GT Software Adds RESTful Interface Option to Mainframe Integration Solution

GT Software, a provider of mainframe integration solutions, announced that the company's flagship product, Ivory Service Architect, has released version 4.3 that adds the REST architecture as a new interface option.

RESTful interfaces that conform to the Representational State Transfer client-server architecture are gaining momentum as an alternative to SOAP-based web services because they require less development and runtime overhead delivering ease-of-use and better performance versus SOAP-based implementations. This is a good option for mainframe sites as well, Rob Morris, chief strategy officer at GT Software, tells 5 Minute Briefing. "We believe freedom of choice is a primary objective when delivering our solutions," he says. "The addition of REST supports this tenant as organizations can now perform mainframe integration that leverages either SOAP-based, or REST-based web services."

Ivory Service Architect, designed to enable service oriented architecture deployments within mainframe environments, consists of Ivory Studio, a graphical modeling environment; Ivory Server, a high-performance service processor with runtime service orchestration; and Ivory Server for Batch. It delivers an unprecedented array of mainframe cost-saving options that provide true application agility for mainframe integration and SOA.

The automatic generation of the REST interface represents the continuing extension of Ivory's capabilities. GT Software's Ivory now offers the first RESTful services support for IBM IMS systems.

While SOAP-based web services have traditionally been the choice in large data center environments, REST-based web services have increasingly been making inroads, Morris explains. "SOAP is a protocol that some people consider a bit heavy or verbose for certain applications. REST is gaining industry momentum as a simpler, more straightforward way to access web-based services."

While critics of REST say the protocol is not as robust as SOAP web services for more complex environments, Morris says REST offers a viable option. "In a straight comparison of REST vs. SOAP-based services, it's easy to say 'REST is not as secure or manageable as SOAP. But this implies that an organization intends to fully exploit these capabilities with every service deployed." Most Ivory customers, which include banks and insurance companies, do not require WS-Security - a SOAP-based protocol - to be implemented at the mainframe endpoint, Morris adds.

Without requiring any changes to the service definition, Ivory supports the deployment of both mainframe-based SOAP or RESTful web services across z/VSE, z/OS, CICS, IMS, Windows, and Linux. Benefits include the ability to shift integration and SOA-related workload off the mainframe, as well as leveraging new mainframe MIPS-reducing hardware such as IFL processors with Linux on System z, and the exploitation of the zIIP and zAAP.

Support for the REST protocol also provides a path to cloud computing as well, Morris continues. "Having the option of REST certainly removes technical barriers and options to enable mainframe applications and data to be easily accessed using standard web metaphors that are fundamental to the cloud."

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