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How to Move Off the Mainframe: A Mainframe Perspective

Moving off of the mainframe isn't a simple matter of just deciding to do it and waiting for the switch to occur – it takes careful planning, consideration, and more than a single helping of risk. David Stephens takes a “mainframe perspective” to help guide us along in this process – starting with the tip that “mainframers” are passionate about their platform, but likewise are the best people to utilize if you want to get rid of it. They know the technical ins and outs – the issues and the insider secrets you'll need to know in order to successfully migrate away from a mainframe system. Stephens then goes on to list seven steps for the process, including this–perhaps expected–question: are you sure you really want to move off the mainframe: You knew this was coming didn't you? But the question is valid. Why do you want to move from the mainframe? There are many possible reasons, but moving applications from a mainframe is always going to be a large and costly project. So the reasons to do it should be good. If the decision is based on figures (such as cost or performance), double-check that these figures are correct. If the decision is based on vendor information and proposals, get a second opinion. If there are other reasons, double-check that these are valid. Other steps include finding out what you have, planning extensively for a complete migration or a staged migration, communicating the move to all stakeholders, and making sure to keep the mainframe around for a while after the migration to be sure nothing was lost in the move.

About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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