Ivory – GT Software’s mainframe SOA solution
Service-oriented architecture is definitely one of the key initiatives for many companies, and likely to remain so for some time, as they try to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility of their IT systems while improving the alignment between IT and business goals. But, as often with new technology developments, the mainframe environment has been rather neglected. To many SOA tools suppliers, the mainframe is at most a source of services to the wider SOA network, and the main aim seems to be to get in and out with minimal exposure to the arcane world of the mainframe. However, this is just not acceptable to many mainframe users. The mainframe remains a key asset, with substantial investment and value tied up in it, and rather than just try to find a way to leverage this value externally, a far more attractive option is to combine the power of investment on all platforms to deliver maximum return to the business.
SOA can be the key to achieving this return on investments, but in order to optimize the benefits it is essential to find a way for the mainframe to participate in SOA as an equal player. However, since SOA has primarily been driven in the distributed world, new tools are required to bring the mainframe into the fold. These mainframe SOA tools need to bridge the two, sometimes alien, worlds of mainframe and distributed platforms to make both operate effectively within the service-oriented architecture.
This paper looks at one such solution, GT Software’s Ivory product suite. It reviews the functionality in Ivory, and then assesses the Ivory solution against market needs, using as its reference point the Lustratus report, “Best of Breed Mainframe SOA Tools”. In order to get some additional validation of the conclusions, the Appendix reflects discussions held between Lustratus and four Ivory users.The conclusion is that Ivory offers a viable mainframe SOA solution, although naturally there are some areas for improvement. Ivory requires little in the way of education, covers the full range of mainframe application types, and unlike most other offerings it makes the mainframe an equal partner in the SOA deployment, ensuring all corporate assets can be leveraged.