tcVISION and Amazon Web Services (AWS) – A Winning Combination

Why use tcVISION with AWS?


IBM mainframes are in use today at many of the world’s largest corporations.  They often contain key, mission critical data that is often difficult to exploit with the latest technologies, due to the proprietary nature and data formats of their databases.  tcVISION changes this and allows your corporation to exploit this data with the power of the world’s leading cloud platform – AWS.

tcVISION is a software tool that enables data replication between legacy mainframe, cloud, and open systems environments.  Its mainframe database support scope is broad and it supports the key legacy mainframe databases in use today. tcVISION has the intelligence to convert the proprietary data formats of Adabas, Datacom, IDMS, VSAM, IMS, and Db2 using data wizards specific to each database.  Its intelligence handles the required transformations, including EBCDIC to ASCII, endianness, copybooks to columns, embedded dependencies transforming these proprietary formats to databases such as Hadoop, Oracle, PostgreSQL, Aurora, and MySQL.


tcVISION has ETL bulk load functionality and uses native change data capture (CDC) mechanisms, keeping the data between mainframe databases and modern databases in constant real time synchronization.  Its support of bi-directional replication allows changes to be captured and updated in two different environments, including modern databases.  tcVISION is a powerful tool for data and application modernization, allowing legacy mainframe teams to continue their work while modern teams use leading edge technology on the same data.  It enables modern data warehouses and databases to have access to key corporate data residing on legacy systems.

While tcVISION can be utilized in your corporate datacenter, using tcVISION with AWS has several key advantages:

  • Rapid global deployments to 18 key geographic regions
  • Database as a Service– Relational Database Instances (for Oracle, PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQL Server, MariaDB, and Aurora) greatly simplifying administration
  • Powerful, low cost, highly available databases, such as Aurora
  • Extreme high availability using availability zones
  • Numerous infrastructure options to optimize the environment and enhance performance
  • Bursting capabilities to accommodate peak loads
  • Controlling costs through infrastructure optimization
  • Moving capital expense to operational expenses
  • Extreme security at every layer, maintained by world class security experts

“Security, scalability, resiliency, recoverability, and cost of applications in the cloud are better than what almost any private enterprise could achieve on its own”:

Rapid Global Connectivity


The AWS Cloud spans 55 Availability Zones within 18 key geographic Regions around the world.  When establishing an EC2 instance (virtual Windows or Linux instance) or a Relational Database instance, the geographic region and availability zone is a parameter.  In minutes, you can establish tcVISION instances with a fully functional database instance in key global business centers, including the Americas, Europe, and Asia.   Once the data is replicated, your global customers can benefit from the low latency of the data center proximity. Global data can be synchronized using the Amazon’s high speed global network using technologies such as Cloud Front and S3 Acceleration. Whatever your company size, leveraging these capabilities allows your customer to gain low latency global access to the key corporate data residing on your IBM mainframe.

Powerful and Cost Effective “Relational Database as a Service” Instances

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.  Amazon RDS is available on several database instance types – optimized for memory, performance, or I/O – and provides you with six familiar database engines to choose from, including Amazon Aurora, Maria DB, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and Microsoft SQL Server.

tcVISION enables you to migrate or perform real-time replication between your on-premises mainframe and Amazon RDS databases.  Your business can rapidly deploy databases globally within minutes with minimal administration requirements.

There are several advantages of a Amazon RDS databases.  One especially powerful database is AWS Aurora which can be established as either mySQL or PostgreSQL API compatible.  Your business can leverage these key advantages:

  • Serverless Aurora: With serverless Aurora there is no database size pre-allocation required.  The database automatically scales up and down based on load and you pay only for the resources utilized.
  • High availability: HA is built into the architecture of Aurora, with six copies of data maintained across three Availability Zones. That is two copies in each Availability Zone (data center in a region), boosting availability with minor disruption even if an entire Availability Zone is down. In addition, the database is continuously backed up to Amazon S3, so you can take advantage of the high durability of S3 (99.999999999) for your backups.
  • Performance: Amazon Aurora provides 5X the throughput of MySQL and 3X the throughput of standard PostgreSQL running on the same hardware
  • Manageability: Amazon Aurora simplifies administration by handling routine database tasks such as provisioning, patching, backup, recovery, failure detection, and repair.
  • Storage Scaling: Aurora storage scales automatically up to 64TB per database instance, growing and rebalancing I/O across the fleet to provide consistent performance.

Scalable and high-performance


Using AWS tools, Auto Scaling, and Elastic Load Balancing, your application can scale up or down based on demand.

Unlike a traditional data center, with the AWS infrastructure environment, you pay only for what you use, and your company is charged only for resource utilization.  Users can bring up EC2 virtual Windows or Linux instances for any length of time. For example, if the mainframe database bulk loads only take an hour to complete, the tcVISION EC2 instances can be brought up for the two hours needed, and shut down when the processing is finished.  AWS EC2 instances can be dynamically stopped and restarted while retaining its data on AWS Elastic Block Storage. This way, your business pays only for what is needed and the instance sizes (CPU, memory, and I/O bandwidth) can be optimized for the required mainframe data migration. or data replication process.

AWS resources, such as EC2 instances, storage, and databases can be rapidly provisioned and de-provisioned.  The allows your corporation to approach the architecture with an agile mentality.  Once the initial design and architecture is complete, it can be rapidly tested and adjusted as required to optimize all aspects, including security, availability, performance, and operation readiness. The AWS environment allows users to experiment with various architectures and sizing.  For example, a customer can test various databases and EC2 instance sizes and types, and make changes based on test results to optimize sizing as required.

tcVISION CDC replication typically doesn’t need consistently high levels of CPU, but benefits significantly from having full access to very fast CPUs when needed. For example, there are significant spikes in mainframe database update activities, and tcVISION can benefit from very fast CPUs.  T2 instances are engineered specifically for these use cases.

Using AWS Auto Scaling, you maintain optimal application performance and scalability, even when workloads are periodic, unpredictable, or continuously changing.  AWS Auto Scaling continually monitors your applications to make sure they are operating at your desired performance levels.  When demand spikes, AWS Auto Scaling automatically increases the capacity of constrained resources, so you maintain a high quality of service.

Monitoring of environmental health


In traditional data center environments, vendor supplied infrastructure monitoring tools are often deployed to monitor the infrastructure environmental health.  They measure and alert on environmental factors such as CPU utilization, memory usage, network bandwidth, and disk space.

In the AWS environment, the CloudWatch environment monitoring is integrated with AWS resources such as EC2 instances and Relational Database instances. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, collect and monitor log files, set alarms, and automatically react to changes in your AWS resources. This allows you to set alerts at user specified thresholds and take proactive measures such as notifying individuals and taking automated actions on the AWS environmental resources.  Given the dynamic nature of AWS resources, proactive measures including the dynamic re-sizing of infrastructure resources can be automatically initiated.

World Class Security


The AWS environment is enabled for security at every layer.

AWS resources are contained within your Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).  The Amazon VPC enables you to launch AWS resources into an isolated virtual private network that you define.  The Amazon VPC provides features that you can use to increase and monitor security, and security groups act as a firewall for associated EC2 instances, controlling the inbound and outbound traffic.  Network access control lists (ACLs) act as a firewall for associated subnets controlling inbound and outbound traffic at the subnet level.  Flow logs capture information about the IP traffic going to and from network interfaces in your VPC.

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) enables you to manage access to AWS services and resources securely.  You can create users in IAM, assign them individual security credentials (access, keys, passwords, and multi factor authentication devices).  You create roles in IAM and manage permissions to control which operations can be performed by the entity, or the AWS service that assumes the role.  If you already manage user identities outside of AWS, you can use an IAM identify provider instead of creating IAM users in your AWS account.  With an identity provider, you can manage your user identities outside of AWS and give these external user identities permission to use AWS resources in your account.

Data can be encrypted at rest or in transit.  Data encryption capabilities are available in AWS storage, database services such as EBS, S3 Glacier, Oracle RDS, SQL Server RDS, Redshift and many other services.  Flexible key management options, including AWS Key management Service, allows you to choose whether to have AWS manage the encryption keys or to enable you to keep complete control over the keys.


Contact Treehouse Software Today for an Online Demonstration of Mainframe-to-AWS Cloud Data Replication


Request a tcVISION live demo, where we show tcVISION replicating data from a mainframe to AWS Aurora in the Cloud. Just fill out our demo request form, and a Treehouse representative will be in touch to schedule a convenient date and time.