Mainframes serve a central role in the IT landscape of many organizations. As technology continues to evolve, however, many organizations find themselves under greater pressure than ever to migrate to modern platforms. Escalating costs and an increasingly tight market for mainframe talent are driving factors. Perhaps even more importantly, reliance on legacy systems is limiting innovation by making it harder to develop new applications and integrate with external systems.

Unfortunately, many organizations are still reluctant to modernize, largely because there are so many myths surrounding mainframe modernization. In this article, we'll debunk five of the most common misconceptions.

1. Migration Means Abandoning All Legacy Code

Many organizations fear that migrating from a mainframe means starting from scratch. Over the course of many years, they have developed and fine-tuned complex business applications to address their unique business requirements. Naturally, they don’t want to abandon those investments.

Fortunately, automated code conversion and database migration tools enable organizations to move their existing mainframe applications to new platforms without the need to rewrite them from scratch. Refactoring and replatforming solutions can help businesses to leverage existing code, thus protecting their investment in legacy applications. By converting code from COBOL to C# or Java, for example, organizations can retain their existing business logic while also reaping the benefits of modern, object-oriented languages.

2. Mainframe Migrations are Too Risky

As the challenges of operating legacy systems grow larger and more painful, mainframe shops are compelled to modernize. Today’s tools and methodologies have evolved to the point where migration risk is at an all-time low. In fact, the far greater risk is in doing nothing.

With proper planning, phased approaches, and the right expertise, risks can be mitigated. By conducting thorough assessments, setting clear objectives, and leveraging modern tools, businesses can ensure a smooth transition from their legacy systems.

At Astadia, we have tackled some of the largest, most mission-critical projects in the world. Our fully automated FastTrack Migration Platform allows for virtually unlimited testing prior to go-live. By the time they’re ready to cut over to their new system, our customers are fully confident that their migrated applications will deliver equivalent functionality, with performance that meets or exceeds that of their legacy systems.

3. Mainframes are More Secure than Modern Systems

Mainframes have a reputation for robust security, and they've earned it. Yet modern systems, when properly configured and maintained, are just as secure.

Today's cloud platforms and contemporary architectures have robust security measures in place, often involving advanced encryption, multi-factor authentication, and regular security audits.

It's essential to remember that security is less about the platform and more about how it's managed. Modern cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure offer fully managed security along with disaster recovery and other services to support safe, uninterrupted operations.

4. Migrations are Always Expensive

While mainframe migrations can be costly, especially if not well-planned, they don't have to break the bank. In fact, the cost of staying on the mainframe is rising steadily, as operating costs increase every year and the price of mainframe talent continues to escalate.

Astadia’s customers have saved significant amounts of money by migrating off the mainframe. Jefferson County Alabama, for example, is saving over $500,000 per year in license and maintenance costs alone. Annual system operating costs have been reduced by 88.9%. Such figures are not uncommon.

5. Modern Systems Can't Match Mainframe Performance

While mainframes are known for their impressive transaction processing capabilities, modern systems are fast, and getting faster. Scalable cloud infrastructures, powerful server hardware, and optimized software solutions have leveled the playing field.

Furthermore, modern architectures are often more agile, allowing for rapid scaling based on demand, and can integrate more easily with other technologies. As a result, businesses can achieve a balance of performance, scalability, and flexibility that matches, if not exceeds, traditional mainframe capabilities.

Mainframe migrations are undoubtedly complex, but they're far from the insurmountable challenge some believe them to be. By debunking these myths, businesses can approach the migration process with a clearer understanding and make informed decisions about their IT futures.

Interested in having a conversation about your organization’s mainframe migration? Talk to one of our mainframe migration experts today.

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