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Bringing Web Services to the Mainframe - Neon Systems Boosts SOA Adoption

Bringing Web Services to the Mainframe - Neon Systems Boosts SOA Adoption

"The use of NEON's Shadow z/Services gave us a very convenient and straightforward way to re-use existing mainframe application code in order to provide a higher level of service to our customers."

With those words, Jerry Fica, Project Lead DBA of Holland America Lines, put his finger on why it is that the latest offering in NEON Systems "Shadow" line is storring such interest among organizations that wish to extend their mainframe applications as standards-based services which can be quickly integrated with other internal and external services via for example an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

Designed to enhance mainframe integration on both a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Event-Driven Architecture (EDA), NEON Systems "Shadow" technology allows mainframe applications, once integrated, to be combined with other IT assets to deliver new services inside the organization and out across the Internet to customers and trading partners.

Shadow technology, as the Sugar Land, Texas-based company expresses it, "reclaims the value of mainframe-based services and events, providing scalable, real-time legacy integration with security across a broad range of data, applications and presentation environments."

Put succinctly, Shadow z/Services is a SOAP-based mainframe integration solution that allows organizations to rapidly transform CICS, IMS, and Advantage CA-IDMS applications into Web services.

"With the accelerated adoption of Web services, organizations with significant investments in mainframe technology now have a real opportunity to use the resources of the mainframe to drive new business value," says Mark Cresswell, president and CEO, NEON Systems.

NEON’s new Shadow z/Services, Cresswell explains, enables the mainframe "to participate more rapidly and cost-effectively in composite application development."

With its decades of mainframe expertise, he adds, NEON is uniquely qualified to reduce the risk organizations face when supporting new business initiatives that integrate with mainframe systems. "Shadow z/Services delivers an industry-leading mainframe Web services solution for organizations that need to respond quickly and cost effectively in order to meet changing business requirements."

Using the product's Introspection technology, NEON says that developers are able to dynamically parse the application program and screen definitions and generate WSDL. Additionally, for screen-based applications, Shadow z/Services allows developers to orchestrate a logical flow between multiple screens to support a business process.

The resulting microflow can be published as a SOAP-based Web service. To improve response times to the Web services consumer, the company notes, the microflow executes from within the Shadow z/Services Address Space thereby eliminating the network latency typically associated with screen navigation solutions.

Shadow z/Services' Web services client component enables mainframe application developers to invoke external Web services from CICS/TS, Advantage CA-IDMS, and Batch. "The mainframe application developer does not need any familiarity with SOAP or WSDL," says Cresswell, "and can continue to operate within a traditional application development framework with one key difference – the easy availability of external Web services functionality."

Bobby Napiltonia, BEA's vice president and general manager, worldwide channels and alliances, is enthusiastic: "Customers need solutions that reduce the cost and complexity of integration, particularly when it involves building composite applications that include mainframe resources," he says. "Using NEON's Shadow z/Services in combination with WebLogic Platform 8.1 allows organizations to leverage existing IT assets within Service Oriented Architectures in order to accelerate services delivery and increase business responsiveness."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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