Why Now is the Right Time for Rehosting your Big-Iron Mainframe in the Cloud
by Paul Bengtson, Vice President of Sales
Your mainframe has a heritage of functionality that has lasted for decades, has possibly differentiated you from competitors and still powers your business. But what is it costing you in terms of contracts, maintenance, stifled innovation and competitive disadvantage? How much budget and effort gets diverted from innovation because you’re trying to keep the “lights on” with your mainframe? And how much longer can it support your business, especially with all the dramatic changes in applications, frameworks and systems?
These questions don’t have easy answers because they all boil down to a major initiative that involves addressing a mission-critical legacy investment that could be on its last legs.
Between a Rock and a Hard Place?
If you’re like most enterprises that have relied on a mainframe for years, you might feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. Hundreds of apps, millions of lines of code, incalculable amounts of valuable and big data reside on your mainframe, and you need all that to keep your business running. But you also need to stay competitive, innovate, and become more agile, all while offering customers and consumers the digital experiences they feel they deserve.
The problem with the rock and the hard place is that both are solid and unyielding, and that’s the last thing you need. For example, upgrading your mainframe would still leave you with the same physical limitations you have now; they’d just be newer. Or rewriting your applications to run on a different on-premises infrastructure, still leaves you on the premises. If rewriting your applications actually works—there are risks inherent with this process—in the end, you will eventually hit a wall called server capacity.
Fortunately, you have another option for preserving your mainframe applications while preparing to modernize your IT. And this option is much less limiting.
To the Cloud
It’s been said in the past that “software ate the world.” But, really, it’s the cloud. The benefits of cloud infrastructure for everything from managing customer relationships to analyzing big and streaming data to application development are no secret. And those benefits extend to the mainframe when you rehost it in the cloud.
Rehosting moves your applications to a cloud-based environment with no reformatting, code changes or user impact. You have the agility, reliability and scalability of an open, modern system and can apply the cost savings toward innovation, instead of legacy system maintenance. How does it work? The process starts with a source code analysis that, in many cases, surfaces new opportunities for saving costs and improving performance before anything is even moved. For example, it is fairly common to discover that as much as 20% of the application code on your mainframe has never been executed. Often that results in the elimination of many lines of code can be eliminated without impact, creating the possibility of improved performance after rehosting.
Your code is then “lifted and shifted” to a distributed environment in the cloud with advanced automated migration tools. No rewriting is required. Your business logic, data and code are not changed. However, they now run in a modern architecture, making your organization more agile and competitive and providing a platform for future growth. In fact, enterprises who have moved their applications to the cloud state that that they are easier to optimize or re-architect once they’re already running in the cloud. The reason, they say, is that the most difficult parts of the process are migrating the application, data and traffic, and rehosting has taken care of all of that.
How to Determine if Rehosting is Right for Your Enterprise
Rehosting a mainframe in the cloud makes sense for so many enterprises when you compare it with rewriting or reengineering applications or replacing the mainframe. To determine whether it’s the right way for you to avoid the rock and the hard place, here are some questions to ask yourself and your IT teams:
- Are we having trouble finding and retaining trained mainframe support?
- Do we want to move off the mainframe but keep its application business logic intact?
- Do we want to dispense with the high costs of mainframe contracts?
- Do we want our move off the mainframe to be completed in less than a year?
- Do we want on-demand access to up-to-date data to integrate with other modern data stores?
- Do we want our applications to work at about the same speed as they did on the mainframe?
- Do we want our applications hosted in an environment that will allow us to optimize and re-architect them for cloud native and modernization?
If most of your answers to these questions is “yes,” rehosting is right for you. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Stephen Orban, General Manager of New Initiatives at AWS has this to say about rehosting in the cloud: “A rehosting solution runs existing mainframe applications on an x86–64 based Amazon EC2 instance using a mainframe emulator. This migration is seamless from an end-user perspective and it does not require changes to standard mainframe technologies like 3270 Screens Web Cobol, JCL and DB2.”
In another article, Orban says, “In a large legacy migration scenario where the organization is looking to scale its migration quickly to meet a business case, we find that the majority of applications are rehosted.” He mentions that companies who choose rehosting have seen as much as a 30% reduction in operating costs with no noticeable changes to the applications or their performance.
Your Option for Fast, Cost-Effective Migration
If you’re looking for a better way to take advantage of and integrate data, access timely information, maintain and improve business performance, scale with your business, and identify and implement new business initiatives and strategies, then rehosting is your best option. And Tmaxsoft OpenFrame can help you achieve these with a unique solution that includes a source code readiness assessment and data migration. Learn more about OpenFrame and how it can help you.
About Paul Bengtson
Paul Bengtson is the Vice President of Sales for TmaxSoft. He has spent more than 20 years selling technology in segments as diverse as big data, analytics, ERP, cloud and SaaS. Paul joined TmaxSoft in 2016 from EFI where he was Sales Director for its ERP solutions. He also has held senior leadership positions with Radius Solutions, where he was VP of North American Sales, and with Misomex, Artwork Systems (now Esko) and Ace Hardware. Paul has a BS in MIS from the University of Iowa and an MBA in MIS from Benedictine University.