AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Patterns and Best Practices for Mainframe Modernization with AWS

By Phil de Valence, Solutions Architect for Mainframe Modernization at AWS
By Erik Farr, Solutions Architect Manager for GSI Partners at AWS


Customers have many compelling business reasons to modernize and migrate mainframe workloads to the AWS Cloud.

Mainframe modernization projects often require patience, strong leadership, and a robust approach to achieve the intended ROI.

Fortunately, based on our experience from successful customer modernization projects to Amazon Web Services (AWS), we have identified patterns, lessons learned, and best practices that facilitate new mainframe-to-AWS initiatives.

There is no one-size-fits-all for mainframe modernization to AWS. Depending on the business and IT strategy, and depending on the mainframe-specific technical constraints, customers select the most suitable pattern for them. If the mainframe is large enough to process multiple workloads, the characteristics can favor different patterns.


Popular and successful patterns implemented by AWS customers include:

  • Short-term migration with automated refactoring
  • Short-term migration with emulator rehosting
  • Augmentation with data analytics
  • Augmentation with new channels

Best Practices

Learning from the experience of past projects, customers, and AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners, we have updated our mainframe-to-AWS best practices to incldue:

  • Complex Proof of Concept (PoC)
  • Maximum automation
  • Decide pattern, then tool, then architecture, then activities
  • Vendor-neutral pattern selection
  • System Integrators selection
  • Modernize legacy data stores
  • Workload-based modernization
  • Serialize technical, then business-level modernizations
  • Define tool evaluation factors
  • Estimate modernization and runtime costs

Next Steps

Learn more about these patterns and best practices in our full-length post: Yes, You Should Modernize Your Mainframe with the AWS Cloud.

You can also review our APN Partner value propositions on the APN Blog’s mainframe section >>