by Axel Richter

The mainframe at the center of a heterogeneous IT

B.O.S. Software Service und Vertrieb GmbH can look back on more than 30 successful years. It was founded as a manufacturer of mainframe-based software, which has been successfully supported by a worldwide partner network over the years and decades.

Today B.O.S. is one of the world's leading providers of data integration solutions in heterogeneous system environments with an IBM Z mainframe architecture (operating system z/OS, z/VSE, VSEn and z/VM).

In the focus of B.O.S. is the cross-system replication, synchronization, migration of data including the transformation of the data and the entry of the data in the target systems in the environment of IBM Z mainframes, Linux, Unix, MS Windows, Hadoop, Cloud and Big Data platforms.

For a large number of companies, the mainframe represents the heart of IT and almost half of the business-critical applications run on a mainframe.

B.O.S. has been developing software solutions for several decades that allow mainframe users to communicate with other systems transparently and without special mainframe knowledge.

In this blog we talk about the typical requirements that a company has to deal with when a central mainframe is to be transparently integrated into an open, heterogeneous landscape with different operating systems (Windows, Unix, Linux), cloud platforms or big data solutions.

Integration of a mainframe with open systems (Windows, Unix, Linux)

There are various approaches and technologies for connecting a mainframe to open systems such as Windows, Unix, Linux and relational databases. We have highlighted the different aspects in various blog posts.

The end of data and application lock-in

Old and new – reaching the goal together

Mainframe data are often an obstacle to the use of new technologies

Network connection

A reliable and powerful network connection between the mainframe and the open systems or the cloud- Big Data-infrastructure is crucial. There should be adequate bandwidth to ensure low latency to enable smooth communication between both systems.

TCP/IP network connection

The most common method is to connect the mainframe to the open systems via a TCP/IP network connection. This enables communication between the systems via the TCP/IP network protocol. Protected connection via SSL/TLS should be preferred. TCP/IP is the B.O.S. tcACCESS and tcVISION solutions used and preferred protocol (including SSL/TLS).

In addition, tcACCESS supports other connection options to the mainframe (e.g. TN3270 and other terminal emulations)

Data integration

When connecting a mainframe to open systems, Big Data or to a cloud, the data from the mainframe must be seamlessly integrated with the open systems or Big Data/cloud services.

Driver software

tcACCESS offers a relational view of mainframe data sources such as Db2, VSAM, IMS/DB, DLI, Adabas, CA IDMS, CA Datacom, etc. This means that an application developer without mainframe knowledge can easily access this data via the ODBC/JDBC standard interfaces from Client -Access server, web and cloud platforms. Access to the mainframe file systems and databases is via SQL syntax. In addition to ODBC/JDBC, other communication methods can also be used with tcACCESS (.net, Microsoft Office, Visual Basic, TCL/TK, Lotus Notes, OLE DB, J2EE etc.).

With tcACCESS, mainframe programs can be used to access non-mainframe-based, relational data sources directly. This is possible with both online (CICS, IMS/DB etc.) and batch programs.

Data synchronization/replication

When synchronizing databases or file systems of a mainframe with open systems, Big Data or a cloud, the data from the mainframe must be able to be seamlessly synchronized with the open systems or Big Data/cloud services in real time, based on archive data or event-dependent.

tcVISION is a cross-system solution for real-time, bi-directional data synchronization and replication based on change data. Data exchange becomes a single-step operation. Although the use of message queuing is supported, it is not required.

The data exchange between the mainframe and the open, big data or cloud systems takes place in raw format in compressed form and is reduced to the delta of change data. Data can be moved in real-time, time-controlled or event-controlled, both unidirectionally and bidirectionally.

The tcVISION solution supports both the loading of mass data from a data source into one or more data targets, as well as the continuous data exchange process in real time based on change data capture technology.


The mainframe usually contains business-critical and sensitive data. It is therefore important to establish a secure connection between the mainframe and the partner systems involved. This can be achieved through the use of encrypted communication protocols, VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) or other security mechanisms.

A comprehensive access authorization check can be activated for the administration of processes in tcVISION and tcACCESS. This access authorization checks whether and to what extent the user has access to the resource he/she wants before the corresponding action is carried out.

The user has the choice between a comprehensive internal security of the two solutions or the use of the so-called SAF (System Authorization Facility) of the mainframe. Existing security solutions based on SAF (e.g. RACF, ) can be used here.

Security based on LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) can also be used for tcVISION.


It is important to note that the exact approach and available technologies depend on the specific mainframe platform and open or cloud/big data systems.
The two solutions of B.O.S. are available for the z/OS operating system as well as for z/VSE, VSEn or z/VM.

The points covered in this blog are aspects that should be considered when connecting a mainframe to open systems or big data/cloud. The exact requirements may vary depending on the specific scenario and the technologies used.

Mainframe data is different, special. They have grown historically and are not compatible with the data management systems under Linux, Unix, MS Windows and Big Data- or cloud platforms.

It is advisable to consult experts in mainframe integration, replication and cloud computing in order to develop an optimal solution.

The B.O.S. is a competent partner for the implementation of data integration solutions in heterogeneous system environments.

For more details, please visit our website, register for our newsletter or arrange a personal workshop directly. We introduce you to tcVISION or tcACCESS, tailored to your situation, infrastructure and requirements.

zurück zur Übersicht