Organizations are looking to improve business agility and customer experience by embracing modern application integration and development practices, new architectural patterns such as event-driven architecture (EDA), and new deployment locations like the cloud. Many organizations, however, still have a lot of data assets tied to critical applications that run on a mainframe.
Data that is stored on the mainframe has historically been difficult to integrate with newer platforms due to proprietary formats, data encoding, and access methods. This makes it hard to liberate the data from the mainframe so it can be used by the new applications, potentially making use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and analytics from cloud service providers.
Together, Solace and B.O.S. Software offer organizations a low-risk way to enhance and extend the reach of their mainframe data by liberating data and converting it into events that can consumed and enriched by new, modern application components across the organization. The combination of Solace PubSub+ Platform and tcVISION enables this without the risk associated with altering and changing the critical and stable mainframe applications that often support the core business.
The solution is made up of two elements:
- tcVISION is a change data capture (CDC) service for application databases on the mainframe, and packages the changes into ‘events’ that are published to an event mesh powered by Solace PubSub+.
- Solace PubSub+ Platform is a full-featured event streaming platform that enables the real-time distribution of information across organizations, including hybrid and multi-cloud systems.
The interaction between the two components is shown in the figure below. In this example, events are flowing from the mainframe through an event mesh powered by PubSub+ Platform to a set of modern applications providing a mobile front end for a legacy application that is running on the mainframe.
An event mesh is a set of interconnected event brokers that learn subscriptions from the subscribers, and then exchange the subscription routing information with the rest of the brokers in the event mesh. This means that the event mesh learns dynamically as subscriptions are injected and withdrawn. It also means that an event can be injected anywhere in the mesh, and it will flow to all interested subscribers connected to the mesh.
Such an approach could be used for, for example:
- Provisioning a new mobile consumer channel; perhaps a new mobile banking application front endfor a mainframe core banking application.
- Provisioning a new fraud dashboard that works across multiple legacy payment systems that utilizes cloud-based AI/ML to detect and flag any suspicious activity.
- Provisioning a real-time recall mechanism; imagine an ingredient in a recipe has a recall notice and an organization needs to alert all the factories producing affected products and the distributors of those products.
The figure shows tcVISION’s capture agent retrieving CDC events and sending them to the tcVISION Replication Server. tcVISION Replication Server provides a flexible transformation service and transforms the mainframe data into something suitable for the wider world.
tcVISION Replication Server then publishes the event to an event mesh powered by PubSub+ Platform. tcVISION Replication Server annotates the published message with a topic by which the event can be routed to all interested, and entitled, subscribers.
Unlike other streaming platforms, Solace PubSub+ Platform supports hierarchical topics and wildcard subscriptions. This means that the topic really is much more than a simple destination label. The topics should be thought of as piece of metadata that describes the events. Subscribers can determine which parts of the metadata are important and describe the events that they wish to receive. Parts of the metadata that are not important can be simply replaced by a wildcard. This means that subscribers can have very broad, coarse, or very specific, fine subscriptions allowing the subscribe control over which event streams are received.
Solace PubSub+ Platform also guarantees that messages will be delivered in the order that the publisher sent them. This means that the tcVISION Replication Server can publish events across several topics, perhaps the topic is based on fields within the event and changes for each event. It does not matter – any subscriber subscribing to some or all of the events from the tcVISION publisher will see the events in published order. Unlike some other streaming event brokers, Solace does not force the user to choose between ‘filtering’ and ‘order’.
Liberating data sets on the mainframe is a vital component of business and business application modernization. Being able to turn changes to these data sets into events enables organizations to distribute them and make real and meaningful business actions based on them. As events are emitted as data changes and propagated in near real-time to interested systems, organizations can act on changes more quickly.
Solace PubSub+ and tcVISION allow organizations to liberate and event enable mainframe data to realize business benefits via improved efficiencies and customer experience.