Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Matt Brickey, Rene Buest, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, @BigDataExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Legacy Modernization: Look to the Cloud and Open Systems | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Agile

Guidelines to prioritize what to move and what to eliminate when moving to open systems and the cloud

Legacy Modernization: Look to the Cloud and Open Systems
By Craig Marble, Sr. Director, Legacy Modernization Services, Astadia

If you are thinking about moving applications off a mainframe and over to open systems and the cloud, consider these guidelines to prioritize what to move and what to eliminate.

On the surface, mainframe architecture seems relatively simple: A centrally located computer processes data through an input/output subsystem and stores its computations in memory. At the other end of the mainframe are printers and terminals that communicate with the mainframe through protocols.

For all of its apparent simplicity, mainframe architecture can be extraordinarily complex. Mainframes process thousands of transactions per second and require an extensive infrastructure to house and maintain them. The hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of terminals (think of a bank's ATM network) require a message routing scheme that can quickly prioritize and route transaction requests.

Balancing costs and benefits
Large corporations still use mainframes because they provide powerful business intelligence and support many high-bandwidth applications, such as mobile banking, online reservation systems, and telecommunications. Mainframes are also more secure, reliable and scalable than distributed networks. Unfortunately, the cost of maintaining a mainframe can be very high. There are three primary reasons for this:

  1. The annual software licensing fees can be a real financial burden, and the lack of flexible licensing creates compatibility issues for organizations that require nonproprietary add-ons and updates. Workarounds often require the programming of expensive applications to accommodate new requirements.
  1. Maintenance is expensive because the mainframe is often the nexus of a large-scale infrastructure that requires expert care and precise environmental conditions. Older mainframes are often housed in cabinets or rooms that maintain temperature and humidity at very exacting levels.
  1. Hardware and software complexity also requires hiring expensive technicians and programmers throughout the life of the system, a problem compounded by the potential shortage of skilled personnel to implement the solutions and maintain these powerful systems. Many qualified COBOL programmers have reached or will soon reach retirement age. Perhaps offshoring can address some of these concerns, but the lack of adequate educational resources could still create a shortage of qualified personnel.

Given the IT mandate to "do less with more" and the strategic imperative to become more customer-centric and agile through a digital transformation, CIOs are under pressure to migrate their legacy applications to open systems and the cloud. Making decades of customer buying habits, preferences, purchase patterns, and other information available to marketing, sales, manufacturing, planning and customer services can have a profound impact on loyalty and lifetime value. Getting there, however, is the challenge.

Open systems and cloud platforms
Open systems conform to well-documented standards and avoid the proprietary issues so prevalent with mainframes. Companies can evolve their capabilities quickly through add-on technology, with the freedom to leave development time and costs to another party. In most cases, organizations need only purchase, install, and periodically upgrade the add-on. Apart from a few configuration tasks, little or no programming is required. All of these factors can lead to significant savings and an agile response to paradigm shifts.

The move to open systems also simplifies the journey to the cloud, which adds even greater value to these applications and databases. A common legacy modernization approach often begins with a move to open systems housed locally, and once the migration has proved stable, it is moved to the cloud.

However, migration to an open system is not without its considerations. Application licenses, for example, are more expensive for mainframe environments, but they are often easier to administer. Coming from this environment, the purchase and installation of multiple third-party licenses for each member of the organization can seem daunting.

The move from mainframes to open systems platforms and the cloud requires careful planning. While the potential exists to reduce costs and build compatibility, its realization depends on making fact-based, rational decisions. The first step in doing this is conducting a thorough discovery and examination of every aspect of your legacy portfolio, including:

  • Environments
  • Applications
  • Languages
  • Databases
  • Packages
  • Utilities
  • Test scripts
  • Users

Then, focus on each application's purpose, importance, and requirements in order to rate each application based on its value to the business versus how it fits within your strategic technical architecture. Once rated, you can easily plot each application in a graph to provide a visual representation of each application's state to assist in developing your plan of attack.

Using this information, you'll be able to determine which applications are the best targets for modernization vs. elimination, as well as model modernization approaches to aid in selecting the right path for each application. Your analysis should assess the cost, risk and impact of each alternative until it identifies the right plan of action.

As first published in InformationWeek.

###

Craig Marble is the senior director of legacy modernization practice at Astadia. Craig has spent over twenty-five years in the information technology industry, most of which has been focused on legacy modernization projects. For more information about Astadia, a premier cloud consultancy for businesses expanding to the cloud, visit http://www.astadia.com and follow Astadia at @AstadiaInc, Facebook/AstadiaInc and LinkedIn/Astadia.

More Stories By Astadia CloudGPS

Astadia is a premier technology services consultancy for businesses expanding to the cloud. We bring industry insights and a keen eye for our clients’ bottom line that makes us an ideal and trusted partner for responding to business and technology change.

@CloudExpo Stories
"We focus on SAP workloads because they are among the most powerful but somewhat challenging workloads out there to take into public cloud," explained Swen Conrad, CEO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I think DevOps is now a rambunctious teenager – it’s starting to get a mind of its own, wanting to get its own things but it still needs some adult supervision," explained Thomas Hooker, VP of marketing at CollabNet, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We are still a relatively small software house and we are focusing on certain industries like FinTech, med tech, energy and utilities. We help our customers with their digital transformation," noted Piotr Stawinski, Founder and CEO of EARP Integration, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've been engaging with a lot of customers including Panasonic, we've been involved with Cisco and now we're working with the U.S. government - the Department of Homeland Security," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"With Digital Experience Monitoring what used to be a simple visit to a web page has exploded into app on phones, data from social media feeds, competitive benchmarking - these are all components that are only available because of some type of digital asset," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
"Peak 10 is a hybrid infrastructure provider across the nation. We are in the thick of things when it comes to hybrid IT," explained Michael Fuhrman, Chief Technology Officer at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
As enterprise cloud becomes the norm, businesses and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance related to data privacy and information protection. The most recent, Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU’s GDPR have board level implications and companies still struggle with demonstrating due diligence. Developers and DevOps leaders, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calligo, an innovative cloud service provider offering mid-sized companies the highest levels of data privacy and security, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calligo offers unparalleled application performance guarantees, commercial flexibility and a personalised support service from its globally located cloud plat...
"We are an IT services solution provider and we sell software to support those solutions. Our focus and key areas are around security, enterprise monitoring, and continuous delivery optimization," noted John Balsavage, President of A&I Solutions, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
"We are focused on SAP running in the clouds, to make this super easy because we believe in the tremendous value of those powerful worlds - SAP and the cloud," explained Frank Stienhans, CTO of Ocean9, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
"As we've gone out into the public cloud we've seen that over time we may have lost a few things - we've lost control, we've given up cost to a certain extent, and then security, flexibility," explained Steve Conner, VP of Sales at Cloudistics,in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"The Striim platform is a full end-to-end streaming integration and analytics platform that is middleware that covers a lot of different use cases," explained Steve Wilkes, Founder and CTO at Striim, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We want to show that our solution is far less expensive with a much better total cost of ownership so we announced several key features. One is called geo-distributed erasure coding, another is support for KVM and we introduced a new capability called Multi-Part," explained Tim Desai, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Hitachi Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.