AWS made a big splash at their re:Invent conference when they announced a major push toward enabling rapid, affordable mainframe-to-cloud migration. The new AWS initiative, – “AWS Mainframe Modernization Service”, will combine an EC2 instance on the AWS cloud with a set of automation tools aimed at making the migration process faster, easier, and more affordable.

Astadia is proud to have been invited to participate in this initiative, underscoring our depth and breadth of experience with mainframe modernization projects. Enterprises and government agencies will be able to license the Astadia FastTrack Factory to simplify, automatize, and shorten their mainframe-to-cloud journey. Astadia’s fully automated approach reduces project risk to nearly zero, as the processes of designing and retesting the migration scenario can be performed iteratively at practically no marginal cost.

AWS is setting a positive trajectory with the AWS Mainframe Modernization Service initiative. Automation has indeed been a key enabler for organizations looking to modernize legacy systems and transition to a more agile, cloud-connected landscape.

It is important, though, to draw a few important distinctions that potentially have major implications with respect to the cost, risk, and timeline of any mainframe-to-cloud migration project. These are:

1. The end-to-end industrialization of the migration process vs. targeted automation tools,

2. The ability to work with abroad range of legacy platforms vs. a single-vendor focus, and

3. Comprehensive project experience and follow-through capability vs. a pure tools-based approach

Let’s address each of these in turn:

#1: Fully Automated, End-To-End Industrialization is a Game-Changer

The FastTrack Factory approach is not merely an improvement on targeted automation tools that convert code or automate specific parts of the testing process. In the context of a mainframe migration project, test automation and code refactoring tools address specific tasks, but they aren’t inherently connected to other automation tools along the way. A modification to the database design doesn’t necessarily flow through to the refactored code, and it doesn’t show up in test scenarios unless or until someone makes that downstream modification to the test scripts.

In a traditional mainframe migration project, achieving 75% automation is a fairly impressive feat. With the Astadia FastTrack Factory, we come very close to achieving “five nines”. To be precise, our customers get 99.9962% automation.

In a traditional mainframe migration project, each additional design change precipitates another round of modifications, each of which introduces more risk, subsequently requiring another round of exhaustive testing. With the Astadia FastTrack Factory, there is virtually zero marginal cost to each additional change. A database design change automatically flows through to the code, to the data migration, and to the automated testing scenarios.

In a traditional mainframe migration project, risk is minimized by limiting change. A narrower scope means there’s less that can go wrong. With FastTrack, there’s simply no limit to the amount of testing that can be performed. The platform records real-world user interactions and tests the target system to verify functional equivalence. It allows for exhaustive stress testing the target environment under heavy loads. By the time you’re ready to go live, you can have complete confidence.

#2: Working with a Broad Range of Legacy Platforms

At Astadia, we’ve built our business on decades of deep expertise in mainframe modernization, as well as a complete range of services to support organizations before, during, and after they make this major transition. Our experience is holistic; we’re not limited to the most common legacy platforms.

Most the vendors who offer automation tools are focused on IBM mainframes and widely used languages and databases that run on IBM mainframe systems. In addition to having IBM experience, Astadia has worked with Adabas & Natural, IDMS, Assembler, and Unisys systems. Over more than three decades in this business, we’ve seen and done it all.

The Astadia FastTrack Factory is designed to work with multiple legacy systems and multiple target environments. Customers using our platform to move off of Adabas & Natural have access to the same automation capabilities and tools as a customer running COBOL applications on IBM z/OS.

#3 Comprehensive Project Experience and Follow-Through Capability

On top of this, we add decades of experience with mainframe modernization projects of all kinds. While the FastTrack Factory is a game-changer with its fully automated approach and our capabilities extend to a broad range of legacy platforms and target environments, we also recognize that most organizations require more than just a technical migration.

Most organizations going through a modernization project find themselves adapting to new ways of doing things. Many see advantages in rolling out DevOps methodologies and tools to help them achieve greater agility. Astadia can help them with that.

It’s not uncommon for companies and agencies undergoing a migration to need some assistance in making that kind of organizational transition. This has been especially true in the era of COVID-19, as a wave of early retirements has exacerbated the talent shortage among mainframe specialists.

Astadia’s DevOps practice assists our clients with the knowledge, expertise, and tools to achieve success. We work with our customers to implement full DevOps or DevSecOps processes, achieving greater agility and efficiency while controlling all aspects of highly secured target environments.

Astadia’s Managed Services practice extends the capabilities of our clients’ IT organizations with end-user support, system monitoring and management, backup and disaster recovery, software rollout, custom application development, and much more.

Astadia is proud to be participating in the AWS Mainframe Modernization Service program. Our company is uniquely positioned to assist organizations in overcoming their technology challenges and accelerating the migration of their mainframe applications to cloud-ready, native target technologies on AWS.

With our FastTrack Factory approach, our years of deep expertise in mainframe modernization, and our competencies in DevOps and Managed Services, Astadia is committed to help customers succeed with their mainframe-to-AWS cloud migration projects.

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