AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Transforming Hybrid Mainframe Data Access with VirtualZ Lozen and AWS

By Arun Selvaraj, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Bruno Sahinoglu, Principal Partner Solutions Architect, Mainframe – AWS

By Mark Potts, Vice President of Global Services – VirtualZ Computing


Many enterprises face disruption from new competitors, changing customer demands, and evolving regulations. In response, businesses need to be agile and laser-focused on cost while managing talent challenges to support existing systems.

To become more agile, enterprises must develop cloud-native applications, improve their analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) models, and transform their mainframe applications. In this post, we will demonstrate how to create a seamless hybrid cloud environment for mainframes by providing access between the cloud and mainframe while retaining data on the mainframe.

Rather than undertake multi-year “big bang” modernization programs, most enterprises choose an incremental approach to updating their applications and infrastructure. This gradual transition creates hybrid environments where both mainframe and AWS applications coexist and share data for extended periods.

In these complex settings, relying on data integration methods often demands intricate architectures, custom coding, and purchasing specialized software tools. This approach introduces months of development time, unnecessary cost, and project risk.

To simplify hybrid cloud data integration, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers technologies like AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS), AWS Schema Conversion Tool (AWS SCT), and AWS Mainframe Modernization features like data replication and file transfer.

VirtualZ Computing is an AWS Partner that extends hybrid cloud capabilities by allowing real-time integration between mainframe datasets and customer workloads running on AWS. With secure, real-time connectivity, these offerings eliminate complexities to accelerate migrations while avoiding disruption.

Lozen: Providing Real-Time Access to Mainframe Data

VirtualZ is a leading innovator on data access for mainframe and cloud environments, making it easier to achieve business agility while lowering costs. VirtualZ’s Lozen is a real-time, no-code alternative for connecting mainframe data to modern apps.

Lozen eliminates the need to replicate data; instead, it provides complete access to sequential files via APIs or network file system (NFS), which can be used by business applications deployed on AWS. Lozen allows organizations to pace their mainframe modernization strategy and get the most value of their data on the mainframe.

Solution Overview

With Lozen, enterprises can modernize applications, eliminate the rising costs of mainframe data access, and retain their mainframe as the trusted system of record—all while keeping data secure.

All applications, regardless of location—on the mainframe, running in the cloud, and/or on distributed platforms—share the same secure, real-time, read-write access to IBM Z data. This allows customers to accelerate their business transformation by migrating and modernizing their business applications to AWS, all while keeping the system of record on the mainframe.

Lozen provides native integrations to many AWS services and acts an enabler in modernizing business applications on AWS. It’s also zIIP-eligible which makes it a significantly lower cost option.

In the majority of customer deployments, Lozen won’t require any additional millions of instructions per second (MIPS) capacity. The solution offers a robust data transformation capability to map Virtual Storage Access Method (VSAM), Queued Sequential Access Method (QSAM), and other mainframe data to more modern data formats. It also offers a declarative way of defining record structure in a simple XML format to support data transformation.

Lozen’s metadata structure supports 33 field types out of the box and provides interfaces to implement custom field types. This capability helps end users keep the data on the mainframe and improve business agility.

Here are a few key use cases and how Lozen can help:

  • Broader data access at a lower cost: Since the data remains on the mainframe, there’s limited need to replicate the data to the cloud, hence reducing the costs on extract, transform, load (ETL) and latency on data access.
  • Unlock faster, simpler application migration: With Lozen, the mainframe-migrated applications can run on AWS while sharing real-time, read-write shared access to mainframe data with the applications still running on the mainframe.
  • Secure access to mainframe data from multiple environments: The solution can integrate mainframe data into your applications, and Lozen Connectors offer several new ways to simplify these tasks.
  • Achieve efficient data transformation: Lozen provides efficient data transformation with zIIP-eligible workloads for data transformation and movement, reducing MIPS and improving performance.

AWS Architecture in integrating with VirtualZ

Figure 1 – Lozen deployment options.

Lozen Connectors

  • Native NFS: Lozen utilizes Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS) for storage, which builds on standard NFS protocols and leverages capabilities like caching and buffer size optimization to improve performance. When multiple applications access the same dataset concurrently with Amazon EFS, the first read of a file caches it locally, eliminating network dependencies for subsequent reads and providing low latency access at memory speeds for popular files.
  • Micro Focus Connector: Mainframe applications, recompiled to new platforms on AWS, can run unchanged and with continued, seamless access to mainframe data.
  • MuleSoft Connector: This provides no-code access to mainframe data from within MuleSoft’s Anypoint Studio development environment, letting you easily configure Lozen with your data flow in a simple, visual way.
  • OpenAPI Connector: Lozen’s OpenAPI Connector allows customers to access mainframe data, such as VSAM files, from platforms supporting OpenAPI applications.
  • Lozen API: A native interface with a callable library and encapsulated logic that makes mainframe data access as efficient as possible, Lozen API is available for standalone use for nearly any application.

Read more about latency on Lozen to understand in detail Lozen’s approach.


Lozen is very flexible and can be deployed in a variety of ways to suit your needs, including in a sysplex to provide load balancing and fault tolerance. There are various approaches to this, depending on the degree of fault tolerance you’re looking for.

High Availability

High availability on Lozen is achieved through deploying multiple instances (usually one per LPAR) joined into a single system image with IBM’s z/OS Virtual IP Addressing (VIPA) network technology. For applications running on AWS, this collection of Lozen instances will be presented as a single resource, connecting to a “virtual” hostname that’s backed by multiple Lozen instances.

z/OS can be configured to treat the different Lozen instances as “primary” and “failover,” and it can load balance across available instances at a session level. In this configuration, if the client is connected to a Lozen instance that fails, the client’s session is transparently redirected to an alternate instance without disruption.

It’s important to note the sysplex needs identical I/O configuration and security policies across every LPAR for high availability to be effective.


In a more manual approach, you can run as many instances of Lozen as desired, even within a single LPAR. This might be important when it’s desirable to have different Lozen instances per application, or in cases where I/O configuration varies from LPAR to LPAR, such as when separating test from production workloads.

In this case, the application would simply connect to a Lozen instance depending on its needs (for example, production versus testing).

You can also combine these two approaches. You can operate a production Lozen deployment that is a VIPA resource bound to multiple instances of Lozen, running one per LPAR.


Existing security policies, such as those established with IBM’s RACF, Broadcom’s ACF2, or Top Secret, continue to protect your mission-critical data. Understanding the identity of remote accessors is also important.

Lozen offers several approaches that include Kerberos, digital certificates, and mainframe-style pass-tickets. These techniques let you authenticate users and applications as they access your mainframe through Lozen. Data privacy is vital too, and Lozen supports a range of options, from Kerberos GSSAPI to SSL/TLS, to keep network data traffic secure.


Most enterprises with mainframes face challenges sharing data between the mainframe and cloud applications. While replicating data has been the common solution, there are use cases where customers want to retain data on the mainframe while modernizing applications on AWS.

VirtualZ’s Lozen allows customers to build a secure access to mainframe data for cloud applications without moving data off the mainframe. This reduces costs and risks compared to traditional data access methods. Lozen is zIIP eligible (zIIP engine architecture) for additional cost savings.

To learn how Lozen works, contact VirtualZ Computing and by accessing the Lozen virtual trial.


VirtualZ – AWS Partner Spotlight

VirtualZ Computing is an AWS Partner that extends hybrid cloud capabilities by allowing real-time integration between mainframe datasets and customer workloads running on AWS. With secure, real-time connectivity, these offerings eliminate complexities to accelerate migrations while avoiding disruption.

Contact VirtualZ | Partner Overview