In this episode, Walter speaks with Lance Knowlton, VP Platform Migrations at Oracle. They discuss best practices and lessons learned from working with clients with various modernization needs and objectives. They also explore available legacy modernization options, use cases and critical aspects of business and IT strategies to stay relevant in the market.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: Good afternoon everyone! Welcome to the latest edition ofWalter's World, the Podcast Series from a Astadia. My name is Walter Sweat, and I'm Astadia’s CTO, and as hopefully you know, this podcast series is reallydedicated to helping organizationswho are interested in looking at mainframe and mainframe alternatives insightsfrom industry, leaders, industry, experts who, you know, have been through thisprocess before, and hopefully share pertinent and helpful information withthem.
And today I'm very happy to be joined by someone whom Iconsider an industry icon, LanceKnowlton, who is the VP ofPlatform Migrations group for Oracle. Lance, it'sgreat to have you here. Thank you for taking the time out of your busyschedule.
Lance Knowlton: It's great to be here, Walter. I reallyappreciate your time today.
Walter Sweat: Could you tell us a bit about yourself, your background and what you do atOracle?
Lance Knowlton - Sure,Walter, happy to. So I've been with Oracle a little over 17 years, and actually our team isinteresting in the fact that we're part of the R&D organization and oracle. So it'sa interesting role. We get to work with a number of different customersthroughout the world. We actually have aglobal team and our charteris to really to help customers with their legacy migration projects. So we'rethere to be subject matter experts for our customers, to help them through the journey. Asyou well know, Walter, it's a process. It's. It's typically not some point intime. But you know there's a lot of legacy environments out there, and so we havethe ability to work with customer over long durations of time and helping themcraft their roadmaps. We're brought in directly by the customers, and becausewe're part of R&Dour work is unique in the sense that you know we're sponsored by AndyMendelson, who runs the database organization. It's the team we report to, andso Andy invests in ourcustomers by allowing us to workin these projects, you know, long term, so we help customers, craft, roadmaps,and that's both in the traditional legacy world, but also in some of thedistributed migration projects as well, which I can touch upon.
Personally, I've been in the industry for over 30 yearsbefore coming to 0racleactually ran Development for MigrationCompany. At the time they were the one of the Quadrant leaders. I was company calledBlue Phoenix as a contractor at IBM doing C development on amainframe for their EGLfourth-generation language product line, and through just you know as luck would have it, I just got involved in in in the migrationcompany and started doing a lot of work. There came up through Team leadDevelopment Manager ended up running development for the company, and it was agreat experience. Got to see a lot of different migration scenarios, and alsowe're doing a lot of code generation whichobviously, as you, as you will know, with what you guys do as an important partof transformation. So it reallywas kind of, you know, fortuitous, and then, you know, joined Oracle and I'vebeen here, and pretty much the entire time. My entire focus has been withlegacy migration. So we've worked with literally hundreds of customers anddifferent scenarios, both short term and long term, and it's very interestingrole. I mean, we get to see a lot of different things. We'll talk about some ofthose today. Some of them are, you know, some situations are, you know the customers are reallystruggling to come up with how they're going to transform their systems.
But it's a it's an exciting space, and although I've been ina long, long, very long time, you know. Every week is, as you as you well know with the unique projects that customersbring you in their situations, and it's not only the technical side of it, but it's the business challengeas well, right? I mean, because ultimately that's what they're trying to solve,and some of these customers at then we've seen systems as old as 35-40 years insome situations quite incredible. How long some of these systems havebeen serving the business but, asyou well know, some of them are getting to the stage where they've got to startmoving forward, so it's a great, it's a great role, and very, very blessed tohave it really enjoy working with customers and you know we we've got a longterm relationship with Astadia.
Youguys have been great to work with, you know. You've obviously evolved and morphed and done your own modernization efforts and your recent acquisitions.So it's been a it's been a great relationship working with you guys as well.
Walter Sweat - Well, we feel the same, and you know it's funnyland. You talked about your background and your history for those of us whocame up 20, 30 or 40 or more years ago. It's hard for me toimagine sometimes where we are now in this space compared to when we started thecapabilities, the technology, what you can do with this power. It's exciting for organizations to be able tolook at what the future can be, and I know you and the team at Oracle, you have those long-standingrelationships with your customers, and being able to understand as youmentioned their challenges. You know the fact that people are retiring. Theyhave changing business needs, and being able to be a part of that. I just feelthat you like I get excited every day to come into work just to learn something new, even after anawful lot of years of doing this.
Lance Knowlton - Yeah, absolutely. You know the rate ofchange when it comes to development. I mean you look back, you know, over theyears on the waterfall, and youknow, agile and continuous integration and those changes, and it's really put alot of pressure on some of the organizations that that you know we do workwith, both independently and collectivelywith regards to them keeping up. You know, we recently had a customerthat their entire business modelchanged just recently, due to, you know some, some basically digitalimprovements in their and their vertical space that have really set their entireapplication stack on it'son its head, and they've had to totally re-evaluate. And so you see, some of these companies that have addmodels, you know. Obviously some of them are constantly changing. Others gothrough leaps and bounds. And then you see the impact that you know some of these legacy portfolios have on thesecompanies, you know, and it's not just a cost thing. You mentioned skill, set.It's been a big deal for our customers.
But it's it's the ability to keep up the competition. You know I've often hadthe conversation with customers that said, Well, you know, if if some of theseolder environments say mainframe environments, we're just so good. Then why wouldn't the upstartsuse those to begin with, you know, and and you have to ask yourself thatquestion if you're in that position, because don't get me wrong there. There's certainly, you know those are very bulletproofplatforms, you know, historically.
But there they are very hard to change, and you know I always ask customers that ifyour competition is not facing long development cycles and you are, if you're facing,you know, vendor lock in, and they're not. You know. Those are kind of thingsthat you really got to get ahead of. Otherwise you're gonna cease to berelevant in your space. So you're it's constantly changing.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: We see the same thing. I' tomake the analogy that if I were out on the ocean. I'd much rather turn a reallysleep 26 foot catamaran really quickly than trying to turn an aircraft carrier to get it headed in a new meaningfuldirection. I think that's what a lot of these brick and mortar companies who'vebeen around forever with these legacy environments are starting to face that,as you mentioned. The new playersare coming into the marketplace. They're able to be much more agile.
The work that you do, the work that Oracle does is so important fororganizations. Speaking of that, can you help everyone kind of understand how Oracle works with your customers and this legacy modernization space?
Lance Knowlton - Yeah, sure. So, as I mentioned, you know,because we're part of R&D,we're typically called in by customers directly or by our fieldorganization that is working with our customers, and they might be looking at, you know, a specific application or legacydatabase environment, or a portfolio of systems, right? That they're evaluating. The customer may beevaluating, you know, not only our technology stack, but our application stack.
One of the common, you know, methods of modernizing is replacing sometimes phonegrowing systems with applications. So that's kind of a unique value add that we bring into themarket that, you know. Maybe some of the other hyperscalars and technologyproviders don't andthat we've historically had very large enterpriseclass applications. And certainly we see portfolios or portions of portfoliosbeing replaced and retired by those. But the most of the time the way thatwe're brought in is, the customer is facing a specific challenge around aspecific application.
It could be mainframe, traditional mainframe zOS systems. It could be a AS400 systems. We tend to getwaves of these things right? So they they come in waves, but certainly the mainframe space hasbeen one that's been a constant. You know the entire 17 years that I've beenhere. Customers worried about it, I think what's changed recently was it was historically just acost or a y equation. You know the skill set and agility is has been the bigfactor.
Butwe're brought in, you know, by customers directly working with our field teams,and we're they're asking us to, you know. Put together a roadmap, or what wouldwe do right if you were in that situation.
We alsowork in the distributed space as I mentioned earlier. So we have customers thatare looking at side base teradator, and the cheese environments that are, you know on-prem.They're they're getting older. They're looking to move to the cloud or becomecloud ready. They're trying to consolidate and converge their skill sets andbecome more agile, and some of thoselegacy database technologies are are also hindering them. So we see alot mainframe AS400,but also some of those legacy databases, and then we get engaged through thefield the field brings us in. We can talk a little bit about our process later.But that's traditionally how we get involved. And again it can be as as quick as a couple of week engagement with customers to just givethem some of our thoughts and best practices. It can be several year ofengagement, so some of ourengagements involved just best practices with our customers, you know clearlyfor most customers it's much more than just the data and the data types it's.It's kind of what you know the entire surround right? What are they going to dowith your ETL? Their applications? How do they determine what things do need to be touched? How are they gonna,You know, If there's sequel differences, how are those gonna be handled? Storedprocedures, all of that? So, certainly we do help customers with kind of myopicI just need to know how to transfer my database and my data types if they're just, you knowthey're evaluating our autonomous database or exadata most times, and not it'sbroader, right? And it's gonna involve the applications the surround. What am Igoing to do about testing? What did I historically do?. What are my modernizationbenefits going to be in the future? How do I make sure my Ras characteristicsare high, those sorts of things? Soit it, You know it is it? It is broad what we like to say that the onlything that that is common amongall of them is that you know they're all unique, right?
Walter Sweat - I can believe that you and I'm glad you brought that up, Lance. I'mkind of interested in understanding when when you're talking to your clients. How did they describe their legacyapplications to you? Is it? Does it run the gamut? Are there commoncharacteristics that that you see over and over again.
Lance Knowlton - I think one that would be, you know, worthdiscussing in this form is, you know, the the one that you know we worked onthe past for one of our financial system customers that we were jointly engagedat with your team and our team, and thatconversation first started off with talking to their executive Vice Presidentteam. This is a major financial services customer in the Southeast, and you know, they basically,said, Look, we're running on the mainframe. We're okay, for now we're we realizethat it's starting to a little harder to find skill set. So, they were kind of convincing themselvesthat everything was fine, and then they embarked upon a one year long searchfor a new resource to join their team and to help them on their IMS journey. As I mentioned, they wererunning Fas Path, and one of the largestFast-Path users, and they went through a recruitingphase that took them about one year the fine resource that they actually had tobring out of a Florida golfing community.
This particular gentleman retired, decided he was, is notgoing to work in the industry anymore, and retired, and was playing with thegrandchildren playing a lot of golf, and they actually convinced him they said,you know, come on back. We'd love to have you on the team. And clearly he hadthe IMS skill set. The problem in that equation, was that the gentleman, after he started about 2 weeks laterhe quit, and he just said, Look, I made a mistake. I shouldn't come back, I just I reallymiss my previous lifestyle, and Imean it was great. It's 72 that he was coming back into the workforce. But theproblem was is for the customers, and now they they're out of a year.
Andit was a major wake upcall, and it was at that point in time that they, you know. They asked ourcollective teams. Don't come, help them, and bark upon a modernization effortto help them off. Of not only Ims, but off off of the mainframe and that was a a big eye opener, and that's something that we are consistently seeing major financial services.Organizations that do have the capital and do have the reach are reallystruggling now to find we had another customer of ours that had 4 0ut of6 systems programmers that were retiring in one year and put them into a panic.
At the time they did get through it, but it was concerned to them. We're engagedjust over the last couple of weeks with the customer that has literally oneresource. That is the key person that understands their order to cache systemwritten in RPG. On a.As 400 system and they're very concerned about.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: What are they going to do from a skill set perspective? If if you know, this persondecides that they're going to retire, or they want to go, do something else, orthey want to. You know they want to join in another part of the business. So it
LanceKnowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: you know the the skill setissue is the big chain game changer that we've seen recently. And youknow that that's one of the main reasons that they're reaching out to us.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow we we've been working with some other financial services. We have anotherfinancial services customer that has about a quarter 1 million MIPS and they are in theprocess of completely moving off of the mainframe. In fact, they've they've,you know. They've told the market that
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: thatthey're going to be moving off, and they're moving t0 0ur exadata cloud orcustomer technology. They want the ability to to have cloud ready environments,but they want to have an on-prem, which is a which is a great t up for ourexidated cloud or customer technology, hybrid high ras characteristics. Butstill.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, kind of an OP. X model, and right on them to really go after a a cloudkind of operations model.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Butthat is a big change that you know we've historically seen, and i'm sure you'veseen this as well, Walter, you know, Fedex recently announced to
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: thepublic that they're moving out of their data centers, and also the bigstatement. Isn't it. Yeah, those are those are, you know, when you look at theprevious customer financial services, 250,000 MIPS. You like a Fedex, and what they'veyou know they've they've told the world. Those are major changes, so we're not.We're no longer talking about. Kind of.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: you know. Back office,maybe
LanceKnowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: 5 by 8 by 5 applications thatyou know, maybe cost a little too much on the mainframe, or they were trying todo better data integration with distributed world. We're talking about reallybig systems. And I think it's a wake up call, because
LanceKnowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: you know, it's like the oldgame and musical chairs. But this time you don't want to be the last person yousee when the music goes out, and we've seen that, and
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, esoteric for jail environments on the mainframe, As you well know, those become even tougherpropositions, and become even more expensive over time, less agile, more riskwhen it comes to skill set. So
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: you know our advice tocustomers is, is, look it doesn't mean you have to move tomorrow, but you needto have a game plan together. You need to understand what your risk is,especially as it relates to skills and retirement
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:planned of, of, you know, typical retirement ages in your and your team so.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Butyou know those are kind of macro big trends. But you know we've also beenworking with customers. They just want to take their their Dv 2 databases andmove them down off the mainframe down to 0racle with our say, with our drda technology. So it's a pretty straightforward. They can just move their databases, leave their existingapplications on the mainframe and rock and roll so it doesn't mean that everything has tobe, you know, long term roadmap.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow multi-year engagement and you know holistic moves. We are working withcustomers at at Point situations as well where they're just trying to dosmaller, more granular moves and and kind of position themselves along the way.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: Absolutely lynch you. Youmentioned cloud earlier, and i'd be interested to know your thoughts, you know.10 years ago everybody wanted to talk about Cloud, but no one wanted to be first.Today. Our conversations, people are realistically saying, Cloud is absolutely not just anoption for me, but the option for me. Could you share some experiences thatoracle has gone through helping people move their clients applications to cloudready Apps.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Yeah,definitely. And we actually did a recent public webcast. You know where we'reone of the industry analysts. Specifically, Gardner was talking about that, youknow, now is really thetime, for you know,for customers that are on mainframes to look at, going to clouds that thetechnology has has really advanced itself such to the point where you know toearly discussion that enterprise class applications can be moved with a highdegree of confidence. Andso Cloud is a big part of all the conversations that we're having with ourcustomers.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow we kind of have unique perspective on it that, as you know, Walter, youknow now well over 10 years ago wewe released exod data which was kindof a mainframe equivalent type of environment for large scale databasecustomers that were coming off in the mainframe and needed to have the high Rascharacteristics, the security, the performance. But they were gonna staycompletely on Brown.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andthen you know that that over time has morphed into our exhibited cloud ofcustomer, which is a cloud, as I mentioned earlier, cloud Operations modelgives customers the ability to deploy that behind their firewall. But as thereis a you know, as a opex type of model versus capex. And then we we've got our obviously our full public cloud,both of the app tier and that the database here.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andthen something that is unique to us is our our, you know region at customerwhere we can take our entire one of our cloud data centers and put it inside ofour customers firewall, both at the application and the database. Here they getall of our cloud services
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andallows them to operateagain in that and that cloud model, but behind their firewall for both theapplication and the data tier, and that's really good for customers that havebeen traditional mainframe customers that are worried about.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, going full public, maybe yet, but they want to. They want to have thatfull cloud flavor. Maybe they can do a cobalt to Java transformation, usingsome your technology or COBOLor COBOL, but they wantto keep.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow. They want to take. They want to get off of the mainframe. They want tohave high Ras characteristics high security behind their firewall, so we, by offering those differentmodels, it it allows us to kind of blend in with where customers expectationsare short and long term.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andreally, you know, oncethey're there, they can deploy across those different environments. We're alsodoing a lot of stuff, Walter, and you know, with hybrid. You know multi cloud
LanceKnowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: on their application tier.They want to say Microsoft is your on their their application tier, but theywant to take advantage of oracle's database technology they can. They can do afast connect between our technologies, and I have low, very low latency environments.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow that they they want to have an application tier with Microsoft. They wantto have a a database here with oracle, but they still want to move off of themainframe, and they want those, you know. They want those enterprise classcharacteristics. So we've got, you know lots of different working models with ourcloud. And to give you an example, a customer example
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:that's taken advantage of that. We had a customer in Canada that was runningabout 2 million lines of COBOLon their mainframe. We were brought in. We did a discovery with them wentthrough a transformation with them. They did a automated transformation toJava.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Theyactually deployed on-prem to ourexodatamol, or at or full ex the data on prem model. They had their own apptier existing. So they just reuse that, and they deployed on ex the data. Andnow we're going to market with them aroundthat application because it's been free from the the mainframe right? They'renot dependent on COBOLany longer. They're fully Java.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andnow they want to sell that technology globally, you know, and they're They wantto do that with our team and go to market fashion in our cloud. So we're youknow we're working with them on that that project right now. So first, youknow, first phase transformation was on prem, and now they're deploying.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, into cloud environment, so that, you know, gives you a kind of an idea ofthe spectrum of of different things that we're seeing.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: That's one of the reasons Iknow we really enjoy getting to work with, or we share a common thought process, and that, you know,trying to identify what's right for the customerand a fit the solutions to their particular needs. That's so critical. For somany years it was people were told you. You only have to follow a pattern, andit's like there really are awful lot of patterns out there, and they'redifferent benefits for every customer with each one of them.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Yeah,that that hammer and nail philosophy of old, you know. I think you know.Obviously, you know, you guys have worked with customers in a variety ofsituations.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, including just roadmaping their portfolios. And I know you guys done alot of stuff around the what was traditionally known. But before you know,Cloud was so much in fashion. It's lift and ship. Now, that that term is isdefinitely more more used in a specific terms in the cloud, but you know re-hosting, or whatever term you want to use and that you know hammer and nail approach. I I think only got people so far, and Ithink it's a reason that you know many of the the systems were, you know, halfon, half half out of the out, out of the mainframe whereas now you know, to our earlier points we're seeingcustomers just saying, Look, we're we're going. You know it's it's gonna we'renot stop. And halfway you know, we're gonna go the full. The the you know, full bore approach.
WalterSweat - Astadia, CTO: That's what makes it exciting. I'd like to talk somespecifics about oracle technologies, if you don't mind, because I think theaudience should be really interested in this. Can you kind of describe for us?You know what technologies are involved with your solution model that you used to help clientsmodernize their portfolios.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Sure.So you know there, there! Well, to their, you know, as our discussion wentaround, They're all unique situations, you know. I can kind of start from theground level and kind of work our way up right so, Baseline, if a customercomes to us, and they're interested in looking at their legacy database. Thiscould be on the mainframe. This could be on distributed right
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: then.We can help customers evaluate what's the best way to move their data and theirmetadata. you know, at a at a purely kind of almost ground level, organiclevel, and we do have customers that come to us around that. In fact, Imentioned our DrDa technology
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:that's something that we've helped customers with several times where they justwanna they. They want to move their data off of the mainframe. They want tolower their their mix. They're gonna stay with, you know, with a Dr. Da. Typeof model.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andthat's a pretty straightforward approach, right? And we have other customersthat say, look, if you help me move the data and the data types and the metadata.I'll take it from there. We might be, you know, working with a customer'sdatabase organization.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andwe'll stop at that point, and that may involve things like our sequel developertooling it could involve, you know, Oracle integrator it, I mean, there's there's a a variety ofdifferent approaches. Sequel Loader could be just as as bare minimum as thosetypes of approaches.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Butcertainly what we find in most cases is customers start looking at the surroundright, the Etl, the stored procedures.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: theythe sequel conversions, all of that. And so, when there's stored prop conversionsinvolved. We may use some of our internal technology for that we may use. Youknow, some of our close partners like yourselves, right where there's there'syou know, different types of languages.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: We'reavailable in different database.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Butyou know other engagements that we have might involve golden date, which is ourchange data capture. You know our enterprise class change data, capturetechnology which does both. You know, old school legacy environments all theway up to you know, New World Kafka type, you know cloud environments right?
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andso again it'll come down to what's the needs? Is this a one time effort? Isthis going to be an ongoing do we have a particular, you know, differentialthat we need to catch up to right before cut over is done that sort of thing.Certainly our Java technology right from an oracle perspective
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:highly leveraged in a couple of the Java, you know, approaches. And certainlywe've gotten our oracle labs involved in certain situations with Javatransformations where maybe more performance where it was needed.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow, exadata, as I said earlier than a common denominator, you know, you know.Obviously, that's based on a rack, a rack database, our clustering databasetechnology
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: used.Probably, you know, 80 80 90% of some of these legacy mainframe environments.We see that quite often.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andthen ex the data being the backbone of our cloud and our our previousconversations on cloud. You know, Oci: our cloud technology is being heavilyutilized by customers, you know, in different scenarios could be Dev test couldbe all the way through production. It just really depends on the customer and thesituation
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:Oracle Tuxedo is is, you know, many, many customers may be be familiar withTuxedo from our our acquisition. Years back of Bda oracle Tuxedo is wentthrough a large amount of enhancements. We're using that in the number ofcobalt migrations for our customers that want to preserve their cobalt
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andTuxedo has the the capabilities of transforming the customers underlyingcobalt, c. I. Cs dB 2 0r or Ims environments, and transforming them into itcould be an on-prem environment.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Itcould be a region, a customer environment. It could be a full public cloud oror multi cloud right. So it it's very. It has enterprise, class capabilities,and can be, you know, can be deployed in a variety of different differentsituations. Not just an oracle situation. So itit does. It does depend. And then, as I mentioned you know, we we see that as well, and we believe that youknow the right way of looking and evaluating this is to do a portfolioanalysis, you know, with with someone like yourselves to figure out. Okay, whatare my options? Even if i'm going to replace, maybe with a package.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Whatare my business rules? What? What is my surround technology? Am I gonna loseanything? Do I need to do account for any loss and functionality byrepresenting that maybe in services, micro services, or something like thatgoing forward that's gonna be leveraged by my package.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: So itit really does vary, and and that's one of the you know kind of the uniquethings about us. And one of the things that's so interesting is we've gotdifferent ways of of addressing these situations can really flavor it to whatthe customer is looking for.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: Interesting point that youbring up Last time I'd like to kind of extend all that. If you don't mindtalking about differentiators.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: what do you feel?Differentiates oracle, and your approach to modernizations versus some of theother hyper scalars in the market today, and i'd be willing to bet you get thatquestion pretty often
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: wedo. I mean, Obviously, customers are looking at a a broad variety of oftechnologies and choices now and and so, you know, we have to regular,articulate, and and to bear
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: whatmakes us different, and I would say, you know one of the biggest differences isour our history right? We we we have at this. Now you know this thistransformation team that i'm a part of has been around for more than 20 years.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andyou know, for example, when I, when I first joined Oracle, we were working witha very large insurance company. They had a 35,000 end user system
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: thatwas being brought completely off in the mainframe over t0 0ur our rat clusterdatabase, and when the transformation was done the customer literally had totake his line of business owner
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: downto the data center, and showing that because the performance was just as goodas that better, the cost was much less. The razz characteristics were all veryhigh. And so
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow what I like to tell customers is we? We've been at this a very long time.This is not something that we just started, you know oracle's been. You know,it's been a stalwart and enterprise class applications in technologies for for a very long time. S0 0ne of ourbig differentiators is is our experience in this area.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andthen, as I mentioned earlier, our exe data technology, which has been verysuccessful. In fact, we had a customer financial services, credit cardprocessing another. Ims user different from the one we discussed earlier. TheyThey had a very.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: verysmall sla latency that they needed to make to come off of ims, and and we workwith them very closely, and we're able to to actually beat what they weregetting out of ims, and they've been running on Ims for 20 years.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Sowe're we're very proud of that. So the Enterprise class is, is is a bigcharacteristic. The other thing I would say is that you know we we financiallyback our our cloud. Sla and I would encourage, you know anyone that was lookingat going to transformation to make sure that
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow you're not going to come off of a highly resilient platform and then throwcaution to the win and go to maybe the lowest common denominator
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:target environment. You know what what you can find to be the the the cheapest,the most open source, the you know kind of bare bones, because what we found,and we've actually seen this several times, as customers will attempt to, youknow, maybe maximize their savings. But what the reality of it. What they do isthey?
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: They put the transformation at great risk, because they're going literally from youknow, a very performing platform. Let's not fool ourselves.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow the the legacy systems were very performant primarily, because theapplication in the database there lived on. Its you know, the same platform.They've been highly tune over 20 0r 30 years, and then if you try to go, you know so far in the other direction, we've seen somecustomers really struggle with that, and the other thing that we've seen is thatthey'll they'll sometimes take the the you know the database, to sure, whateverthe the cool kid on the block is they'll modernize to that, and that may work for a point application. But then,as they try to.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:they've lost a lot, and so the cumulative investment. That oracle is made thebillions of dollars that we spend every year in R&D. Has built upon itself.So, for example, you know, one of our newer technologies is is Json with ourautonomous database, right? And so
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: thosethose autonomous implementation is a culmination of all these decades of bestpractices in this serious span, these aren't
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: pointin time. You need kind of solutions that were all sprawled out. They built ontop of each other. So that's a very important consideration. I I would alsoencourage customers to look at.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andthe way that we developed our cloud and and our you know, our redundancy andour our again, our financially backed sla's, which are unique in the space. Andand so we're. We're literally in putting our money where our mouth is so. Wethink you know it's a combination of things, Walter. I mean the fact that we'veowned in in the case of automated migrations to Java.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow the the all the work that we do with Java with our labs, the integrationof Java with our our back end, database technology, things like Tuxedo, whichhave been, you know, running financial systems, backbones for for years andyears and years with the highest sla. Those are really what we consider to be.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow the differentiators and and for customers that maybe are on the smallerside, and they're looking at this. Excuse me, and they're saying, Well. youknow. Do do I need, you know, a sledgehammer for maybe something that I justneed a you know, a small pick axe, for I would still encourage them to take avery close look at our
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: ourtechnology and our pricing again always. You know, one of our core themes isconversions of databases, right? So don't get into a situation where you'resprawling out.
There's so many different databases, and then you find youryour Dba team is is spread thin.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:You've got. Now you're back down t0 0ne person knowing a database could be new.But you still got one person that that know that knows it. It's not a goodplace to put the organization. And so you know, one of our our you know corefundamentals of autonomous is that we're trying to bake out human error
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: in inour database deployment. So we're doing things like auto indexing right, andthat you, you really don't have to worry about patching security.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:provisioning these databases. They they do it on their own. They're gonnamonitor their own performance. So you get economies of scale. You get all thebuilding blocks that I mentioned, and our R. And D. Investment. So it's. It'spretty powerful right. And and not only can we talk about it, we we can proveit. We would encourage.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, customers to to, you know. Not. Take our just a word, but measure it,measure us as well. So you have. You absolutely have the successes to provethat that this is work for many, many customers, and that's something that Iagree. I think it's important for organizations to kind of learn what other people have done, and how they'vebeen successful with you
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: last couple of last quickquestions. I know i'm taking an awful lot of your time. But could you kind ofdescribe your modernization process for us? I think that could be of ofinterest to the, to the audience as well.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Yeah,absolutely. So you know, we we realize for for some customers, you know, theythey may have been involved in engagements that were maybe multi month multiyear evaluations of their portfolios. And and certainly there's certaincircumstances where customers.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: orrunning, maybe dozens, if not hundreds of applications and and multi 1 millionlines of source code, and that, you know
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:probably practically is the way that you know it should be done. But what we'retrying to do is provide a a
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: quickreview for our customers, if they especially if they have a point in timeapplication that they're looking at. And they say, look! Does this make sensefrom a business perspective.
Does it make sense from a technical perspective? And what can I expect out of my modernization roadmap? What are gonna be? Maybe my initial conversion recommendations. What would the target architecture look like at a high level?What would be my cost? So what we've done is we've put together a couple ofdifferent offerings. One is just a typically, you know, one to 3 week engagement with our customers to totalk with them about their particular legacy situation, both business.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: And so we'll we'll. We'll talk to them about. You know the the situation of facingtheir timelines costs again business, technical, how much code, what? What is,what are the platforms running on? What are their expectations? Right? And whatdo they try before, and what we'll do? Typically, Walter, is within a, you know. Maybe one to 3 week time period.We'll come back. We'll make some initial recommendations. We'll put togethersome thumbnail sketches.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: andif that bears through, you know, if the customer is interested, and they say,Look, it sounds good. But I need to learn more than typically what we'll do is,we'll go into a little bit longer analysis period, and that'll often include,You know, the the legacy portfolio analysis, including code analysis.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andand frankly, you know that's when we'll we'll, you know, typically look to workwith the Stadia right, which is, we want to be able to analyze the customerssource code
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: thatout. Make sure that the initial roadmap recommendations were were were true.Right? That makes sense. Now you know we we understand what you told us is yourplatform. What is your actual platform consists of? What's the complexity, notof the system, as it relates to? Maybe legacy maintenance. But what's the complexity of the system as it relates tomigrating it, which is tw different unique to the customer situation. And then you know that that's typically onaverage, and it does vary 4 t0 6 week time period, you know. Of. Oftentimesthere's a a commitment of not only time and resources, but funding from a customer perspective, because it involves, you know, real work,a lot of automation, but it involves real work.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andand we're basically just trying to make sure that customers committed, and thatwe're on the right path. And then usually the output of that is a very granulartarget recommendation.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:including, you know, bill of materials as far as what we would recommend on ourcloud or on-prem or hybrid technologies. What it's gonna be you know multicloud that's gonna involve you know granular conversion, you know, pricing, andand we've even, you know, up to an including fixed price in some cases.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow, working with working with a a stadia to provide. You know this is howmuch it's gonna cost to actually do it. And then what would the phases looklike, what's the racy? What's the implementation and and efforts in need oftime. You know the one thing i'll say, and we we didn't get. You know, too muchtime to talk about is that you know, when you look at automated approaches. Andthis is a a key, actually a very key for a customer we're just talking to.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Butyou know, in in our efforts, right? We don't have to go and talk to the line ofbusiness we can use. You know the code is the the analysis platform for thisconversion methodology. And that's him. That's that's huge, because so many itorganizations are concerned about going to the line of business. Oh, Yes.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: yetanother idea. This analysis can be done largely without them, and it's not toleave them out of the conversation is to make them part of the conversationonce we know what we're all talking about at the right point, because now younow you have a very definitive idea of the quality of that application, whetherit should be converted in in a certain type of approach.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Andyou can deal with inhibitors because, you know, change can be tough, right, andit'll be tough for line of business. The other benefit of these automated approachesis that you know oftentimes they can take advantage of the same workflow. Thesame screens, the same reports.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: It's.It's little to no impact. And you compare and contrast that with some customersthat have attempted rewrites which we know are are risky, and it's not say thatall customers shouldn't do rewrites, but it then you're gonna have to go andreally impact the line of business. So at the end of that 6 week effort we can really get granular with acustomer and give them a a really, you know, good idea of the approach, thequality of our approach, how they can measure the output, and then next stepsas far as the actual conversion. And so
LanceKnowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: obviously the third phase isthe actual conversion. And and as you well know, Walter, that that varies, Imean, we've had engagements that have been relatively short, you know even evenincluding weeks. That's non-traditional, right? That's a very specificsituation all the way into you know 12, 15, 18 months right?
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Well,in this particular situation we came in and provided a a a fix basically afixed price deal. That was one sixth of their cost and one-third of thetimeframe. And and it was successful, and it blew them away right. And sothat's a big kind of contrast. And I think one of the jobs that we have to docollectively is you know, show these organizations Why, this is different,right? We're not talking about.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Youknow. Ground up rewrites. We're talking about use of automation right not onlyon the target side as Italked about with oracle autonomous database, but you know, using your yourabilities to automate the conversion.
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: and those are powerful combinations. We we feel so, too,and I'm. I'm glad you mentioned that you know the process that you go throughthat. It's it's something that is repeatable, and it's proven. You know
Walter Sweat - Astadia, CTO: my very first migration. I hadno clue what I was doing. I didn't even know what questions to ask. Oracle hasgone through so many of these. I know what Astadia we've learned with everyone, so you know jointly beingable to help people understand what to look out for, and what to expect helping feed them. That information asyou just described is is very, very helpful, I believe, to t0 0rganizations.
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Iagree absolutely. One last question. If I could. I'm gonna ask you to put onyour Swami hat and look into your crystal ball. What do you feel is coming nextfor Oracle in themigration space? Where do you think this industry next goes?
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: Well,I mean it's crazy right when you look at it from a product. Perspective, our R&D. Teams right, althoughwe're part of R&D, we're, we're not traditional R. And d right. We're we'redoing all this all these migration engagements with our customers. But when youlook at our organization, what the product managers are able to put together, time and time again, evenwith all the years you know past of us past us and all the differentenhancements They're still coming up with various enhancements that are takingour products to the next level, and some of those feature functions arespecifically related to making iteasier for customers to migrate. And you know, for example, we talked aboutJson, and you know, for example, they just did a release. You know theythey've. We have a mongo database api. That makes it easier for customers tocome over from Mongo you know, there's that constant product, evaluation. I think, for for customers.I think the thing is is they're you know, in many situations. They're they'reThey're truly
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group:running out of time. You know we have been at many customers that literallythere was one. It was apublic sector, and we arrived, and you know it was there going away, party forthe last developer particular system, and it's like, you know, she told us, shesaid, I don't know what they're gonna do. Today is my last day, but there's my cake, and after thisi'm going home. They still don't have a you know, a a philosophy, or anarrative of what they're going to do, and
Lance Knowlton - Oracle, VP Platform Migrations Group: youknow what I would suggestfor customers is really take a look at that. Your Your portfolio, I mean doingnothing is not really an option. You need to have a plan, and that the plan canbe do nothing after you made sure that you You know you're covered your varying areas. So Ithink you know what we're going to expect in this space is that more and morecustomers are going to move, and the remaining customers are going to have tobear the brunt of those vendor lock in cost, so I would highly encouragecustomers. Take a look at your portfolio, prioritize it, don't be the last oneon the block that that's gonna leave the party and make sure that you're engaging the right team, you know, toyour very early point. Not everything is a a hammer and nail situation. Makesure you're you're bringing an adaptive modernization approaches. So I think that's where we're goingto see more of. I think in our space automation is going to get better as faras transformation as it's done inall technology areas. It'll be interesting to see the use of AI, as it relates t0 0r you know, chatgpt type situations, as itrelates to legacy migrations right? We've had parsers and and transformationengines out there for a while. I think we're going to start. See some some, youknow. AI and Ml and Chat Gpt type situations coming into the to the modernization space aswell, and helping with those transformations should be very exciting.
Lance. I know I took more of your time that I promised I wouldtoday. But it was a fascinating conversation for me, and I know it will be forthe audience as well as always. I'm just always so impressed with yourknowledge of this space and your background, and what you've seen, and howyou've been able to help yourcustomers, so I wanted to thank you for taking the time out of your busy day.
Asalways. It was a blast to get to talk to you. I'm looking forward to our next project together aswell. Awesome. Thank you very much. Thank you, and thank you. Everyone forjoining us today. I hope you'll continue to firstname.lastname@example.org at our schedulefor upcoming podcasts. We're looking forward to bringing you a many moreindustry experts. Thank you all so much, and have a wonderful rest of your day.
In this episode, our CTO Walter Sweat speaks with Richard Baird - VP and CTO, Core Enterprise and zCloud – Kyndryl. They discuss typical challenges and needs of mainframe-reliant organizations, the role of the mainframe in the years to come, and how IT leaders can drive value out of previous investments in their legacy systems.
In this episode, Walter meets with Steve Steuart, WW GTM Mainframe at AWS. They discuss main challenges facing CIOs today, key questions when deciding the mainframe modernization journey, the benefits of migrating workloads to AWS, and they foresee the future of the mainframe in a rapidly changing business landscape.
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