Telco switches off mainframe and puts business critical applications into the cloud

Mainframe replacement

The move relies on ‘Software Defined Mainframe’ technology which marries an open source container system to support traditional business functions and integration with modern services like IoT.

A major European telecoms provider has switched off its mainframe and put its trust for running business critical applications into a software-defined alternative in the cloud instead.

Swisscom has migrated its entire mainframe workload to the cloud, running instead on LzLabs’ Software Defined Mainframe (SDM). With the migration, Swisscom says it has achieved “a landmark in enterprise IT”, by moving its legacy mainframe applications and data to its own enterprise cloud infrastructure, without any data reformatting or recompilation of its application program code.

Swisscom says it achieved around a 60% IT cost reduction as a result of phasing out its legacy mainframe. The business-critical applications migrated – measured at 2,500 installed MIPS (million instructions per second) – manage billing, geography and address information and line administration for the provider’s entire fixed line network. All workloads now run on Swisscom’s own private cloud.

“We turned to LzLabs for two reasons, reducing the high cost of our legacy mainframe, but also a need for greater flexibility in our IT infrastructure that we could not achieve on the mainframe,” said Markus Tschumper, head of general IT services at Swisscom.

“With applications and data migrated unchanged, SDM represented a lower risk path for us to reach this goal. We even have plans to offer SDM-as-a-service to our own customers, via our enterprise cloud, so our customers can experience the same benefits.”

SDM is a specialised container technology that provides capabilities for mainframe applications to execute on open systems, with no requirement for recompilation or conversion of data types. SDM provides a runtime environment that supports the necessary functionally-equivalent subsystem APIs, to enable transparent execution of the binary representations of these programs and data.

Running in open environments, these applications are more easily integrated with mobile, IoT, cloud and DevOps strategies, and no longer require management by a diminishing mainframe workforce.

LzLabs says it allows organisations to modernise their mainframe environments incrementally, allowing them to adopt open, cloud-based technologies and tap into the increasing worldwide open-source talent pool.

Thilo Rockmann, chairman and COO of Switzerland-headquartered LzLabs, said: “We hope the success of this implementation inspires more organisations to take the first step towards open innovation.”

Earlier this year, Swisscom turned on Europe’s first nationwide 5G mobile network service.