The BYOD and Cloud Computing phenomena have unavoidably forced IT departments to rethink and consider updating their mainframe applications, in particular 3270 applications, to maintain accessibility. Despite the challenges, in particular regarding security and new ergonomics, today there are available solutions to these new needs.
BYOD and mobility, new norm of the IT department
Access to organization’s IT systems are evolving with the standardization of personal devices, granting access to any 3270 business applications. Indeed, staff, clients, and partners alike can connect to the mainframe from any terminal – including smart phones and tablets – , from any location worldwide.
These new technologies have forced IT managers to adapt and implement simple and secure access solutions, in order to enable access to applications whilst keeping control of their IT system. Is then traditional 3270 emulation still viable in this new world?
Why not a “client agnostic” solution?
The emulator sure has proven worthy, but requires considerable time in administration and support, which can be saved by using a terminal-independent solution to access System z applications. This kind of solution is based on “pure web” and “client-agnostic” technologies, by opening a dialog directly with the mainframe in HTTP or HTTP/s mode, through a simple URL and without any need of TN3270 protocols or intermediate servers. The connections between mainframe and client workstations are operated without maintaining the IP session, in asynchronous mode.
Nothing to fear from a security perspective: the accessing URL is built with control and identification parameters which can grant or refuse authorized access to the core system environment and applications, depending on users clearance.
Mainframe applications become “naturally” mobile
The “pure web” solution allows displaying 3270 screens into a new web interface, considering user needs as well as the sort of terminal they use. Data presentation is thus dynamically adapted to every screen sizes and navigation systems. It is therefore easy to transform the classic “green screen” features into accordion-menus layouts, more compliant with current mobile devices ergonomics.
Clear implementation and costs benefits
Installing a thin client solution allows IT services greater control over implementation and maintenance costs, since it does not require any deployment on user workstations, nor any operating systems’ version-related upgrade. 3270 applications are easily accessed from any web browser, without hardware or software constraint, the browser becoming a sort of universal terminal. Users then benefit from the same experience, regardless of their connection means or location.
Finally, access to CICS, IMS or TSO applications based on these principles provide a real answer for IT departments in search of secure, BYOD and Cloud computing-compliant mainframe-access strategies. These solutions indeed meet their challenges in terms of safety, easy access, display adaptability and costs control, allowing them to be highly responsive to professional practices’ fast evolution.