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Legacy Modernization and Cloud | @CloudExpo #API #CloudNative #Agile #DX

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.

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@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.

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With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo, October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.

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Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2018 New York 
(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

Download Show Prospectus ▸ Here

Every Global 2000 enterprise in the world is now integrating cloud computing in some form into its IT development and operations. Midsize and small businesses are also migrating to the cloud in increasing numbers.  

Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

Cloud Expo is the single show where technology buyers and vendors can meet to experience and discus cloud computing and all that it entails. Sponsors of Cloud Expo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers.
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35-minute technical session
  • Online advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage.
  • Unprecedented PR Coverage: Editorial Coverage on Cloud Computing Journal.
  • Tweetup to over 75,000 plus followers
  • Press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts.

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

The World's Largest "Cloud Digital Transformation" Event

@CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo 2017 Silicon Valley
(Oct. 31 - Nov. 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA)

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(June 12-14, 2018, Javits Center, Manhattan)

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Sponsors of Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo will benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities through:

  • Featured on-site presentation and ongoing on-demand webcast exposure to a captive audience of industry decision-makers
  • Showcase exhibition during our new extended dedicated expo hours
  • Breakout Session Priority scheduling for Sponsors that have been guaranteed a 35 minute technical session
  • Online targeted advertising in SYS-CON's i-Technology Publications
  • Capitalize on our Comprehensive Marketing efforts leading up to the show with print mailings, e-newsletters and extensive online media coverage
  • Unprecedented Marketing Coverage: Editorial Coverage on ITweetup to over 100,000 plus followers, press releases sent on major wire services to over 500 industry analysts

For more information on sponsorship, exhibit, and keynote opportunities, contact Carmen Gonzalez (@GonzalezCarmen) today by email at events (at) sys-con.com, or by phone 201 802-3021.

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Financial Technology - or FinTech - Is Now Part of the @CloudExpo Program!

Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 21st Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech, which will incorporate machine learning, artificial intelligence, deep learning, and blockchain into one track.

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About SYS-CON Media & Events

SYS-CON Media (www.sys-con.com) has since 1994 been connecting technology companies and customers through a comprehensive content stream - featuring over forty focused subject areas, from Cloud Computing to Web Security - interwoven with market-leading full-scale conferences produced by SYS-CON Events. The company's internationally recognized brands include among others Cloud Expo® (@CloudExpo), Big Data Expo® (@BigDataExpo), DevOps Summit (@DevOpsSummit), @ThingsExpo® (@ThingsExpo), Containers Expo (@ContainersExpo) and Microservices Expo (@MicroservicesE).

Cloud Expo®, Big Data Expo® and @ThingsExpo® are registered trademarks of Cloud Expo, Inc., a SYS-CON Events company.

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