Integrating Legacy Mainframes, Oracle-Style


If you're an Oracle shop -- or if you'd just like some very specific ideas on how SOA can help with integration of legacy systems -- then have I found a pot of gold for you. Jason Williamson, product manager for Oracle's Modernization Solution, shared an article on that very topic yesterday on his blog.


Williamson outlined three points at which you can integrate into legacy mainframes:

  1. The presentation layer
  2. The business layer, which he explained is a procedure call wrapped in a SOA service, and probably the most commonly mentioned, and difficult, point of integration
  3. The data layer
At this point in the piece, Williamson abandoned general discussion and focused on how specific solutions from Oracle - Legacy Adapters, BPEL Process Manager, Enterprise Service Bus, Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM), Identity Management, WebCenter Portal, Data Integrator, Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), and Business Intelligence -- can be deployed in various combinations to address four typical mainframe integration problems.


Keep in mind as you read it that SOA experts are always preaching about how you can't buy SOA because SOA's not a technology, but an architecture.


Still, I must admit it's refreshing to see how you could use specific solutions in an SOA, and to read which specific integration problems you could solve.


One thing he specifically mentioned that I questioned was this bit about the critical role of Web services:

"Web services are the foundation of communication in this context, as well as the results of the processing of mainframe artifacts. Without Web services, a Legacy Service Bus/Legacy SOA Integration is impossible. Enough said."
Since I'm not a technical person, I'm not sure if that's true, but I do know SOA advocates have long fought the collapse of SOA and Web services. I'd be curious to see what others had to say about his Web services comment.


Since we're on the topic of modernization, is it possible that Greg the Architect could help you make a business case for modernizing applications?


Yep, because the cartoon brings "to life the issues facing most IT organizations today from a larger industry perspective," according to this article by David McFarlane recently published on CIO.com.


If you don't think an animated architect is going to cut it with your CEO, McFarlane offered an approach anchored in the real world - a five-step process you can use to create your own business case for modernizing legacy applications.