The final version of IBM’s z/VSE operating system will reach its end-of-service date on September 30, 2023. In their announcement, IBM “strongly suggests” that customers plan to migrate to an alternative platform prior to that date. The company plans to remove z/VSE documentation from its website by September of 2026.

For customers running Adabas & Natural under VSE, this can pose a serious risk, both in terms of security vulnerabilities and potential software issues. And because VSE 6.2 is not compatible with newer software and hardware, the functionality, maintenance and support of Natural & Adabas applications will be limited.

Application Migration Options

Software AG is encouraging its customers to migrate to their Linux cloud option, claiming that Adabas & Natural running on VMs makes for a relatively quick and easy transition.  

But this may just be kicking the can down the road and does not address today’s challenges lack of skilled development and support staff, and the need to migrate core business systems to newer technologies to gain business agility and competitiveness.

Events like these are opportunities to assess the current situation and determine the best strategy moving forward, as the investment to do a lift-and-shift of a legacy system may be more expensive than transitioning it to newer technologies over the same amount of time.  

Organizations running Natural & Adabas should take this moment to assess a range of options, including refactoring to modern programming languages like C# or Java running in more cost effective platforms like private or public cloud.

Here are some main modernization options to update and optimize these technologies for current business needs and technology trends.

z/VSE Modernization Options

  • Migration to other platforms: If your organization is considering a shift away from z/VSE, migration to more modern platforms makes a lot of sense. This involves transitioning applications and data to newer environments.
  • Integration with modern systems: Integrating z/VSE applications with more modern systems or services using APIs and middleware can help improve interoperability and extend the functionality of existing applications.
  • Cloud adoption: Consider moving z/VSE workloads to the cloud, which can provide scalability, cost savings, and easier access to modern development and deployment tools.

Additional Resources

IBM Mainframe to AWS Migration

IBM Mainframe to Azure

IBM Mainframr to Google Cloud

Automated migration for z/VSE and z/OS systems

Natural & Adabas Modernization

Rising licensing costs and a shrinking talent pool are driving organizations to seek alternatives to Adabas & Natural. Here are some of the them:

  • Refactoring Applications: Rewriting or refactoring existing Adabas & Natural applications is a common approach to make them more modular, maintainable, and compatible with modern development practices. Make sure, however, you know what each technique entails and which one is the most suitable for your legacy appliations.
  • Web-Enabling Interfaces: You can create web-based interfaces for existing Natural applications, making them accessible from modern browsers and devices.
  • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA): Modernize Adabas & Natural applications by encapsulating them as services using SOA principles, allowing other systems to interact with them easily.
  • API Enablement: Expose functionality from Natural applications through APIs, allowing them to be easily integrated with other systems and services.
  • Data Migration: If transitioning away from Adabas, data migration to modern database systems may be necessary. This involves ensuring data integrity and compatibility during the migration process.
  • Hybrid Solutions: Combine the strengths of existing Natural & Adabas systems with new technologies, such as microservices architecture and cloud resources, to create a hybrid solution.
  • Gradual Replacement: Consider replacing legacy Natural & Adabas components with modern technologies incrementally, minimizing disruption and risk.
  • Modernization Tools: Software vendors offer tools designed specifically for the modernization of Natural & Adabas applications. These tools automate parts of the modernization process.

Refactoring Adabas & Natural Applications

The odernization approach should always follow a thorough assesment of the applications and the IT and business objectives of an organization. In most cases however, refcatoring Adabas & Natural is a great option for several reasons:

  1. Improved Maintainability: Legacy Natural & Adabas applications may have accumulated technical debt over time, making them difficult to maintain and update. Refactoring involves restructuring the codebase to improve its organization and readability, making future maintenance and enhancements easier.
  2. Enhanced Functionality: Refactoring allows you to add new features and capabilities to your applications, leveraging modern programming techniques and design patterns. This can help align your applications with current business needs and industry trends.
  3. Code Optimization: Refactoring involves optimizing code for better performance. You can identify and eliminate redundant or inefficient code, improving the overall efficiency and responsiveness of your applications.
  4. Compatibility with Modern Tools: Refactoring enables you to make your Natural and Adabas applications compatible with modern development and deployment tools, version control systems, and integrated development environments (IDEs).
  5. Integration with New Technologies: Refactored applications can be integrated more easily with modern technologies, such as web services, APIs, cloud services, and mobile platforms. This enables you to extend the functionality of your applications and enhance user experiences.
  6. Reduced Risk: Refactoring allows you to make changes incrementally, reducing the risk of system downtime or disruptions that might occur with a complete rewrite or replacement. This approach minimizes the impact on ongoing operations.
  7. Preserved Business Logic: Refactoring retains the valuable business logic embedded in your legacy applications. By modernizing the existing codebase, you preserve the knowledge and expertise that has been built over years.
  8. Cost-Effective: Refactoring is often more cost-effective than rewriting or replacing applications from scratch. It allows you to leverage existing code while making targeted improvements, saving both time and resources.
  9. Faster Time to Market: Refactoring enables you to deliver modernized features and improvements faster than starting from scratch. This is especially valuable when you need to respond quickly to changing business requirements.
  10. User Experience Enhancement: Refactoring allows you to create modern user interfaces and experiences, making your applications more user-friendly and appealing to users accustomed to contemporary software design.

Additional Resources

Natural to C# Transformation

Natural to Java Transformation

Migrating from Natural to COBOL

Mainframe Migration Roadmap

As mentioned, the modernization approach will depend on the organization's specific goals, resources, and existing technology landscape. Careful planning and assessment are necessary to choose the right modernization path for Natural & Adabas systems on z/VSE.

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 and z/VSE can proceed far more smoothly than you might imagine.

By investing 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, fill out our contact form.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Related news

Related white papers:

No items found.

Natural to C# Transformation

An insightful overview of how businesses can move safely and cost-effectively from Natural to C#.

View more
Natural to C# Transformation

Let's Talk

Get in touch with our experts and find out how Astadia's range of tools and experience can support your team.

contact us now