Discussing the 2022 Mainframe Modernization Report
Developers and database administrators who understand mainframe technology are reaching retirement age and no one is trained to replace them, resulting in a steadily diminishing talent pool. As this shortage grows, the costs and risk of relying on legacy systems will continue to rise.
Successful digital transformation and business agility hinges on good data. Non-relational databases and the underlying assets that support them were not designed for today’s business demands or modern IT. This results in difficult integrations, inaccessible data, and limited flexibility.
Mainframes cost as much as 4,500 per cent more to operate than equivalent Cloud counterparts. This figure is compounded by rising licensing and maintenance fees for ancillary mainframe applications and databases.
Our Automated Adabas Migration solution includes the generation of a new relational database to replace the functionality, multiple-occurring fields and groups, and other data element structures that are part of your Adabas inverted list database. The new target database can reside on or off-mainframe, and can use any of the standard relational database management systems (SQL Server, Oracle, Db2, PostgreSQL).
Automated Adabas Migration provides a complete replacement for all legacy database functionality including MU and PE management, ISN usage, super descriptors, sub descriptors, and more. The resulting database is fully relational, primary keys and index definitions are automatically created, and all constraints are generated into the resulting DDL. Table spaces, indexes, table names, and column names are all generated according to your naming standards.
The Adabas data extract and relational load process is simple, straightforward, and fast. We can provide a number of extract variations for customers that have special requirements for a short Adabas data migration window. Our data migration software gives us numerous capabilities for tailoring your data migration so that the new database meets your requirements.
The Adabas database definition can be re-collected and processed through our Automated Adabas Migration software anytime throughout the project lifecycle. This prevents the need to put a freeze on changes to the Adabas structure, a huge win for critical business systems that change often.
Handling ancillary applications
Our Automated Adabas Migration solution also includes Automated Refactoring of applications and languages that use Adabas files including Natural, COBOL, Assembler, Easytrieve, JCL, and Procs for Adabas applications. Many of our customers prefer to retain their Natural applications as-is or remain on the mainframe while reducing Software AG licensing fees. In these situations, we offer a Rehosting solution using the Application Transparency Platform (ATP). It allows end users to continue interacting with the legacy system through familiar screens while processing against a new relational database. Plus, your Natural developers will be able to continue to maintain and enhance the application through an improved interface.
We begin every modernization initiative with a discovery, free of charge. Our modernization 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 we recommend optimal modernization 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 our automated tools to fully catalog and develop a complete understanding of the data, application, infrastructure, and operational components of a mainframe environment. It exposes mainframe artifacts that organizations did not know they had, relationships they did not realize existed, and assets that are no longer in use. Assess and design activities provide stakeholders with valuable insight to inform data migration decisions such as ancillary application 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 activities associated with ancillary applications, the database and data conversion, and build-out of the target operating environment. Our tools generate the new target DDL, a set of custom extract programs, and the related JCL that extracts the data to a set of sequential delimited files, and generates the load syntax required to populate the new relational databases using the target database's load utility. These relational databases are delivered ready for creation and population, including the target DDL for the database definition, appropriate extract programs, JCL for extract execution, and load syntax for populating the relational tables. During transform, we also refactor applications in pre-defined work packets, perform functional tests, and deliver them into the DevOps pipeline. While customer teams build, test, and deploy these work packets in the target environment, we refactor 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 us 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, we refresh the target environment by transforming a final snapshot of the mainframe environment to account for changes that have taken place throughout the modernization project as part of normal business operations. Fortunately, since all adjustments and optimizations have been made to the automated refactoring and data migration tools and not the refactored code or converted databases, this final refresh can be delivered into production over a weekend, eliminating code freezes.
We work closely with you and your team to ensure a smooth transition into production. 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. We also provide on-demand assistance during the warranty period following production deployment, as well as post-transformation support of the modernized application.
"We’re more than satisfied that we have found a cost-effective solution to help us move the university forward and respond to the needs of our students and administrators for the foreseeable future. We have an amazing team including IBM and Advanced to thank for that.”
Dr. M. Lewis Temares, VP for Information Technology and Dean of Engineering,
University of Miami
This whitepaper outlines the challenge of data locked in legacy systems, the options for solving them, and a breakdown of our solutions.
This blog explores the various processes and tools we use to help governments and companies worldwide modernize their Natural/Adabas platforms.