Faced with costly mainframe systems, a scarcity of skilled COBOL programmers, and an accelerated push toward digital transformation, more and more organizations are deciding that now is the time to kick off a cloud migration project for their mainframe systems.

For organizations running a Unisys ClearPath MCP (Burroughs) or OS 2200 (Sperry) mainframe, it can be especially difficult to find people with the right skill set. A wave of retirements accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic has created an additional sense of urgency for many CIO’s.

At the same time, there is an increased call for integration, analytics, and the use of artificial intelligence, – foundations for digital transformation initiatives that are increasingly necessary for organizations to survive and thrive in the coming decade.

Modern cloud environments like the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) go hand in hand with digital transformation initiatives. At the same time, they offer tremendous cost savings when compared to mainframes. Here at Astadia, we have helped clients save as much as 80% on their annual operating costs by migrating mainframe systems to the cloud.

The Google Cloud Platform is an excellent target environment for mainframe workloads. To help our customers better understand the migration process, Astadia has published a reference architecture for migrating Unisys systems to Google Cloud.

Modernization: the Big Picture

Migration to the cloud is just one of several strategies for modernizing mainframe systems. At Astadia, we have performed over 200 successful mainframe modernization projects, often using a mix of approaches that may also include re-factoring code, simplifying and consolidating processes, or replacing specific programs with commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS).

Cloud migration, – sometimes known as “lift & shift”, – is just one potential component of a larger mainframe modernization project, – albeit a very important one. There are significant challenges associated with a lift & shift move to the cloud. Astadia has more experience with this process than any other company on the planet; we have managed the process for some of the largest most complex systems in the world.

Most organizations running mainframe systems have spent years developing and modifying the business logic that drives their core applications. They are reluctant to throw all of that away, – and for good reason. Rewriting this is logic from scratch is extraordinarily risky, and usually ends in failure.

But moving existing mainframe applications to the cloud is no simple exercise. Data structures in modern systems are very different from those found on mainframes. COBOL code that is written for a hierarchical database is not natively suited for modern relational databases. Legacy applications may be poorly documented, and dependencies must be identified and accounted for prior to the migration process. Databases must typically be cleaned up in order to ensure accuracy and completeness.

The bottom line: a successful mainframe modernization project has a lot of moving parts to it. Comprehensive planning and effective project management are essential.

Why Google Cloud Platform?

The Google Cloud Platform offers a range of benefits to customers migrating their moving their Unisys ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 systems: security, flexibility, scalability, automatic backups, automatic software upgrades, cost model optimization, version control and more.

The Google Cloud Platform is easy to use. A system administrator can request new services to host applications using the web-based Google Cloud Management Console. Google’s cloud services are well-documented, and a wealth of information is available via expert articles, white papers, and discussion forums.

The Google Cloud Platform is flexible. Provisioning a new instance in GCP, adding computing power, or increasing storage capacity are simple and straightforward processes. Because GCP services are billed in a consumption basis, you only pay for the resources you use.  There are no long-term commitments, but If you know in advance that you’ll be using a certain minimum capacity, Google offers discounts for longer-term contracts.

GCP is built to be reliable and scalable. Auto scaling and load-balancing ensure that no matter how heavy the load, computing resources will be available when needed.

The Google Cloud Platform’s security features include network firewalls, Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), encryption at rest and in transit, and private or dedicated network connections.

In short, the Google Cloud Platform offers a complete operational environment for Unisys mainframe workloads, while achieving significant cost reduction, mitigating the risks of a diminishing talent pool, and opening the door to digital transformation initiatives.

Why Astadia?

Astadia has more than 30 years of experience migrating legacy applications to modern platforms. We bring three critical assets to every project: our people, our methodology, and our suite of proprietary automation tools.

Astadia has built its reputation by delivering successful outcomes for our clients over the years. We have built and fostered a high-performance culture that attracts and retains the world’s foremost experts in mainframe modernization.

Astadia’s methodology is built on more than two decades of experience in this field. We know what works, and what does not. We understand the impact that a modernization project will have on your organization, including its effect on day-to-day operations and its financial implications. We bring world-class project management skills into every project we do.

Astadia has developed a suite of proprietary automation tools that bring efficiency and accuracy to every project we do. Given the scope of mainframe-to-cloud migration projects, a quality set automation tools is essential.

Astadia’s Reference Architecture for Unisys-to-GCP Migration

To help IT leaders better understand the cloud migration process, Astadia has developed a free Reference Architecture Guide for migrating Unisys ClearPath MCP & OS 2200 Mainframes to the Google Cloud Platform.

The document is written with multiple audiences in mind:

  • For mainframe experts, we outline Astadia’s Unisys MCP and OS 2200 Mainframe to Google Cloud Reference Architecture and provide an overview of the Google Cloud Platform
  • For Google Cloud Platform experts, we provide some perspective on Unisys ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 Mainframes
  • For business leaders, we cover some of the key factors in deciding whether to migrate mainframe workloads to the cloud and offer some guidelines for ensuring project success

Astadia’s Unisys ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 Mainframe-to-Google Cloud Success Methodology has been refined over the course of 300+ successful legacy migration projects, and has become an industry leading approach for our medium and large-scale Unisys ClearPath MCP and OS 2200 mainframe clients.

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Unisys ClearPath MCP & OS 2200 Mainframes to the Google Cloud

The purpose of this reference architecture is to assist business and IT professionals as they prepare to migrate to GCP.

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Unisys ClearPath MCP & OS 2200 Mainframes to the Google Cloud

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