Discussing the 2022 Mainframe Modernisation Report
Based on data from organisations who have migrated their mainframe and midrange server workloads to the cloud, organisations can see savings in maintenance and operations, and reduced capital costs. If additional capacity is needed, organisations can pay for what they need, when they need it in a cloud-based model.
Migrating to the cloud can provide organisations with choice in application development platforms and tools, database and BI technologies, and access to modern AI tools. Additionally, organisations may no longer need complex disaster recovery plans for on-premises recovery and can maintain their data in different physical locations due to the use of cloud-based environments.
With ageing legacy applications, it can be more difficult to source staff who have the requisite skills to maintain mainframe and midrange technologies. By migrating to the cloud, organisations can build for the future and find the needed skills for their workloads.
Advanced has been a Gold Partner with Microsoft for many years and has a wide Microsoft practice, covering not just Mainframe Migrations to Azure but also Microsoft projects delivering solutions to clients for Modern Workplace/Office 365, Dynamics CRM, PowerBI and SharePoint, as well as Managed Azure services.
There are a multitude of modernisation approaches to choose from when migrating workloads from the mainframe to Azure. The most common are Refactor and Rehost. Your ideal strategy will depend on a combination of factors such as target technology stack, available skills and resources, and the future direction of your organization.
The modernization partner you select is as important as the migration approach you choose. We have decades of successful mainframe modernization experience and a plethora of proven tools in our arsenal ensuring a smooth transition from legacy to Azure.
Automated Refactoring with Advanced provides a turnkey modernisation of your procedural codebase (or 4GL) to object-oriented Java or C# and your non-relational database to a relational model deployed to Azure so you can retire the mainframe.
Once the legacy applications and databases are refactored, developers can extend application functionality using standard DevOps tools and CI/CD concepts that simply aren’t available for mainframe applications. Precious business logic from the legacy system is preserved, while levels of optimisation can be applied to deliver efficiencies and business benefits such as elasticity, granular service definition, and easy integration with cloud-native services. Automated Refactoring with Advanced unlocks a whole new world of quality and scalability from automated testing to quality assurance, and the ability to leverage containerised deployments and orchestration with Docker and Kubernetes.
Many code transformation solutions create structurally similar programs in the target language, but require additional re-engineering efforts to yield desired results. Our solution is completely automated, removing the risk associated with the post-refactoring tweaks that go into other offerings.
Automated Refactoring is available for most languages, databases, and platforms, including z/OS, OpenVMS, and VME.
You can retain your mainframe application code as-is while taking advantage of the cost savings and infinite elasticity of Azure by rehosting your legacy estate with Advanced.
Rehosting, sometimes referred to as replatforming, is ideal for companies whose applications are still meeting their business needs, and who therefore wish to retain their core application development skills while moving away from non-relational databases and expensive mainframe infrastructure. With rehosting, application source code is migrated onto a modern, distributed platform in Azure, without change. Underlying legacy databases are migrated to relational models, configured to seamlessly interact with your applications via the rehosting platform.
Our Rehosting solutions leverage three key service activities to account for the application source code, data and supporting operational infrastructure:
Advanced begins every modernisation initiative with a discovery, free of charge. Our modernisation experts work with you to understand and document your business and technical goals and objectives. Together, we gather information about your mainframe estate. Everything from infrastructure to language and database types and quantities are accounted for. The discovery concludes with a workshop where Advanced recommends optimal Azure-bound modernisation approaches based on information gathered, as well as rough order of magnitude (ROM) pricing, and estimated project durations and resource requirements.
The assess and design phase is performed using Advanced's automated tools to fully catalogue and develop a complete understanding of the application, infrastructure, and operational components of a mainframe environment. It exposes mainframe artifacts that organisations did not know they had, relationships they did not realise existed, and assets that are no longer in use. Assess and design activities provide stakeholders with valuable insight to inform application modernisation decisions such as disposition strategies and target environment architectures. It also mitigates cost and risk by highlighting potential challenges and how to overcome them. At the conclusion of the assess and design phase, all in-scope artifacts are accounted for, a detailed project plan is established, and the transformation process begins.
The transform phase includes the bulk of the Automated Refactoring and Rehosting activities, the database and data modernisation, and build-out of the target operating environment in Azure. During transform, Advanced refactors pre-defined work packets, performs functional tests, and delivers them into the DevOps pipeline. While customer teams build, test, and deploy these work packets in Azure, Advanced refactors the next work packet, iterating until the entire mainframe estate has been transformed.
The test and deploy phase begins with the receipt of work packets through the DevOps toolchain as they are delivered from iterative refactoring activities in the transform phase. If issues arise, the work packet is passed back to Advanced where we review the code, adjust our tooling, reprocess the work packet, and send it back into the DevOps pipeline to resume testing and deployment. This process repeats until the entire refactored estate has been deployed.
Prior to go-live, Advanced refreshes the target environment in Azure by transforming a final snapshot of the mainframe environment to account for changes that have taken place throughout the modernisation project as part of normal business operations. Fortunately, since all adjustments and optimisations have been made to the automated refactoring tools and not the refactored code, this final refresh can be delivered into production over a weekend, eliminating code freezes.
Advanced works closely with you and your team to ensure a smooth transition into Microsoft Azure. Part of this transition includes the cooperative construction and testing of a go-live production cutover plan to reduce the potential risks associated with application deployments. Advanced also provides on-demand assistance during the warranty period following production deployment, as well as post-transformation support of the modernised application.
"Advanced is a strong partner in the modernisation space. This joint success story demonstrates that the Azure Cloud platform is a perfect destination for supporting mission critical mainframe workloads."
Bob Ellsworth, World Wide Director - Mainframe Transformation
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