Iona Technologies PLC.s new Artix Mainframe integration software makes it possible to extend legacy mainframe applications into a service-oriented architecture, company officials said.
The application, unveiled last week, exposes CICS or IMS transactions as Web services that are, in turn, accessible to other applications. Mainframe transactions can be made available to other applications—and to developers—to be incorporated into them or reused in new or composite applications, officials said.
Artix Mainframe uses existing mainframe security functionality to authenticate users and authorize access to services. At the same time, the software runs as a native mainframe process so programmers can maintain administrative control.
Iona Technologies provides two versions of the new integration tool. Artix Mainframe Developer enables users to present CORBA-based mainframe applications with Web services. Artix Mainframe Transformer includes a suite of tools that have a Windows-based GUI and help users create, automate and manage Web service interfaces to IMS and CICS transactions without coding, according to Iona officials in Waltham, Mass.
There is a great need to provide mainframe-based applications with an interface into modern applications. Lynn Lovelady, manager of enterprise applications at Alabama Gas Corp., employed a similar product from IBM to modernize a customer service mainframe application that comprises more than 500 green screens of information.
"We used Host Publisher, which is WebSphere-based, to provide Web access to our customer information system that is CICS-based," said Lovelady, in Birmingham. "Our focus on our initial implementation was for our customer service representatives. What we were able to provide them was quicker access to our data calls. [We folded] eight screens of data in the old system into one screen by utilizing the tool."
By providing the Web front end to his CICS application, Lovelady was able to increase productivity in his companys call center, with new-hire training reduced from 12 weeks to about two.