The marriage of legacy systems with next generation applications and development environments is often a painful and expensive proposition. This is especially true for enterprises with large amounts of critical data and content assets distributed across a variety of heterogeneous platforms that, based on evolving business requirements, need to be accessed or updated in real-time, compared or blended with a continuous flow of new information arriving from multiple sources at speeds that can exceed a thousand transactions per second.
Enterprises that fit this category, including airlines, financial institutions, government agencies, and telcos, have huge investments in systems, in particular online line transaction processing (OLTP) applications. It is not feasible or cost effective to rip and replace these solutions and migrate the data. However, today most customer-facing applications depend on an entirely new generation of application development tools, middleware, and external interfaces that must bridge the gap between the two technological generations.
The ClearPath approach is based on an open server environment that provides “real-time infrastructure (RTI) that spans information management technology, services, and platforms. The ClearPath strategy embraces all elements of RTI and is focused at the enterprise level.”
Unisys ClearPath mainframe customers (both MCP and OS2200 classes) can “take advantage of the latest technology to deliver application specific performance for Java, message queuing, cryptography, Web/Web services and intelligent device integration within the security and resilience of the ClearPath architecture.” Key to delivering these critical functions and components is the ClearPath middleware stack which includes the following attributes:
- Openness to standards (IEEE, IETF, ISO, ITU, W3C) and de facto standards (WebSphere MQ (IBM), Java/JavaEE),
- Open execution environments on both MCP and OS2200 families to complement native environments,
- Integration of middleware to facilitate ClearPath systems participation in service oriented architectures (SOA),
- Adaptability to open source developments (Apache, JBoss, Linux).
Making the Case for Openness
The ClearPath operating systems and middleware stack are not inherently “open”. However, Unisys has embraced the open community to offer its enterprise class, high transaction volume clients the ability to adopt open tools and standards in order to take advantage of newer, now mainstream development environments such as Java and Linux while maintaining the security, system availability and scalability features that come with the ClearPath portfolio.
In addition, Unisys argues that its external interfaces are all open because they “meet the essential requirement that the definitions or specifications are in the public domain in some form and not hidden. Implementations may therefore be available on a variety of platforms, both hardware and operating system, and additional implementations may be made in platforms not already included.”
With ClearPath, Unisys is making a strong case for being considered a premier provider of a scaled-up integrated stack of products, services, and capabilities. These include the Unisys mainframe environments and virtually any non-proprietary technology, interface, development tool, industry standard, or application that its clients would need to meet their interoperability and business goals. By extension this would also be the case for the ClearPath Cloud offering and the ClearPath outsourcing and services organizations.
Action Item: Unisys clients and large enterprises with complex, heterogeneous high transaction volume environments in need of support to develop, secure, deploy, and integrate both legacy and next generation applications along with SOAs and open standards should strongly consider the work Unisys has done with its ClearPath offerings not only to protect their customers' investments but to provide a robust framework for any firm that is in need of these critical capabilities.
Footnotes: An Open System defined by The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF) A system that implements sufficient open specifications for interfaces, services, and supporting formats to enable properly engineered Application Software:
a. To be ported with minimal changes across a wide range of systems
b. To interoperate with other applications on local and remote systems
c. To interact with users in a style that facilitates user portability