Giant leap or small step?

10.08.2012

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Following on
Our last blog post, ’Turning your Platform into a launch pad‘, underlined the point that reusing/salvaging the core applications makes perfect sense when moving away from the platform. In this sequel, we outline the steps involved in making that platform migration activity a totally viable option.

Ready for progression
So you are ready to move from your current mainframe platform – maybe Unisys or HP – to a more contemporary, cost-efficient open system. You realise that it’s the way forward for your business.

You’ve read the whitepapers and case studies. You are ready to resolve many of your business issues with a leap to a new platform. You’re going to progress from the big unit whirring away in the basement, to deploy under Windows, UNIX or Linux, and maybe venture into modern architectures such as Cloud, .NET and JVM. The great potential for cost savings by moving to an open platform appeals to your CFO and the modernization options have captured the imagination of the CTO.

What’s the catch?
Does this sound too good to be true? Any move contains an element of risk. After all, your IT system is the engine room of your business. If it doesn’t work, for whatever reason, then you stop driving forward. And in today’s fast-moving business environment if you stand still, then you’re going backwards.

So – how can we keep that cherished engine ticking over while retuning it to meet modern business challenges? How can we avoid breaking the system we need while looking to create the capabilities we want? The strategy must be to retain the business continuity of your mainframe while the move takes place. The key is to reuse as much of the engine as possible.

Re-use what works
To stretch the analogy a little further, COBOL is the fuel that runs this engine and your application logic is the on-board computer. Together they keep your business ticking over. The integrity of your application logic must remain uncompromised wherever you run it. Moving platforms means change, but this change leads to the business benefits, such as lower TCO and business agility. Because the Micro Focus Visual COBOL compiler and deployment systems support all major COBOL standards, a Unisys COBOL application will happily work under say, Windows.

Only change what is necessary
Of course, the whole system won’t move untouched. You are likely to want the application user interface to change – after all, a clear transformation from green-screen application to web-based delivery is typically a major improvement aspect of the exercise.  In most cases, the resulting UI will closely match the original workflow so end users can enjoy an improved experience and a reassuringly familiar process.

Also, the way data is stored will alter, but not the data itself. Your platform migration is a good opportunity to upgrade your data storage systems from flat files to a relational database system to boost your analytical capabilities while maintaining vital data integrity. Automated tooling can modify the application source code to obtain data from a new source without impacting business rules. And while some third party tooling might also need replacing in the new environment, the amount of change remains manageable.

Having completed hundreds upon hundreds of these projects before, Micro Focus’ Delivery Partners not only have decades of background knowledge and expertise in these proprietary mainframe systems, but have also delivered complex migration projects using Micro Focus technology.

In conclusion…
Platform migration from proprietary platforms presents more benefits than risks, thanks particularly to the portability of COBOL, which runs and behaves the same on a multitude of platforms. And of course, once you have taken that small step to a contemporary platform, the world of modern, innovative opportunities, including mobile access and cloud computing, will present itself to you.

Assisted by Micro Focus and our delivery partners, our customers have saved millions of dollars every year, reduced TCO and reaped all the benefits of operating from a contemporary platform. Fire up the engine and get in gear. You’re ready to make your move…

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