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One Size Does Not Fit All: Why you Need the 5Rs of Mainframe Modernization

Dave MacSwain
January 24, 2020
4 min

Most providers in the mainframe modernization space focus on their one, primary approach towards transformation. But, if ever there were a situation where "One Size Doesn't Fit All", it is legacy modernization projects, which often require a variety of techniques and tools to achieve success.

Organizations like Gartner, AWS and Microsoft have discussed the “Rs” of modernization in great depth.  As with many similar topics, definitions of the Rs can vary, so Astadia has adopted a “5 Rs” framework to describe most of the work we do with clients.  We start Discovery with the most important and critical applications in your organization. You likely have critical business applications to focus on, many of which may be interconnected. Applications will be put into categories, after preliminary analysis is completed. Using various evaluation tools and techniques, a business can decide to Replace, Retire, Replatform, Refactor or Rewrite an application but end up with all of the applications in one of the R categories. Of course, there will always be tradeoffs in any alignment along these Rs, but generally, each and every application in the mainframe portfolio will end up in one of the R categories when the analysis is complete.

The next step in this process is a Roadmap where the actual migration plan, along with the sequence and dependencies of each application, gets developed in great detail, such that the execution of the actual migrations can get underway. Timelines, in most cases, are flexible, and there is typically variability in the actual timing of each event in the Roadmap. Incorporated into the Roadmap is the approach taken – the “R”.  Astadia works with clients to determine the best approach for their overall modernization efforts, which often involves a combination of techniques across the entire mainframe portfolio.  In most cases, organizations have legacy applications that need to be Retired.  And, certain applications are prime targets for Replacement, for example with a SaaS / (Commercial-of-the-Shelf) offering.  The “Coverage Matrix” below highlights the approaches Astadia takes for the key Rs:

Astadia Coverage Matrix

Regardless of the approach taken, when all programs have been “cleanly” compiled on the target, a series of software testing begins. This involves Unit Testing, Functional Testing, UI Testing, System Testing and Performance Testing. After all Testing & QA is completed, the migrated application will be deployed into a “Production” environment. User Training and Documentation is completed, and a full production deployment is underway. As the application enters the full production phase, Performance and Tuning of a fully loaded application and database is an important final element of a full migration. This P&T work will ensure that the application is operating at optimal levels of performance. Ongoing maintenance of the application will follow as a regular routine over the life of the system.

To summarize, Astadia optimizes its solutions and avoids the one-size-fits-all syndrome by customizing a modernization approach to the customer requirements,

 

 

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Mainframe Modernization

Dave MacSwain

Office of the CTO
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