American Electric Power has deployed the DataDirect Shadow product to provide mainframe Web services for SOA enablement of its mainframe-based customer information system.

AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, providing service for more than five million customers in 11 states and owning 38,000 MW of generating capacity in the United States. To better service its robust customer base, AEP launched several application modernization initiatives. The AEP customer information system, comprised of mainframe COBOL, DB2 data and CICS 3270 screens, required modernization to keep up with the growing demands of the organization. AEP needed to bring its customer-centric applications to the Web while finding an easy way to integrate existing legacy data without time-intensive modification or customization of the mainframe application itself.

Recognizing a full replacement of the system would be cost prohibitive, AEP instead decided to migrate to a more flexible, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) in order to extend the life of its customer information system. As part of its strategy to de-couple applications and data for reuse in SOA, AEP sought a third-party technology that could leverage existing assets and better position the utility company for all modern computing initiatives that would require access to mainframe applications and data. AEP selected the DataDirect Shadow platform and its Shadow z/Services mainframe SOA capability due to its comprehensive offering, sound reputation and superior integration support for screen-based applications.

DataDirect Shadow is a unified platform for mainframe integration that supports major industry standard requirements for integrating mainframe data, business logic and screens to participate with SOA and composite application development. Using the DataDirect Shadow z/Services product, organizations can rapidly transform mainframe screen-based processes into SOAP-based Web services. The ability to automatically expose mainframe applications as ready-to-use Web services, reduces development time and expense, improves performance levels and accelerates new application development initiatives.

AEP began a multi-phased rollout of Web services-enabled enhancements to the customer information system last fall.