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Developers and database administrators who understand mainframe technology are reaching retirement age, resulting in a steadily diminishing talent pool. As this shortage grows, the costs and risks of relying on legacy languages and databases will continue to rise.
Companies are rapidly moving to modern environments and practices such as DevOps and AWS, while mainframes and the languages and databases that support them were not designed for modern IT, resulting in difficult integrations and limited flexibility.
Mainframes cost as much as 4,500% more to operate than equivalent AWS counterparts, a figure compounded by a scarcity of development resources and rising licensing and maintenance fees for ancillary mainframe utilities, applications, and databases.
There are a multitude of modernization approaches to choose from when migrating workloads from the mainframe to AWS. 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 AWS.
Advanced was one of four technology partners to pre-qualify for AWS Mainframe Migration Competency status, a designation recognizing that we have proven solutions, practices, and customer success in migrating both mainframe applications and data to AWS.
Automated Refactoring with Advanced provides a turnkey modernization of your procedural codebase (or 4GL) to object-oriented Java or C# and your non-relational database to a relational model deployed to AWS 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 optimization 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 containerized 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 AWS 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 AWS, 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 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 Advanced recommends optimal AWS-bound 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 Advanced's automated tools to fully catalog and develop a complete understanding of the 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 application modernization 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 modernization, and build-out of the target operating environment in AWS. 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 AWS, 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 AWS by transforming a final snapshot of the mainframe environment to account for changes that have taken place throughout modernization project as part of normal business operations. Fortunately, since all adjustments and optimizations 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 AWS. 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 modernized application.
We initially invested heavily in a user-friendly browser front end for our applications. Now the functional pieces of the application are aligned for a more direct data and integration model. COBOL maintenance resources are becoming increasingly hard to find, so application modernization puts us in a position to work with a global community of young talented developers.
This white paper looks at the challenges of maintaining legacy applications, the modernization options available and our refactoring approach.Read report
A webinar discussing how to minimize the impact of major compelling events through application modernization and migration to AWSWatch webinar