognito user pools or federated identity providers.



Developers can build more engaging experiences on AWS, leveraging business logic and the power of z/OS applications and data. With APIs for zSystems resources in place, no mainframe skills are required to integrate your digital apps with the mainframe. Using AWS services to manage, cache, route and scale secure APIs empowers digital transformation of highly secure transactions that require low latency. Combining the strength of IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack with AWS, delivers a modern, managed model to complement the most resilient production workloads and helps accelerating the modernization journey


Ready to get started? Click here to use the AWS Marketplace offering of IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack, or click here to learn more about IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack.

(*1)What is PSD2 Compliance and What Does it Mean for Your Business?