Major Financial Services Provider – Portfolio Assessment of Existing Assembler Applications

Major Financial Services Provider – Portfolio Assessment of Existing Assembler Applications

Industry: Financial Services

Headquarters: US

Coverage: US

Our Customer

The Customer is a member of the U.S. Federal Reserve System and a leading registered clearing agency with the Securities and Exchange Commission for U.S. capital markets. They also operate a global trade repository for the derivatives market and process trillions of dollars of securities transactions on a daily basis. They serve a global client base in twenty-three locations as well as providing services for 6,300 client firms in seventy countries.

As a high-profile financial organization providing post-trade services to businesses worldwide, any technological initiative undertaken by the Customer must navigate complex multinational mandates related to data security, international regulatory compliance, high availability and more.

The Challenge

The Customer was facing a serious roadblock in completing the modernization of their legacy environment, an issue that often results in what we call The Last Mile Challenge. The organization was beginning a mainframe modernization initiative and wanted to migrate their host of legacy Assembler programs to COBOL or Java. Such “exotic” technologies, if not migrated with a high degree of precision, can cause frustrating project failure. The goal was to reduce technical debt as well as dependencies on fast-disappearing Assembler support resources.

First the Customer wanted to perform a portfolio discovery and assessment of their existing Assembler applications and programs before they modernized their mainframe environments. They wanted to gain a comprehensive picture of all Assembler components running in their environment and then determine their optimal disposition based on criteria defined by mLogica’s expert migration team.

Second, the Customer wanted a proof of concept (POC ) of our solution, the LIBER*M Mainframe Modernization Suite, and a demonstration that this software is capable of converting Assembler programs to COBOL and Java while ensuring their original functionality remained intact.

For the POC we utilized custom modules of our automated migration LIBER*M suite, along with the subject matter expertise of our mainframe migration team, to perform the following operations:

  1. Validate the Customer-provided inventory of existing legacy Assembler programs
  2. Once this group of Assembler programs was verified, determine their optimal disposition in the destination environment
  3. Create a model of Assembler programs and their interfaces that will be used to support conversion, testing and implementation of the destination application
  4. Develop an end-to-end migration and conversion roadmap and document for in-scope Assembler programs, including:
    • Discovery
    • Analysis
    • Code conversion
    • System testing
    • Integration testing
    • User testing
    • Performance tuning and optimization
    • Implementation
  5. Provide a fully defined time and cost estimate to convert migration-ready Assembler programs from source to production environment

The Solution

Per the scope of the project, we divided the tasks into two phases:

  1. Comprehensive Assessment
  2. Proof of concept (POC)

During the assessment phase our team gathered all inventory and the necessary source components, including Assembler programs, macro definitions, copy code, declarations generators (DCLGENS), JCL and Assembler library code. We then ran LIBER*DAHLIA, a module of our LIBER*M Mainframe Modernization Suite that is designed to analyze all functionalities of these legacy technologies.

Our team then defined and applied the disposition criteria to the eight hundred Assembler programs the project discovered. Based on the results we were able to determine the best strategy to address each program, i.e., which should be refactored to either COBOL or Java, and which should be rewritten, replaced or retired. This comprehensive itemized assessment and the recommended modernization strategy were submitted to the Customer, along with time and cost estimates for execution.

Proof of Concept

Since this project was part of the Customer’s long-term mainframe application modernization initiative, their leadership wanted to evaluate the capabilities of mLogica’s automated migration solution LIBER*M and its Assembler conversion module LIBER*TULIP.

The Customer needed to verify both that LIBER*M could accurately migrate their legacy Assembler programs to COBOL and Java and that the mLogica team had the expertise to customize our approach to the unique requirements of the business. Therefore, phase two of the project was to provide a comprehensive proof of concept (POC) demonstrating the efficacy and reliability of mLogica’s migration methodology.

During this POC phase, our team applied the disposition criteria to all eight hundred in-scope Assembler programs and compared their functionalities with the output of COBOL and Java code generated by the mLogica’s mainframe migration tool LIBER*M. These Assembler modules functioned within the Customer’s business groups and served as middleware, Common Data Transfer Service (CDTS), infrastructure and settlements. They were therefore broadly categorized into these four pillars or applications.

First our team used mLogica’s automated migration solution, LIBER*TULIP, to convert one Assembler module to COBOL on z/OS and one Assembler module to Java on z/OS. Since the Customer required that the POC be performed on the z/OS framework, the LIBER*TULIP application was enhanced to support Java on the z/OS environment.

Subsequently, our team executed the Assembler programs to establish a base output, followed by converted programs that our team executed to generate a conversion output. Based on the byte-to-byte comparison of the converted file with the original, we determined there was a one hundred percent match between input files and output files.

The Benefits

This project allowed the Customer full visibility into the optimal migration strategy for their legacy Assembler programs. It also substantiated the project’s overall technical and financial feasibility based on documented results and detailed time and cost estimates.

Based on this project, the Customer has engaged mLogica as lead consultant for their ongoing mainframe modernization initiative.


Digital transformation is critical in today’s competitive and continuously evolving business landscape. To meet regulatory, customer and competitive demands, an organization must modernize its legacy technology on a fully integrated modern platform.

Since Assembler and other exotic programs underpin virtually all mission-critical systems, for legacy and mainframe modernizations to succeed, the precise tools and expertise must be in place to identify, assess and seamlessly modernize these vital technologies. Correctly analyzing and migrating Assembler and other supporting programming languages to COBOL and Java requires proven experience and technical capabilities.

In this case, the Assembler programs required comprehensive assessment to determine their existing gaps, dependencies and risk factors. Without custom, automated tools designed to discover these issues, businesses are often doomed to the project-killing “Last Mile Challenge” or, equally frustratingly, they’re forced to avoid migrating Assembler and other supporting programs due to concerns over losing their business logic.

mLogica’s automated LIBER*M Mainframe Modernization Suite is designed to migrate such legacy programming languages to modern languages faster, more accurately and at a dramatically reduced cost. Its specialized constituent modules, including LIBER*TULIP and LIBER*DAHLIA, offer highly automated conversion capabilities that significantly accelerate this migration process. In addition, the diverse skillsets of our teams further support the migration of monolithic, complex legacy programming technologies while preserving and even enhancing business functionality.

mLogica has successfully completed hundreds of projects for leading private and public sector organizations around the globe, including Fortune 1000 companies. With more than six hundred large-scale projects in diverse market sectors, we’ve empowered companies worldwide to migrate their legacy programming languages to modern technologies, ensuring they stay agile, efficient and competitive now and into the future.