What are the benefits of mainframe rehosting? Consider a common scenario. Your mainframe is struggling and maybe even failing to meet demands for agility, new apps, digital transformation, innovation and reduced costs. You might be hoping that you could limp along, adding customized front-ends to your mainframe apps. Or, maybe you’ve been agonizing over nightmare rip-and-replace, code-conversion, or rewriting scenarios. Or perhaps you’ve been considering rehosting but are unsure about its value.
Limping along might keep the lights on a bit longer, but the future isn’t bright for anyone who stays on that path. On the other end of the spectrum, massive, years-long projects like installing a new mainframe, converting millions of lines of code, or rewriting core programs have low rates of success and little ROI. It’s a bit melodramatic to declare rehosting, which lifts-and-shifts your mainframe assets to an open or cloud environment, as “our only hope” (like Obi-Wan Kenobi was for Princess Leia). However, rehosting your mainframe offers the most benefits over other options. Let’s take a look.
For any big enterprise IT project like mainframe modernization or migration, cost is always a deciding factor. So, we’ll cut to the chase. Rehosting dramatically reduces infrastructure and operating costs. For example, for the financial services arm of a global conglomerate, the costs of running a portfolio management system fell by 66% after rehosting. Why? Because maintaining and updating a mainframe is expensive. It’s no secret that enterprises spend millions of dollars each year on their mainframes.
Infrastructure and licensing for a mainframe come at a high price that gets higher each year. Compatible hardware is hard to find, support contracts lapse or raise rates, and organizations pay for server space for scalability they need just a few times a year. Then there’s the confusing code base caused by decades of modifying, fixing, and developing workarounds that can only be upgraded by high-priced, on-demand developers with no guarantee of success. Rehosting removes almost all that expense without changing how your mainframe assets operate. Plus, it enables you to eliminate costly inefficiency. Through rehosting, GE Capital identified 78 percent of its source code was unused.
Mainframe rehosting lifts-and-shifts your mainframe assets to an open or cloud environment; no replacement required. It takes legacy source code, recompiles the programs in a new environment without changes to the business logic, and then migrates the mainframe data into a new, more modern database environment. As a result, you’re able to use your existing skilled mainframe resources as well as those of open systems and modern technology teams.
In fact, one company reports that they were able to rehost their mainframe without adding even one additional resource. Eventually, business needs for more modern applications will require the services of developers versed in the technology needed to deliver them, but you can integrate them into your teams over time and put their skills to much better use than rewriting source code.
Rehosting can take as little as 9 months instead of the 3-5 years it can take to rewrite or replace the mainframe. Rehosting requires minimal training, and the system operates exactly the same. Because the process simply moves the mainframe as-is to open systems or the cloud, there is almost no risk. After all, no underlying business logic or user interface is changed. Services equivalent to those of the mainframe are delivered, and that means no negative impact on the enterprise.
A major U.S. retailer reports that rehosting their mainframe had no negative impacts on their business. Their 10 mission-critical, core business systems ran on the mainframe so moving smoothly into the new environment was imperative.
Rehosting enables a fast, flexible foundation for quickly responding to market change and future integration requirements. The mainframe gets a new lease on life, and companies, customers, and employees are able to benefit from up-to-date, nimble, and responsive applications. Your applications are now running in a modern architecture, positioning your organization for greater agility, growth, and competitive advantage.
Open operating systems with multiple database and utilities options offer more opportunities for modernizing your legacy software because they can integrate with newer technology. Organizations can quickly take advantage of new, flexible technology such as reusable components, microservices, and containers that can improve strategic services all areas of the business. Mark Rubel, Executive Director, Application Development at GE Capital says, “Our platform now supports all the growth our business wants. All the new applications can move forward with what they want to do. I can make data available and I can make it SOA enabled.”
When you are not spending millions of dollars on mainframe maintenance, you can reallocate those millions to innovation, such as gradually rewriting legacy apps so they are more flexible, reusable, and able to deliver new ways of exploiting data. Plus, with the open systems and the cloud, you get the performance, speed and availability needed to complement the demands of innovative, modern applications.
GE Capital is an excellent example. After it rehosted its mainframe environment, the costs of running its portfolio management system fell by two-thirds. However, GE Capital’s Executive Director of Application Management says the biggest benefit of moving to a platform that integrated easily with the rest of the business was the innovation it enabled.
Customers and employees expect a super-fast, highly personalized experience that resembles what they get on their mobile devices. So, when data can’t be accessed or it takes a long time, frustration levels rise. Rehosting ends the frustration of slow or no response. It delivers a secure, high-performance, and flexible environment that dynamically scales based on business demand so that your end users are not waiting or giving up. Rehosting can even transform user experiences and unlock the value of your mainframe apps by exposing those apps to web services for mobile and digital applications.
A global insurance company, for example, says that since they rehosted their mainframe, online response time improved to 200 milliseconds. And the global retailer mentioned earlier states that their system operates around the clock and user experience performance has improved.
An industry leader in mainframe rehosting, TmaxSoft OpenFrame offers flexible solutions for your enterprise. In our eBook, Lift, Shift and Modernize: Proven Mainframe Modernization Strategies that Enable Digital Transformation, you can get more details about rehosting options and their benefits, along with an introduction to rehosting with OpenFrame.
Kelly McClure is the Vice President of Global Marketing for TmaxSoft. Her 20-year marketing career spans both Fortune 1000 companies and fast growth technology startups. Kelly is responsible for leading TmaxSoft’s marketing strategy. She is experienced in aligning marketing and sales, building relevant content and messaging and developing integrated lead generation campaigns. Before joining TmaxSoft, Kelly served as the Vice President of Marketing for 10th Magnitude and held senior marketing roles with DataStax, BMC Software and Micro Focus. Kelly has a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago.