SC Data Center, Inc., an affiliate of Colony Brands, increases innovation, business agility and ROI with OpenFrame - TmaxSoft
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Case Study
  • Closed mainframe environment that prevented innovation and efficiency
  • Legacy apps that were affecting performance
  • High infrastructure and mainframe costs
  • Reliability and availability concerns
  • 75% annual cost reduction
  • Increase in ROI compared to mainframe
  • Matched the historic performance delivered with the mainframe technology
  • High availability and reliability

Company Overview

The Swiss Colony, Montgomery Ward, Seventh Avenue—these famous catalog brands are part of the 25 companies that make up Colony Brands and Affiliates.

The company got its start selling cheese and other grocery items, but it has since grown tremendously and expanded to include several operational support companies and a portfolio of affiliate businesses.

Colony Brands is perhaps best known for offering a wide array of products through its direct mail catalogs, such as apparel, shoes, home décor and furnishings, outdoor, health and beauty, electronics, toys, and food and gifts. Direct mail and online orders generate 94% of its sales, which is due, in part, to offering instant and other credit options to their customers.

The challenge

SC Data Center, Inc., an affiliate of Colony Brands, had six core business systems (700 MIPS) housed on an IBM mainframe. This closed environment was preventing the client from meeting the performance expectations of increasingly tech and mobile savvy consumers. The mainframe was also preventing the company from being nimble and responsive to market changes and customer demands. SC Data Center, Inc. wanted to be able to innovate and decided that a move to the cloud would be their best option. Moving to the cloud would also eliminate high mainframe and infrastructure costs. The long-term goal was to shut down the mainframe completely.

After weighing several options, including application rewriting, SC Data Center, Inc. decided that rehosting their mainframe was the best choice. It would allow them to move legacy apps to the cloud without a major rewrite that could affect business logic and code. It would set them up to re-architect and create new apps in the new cloud environment for the future. The company also needed reliability and availability for all the processing, especially the real-time credit approvals.

The solution

SC Data Center, Inc. chose TmaxSoft OpenFrame to rehost their mainframe. A deciding factor in their choice of OpenFrame was the Active-Active Cluster, which provided the reliability and availability SC Data Center, Inc. needs to deliver efficiency, performance and speed. Another factor in the company’s decision was the OpenFrame business model.

The project scope for rehosting with OpenFrame involved moving all of the client’s legacy applications to the AWS cloud. This included interpreting the mainframe’s 3,685 COBOL applications and the 327 mainframe assembler programs, migrating the mainframe’s 867 middleware and on-premises CICS transactions and 5,766 batch processes, modernizing 4,741 datasets and 400 datacom tables and installing OpenFrame operation and management functions in the new environment. One of the key applications that was required to move forward with the rehosting project was a packaged manufacturing suite. TmaxSoft teamed up with the customer and vendor and enabled the Assembler-based proprietary software to run flawlessly in production.

As a result of the project, all of the client’s legacy apps are now on the AWS cloud. SC Data Center, Inc. reports an annual cost reduction of approximately 75%. Performance matched the expectations across their business operations, including for the online, real-time systems and the web service transactions. OpenFrame on the AWS cloud platform also provides high availability and reliability so that an interruption in the cloud does not affect online processing.

Most importantly, SC Data Center, Inc. now has the infrastructure for innovation and business agility. After the rehosting, the company’s developers were able to build a fully integrated automation solution to streamline customer data management, achieving in days what had not been able to accomplish in the past. Future plans include making OpenFrame a hub of the company’s technology infrastructure.

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