Frost Bank Standardizes on Ivory for Mainframe SOA

Frost Bank, which manages $15 billion in assets, is standardizing on GT Software's Ivory Service Architect for a wide range of mainframe integration and modernization projects. Bank IT execs cite Ivory's easy approach to updating and integrating a wide array of core mainframe apps and data.

Tags: Mainframe, Ivory, Web Services, Frost, Applications, Mainframe Integration, Standardizing,

Frost Bank, which manages $15 billion in assets, is standardizing on GT Software's Ivory Service Architect for a wide range of mainframe integration and modernization projects. Frost execs said Ivory's approach to SOA design and deployment will provide the bank's IT staff an efficient and standard way to integrate and modernize core mainframe applications and data.

Frost's core banking applications typically reside on the mainframe, while the bank also has other customer-facing applications reside that reside on desktops and in remote financial centers. "Ultimately, they all need to talk to the mainframe," explained Uday Shetgeri, Frost's executive vice president for application development and maintenance.

At Frost, Shetgeri manages mainframe and client/server programmers, and is responsible for service delivery of applications to the business. "We had multiple connectivity technologies that were becoming difficult to support," he said in a statement.

Shetgeri had a list of three (3) requirements, all of which he said "made it necessary to standardize access to the mainframe as web services." The three requirements were:

  • An easy-to-deploy mainframe solution that would do more than interface to mainframes using MQ, or CICS/TG (or non-standard approaches).
  • A technology to help Frost settle on a standardized way of interfacing services to the core applications.
  • A "contemporary paradigm" for interconnection, such as SOA/web services, that the mainframe programming staff could adapt and use.

  • Frost chose GT Software's Ivory after a six-week proof of concept.

    Why Frost Found the 'Right Fit'
    with Ivory Service Architect

    GT Software's Ivory Service Architect supports deployment of mainframe-based Web services across a wide variety of platforms. Without requiring any changes to the service definition, Ivory supports deployment of mainframe-based Web services across z/VSE, z/OS, CICS/TS, CICS, IMS, Windows, Wintel, UNIX, and Linux.

    The approach also empowers users to achieve cost-savings and efficiencies from within their existing mainframe deployment, as Ivory lets users shift SOA-related workload off the mainframe, as well as the ability to leverage new mainframe MIPS-reducing hardware such as zIIP, zAAP, and IFL processors.

    Shetgeri embarked on a series of product evaluations and proof-of-concepts prior to settling on Ivory. Among those he did not choose, he found several solutions would have required extensive expertise or training because vendors each have their own way of connecting to mainframes. Other option, he found, offered a low-price point, but likely would have been expensive to set up and update because of more expertise requirements. Ivory was the "right fit" for Frost because of its ability to provide non-mainframe developers easy ability to achieve mainframe integrations, Shetgeri said in a statement.

    "Frost was looking for an integration solution for its mainframe that would be easy to use for everybody, mainframe and non-mainframe [IT staff], and a web services technique that worked across multiple languages, turned out to be a great approach for them," said Rob Morris, chief strategy officer for GT Software. "At a time when cost savings and leveraging existing technology assets are critical business objectives, it is great to know that innovators like Frost Bank are achieving their integration goals using Ivory."

    Ivory's studio brings Frost a drag-and-drop GUI-based environment that promotes easy orchestration of 'building-block' functions into business services. In specific, devs using Ivory can leverage a wide array of mainframe assets (transactions, applications, data), in combination with web services to create a composite service, define web service inputs and outputs, and even graphically model processes to implement these services.

    The Ivory studio "doesn't require IT to be experts in linking mainframes to and with composite services," Morris told IDN. "Ivory brings a deep top-down approach to align the service interfaces with data types, data structures and consuming services [at the other end]."

    Interestingly, Ivory Studio's under-the-hood power was a bit of an unexpected surprise to Shetgeri and his team. "Normally [we] don't use drag-and-drop tooling, but these developers took to it quickly. [But] we brought in staff that had not worked with web services. Using the Ivory Studio they were able to quickly roll out Web services. This was convincing."