Moving to the cloud provides exciting opportunities, but in order to make the most of this journey, business and IT leaders need the right knowledge, vision, planning and migration tools. 

Today, a variety of options are available and designed to suit organizations' requirements for infrastructure, workloads, security, speed or innovation.

And while there is no best or one-fits-all solution, the importance of how cloud technology is implemented during a migration process is critical. Here are six steps that can guide you build a strong strategy when planning to migrate legacy applications to the cloud.

1. Choose the Right Approach

Moving core business applications to the cloud may seem like an extremely complex process that often comes with certain compromises and risks. But while the complexity is undeniable, organizations that choose the right approach succeed in making the transformation with manageable effort.

Understanding the different mainframe-to-cloud solutions and how they can meet the needs and goals of your organization are two fundamental conditions before starting a digital transformation journey. Equally important, choosing the right tools is key in assuring a successful transformation, regardless of the chosen approach.

2. Assess and Plan

There is a growing consensus in favor of moving mainframe workloads to the cloud, but how exactly to do it remains the most challenging question. The answer should only follow after getting a clear understanding of the organization profile, the needs of the industry and customers, the platform's capabilities, the complexity of data structures, and the urgency to transform. 

There are several factors to consider before a cloud migration, such as IT security, skills, privacy, data ownership, vendor management and service capabilities. Understanding the pricing models and ensuring that the cost of the process is in line with expectations are other important factors. 

Moreover, assuring business continuity during the transition may be critical for enterprises or government agencies that cannot support a prolonged code freeze. At Astadia, we tackled these key-challenges and developed solutions that allow us to automate the entire process, thus reducing costs, business involvement and risks to an absolute minimum.

3. Go for the Right Cloud

Each cloud model offers specific features and functionalities and understanding the way it can match your organizations' needs is crucial.

Is public cloud the way to go?

Does a private cloud offer more control or safety?

Would a hybrid or a multi-cloud solution be a compromise or, on the contrary, a complete solution?

No matter the option, moving to the cloud will be inevitable for many organizations in the years to come.

4. Make Full Use of the Latest Technologies

Mainframes running on COBOL or other old programming languages, such as Natural, PL1, EGL, ADS or Assembler, have been at the core of the biggest companies in the world for decades. Undoubtedly, they have been delivering outstanding performance and reliability. However, this is about to change.

The business environment is rapidly changing, industries are transforming, new players emerge. Leading organizations are now moving their mission-critical apps and data to the cloud.

They need to make full use of the latest technologies and respond to market demands.

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

5. Transform in an Automated Way

Organizations looking to liberate themselves from their mainframe can migrate legacy applications to native technologies in the cloud.

This means that languages such as COBOL, EGL, ADS, Assembler, PL1 or Natural get transformed to Java or C#. Moreover, data stores such as VSAM, IDMS or Adabas get converted to relational databases.

At Astadia, we do it using CodeTurn, a powerful tool that automatically transforms legacy source code into modern source code, which is very well maintainable and 100% functionally equivalent to the original.

CodeTurn is typically used together with other tools, such as DataTurn to convert data, and TestMatch and DataMatch to automate the testing.

6. Control Risks

Converting legacy artifacts natively to a new environment is often the most sustainable approach to migrate the mainframe to the cloud. A two-phase process can eliminate all legacy problems.

  • The first phase consists in the mainframe migration process.
  • The second phase is a modernization process that can target full object-oriented refactoring. This helps solving technical skills issues, allows for continuous new functionality, and offers full flexibility and support for desired modern enhancements.

Our migration methodology allows us to effectively manage risks associated with software transformation projects. It enables complex cross-platform migration of core business applications while normal perfective and adaptive maintenance continues without interruption.

7. Get Tailored Advice

Our team's top-level expertise, extensive experience and innovating solutions have already helped some of the world's largest banks, insurers, manufacturers, and government institutions to find the right approach. Your organization can benefit from it too. Contact our team and get tailored advice and solutions for your digital transformation project.

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