Starting a Mainframe Data Replication Project? Consider Your Use Cases Carefully

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development and Cloud Alliance Leader at Treehouse Software


Planning for Real-time and Bi-directional Mainframe Data Replication with tcVISION

A customer’s mainframe data may be utilized by many interlinked and dependent programs that have been in place for several years, and sometimes, decades, so unlocking the value of this legacy data can be difficult. Therefore, careful planning must occur for a mainframe data modernization project, beginning with identifying uses cases for the project and a Proof of Concept (POC) of data replication software, such as tcVISION, the Mainframe-to-Hybrid Cloud and Open Systems data replication product from Treehouse Software.

This blog serves as a general guide for organizations planning to replicate their mainframe data on Cloud and/or Open Systems platforms using tcVISION.

Questions and Considerations for Your Use Cases

A general principle should be to prove out the data replication technology (tcVISION) by using identified use cases. Listed below are some examples of questions and use cases to assist customers in planning and experiencing successful Mainframe-to-Cloud and/or Open Systems data replication projects:

  • What is/are the mainframe source database(s)? Obvious, yes, but the software solution vendor and outside consultants need this information.
  • What are the critical issues you need to test? Are there any areas that you believe that would be challenging for the vendor? Examples would be specific transformations, data types (e.g., BLOB), required CDC SLAs, field/column changes, specific security requirements, data volume requirements, etc. Document all of the critical test items.
  • Select the minimal set of files (generally 3-10) with representative conditions that will enable you to test all of your critical items. If there are multiple source databases, ensure specific test use cases are defined for each source.
  • What are the target databases? Will you be replicating to a Cloud database manager, such as AWS RDS? Are there additional requirements to replicate to S3, Azure BLOB, GCP Cloud Storage, Kinesis, and Kafka? What needs to be tested?
  • What are your bulk or initial load requirements? tcVISION can load data directly from mainframe databases, mainframe unloads, or image copies. What are the data volumes? Do you have sufficient bandwidth between your mainframe manager and on-premises or Cloud VM to handle your volume requirements?
  • What are your Change Data Capture (CDC) requirements?
  • Do you have plans for bi-directional replication in the future. What are your specific requirements? Since bi-directional replication can be complex and greatly lengthen a modernization project, the customer generally will perform one bi-directional use case for conceptual proof. Will this suffice for your organization?
  • What are your specific high availability requirements? Can they be handled by a technical discussion, or is a specific use case required?
  • What are your general security requirements for data at rest and data in transit? Do you have any specific security regulations to follow, such as HIPPA or FIPS? What are your PII / data masking requirements?
  • What are your schema requirements? For example, tcVISION creates a default schema based on your input mainframe data. Major changes to the default schema usually require a staging database.
  • Do you have staff available to perform the required tasks for the project? For example, for the length of a tcVISION POC you will need part-time staff, 2-4 hours per day. A part-time mainframe administrator will generally require 2-8 elapsed hours. Other staff will include Windows/Linux/Cloud administrators. 2-4 hours of project management may also be required.
  • Are business data transformations required? tcVISION handles minor transformation via point and click (e.g., date format transformations). Major transformations can require C++ or product scripting.
  • Are there any triggers or stored procedures? tcVISION performs CDC replication processing using a database that utilizes these database features.

Of course, each project will have unique environments, goals, and desired use cases. It is important that specific use cases are determined and documented prior to the start of a project and a tcVISION POC. This planning will allow the Treehouse Software team and the customer develop a more accurate project timeline, have the required resources available, and realize a successful project. 

More About tcVISION from Treehouse Software…


tcVISION supports a vast array of integration scenarios throughout the enterprise, providing easy and fast data migration for mainframe application modernization projects. This innovative technology offers comprehensive abilities to identify and capture changes occurring in mainframe and relational databases, then publish the required information to an impressive variety of targets, both Cloud and on-premises.

tcVISION acquires data in bulk or via CDC methods from virtually any IBM mainframe data source (Software AG Adabas, IBM Db2, IBM VSAM, IBM IMS/DB, CA IDMS, CA Datacom, and sequential files), and transform and deliver to a wide array of Cloud and Open Systems targets, including AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Confluent, Kafka, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc. In addition, tcVISION can extract and replicate data from a variety of non-mainframe sources, including Adabas LUW, Oracle Database, Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Db2 LUW and Db2 BLU, IBM Informix, and PostgreSQL.


Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

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