Should You Stay, or Should You Go? You Can Do Both by Incrementally Replicating Your Mainframe Data on the Cloud While Keeping Both Sides Synchronized

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


Many of Treehouse Software’s enterprise customers are not close to considering the retirement of their mainframe systems, but instead have long-term data replication projects, or want to indefinitely have their legacy systems co-exist with a new Cloud platform. These organizations are looking for solutions that allow their legacy mainframe environment to continue while replicating data – in real time and bi-directionally – to take advantage of the latest Cloud services, such as analytics, auto scaling, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), high availability, advanced security, etc., or move data to a variety of newer Cloud databases, streaming services, container services, and more.

The Transition Doesn’t Have to be a Sudden Big Bang

Much of an enterprise’s mission critical mainframe data is stored in legacy mainframe databases, and the cost to maintain these databases is high.  An added complication is that the data is utilized by many interlinked and dependent programs that have been in place for many years, and sometimes decades. Unlocking the value of this legacy data is also difficult due to many very different types of mainframe databases (e.g., Db2, Adabas, CA Datacom, CA IDMS, etc.).

Immediate data replication on the Cloud is enabling government, healthcare, supply chain, financial, and a variety of public service organizations to meet spikes in demand for vital information, especially in times of crisis. The globalization of markets, increase of data volumes, 24×7 operations, changing business conditions, and high demand for up-to-date information also requires new data transfer and exchange solutions for heterogeneous IT architectures.

The Data-First Solution

Treehouse Software is here to help enterprise mainframe customers accelerate digital transformation and successfully leverage Hybrid Cloud initiatives on the IBM Z platform, storing sensitive data on a private Cloud or local data center and simultaneously leveraging leading technologies on a managed public Cloud. Our tcVISION replication solution focuses on changed data capture (CDC) when transferring information between mainframe data sources and modern databases and applications. Through an innovative technology, changes occurring in any mainframe application data are tracked and captured, and then published to a variety of targets. The customer moves only the right data to the right place at the right time – as much, or as little as they want.

The tcVISION replication solution has a modular design, which enables it to support mass data load from one source to one or more targets, as well as continuous data exchange processes in realtime via CDC. This modular architecture and the provided APIs gives customers unlimited potential for growth and use of new technologies.

tcVISION allows bi-directional, real-time data synchronization of changes on either platform to be reflected on the other platform (e.g., a change to a PostgreSQL table is reflected back on mainframe). The customer can then modernize their application on the cloud, open systems, etc. without disrupting the existing critical work on the legacy system.

In the following example high level architecture diagram, bi-directional data replication between Db2 z/OS and AWS using tcVISION is shown:


tcVISION utilizes a Windows-based GUI Control Board, which is ideal for non-mainframe programmers.  While mainframe experts are required in the design/architecture phase and occasionally during implementation, the requirement for their involvement is limited. The tcVISION Control Board acts as a single point of administration, data modeling and mapping, script generation, and monitoring. Comprehensive monitoring and logging of all data movements ensure transparency across all data exchange processes. In the following example, the mainframe can be seen communicating to an Amazon EC2-based tcVISION replication manager. The tcVISION Control Board shows the user a graphical representation of this replication:


Additionally, tcVISION supports complex data replication scenarios between multiple data sources and targets, as seen here:


With tcVISION, data replication projects can be implemented within a few of months, depending on the complexity of the project.  This includes the proof of concept and design/architecture stages.  After these stages are complete, the customer can start the first production implementation sprint, immediately providing business value.  We suggest successive agile sprints to allow for incremental deployment of additional file replication, sprint by sprint.

Supported Sources and Targets

tcVISION supports a vast array of integration scenarios throughout the enterprise, providing easy and fast data replication for Mainframe-to-Cloud and Open Systems application modernization projects.


Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

Just fill out the Treehouse Software tcVISION Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will contact you to set up a time for your tcVISION demonstration. This will be a live, on-line demonstration that shows tcVISION replicating data from the mainframe to a Cloud target database.

Treehouse Software Customer Case Study: A State Government Agency’s Real-time Data Synchronization Between IBM Mainframe Adabas and AWS

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


Software AG’s Adabas is a mainframe database that is still heavily used by government sites throughout the U.S. and the world, and this blog focuses on a current Treehouse Software customer – a U.S. State Government Agency that uses Adabas on their mainframe system.

Business Issue

The Agency’s modernization team was looking for a Change Data Capture (CDC) technology solution that enables them to synchronize their mainframe Adabas data on AWS, particularly an Amazon RDS. As with most Treehouse customers, the State’s mainframe contains vital data that must always be highly available, so rather than attempting a complete migration from the mainframe, the modernization teams decided to implement a multi-year data replication plan. This allows the mainframe legacy teams to maintain existing critical applications, while the modernization team develops new applications on AWS.

After researching various technologies, the Agency discovered tcVISION on the AWS Parter Network Blog and contacted Treehouse Software to discuss their project and to see a demonstration of Mainframe-to-AWS data replication.

Addressing the Uniqueness of Adabas

Having specialized in tools and services complementary to Adabas/Natural applications since 1982, Treehouse Software has successfully encountered and addressed many unique scenarios within the Adabas environment. The Treehouse technical team documented three primary issues with Adabas/Natural that the Agency needed to consider when they began planning data replication on AWS:

  1. Adabas has no concept of “transaction isolation”, in that a program may read a record that another program has updated, in its updated state, even though the update has not been committed.  This means that programmatically reading a live Adabas database—one that is available to update users—will almost inevitably lead to erroneous extraction of data.  Record modifications (updates, inserts and deletes) that are extracted, and subsequently backed out, will be represented incorrectly—or not at all—in the target. Because of this, at Treehouse we say “the only safe data source is a static data source”—not the live database.
  2. Many legacy Adabas applications make use of “record typing”, i.e., multiple logical tables stored in a single Adabas file.  Often, each must be extracted to a separate table in the target RDBMS.  The classic example is that of the “code-lookup file”.  Most shops have a single file containing state codes, employee codes, product-type codes, etc.  Records belonging to a given “code table” may be distinguished by the presence of a value in a particular index (descriptor or superdescriptor in ADABAS parlance), or by a range of specific values.  Thus, the extraction process must be able to dynamically assign data content from a given record to different target tables depending on the data content itself.
  3. Adabas is most often used in conjunction with Software AG’s Natural 4GL, and “conveniently” provides for unique datatypes (“D” and “T”) that appear to be merely packed-decimal integers on the surface, but that represent date or date-time values when interpreted using Software AG’s proprietary Natural-oriented algorithm. The most appropriate way to migrate such datatypes is to recognize them and map them to the corresponding native RDBMS datatype (e.g., Oracle DATE) in conjunction with a transformation that decodes the Natural value and formats it to match the target datatype.

The tcVISION Technology Solution...


After technical discussions and a successful proof of concept (POC) that proved out a set of use cases, all teams at the Agency determined that tcVISION real-time mainframe data replication capabilities were the perfect fit for meeting their goals.

tcVISION‘s modeling and mapping facilities are utilized to view and capture logical Adabas structures, as documented in Software AG’s PREDICT data dictionary, as well as physical structures as described in Adabas Field Definition Tables (FDTs).  Given that PREDICT is a “passive” data dictionary (there is no requirement that the logical and physical representations agree), it was necessary to scrutinize both to ensure that the source structures were accurately modeled.

Furthermore, tcVISION generates appropriate mappings and transformations for converting Adabas datatypes and structures to corresponding target datatypes and structures, including automatic handling of the proprietary “D” and “T” source datatypes.

The teams examined the three ways that tcVISION can access Adabas data:

  1. ETL – read the active database nucleus
  2. ETL – read datasets containing unloaded Adabas files created by the ADAULD utility
  3. CDC – read the active and archived PLOGs datasets

It was decided to access the data by reading the active and archived PLOGs datasets. The schema, mappings, and transformations from the metadata import were tailored to the customer’s specific requirements.  It is also now possible to import an existing RDBMS schema and retrofit it, via drag-and-drop in tcVISION, to the source Adabas elements.

Additionally, the Agency’s teams are very pleased with tcVISION‘s minimal usage of mainframe resources. The product’s “staged processing” methodology accomplishes this, whereby the only processing occurring on the mainframe is the capture of changes from Adabas PLOGs. The bulk of the processing occurs on the AWS side, minimizing tcVISION’s footprint on the mainframe as seen in this diagram:


The user defines on which platform stage their processing should be done. Do as little as possible on the mainframe: Stage 0 – capture data and send data (internal format) to target, and process data in Stages 1 – 3 in AWS.

Customer Outcome

All requirements were met by tcVISION, which led to a successful project implementation.

Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today…

No matter where you want your mainframe data to go – the Cloud, open systems, or any LUW target – tcVISION from Treehouse Software is your answer.

Just fill out the Treehouse Software tcVISION Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will contact you to set up a time for your online tcVISION demonstration.

Further reading:

Many more mainframe data migration and replication customer case studies can be read on the Treehouse Software Website.

Mainframe-to-Cloud Data Replication with tcVISION: Recommendations for Roadmapping Your Deployment on a Cloud Environment

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


Careful planning must occur for a Mainframe-to-Cloud data modernization project, including how a customer’s desired Cloud environment will look. This blog serves as a general guide for organizations planning to replicate their mainframe data on Cloud platforms using Treehouse Software‘s tcVISION.

A successful move to the Cloud requires a number of post-migration considerations and solutions in order to modernize an application on the Cloud.  Some examples of these considerations and solutions include: 

Personnel Resource Considerations

Staffing for Mainframe-to-Cloud data replication projects depends on the scale and requirements of your replication project (e.g., bi-directional data replication projects will require more staffing).  

Most customers deploy a data replication product with Windows and Linux knowledgeable staff at varying levels of seniority.  For the architecture and setup tasks, we recommend senior technical staff to deal with complex requirements around the mainframe, Cloud architecture, networking, security, complex data requirements, and high availability.  Less senior staff are effective for the more repeatable deployment tasks such as mapping new database/file deployments.  Business staff and system staff are rarely required but can be necessary for more complex deployment tasks.  For example, bi-directional replication requires matching keys on both platforms and their input might be required.  Other activities would be PII consideration, specifics of data transformation and data verification requirements.

An example of staffing for a very large deployment might be one very part-time project manager, a part-time mainframe DBA/systems programmer, 1-2 staff to setup and deployment the environment and an additional 1-2 staff to manage the existing replication processes.

Environment Considerations

As part of the architecture planning, your team needs to decide how many tiers of deployment are needed for your replication project.  Much like with applications, you may want a Dev, QA, and Prod tier.  For each of these tiers, you will need to decide the level of separation.  For example, you might combine Dev and QA, but not Prod.  Many customers will keep production as a distinct environment.  Each environment will have its own set of resources, including mainframe managers (possibly on separate LPARs), Could VMs (e.g., EC2) for replication processing, and for managed Cloud RDBMSs (such as AWS RDS).  

After the required QA testing, changes are deployed to the production environment.  Object promotion test procedures should be detailed and documented, allowing for less experience personnel to work in some testing tasks.  Adherence to details, processes, and extended testing is most import when deploying bi-directional replication, due to the high impact of errors and difficult remediation.

Rollout Planning

A data replication product is typically deployed using Agile methods with sprints.  This allows for incrementally realized business value.  The first phase is typically a planning/architecture phase during which the technical architecture and deployment process are defined.   Files for replication are deployed in groups during sprint planning.  Initial sprint deployments might be low value file replications to shield the business from any interruptions due to process issues.  Once the team is satisfied that the process is effective, replication is working correctly, and data is verified on the source and targets, wide scale deployments can start.  The number of files to deploy in a sprint will depend on the customer’s requirements.  An example would be to deploy 20 mainframe files per 2–3-week sprint.  Technical personnel and business users need to work together to determine which files and deployment order will have the greatest business benefit.


For security, both on-premises and to the major Cloud environments, there are several considerations:

  • Data will be replicated between a source and target. The data security for PII data must be considered.  In addition, rules such as HIPPA, FIPS, etc. will govern specific security requirements.
  • The path of the data must be considered, whether it is a private path, or if the data transverses the internet. For example, when going from on-premises to the Cloud the major Cloud providers have a VPN option which encrypts data going over the internet.  More secure options are also available, such as AWS Direct Connect and Azure ExpressRoute.  With these options, the on-premises network is connected directly to the Cloud provider edge location via a telecom provider, and the data goes over a private route rather than the internet.
  • Additionally, Cloud services such as S3, Azure Blob Storage, and GCP buckets default to route service connections over the internet. Creating a private end point (e.g., AWS PrivateLink) allows for a private network connection within the Cloud provider’s network.  Private connections that do not traverse the Internet provide better security and privacy.
  • Protecting data at rest is important for both the source and target environments. The modern Z/OS mainframe has advanced pervasive and encryption capabilities:  The major Cloud providers all provide extensive at-rest encryption capabilities.  Turning on encryption for Cloud Storage and databases is often just a parameter setting and the Cloud provider takes care of the encryption, keys, and certificates automatically.    
  • Protecting data in transit is equally important. There are often multiple transit points to encrypt and protect.  First, is the transit from the mainframe to on-premises to the Cloud VM instance.  A mainframe data replication product should provide protection employing TLS 1.2 to utilize keys and certificates on both the mainframe and Cloud.  Second is from the Cloud VM to the Cloud target database or service.  Encryption may be less important since often these services are in a private environment.  However, encryption can be achieved as required.

High Availability

  • During CDC processing, high availability must be maintained in the Cloud environment. The data replication product should keep track of processing position.  The first can be a Restart file, which keeps track of mainframe log position, target processing position, and uncommitted transactions.  The second can be a container stored on Linux or Windows to store committed unprocessed transactions.  Both need to be on highly available storage with a preference for storage across Availability Zones (AZs), such as Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) or Windows File Server (FSx).
  • The Amazon EC2 instance (or other Cloud instance) can be part of an Auto Scaling Group spread across AZs with minimum and maximum of one Amazon EC2 instance.
  • Upon failure, the replacement Amazon EC2 instance of the replication product’s administrator function is launched and communicates its IP address to the product’s mainframe administrator function. The mainframe then starts communication with the replacement Amazon EC2 instance.
  • Once the Amazon EC2 instance is restarted, it continues processing at the next logical restart point, using a combination of the LUW and Restart files.
  • For production workloads, Treehouse Software recommends turning on Multi-AZ target and metadata databases.

Scalable Storage

  • With scalable storage provided on most Cloud platforms, the customer pays only for what is used. The data replication product should require file-based storage for its files that can grow in size if target processing stops for an unexpected reason.  For example, Amazon EFS, and Amazon FSx provide a serverless elastic file system that lets the customer share file data without provisioning or managing storage.


  • All top Cloud platform providers give customers the broadest and deepest portfolio of purpose-built analytics services optimized for all unique analytics use cases. Cloud analytics services allow customers to analyze data on demand, and helps streamline the business intelligence process of gathering, integrating, analyzing, and presenting insights to enhance business decision making.
  • A data replication product should replicate data to several data sources that can easily be captured by various Cloud based analytics services. For example, mainframe database data can be replicated to the various Cloud ‘buckets’ in JSON, CSV, or AVRO format, which allows for consumption by the various Cloud analytic services.  Bucket types include AWS S3, Azure BLOB Data, Azure Data Lake Storage, and GCP Cloud storage.  Several other Cloud analytics type services also support targets including Kafka, Elasticsearch, HADOOP, and AWS Kinesis.
  • Kafka has become a common target and can serve as a central data repository. Most customers target Kafka using JSON formatted replicated mainframe data.  Kafka can be installed on-premises, or using a managed Kafka service, such as the Confluent Cloud, AWS Managed Kafka, or the Azure Event Hub.


  • Monitoring is a critical part of any data replication process. There are several levels of monitoring at various points in a data replication project.  For example, each node of the replication including the mainframe, network communication, Cloud VM instances (such as EC2) and the target Cloud database service all can require a level of monitoring.  The monitoring process will also be different in development or QA vs. a full production deployment.
  • A data replication product should also have its own monitoring features. One important area to measure is performance and it is important to determine where any performance bottleneck is located.  Sometimes it could be the mainframe process, the network, the transformation computation process, or the target database.  A performance monitor helps to detect where the bottleneck is occurring and then the customer can drill down into specifics.  For example, if the bottleneck is the input data, areas to examine are the mainframe replication product component performance, or the network connection.  The next step is to monitor the area where the bottleneck is occurring using the data replication product’s statistics, mainframe monitoring tools, or Cloud monitoring such as AWS CloudWatch.
  • A data replication product should also allow the customer to monitor processing functions during the replication process. The data replication product should also have extensive logs and traces that allow for detailed monitoring of the data replication process and produce detailed replication statistics that include a numeric breakdown of processing statistics by table, type of operation (insert, update delete), and where these operations occurred (mainframe, or target database). 
  • CloudWatch collects monitoring and operational data in the form of logs, metrics, and events, providing customers with a unified view of AWS resources, applications, and services that run on AWS, and on-premises servers. You can use CloudWatch to set high resolution alarms, visualize logs and metrics side by side, take automated actions, troubleshoot issues, discover insights to optimize your applications, and ensure they are running smoothly.
  • Some customers are satisfied with a basic monitoring that polls every five minutes, while others need more detailed monitoring and can choose polls that occur every minute.
  • CloudWatch allows customers to record metrics for EC2 and other Amazon Cloud Services and display them in a graph on a monitoring dashboard. This provides visual notifications of what is going on, such as CPU per server, query time, number of transactions, and network usage.
  • Given the dynamic nature of AWS resources, proactive measures including the dynamic re-sizing of infrastructure resources can be automatically initiated. Amazon CloudWatch alarms can be sent to the customer, such as a warning that CPU usage is too high, and as a result, an auto scale trigger can be set up to launch another EC2 instance to address the load. Additionally, customers can set alarms to recover, reboot, or shut down EC2 instances if something out of the ordinary happens.

Disaster Recovery

  • IT disasters such as data center failures, or cyber attacks can not only disrupt business, but also cause data loss, and impact revenue. Most Cloud platforms offer disaster recovery solutions that minimize downtime and data loss by providing extremely fast recovery of physical, virtual, and Cloud-based servers.
  • A disaster recovery solution must continuously replicate machines (including operating system, system state configuration, databases, applications, and files) into a low-cost staging area in a target Cloud account and preferred region.
  • Unlike snapshot-based solutions that update target locations at distinct, infrequent intervals, a Cloud based disaster recovery solution should provide continuous and asynchronous replication.
  • Consult with your Cloud platform provider to make sure you are adhering to their respective best practices.
  • Example:

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  • Many organizations lack the internal resources to support AI and machine learning initiatives, but fortunately the leading Cloud platforms offer broad sets of machine learning services that put machine learning in the hands of every developer and data scientist. For example, AWS offers SageMaker, GCP has AI Platform, and Microsoft Azure provides Azure AI.
  • Applications that are good candidates for AI or ML are those that need to determine and assign meaning to patterns (e.g., systems used in factories that govern product quality using image recognition and automation, or fraud detection programs in financial organizations that examine transaction data and patterns).

The list goes on…

  • Treehouse Software and our Cloud platform and migration partners can advise and assist customers in designing their roadmaps into the future, taking advantage of the most advanced technologies in the world.
  • Successful customer goals are top priority for all of us, and we can continue to work with our customers on a consulting basis even after they are in production.

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. 

Your Mainframe-to-Cloud Data Migration Partner…

Treehouse Software is a global technology company and Technology Partner with AWS, Google Cloud, and Microsoft. The company assists organizations with migrating critical workloads of mainframe data to the Cloud.

Further reading on tcVISION from AWS, Google Cloud, and Confluent:

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, 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…

Simply fill out our tcVISION Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will be contacting you to set up a time for your requested demonstration.

Enterprise Mainframe Change Data Capture (CDC) to Apache Kafka with tcVISION and Confluent

by Joseph Brady, Director of Business Development and Cloud Alliance Leader at Treehouse Software, Inc. and Ram Dhakne, Solutions Engineer at Confluent


This blog focuses on using Treehouse Software’s tcVISION to replicate data in real time between mainframes and Confluent, allowing for new use cases and truly setting data in motion.

Why mainframe modernization? Benefits and use cases

Mainframe data stores often hold large amounts of complex and critical data in proprietary legacy formats, making this data difficult to extract and incompatible with modern databases, data types, and data tools.

Enterprises are looking to take advantage of the latest cloud services, such as analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, scalable storage, security, high availability, etc., or move data to a variety of newer databases. Additionally, many customers want to modernize their application on a cloud or open systems platform without disrupting the existing critical work on the legacy system.

How tcVISION syncs legacy data for the cloud

tcVISION is a data replication software product that performs real-time synchronization of mainframe data sources and cloud and open systems, allowing critical mainframe data to be consumed by a variety of leading cloud services.

tcVISION supports many mainframe data sources for both online and offline scenarios. Data can be replicated from IBM Db2 z/OS, Db2 z/VSE, VSAM, IMS/DB, CA IDMS, CA Datacom, or Software AG ADABAS. tcVISION can replicate data to many targets including Confluent Platform, Apache Kafka®, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, PostgreSQL, Snowflake, etc. To learn more, see the complete list of supported tcVISION sources and targets.


tcVISION focuses on CDC (change data capture) when transferring information between mainframe data sources and cloud and open systems databases and applications. Through innovative technology, changes occurring in any mainframe application data are tracked and captured, and then published to a variety of cloud and open systems targets.

tcVISION stores metadata in a relational database and the tcVISION manager components are administered by the tcVISION control board, a Windows GUI interface, which can be installed on premises or in the cloud. This allows tcVISION users to create metadata, create and control replication scripts, and control database interactions. tcVISION’s architecture is designed to minimize mainframe resource utilization.

Using the tcVISION control board, the most complex transformations can be specified, and it facilitates the mapping of the mainframe copybooks, redefines, data dictionaries, data catalogs, codepages, data type mapping, and more via the user-friendly interface. The repository editor allows users to control data transformations.

What is Confluent?

Confluent Cloud is a real-time data in motion platform that can be deployed in any public cloud, in any region of your choice. It comes with an SLA and uptime of 99.95%, and fully managed components like ZooKeeper, Kafka brokers, 120+ Kafka connectors, Schema Registry, and ksqlDB so you can leverage it on any cloud without having to worry about how it runs and scales.

Kafka Connect, Connect API, connectors, and tcVISION IBM Db2 connector

Kafka comes with three core APIs:

  • Kafka producer/Consumer API
  • Connect API
  • KStreams API

Kafka Connect is a tool for scalably and reliably streaming data between Kafka and other data systems. It makes it simple to quickly define connectors that move large data sets into and out of Kafka. Kafka Connect can ingest entire databases or collect metrics from all your application servers into Kafka topics, making the data available for stream processing with low latency. Kafka Connect connects APIs under the hood with fully managed connector support in Confluent Cloud.

Step-by-step guide on how to use tcVISION and Confluent

This example discusses the integration of tcVISION replication of data from Db2 to Confluent Cloud.

Set up tcVISION access to Confluent

Create an account with Confluent to make a Confluent user ID/password; the user ID is generally your email address. To sign on to Confluent, go to the Confluent Cloud login and enter your user ID:

Confluent Cloud welcome page

Then, enter your password:

Enter your password

When you log in, you’ll be in a Confluent environment called “default”:

Confluent environment called “default”

A Confluent environment is a type of container that holds clusters which in turn hold topics. If you are familiar with messaging systems, Confluent/Kafka will seem familiar. A cluster will need to be created to serve as a target for the data produced by tcVISION. The first attribute to be selected is the type of cluster. Confluent offers three types: Basic, Standard, and Dedicated. For the purposes of this demonstration, Basic will be used. A Basic cluster does not incur charges for simply existing, but does for data transmission and data storage.

Select "Basic cluster" and begin configuration

Select Begin configuration.

Select a cloud provider

Here, a cloud provider can be chosen—AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure. For this example, AWS is used. Select Continue and the characteristics of the new cluster are displayed, which we’ve named “tcVISION_cluster_0”:

Cluster characteristics

After entering your payment information (not shown), you can click on the cluster name to launch the cluster overview.

Cluster overview

In order to use Confluent with tcVISION, the user must provide tcVISION with information about the cluster they intend to use. Specifically, the user must supply the hostname and port of the Confluent AWS virtual machine, and the credentials needed to access the cluster.

Confluent refers to the hostname and port as a bootstrap server. There can be multiple bootstrap servers for the purpose of load balancing, but a single server is used for this demonstration.

To find bootstrap server information, click Cluster Settings on the left-hand side:

Cluster settings

The bootstrap server will be listed under “Identification,” and includes both the AWS hostname and the port.

Credentials in Confluent consist of an API Key and an API Secret. These are generated for the cluster and take the place of the Confluent user ID and password used to log in. To generate a key/secret pair, click API Access on the left:

API Keys page

Followed by Create Key:

Select API Key scope

For this example, we use “Global Access” here, so click Next:

API Key and secret

Pay particular attention to the tip about saving the key and secret somewhere safe, because once this panel is exited, there is no way to display the secret again. A descriptive string for this key/secret pair can be filled in. The key or secret text to be copied can be selected, or use the convenient icons at the end of the field to copy. Once the key/secret has been safely stored, check the box that says it has been done, and click Save. You will return to the “API Keys” panel, and the key is now displayed:

API Key displayed

Set up Confluent and define the topic

The last thing to do is define a topic within the cluster. Confluent producers have the capability to define their own topics within a cluster, but this capability can be disabled by a Confluent configuration and is disabled in the configuration used here.

Go back to the cluster Overview:

Cluster Overview

On the left sidebar, click Topics:


Then Create Topic:

Create a topic

The topic name is filled in (“CONFLUENT_CLOUD_TOPIC1”), overriding the number of partitions from 6 to 1, since that is what the Confluent demo uses. Click Create with defaults:

Cloud topic

A topic is now available, which can be populated with Db2 data.

Set up tcVISION and run a bulk load of Db2 data

tcVISION’s control board is a Windows graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to configure the replication stream between various database platforms, including the IBM mainframe and Confluent. Using the control board and built-in wizards, users can define the metadata and the mappings between the mainframe and target.

The following sequence of screens shows the steps required to create the tcVISION metadata and scripts for replicating mainframe Db2 z/OS data to Confluent.

Access the tcVISION control board:

tcVISION control board

Log on to Db2 z/OS:

Db2 z/OS

Create metadata that is specific to the input (Db2) and output (Kafka) and the replication definition. In this example, the Db2 table is mapped to the Confluent Cloud Kafka topic using JSON:

Import of structure definitions

The tcVISION metadata wizard asks for the information required for the replication of the mainframe database to Confluent Cloud. For Db2 z/OS, it asks for the mainframe Db2 subsystem:

Source type for structure definition import

Db2 subsystem

tcVISION presents the tables contained in the Db2 z/OS catalog on the mainframe. Select the schemas and associated tables for replication:

Select the schemas and associated tables for replication

Once the required tcVISION wizard-based screens are completed, the tool automatically defines the mappings between the source and target. tcVISION’s metadata import wizard creates a default mapping that handles data type conversion issues, such as EBCDIC to ASCII, Endianness conversion, codepages, redefines data types, and more:

Default mapping

tcVISION data scripts are created through wizards. Data scripts control the replication of data from the source (Db2 z/OS) to the target (Confluent Cloud Kafka JSON). tcVISION bulk load scripts are a type of data script that performs the initial load of the Kafka topic. The following script shows data being accessed directly from the mainframe Db2 z/OS database. Another alternative to reduce MIPS consumption is to read the data from a Db2 image copy.

Data script

Bulk load script running:

Bulk load script running

After execution of the bulk load script, replication statistics of the Db2 bulk load into the Confluent Cloud Kafka topic can be viewed:

Replication statistics of the Db2 bulk load

Now that the topic has been loaded with data from Db2, it can be displayed in Confluent. To do this, navigate to the topics panel again:

Notice that there are now statistics indicating that the tcVISION producer uploaded some data to the topic. On the horizontal menu, switch from “Overview” to “Messages” to display the messages (data records) that the tcVISION bulk load placed in the topic. The display can be filtered in various ways, but for this example, the default is used: “Jump to Offset,” which says “start displaying sequentially from this offset.” Here, an offset of 0 (start at the beginning) is specified, since we just want to verify that the Db2 data uploaded by tcVISION was actually delivered:

Messages (data records) from tcVISION bulk load

Run a change script in tcVISION to show the changes in Confluent

To capture ongoing changes to Db2 in real time, a Db2 z/OS CDC replication script is created.

This script captures the changes on the Db2 z/OS side and applies them into the repository where the output target is Confluent Cloud topic.

Replication script

Replication script

Target database Confluent Cloud topic

The CDC replication is initiated from the tcVISION control board. The tcVISION control board shows a graphical representation of the replication:

Graphical representation of the replication

The CDC replication is now actively capturing and replicating data changes whenever they occur on the Db2 z/OS side. You can test it by making a change in the Db2 z/OS table:

********************************* Top of Data **********************************
UPDATE SXE1.TVKFKATB                                                    00010004
SET DEPT = '696969'                                                     00040029
WHERE PERS_ID = 5;                                                      00050004
DSNE615I NUMBER OF ROWS AFFECTED IS 1                                           
--COMMIT;                                                               00060019
DSNE617I COMMIT PERFORMED, SQLCODE IS 0                                         
DSNE620I NUMBER OF SQL STATEMENTS PROCESSED IS 1                                
DSNE621I NUMBER OF INPUT RECORDS READ IS 4                                      
DSNE622I NUMBER OF OUTPUT RECORDS WRITTEN IS 17                                 
******************************** Bottom of Data ********************************

This change is processed and replicated by tcVISION. The tcVISION control board shows the statistics highlighting that one update was performed:

Display of extended statistics

Checking in Confluent, the Db2 z/OS change has successfully been propagated to the Confluent Cloud topic:

Db2 z/OS change successfully propagated to Confluent Cloud topic

tcVISION and Confluent are better together

With tcVISION’s groundbreaking Db2 CDC connector and Confluent’s ability to serve as the multi-tenant data hub, this combination creates a very powerful solution to aggregate data from multiple sources and have data published into various Kafka topics. Sourcing events from any kind of Db2 via a connector into Confluent will set data in motion for the entire organization. Simplicity and agility are key elements of the tcVISION and Confluent “better together” story.


Video: tcVISION Demonstration…

In this video, we show a tcVISION overview, then a demonstration of replication of mainframe data on AWS RDS for PostgreSQL:

Contact Treehouse Software for a tcVISION Demo Today!

No matter where you want your mainframe data to go – the Cloud, open systems, or any LUW target – tcVISION from Treehouse Software is your answer.

Just fill out the Treehouse Software tcVISION Demonstration Request Form and a Treehouse representative will contact you to set up a time for your online tcVISION demonstration.