The API Economy is booming, and with such huge historic investments in mainframes it is vital for companies to find ways to bring these assets into the API world. The Lustratus report “Best of Breed API Middleware for Mainframes” examined the challenge of API-enabling mainframes and developed a checklist of key functions for buyers to use in discussions with prospective suppliers. It identified the following API software segmentation, distinguishing between generic API Management middleware and mainframe-specific API middleware.
This assessment looks at six different vendors of mainframe API middleware, covering what each offers and providing a view on how well each addresses the various checklist items. The focus of this assessment is primarily on the mainframe-specific API middleware rather than the more generic API management middleware. Some vendors could be classed as API Management vendors that also provide some mainframe connectivity. Others are specialist mainframe vendors that usually have partnerships with one or more API Management vendors to cover the generic requirements. There are even some that try to cover both areas.
Finding the best match will depend to a large extent on the mainframe API requirements the buyer wants to address. For example, if the target is to make available a small number of fairly simple CICS transactions with a modern look and feel on various devices, this can be achieved relatively easily with little need for a mainframe-skilled partner. However, if various mainframe environments such as CICS, IMS, IDMS or Batch have assets to be exposed as APIs, spanning simple queries to complex, conversational transactions, the mainframe skills and experience of the chosen supplier is likely to be far more important.
The assessment is highly subjective and not intended to be definitive in any way, but rather it aims to guide buyers on some of the questions to ask as they evaluate the different solutions. The table below indicates the level of support of each vendor, using the following scheme:
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