Migrating a mainframe application or the entire mainframe platform to a Windows, Unix or Linux platform can be a very difficult and cumbersome undertaking.

Especially when the old data sets were designed several decades ago and the applications for these data sets were developed.

Everyone who grew up with the mainframe knows these problems:

  • several types of records
  • variable record lengths
  • binary, packed and hexadecimal data
  • Fixed, multiple or a variable number of groups in one sentence (OCCIRS, OCCURS DEPENDING ON, Adabas multiple fields and groups etc.)
  • individual date formats
  • binary encryption of fields, sentences
  • Bit structures
  • Transformation from EBCDIC to ASCII
  • different code pages

When migrating the data to a relational database (cloud or native database) or a lake, this data must be transformed into a modern structure.

The mainframe database and file systems pose an additional challenge. Here you can see not only the "old" IBM database (IMS / DB or DLI) but also the databases of the well-known third-party providers Software AG (ADABAS) and Computer Associates (now Broadcom Inc.) with the IDMS and DATACOM databases.

The classic file organization VSAM also has three different variants (KSDS, ESDS and RRDS).

All of the data properties listed above apply to these data and database systems.
Without technical solutions, the implementation of real-time based data synchronization with modern technologies is very difficult to realize and extremely time-consuming.

Our solution tcVISION has been developed to address exactly these problems and to offer solutions.

In the past, BOS has had a wide range of experiences regarding mainframe-specific applications and data structures with both tcVISION and tcACCESS. BOS has integrated this experience into its solutions. From record type processing to analysis on bit level, these functions are available without having to be programmed during implementation.

The know-how of these very special and historically grown mainframe-specific applications is extremely important for a fast and successful implementation of data replication or data migration between a mainframe (z / OS or z / VSE operating system) and a platform under Windows, Unix, Linux or z / Linux.

The tcVISION replication is based on a central repository.

All metadata, transformation and replication rules required for processing are stored in this repository. The repository can be stored in any relational database, such as Db2, Oracle or MS SQL Server.

The metadata is created from existing mainframe definitions via the graphical user interface. For this purpose tcVISION can process data descriptions from programs or so-called copy books. Several programming languages are supported (assembler, COBOL, PL / I, RPG etc.).

Transformation rules at the field level are defined using functions that are part of the solution. This enables the implementation of a productive replication or migration within a very short period of time.

Examples of solutions that have been implemented with tcVISION can be found under this link.

tcVISION is an extremely powerful and agile replication platform and is the central supplier of data that arise from both online processing and batch processing on a mainframe system (z / OS, z / VSE, CICS, IMS / DB, DLI , Adabas / Natural, CA IDMS) as well as from transactional data from applications from the distributed environment and various cloud systems. Changes to the database on all platforms are recorded by tcVISION in real time (change data capturing) and replicated in the target systems or transmitted as a data stream.

The tcVISION solution is ideally suited to synchronizing data on the traditional mainframe for all Z mainframe operating systems such as z / OS, z / VSE and z Linux with a variety of database systems in a distributed environment, a big data environment or cloud systems.

Mainframe-specific application and data structures are supported.
These basic requirements for data transformation apply not only to data that is determined in real time, but also to data that is stored on backup media, image or log files and has to be transformed.

In addition to tcVISION, BOS offers the solution zSTREAM. zSTREAM will be the topic on a separate blog.

An overview of all supported input and output destinations can be found here.