The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is a large state agency, providing shelter, care, protection and/or support to 2.4 million of its state's 7.1 million people. The Department administers federal and state policies and procedures for delivering benefits to state-wide clients using the Automated Client Eligibility System (ACES). ACES is the eligibility determination and case maintenance system for public assistance programs supporting state and federal medical programs. The ACES Complex of Applications supports up to 6,000 users in over 90 locations and controls over $2 billion in annual client benefits.


The ACES environment is supported by both mainframe Customer Information Control System (CICS) and JAVA/.Net applications. Implemented in 1996, it was originally developed as a mainframe system using COBOL and an IMS non-relational database, with some portions of the system moving to a web platform and a DB2 database over time. IMS is the primary database used by ACES to manage and store its application data and is the state’s eligibility system of record. Daily, data residing in the IMS DB is replicated to DB2 in near real time for use by other sub-systems within the ACES complex.


To replatform the databases and applications, Astadia is moving the COBOL applications running on z/OS to a Windows environment on a Micro Focus enterprise server. The IMS and DB2 databases will be migrated to Db2 LUW. While IMS is the database of record, it is difficult for third parties to access it because it is hierarchical. Hence the need for DB2; it provides the same data as IMS but is more easily accessed by third parties. The two databases will be synced in near real time. While the solution will be on-premise – as requested by DSHS - the application is cloud ready should the department choose to move the solution to the cloud at some point in the future.

Astadia will also provide a complete test automation solution in Eclipse using Micro Focus Enterprise Developer and Eggplant Functional, Cucumber Software, and Jenkins Automated Testing. Astadia is also deploying DevOps test functionality for the applications. This will allow the developers to make changes to a program and run an automatic series of tests without manual intervention.


By modernizing its mainframe, DHSH will realize the following benefits:

Significantly reduce IT costs by moving from the mainframe to commodity hardware

Improve the ease and speed of software development with a visual, self-contained development and execution environment right on the desktop.

Provide a continuous deployment and continuous improvement environment that reduces testing cycles, allowing developers to quickly deploy new functionality more frequently.

Modernize operations with a DevOps environment and distributed technology that provides better services to agents, case/social workers, and other users.

Leverage the Micro Focus environment to easily expose legacy functions to new technologies, such as mobile and artificial reality (AR).

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