Software-defined mainframe vendor LzLabs makes a move into North American market

Aided by a partnership with Microsoft, LzLabs is bringing its software-defined mainframe technology to North America. Zurich-based LzLabs will offer its LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe to customers in verticals such as banking, telecoms, insurance and government.

Founded in 2011, LzLabs provides software and services to help companies move their mainframe business applications and data to modern systems and evolve them into modern formats. The company’s solutions enable customers to choose the best platform for running their applications. In addition to modernizing their mainframes, LzLabs said its customers also save money by using its solutions. 

LzLabs has developed the LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe (LzSDM), which includes an Eclipse-based development environment for maintaining and modernizing legacy applications and a Linux runtime for those applications.

The runtime also enables legacy applications, for which no source-code is available, to run in the cloud. Many global enterprises don't have access to the original source code of their mainframe applications, and remain locked into the mainframe without a technology such as LzSDM.

"The product is unique in that it enables applications designed to run on mainframe, to run on Linux operating systems without recompilation or data changes," said LzLabs CEO Mark Cresswell, in an email to FierceTelecom. "Customers can therefore run more of their applications in the cloud, innovate faster—as these applications now integrate more easily with modern development practices—and save money. In this new model, all traditional mainframe services are implemented by open-source via our layer. This maintains compatibility with the applications."

LzLabs counts Swisscom as one of its customers. Last year Swisscom achieved a landmark in enterprise IT by becoming the first organization to switch off its legacy mainframe and move its entire mainframe application portfolio and data, without changes, to Linux systems in the cloud, according to LzLabs.

LzLabs also works with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, as well as system integrators and technology partners such as Accenture, Red Hat and Fujitsu.

"As LzLabs expands into the North American market, we are partnering together to introduce their solution to our customers," said Microsoft's Bob Ellsworth, worldwide director, mainframe transformation, in a statement. "Our customers want the flexibility and modernization benefits of running mainframe applications on Microsoft Azure. The LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe provides a unique solution which addresses the business requirements of many of our customers while reducing the risk of migration. As mainframe application migration specialists, the LzLabs team is positioned to offer companies in North America a lower risk path to a future where legacy applications can become an enabler for their business.”

The issues of legacy mainframe systems came into focus in April, when multiple U.S. state government departments made calls for COBOL programmers to come forward as their mainframe systems failed to handle a surge in unemployment claims processing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to LzLabs.

According to LzLabs, legacy applications have become locked-in to mainframe infrastructures, In addition, the lack of available skills in the workforce that understand the platform and its development process has led to moving these critical applications to open platforms and the cloud.

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Cresswell said LzLabs, which has 100 employees, primarily competes against Tmaxsoft and Micro Focus. LzLabs currently has an office in Toronto and plans to open a U.S. office in the future.