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AWS upgrades the mainframe

At the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas yesterday, new CEO Adam Selipsky unveiled a service that makes it easier to migrate mainframe workloads to the cloud.

During the opening keynote address of the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas yesterday, new CEO Adam Selipsky announced AWS Mainframe Modernisation, a new service that makes it faster and easier to migrate mainframe and legacy workloads to the cloud. This, in turn, allows companies who have still been reliant on mainframes to transform legacy applications into modern Java-based cloud services. 

Customers can still opt to keep their applications as written and re-platform their workloads to AWS reusing existing code with minimal changes. AWS Mainframe Modernisation provides compute, memory, and storage to handle the details of capacity provisioning, security, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring. It also provides all the development, testing, and deployment tools necessary to automate the migration from mainframe and legacy environments to AWS.

There are no upfront costs for using AWS Mainframe Modernisation, and customers only pay for the amount of compute provisioned.

Under the best of circumstances, mainframe systems are complex, expensive, and difficult to scale. In today’s world, applications written for mainframe legacy systems also present significant operational challenges to customers compounded by the dwindling pool of engineers who specialise in these outdated technologies. Many organisations want to migrate their legacy applications to the cloud, but to do so they need to go through a lengthy migration process that is made more challenging by the complexity of mainframe applications.

To migrate their mainframe workloads to AWS, organisations typically turn to SIs to lead modernization and migration projects. Migrating mainframe workloads to the cloud requires multiple steps to discover, access, migrate, test, and operate the new workload environments. Each step is complex and requires custom or third-party tooling that must be calibrated to each individual customer environment—before SIs can begin the intricate task of translating mainframe subsystems into cloud services. Aside from the migration itself, there is also the challenge of needing to configure, run, and operate these complex systems with modern application development and deployment best practices in the new cloud environments. As more customers want to modernize their infrastructure and migrate off of complex legacy technologies, they could benefit from better tools that make it easier for them to move to the cloud.

AWS Mainframe Modernisation provides a complete development and runtime environment that makes it faster and easier for customers to migrate, modernise, and run their workloads on AWS. It integrates the tools needed for migrations into a single environment to create an end-to-end migration pipeline. Customers can refactor their workloads written for mainframes in legacy programming languages (e.g. COBOL) to modern Java-based cloud services. Or, customers can keep their workloads as written and re-platform them to AWS with minimal code changes.

Whether customers choose to refactor or replatform their workloads, it provides a runtime environment for the migrated applications that includes all the benefits of a fully managed service and automatically handles capacity provisioning, security, load balancing, auto-scaling, and application health monitoring. AWS Mainframe Modernisation also provides continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) capabilities to enable modern application development and deployment best practices, so customers can operate their modernized workloads in production on an ongoing basis with agility, elasticity, and cost savings of AWS.

“More and more customers are modernising their applications by moving them to the cloud to take advantage of the elasticity and agility of AWS and to reinvent customer experiences at a lower cost. But, for most enterprises, migrating their mainframe applications to the cloud is uncharted territory,” says William Platt, general manager of Migration Services at AWS. “With today’s launch of AWS Mainframe Modernisation, customers and systems integrators can now more quickly modernise their legacy mainframe workloads in a predictable way and get rid of much of the complexity and manual work involved in migrations. AWS Mainframe Modernisation provides automation in discovery, analysis, migration, and testing phases, and it gives customers and systems integrators a managed runtime environment to deploy their replatformed and refactored mainframe workloads for their customers, which makes modernising applications faster and easier.”

AWS Mainframe Modernisation is available in preview today in US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Sydney), EU (Frankfurt), and South America (São Paulo) with availability in additional AWS Regions in the coming months. For more information on the new product, visit

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