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Legacy Modernization: Look to the Cloud and Open Systems

Everybody would like to open up their systems so that more people can have easier, faster access to data that can help them do their jobs better. But getting there, especially when you are working with an entrenched mainframe, is incredibly complex. In an article for InformationWeek, Craig Marble addresses the challenges surrounding legacy modernization from all angles.


In the first place, mainframes are not inherently bad. On the contrary, they are extremely secure and reliable, and thus will not be disappearing anytime soon. But there are significant costs involved in just maintaining the status quo. Literal maintenance is one of those costs, in addition to software licensing fees. Finding people with the skills to work on these systems is getting harder too as the best COBOL programmers are retiring.

Shifting to an open system offers more agility and gets away from proprietary challenges of mainframes. It becomes a much simpler case of plug-and-play and installing updates (albeit while also introducing many new forms of vulnerability). Getting from mainframe to open system will take work:

The move from mainframes to open systems platforms and the cloud requires careful planning. While the potential exists to reduce costs and build compatibility, its realization depends on making fact-based, rational decisions. The first step in doing this is conducting a thorough discovery and examination of every aspect of your legacy portfolio…

Then, focus on each application’s purpose, importance, and requirements in order to rate each application based on its value to the business versus how it fits within your strategic technical architecture. Once rated, you can easily plot each [application]in a graph to provide a visual representation of each application’s state to assist in developing your plan of attack.

This strategy allows you to decide which applications warrant modernization and which should be dumped.

You can view the original article here:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid’s Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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