Wazi as a Service for Z/OS

IBM’s Wazi-as-a-Service (WaaS), introduced by Michael Cooney at the end of June, brings hybrid-cloud app services to z/OS mainframes. The company introduced WAZI as a service for its mainframe customers to create a cloud environment for developing and testing applications. Ideally, it  can be used to create z/OS infrastructure instances for cloud app testing and development.

As such, Wazi-as-a-Service can be used to create z/OS infrastructure instances for development and testing z/OS application components in a virtualized, containerized sandbox. The instances would run on Red Hat OpenShift on x86 hardware. The service also includes access to z/OS systems and integrates with modern source-code management platforms such as GitHub and GitLab.

However, Wazi-as-a-Service cannot be used for refactoring or re-engineering existing z/OS based applications with the intention to re-platform them, and cannot be used for production workloads, IBM said. Although that does sounds tempting to me and probably to many DancingDinosaur readers.

The service does support self-provisioning of z/OS systems in virtual server instances (VSI) in the IBM Cloud Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) that can be used for development and testing. It allows the ability to manage compute, storage, and networking resources so maybe it is not as useless as it might seem at first.

The service can spin up z/OS virtual servers in six minutes or less, Alan Peacock, general manager of IBM Cloud Delivery & Operations, wrote in a blog. “You can either use a pre-installed stock image or extract components from an on-prem system and deploy a custom image onto the virtual server using IBM Wazi Image Builder in IBM Cloud’s Virtual Private Cloud environment,” he wrote. “This environment is a logically isolated, highly secured private space running in the IBM Cloud, thereby eliminating the wait times involved in getting access to resources.”

Isolated development environments combined with DevSecOps testing tools enable developers to start testing at a much earlier stage of the development lifecycle, Peacock stated. “The virtual server running on real zSystems hardware provides up to 15x better performance than comparable x86 offerings. This virtual server enables you to accelerate software release cycles and improve software quality.”

The service is not generally available, and use of it requires customers to be allow-listed by IBM sales.WAZI-as-a-service is part of recent packages IBM offers to better integrate Big Iron into the cloud. It recently rolled out the IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Stack 2022.1.1 service offers industry-standard tools to modernize z/OS applications on a pay-per-use basis. The service supports z/OS Connect, which utilizes a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) interface to tie into and link with existing applications to make Z applications and data part of a hybrid-cloud strategy.

Multi-cloud solutions provide opportunities for IT organizations to drive value – but they must be set up and managed closely to deliver speed, flexibility, cost, and operational efficiency.

WAZI-as-a-service also supports z/OS Cloud Broker, which integrates z/OS-based services and resources into Red Hat OpenShift to create, modernize, deploy, and manage applications, data, and infrastructure. If you can deal with its various constraints, it promises to be a very useful tool for active Z shops.

Alan Radding is DancingDinosaur, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghostwriter. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter.

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