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Research Papers: IBM Mainframe to Azure Reference Architecture by Astadia



Abstract for IBM Mainframe to Microsoft Azure Reference Architecture

In businesses today, across all market segments, cloud computing has become the focus of current and future technology needs for the enterprise. The cloud offers compelling economics, the latest technologies and platforms, and the agility to adapt your information systems quickly and efficiently. However, many large organizations are burdened by much older, previous generation platforms, typically in the form of a mainframe computing environment.

Although old and very expensive to maintain, the mainframe platform continues to run the most important information systems of an organization. The purpose of this reference architecture is to assist business and IT professionals as they prepare plans and project teams to start the process of moving mainframe-based application portfolios to Microsoft Azure. We will also share various techniques and methodologies that may be used in forming a complete and effective Legacy Modernization plan.

 In this document, we explore:

·         Why modernize a mainframe

·         The challenges associated with mainframe modernization

·         An overview of the IBM mainframe

·         The IBM Mainframe to Azure Reference Architecture

·         An overview of Azure services

·         A look at the Astadia Success Methodology

This document is part of the Astadia Mainframe to Cloud Modernization Series that leverages Astadia’s 25+ years of mainframe platform modernization expertise.


The Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform is an excellent target environment for transitioning from a mainframe workload to a cloud implementation. With the security features of Azure and the ability to scale based on demand for the services, Azure offers a complete operational environment in support of mainframe workloads that have been migrated to the cloud. In addition, Azure supports innovation of the application portfolio, previously held captive by the inflexible nature of a mainframe computing model, improving the productivity of application developers and support personnel.

 Even more than a typical IT project, planning to modernize mainframe applications is the most important phase of the total project effort. A good place to begin is with a thorough assessment of the existing overall mainframe application portfolio. Through the assessment process, all aspects of the existing portfolio will be inventoried and examined in detail, resulting in a catalog of each application, database, technology platform and business user profile currently in use. Once completed, the results of this application rationalization will then guide the sequence of application migration, as well as the different modernization strategies and techniques that may be called upon over the course of the entire project. We’ve included an overview of how Astadia tackles Legacy Modernization projects with our Success Methodology to give you an idea of what’s involved.

 Don’t let the enormity and importance of a mainframe modernization project deter you from getting started. The skilled individuals needed to continue to maintain mainframes are increasingly leaving the workforce through retirement and are not being replaced.  Hardware and software maintenance costs continue to escalate and the demands of customers, employees and partners require greater innovation than mainframe platforms can support. 


How to Use This Reference Architecture

Begin by reading the “Why Should I Migrate” section first.  From there:

Mainframe Experts:  Skip to the IBM Mainframe to Azure Reference Architecture and the Understanding Azure sections

Azure Experts:  Start with the Understanding Typical IBM Mainframe Architecture section, followed by the Reference Architecture.

Business Leaders:  Spend time with the “Why Should I Migrate…” section and the Ensuring Project Success section at the end. 


About Astadia

Astadia is a Microsoft Gold Partner that has been in the legacy modernization business since 1994 and has successfully completed more than 200 mainframe modernization projects.

Our repeated success has allowed us to develop a comprehensive methodology, proprietary software tools and techniques, as well as the “know how” that comes with more than 25 years of experience handling mission critical applications and data. 

We’re pleased to share some of that experience with you through our Mainframe to Cloud Modernization Series of reference architectures, webinars, whitepapers and more. 

Visit our website at​ for additional information.​





Astadia IBM Mainframe-to-Azure Reference Architecture.pdf    
Content Type: Research Papers
Created at 8/2/2017 8:34 AM by John Dandeneau
Last modified at 8/2/2017 8:48 AM by John Dandeneau