If you’re currently running Adabas & Natural or IDMS on z/OS, chances are pretty high that you’ve been thinking about the need to modernize those systems at some point. The talent pool is shrinking, especially for mainframe programmers who have experience with these particular technologies.
From a technical perspective, there are quite a few reasons for moving to a relational database. And while assurances from Software AG and CA have offered some peace-of-mind for users, the greater reality is that IDMS and Natural/Adabas have become obsolete.
For companies running IDMS and Adabas on IBM z/OS systems, it often makes sense to standardize on COBOL and DB2. This enables organizations to preserve their existing mainframe investments, move to a true relational DBMS, and deploy proven, scalable technology that fits perfectly into their current z/OS environment. In doing so, they stand to benefit from IBM’s continued innovation around the z/OS platform.
The good news is that these kinds of modernization projects can happen faster and more efficiently than ever before. What’s even better is that we can execute these kinds of projects with an extraordinarily high level of confidence.
Mainframe modernization projects typically pay for themselves in relatively short order. As licensing fees and operating costs continue to climb, many enterprises are looking for ways to rein in the spending. Modernization achieves major cost savings, – not only by lowering the costs directly associated with running the mainframe, – but also by relieving pressure on many personnel-related expenses.
Increased business agility and stronger integration to distributed platforms are also key motivating factors.
So why haven’t more companies made the move?
In short, it’s because mainframe modernization projects are often perceived as large-scale endeavors that take a long time to execute. For many people in the technology business, the phrase “mainframe modernization” evokes images of major surgery. Modernization projects are typically fairly large in scope; they involve significant changes, and that inevitably comes with a few risks.
Fortunately, though, the medical analogy extends further than that. In the same way that many surgical procedures have become routine, low-risk events, – so too have mainframe modernization projects.
Today’s tools and methodologies are better than ever. With software automation, we can remove imprecision from the process. We can design, test, re-design, and run regression tests until we have complete confidence in the outcome.
There are a wide range of automation tools available to help companies refactor their legacy application code. Unfortunately, though, the vast majority of those tools operate in isolation from database design and automated testing tools.
Standalone refactoring tools won’t give you much flexibility in that respect because they only address half of the picture. They aren’t fully automated, and they don’t automatically accommodate changes to the database structure.
As you consider making a move from Natural/Adabas or IDMS to COBOL and DB2, think about the implications of making design changes (or of not making any design changes) along the way.
As a relational database, DB2 has some distinct advantages over its pre-relational antecedents. Unfortunately, if you’re stuck mapping an old non-relational data model to newer database, – in other words, if you’re not able to take advantage of the opportunity to redesign your data model during this transition, – then you won’t be able to reap the full benefits of the newer technology.
The problems inherent in those non-relational structures will live on in your new systems. You won’t be addressing the problem in its entirety.
At Astadia, we address this problem with a suite of integrated tools aimed at tackling mainframe modernization as a holistic exercise. When you make a change to the database, it’s automatically reflected in the code that accesses the data.
Let’s look at some of the key components in this process:
CodeTurn automates the conversion of legacy code into COBOL (or other modern languages including Java or C#) with automation levels of approximately 99.99%. It works in conjunction with DataTurn (as described below) to automatically adjust the code to accommodate changes in the database schema.
DataTurn automates the migration of data from Adabas, IDMS, or other legacy databases to DB2, allowing for adjustments to the schema in the process. Data can be mapped from an old structure in the source database to a new data model in the target database. The application code that accesses that data is automatically adjusted in CodeTurn to accommodate the changes.
CodeTurn and DataTurn operate in conjunction with one another to offer a significantly higher level of automation than is available with standalone code refactoring tools. Astadia offers a suite of testing tools that extend this capability even further.
TestMatch is a test automation tool that uses tracing capabilities within source mainframe platforms to record user activity in the live production system, then replicates that user activity in the target system.
DataMatch performs a comparison of source and target databases, – automatically adjusting for any modifications that might have been made to the database schema as part of the migration process.
Astadia has decades of experience working with enterprises and government entities of all sizes. We have successfully planned and executed some of the largest mainframe modernization projects in the world.
As technology from legacy vendors like Software AG and Computer Associates grows increasingly obsolete, and as the talent shortage becomes more acute, – the pressure to modernize will increase.
The good news is that modernization is happening faster and more efficiently than ever before, – and with confidence levels that would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. With the right tools, and with thorough planning and preparation, the move from Natural/Adabas or IDMS to COBOL & DB2 on z/OS can proceed far more smoothly than you might imagine.
To learn more about how Astadia's solutions can help your organization, get in touch with our mainframe modernization experts today. By investing about one hour in our free Rapid Questionnaire process, we can begin to build a high-level roadmap of what a mainframe migration journey will entail for your organization, including estimates for both the timeline and cost. To get started, please fill out our online contact form.
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Get in touch with our experts and find out how Astadia's range of tools and experience can support your team.contact us now