In a previous article, we talked about the main migration drivers and why business leaders should take advantage from the lessons learned during the Covid-19 crisis and accelerate the digital transformation of their organizations. In this article, we approach the main mainframe migration challenges faced by enterprises and government agencies and how they can be overcome.

During the implementation of our migration projects, we notice that all our mainframe customers face similar challenges. One of the main problems arises when additional environments have to be set up on the mainframe.

It is clear that creating extra capacity on a mainframe is expensive and requires a lot of effort, to the extent that IT departments have to constantly make various compromises due to insufficient resources. This is a common but troubling example of the inflexibility of many mainframe systems.

1. Horizontal Scalability: Controlling the Cost

To meet the current demand of the end user community, both powerful and flexible systems are required. By moving mission-critical systems to the cloud, companies will serve their customers even faster and more efficiently. The cloud also guarantees the security of data and the privacy of their customers: all data in the cloud is de facto encrypted, access control is heavily regulated.

Mainframe systems focus on vertical scalability, whereas cloud systems focus on horizontal scalability. This means that as they need more and more processing power, they can easily add compute instances at controlled cost to meet the demand.

Migrating legacy systems will not only give their core applications new capabilities but also grant access to exciting opportunities such as Cloud, AI, DevOps, CI/CD. It will enable them to quickly adapt, innovate, and shorten the time to market.

2. Agility and Innovation: the Other AI

With the speed of the current economy, the bar for what users expect from companies is constantly being raised. Companies opting for a hyperscale solution can scale resources smoothly to meet a wide range of short-term requirements.

A cloud infrastructure makes it easier to meet a sudden need to perform millions of transactions in an afternoon. Moreover, it offers the possibility to quickly and cost-effectively scale resources as needed. And while it cannot solve every problem in this complex economy, it does give companies the flexibility to meet challenges better than ever.

The ability to embrace such benefits has become an important factor which distinguish innovative companies in a fast-developing market from companies who struggle.

3. Choosing the Right Modernization Approach

Cloud services have evolved into a reliable technology and many cloud companies have the required expertise in complex business infrastructure. Large cloud providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google are already providing services to many leading enterprises.

Others will follow, as the cloud technology matures and becomes the norm, and the modernization solutions diversify. At Astadia, for example, we use an innovative process and powerful tools to migrate mainframe workloads to the cloud, in a short time and controlled way.

Sooner or later, organizations will have to choose between the risks of migrating and the risk of being left behind. In the end, having a well-planned roadmap for a modern cloud-based strategy, a thoroughly documented approach and the right team is the key to adapt and be part of the next-generation business world.

Read the first part of this blog: Mainframe modernization in times of crisis: survive or thrive? [Part 1]

The mainframe modernization playbook

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