There are three options for managing mainframe users and passwords, on any currently available version of z/OS:

  • Install the Hitachi ID Mainframe Connector component as a started task on the LPAR with the mainframe security database. The Mainframe Connector started task acts as a TCP/IP listener and accepts inbound connections on a designated TCP port. The Hitachi ID Identity and Access Management Suite server negotiates a cryptographic handshake with the started task (256-bit AES, shared secret key, mutual authentication, random session keys) and asks the started task to issue RACROUTE commands to enumerate users, verify current passwords and reset passwords.

    Advantages: Fast, secure, reliable, easy to configure.

    Disadvantages: Change control to install a local, privileged agent on the mainframe.

  • Manage passwords using a Telnet or TN3270 script, assuming that a Telnet or TN3270 service is enabled and available. This option is less secure and robust than the Mainframe Connector started task, but requires no change control on the mainframe.

    Advantages: No change control, no local agent on the mainframe.

    Disadvantages: Slower connections, no cryptographic protection, fragile if the terminal user interface is substantially changed.

  • Install an LDAP directory server on the mainframe, which uses the mainframe security database as its back-end, at least for user and password data. IBM and CA both provide such directory products. With the LDAP service installed, Hitachi ID Identity and Access Management Suite can integrate with the mainframe as through it were a normal LDAP directory.

    Advantages: Fast and potentially secure -- if LDAP+SSL is used.

    Disadvantages: Mainframe LDAP directory products are not widely deployed and can be fragile. Change control and a local software footprint on the mainframe are required.

Native password changes made on zOS, OS390 or MVS mainframes, with any security product, can trigger transparent password synchronization, through insertion of a suitable exit program (provided with Mainframe Connector) in the LPAR with the security program.