Our Customer is a leading mutual health insurance organization that protects millions of employees working across a wide array of industries including healthcare, education, sports and culture. This organization has over 10,000 employees and provides a range of care and support services through their medical, social and dental organizations.
The Customer was incurring high operational and maintenance costs due to their legacy mainframe systems and wanted to migrate their old applications to a new OS environment to avoid budget overruns. The goal was to realign their legacy IT environment to a new modern platform in order to improve flexibility and efficiency and reduce operational costs.
Since the target systems consisted of their core business applications and highly sensitive customer data, the migration project presented considerable business risk. Additionally, some of the business applications were over forty years old, which meant that detailed knowledge of the internal application logic had been lost over time. Replacing or rewriting the application was determined to be too disruptive and costly.
Given the extraordinary project risks, the project team decided the best course of action was to preserve the mainframe COBOL application code and move it intact to a new Linux platform, thereby minimizing any disruption to the business users.
Realizing that there are very few available solutions for porting COBOL code to Linux, the migration team selected mLogica’s LIBER*M suite of mainframe migration tools. This enabled them to transport segments of the application “as is,” leveraging LIBER*8 GCOS8 emulation software and recompiling the COBOL code for Linux using mLogica’s LIBER*COBOL compiler; the most mature and efficient COBOL compiler on the market.
mLogica’s LIBER*8 tool provided full emulation of GCOS CICS and JCL system functions, while the LIBER*COBOL compiler enabled the team to stand up a new application environment with minimal changes. The GCOS* assembler was also rewritten in C, allowing the same OS systems calls to execute exactly, minimizing COBOL source code changes. The team also migrated the workloads from IDS2 DB environment to PostgreSQL, which allowed them to migrate sensitive customer data securely from the mainframe to Linux.
Thus, with the help of our best-in-class product LIBER*M the project was executed successfully and all database and applications were moved securely to end-state architecture. The full, corporate-wide migration project was completed in under two years.
Moreover, moving forward post-migration, portions of the COBOL code can be cross-compiled into C++ using the LIBER*C++ tool, which will ease future support due to the fact that developers with the relevant skill sets will be more readily available.
This project was critical for the Customer to dramatically reduce system support costs while enhancing the adaptability of their business systems, all with minimal impact to the day-to-day operations of the business.
mLogica’s LIBER*M mainframe migration tool suite was central to this entire modernization effort, as it enabled the rapid migration of the application code and data off the mainframe to a modern open platform quickly, efficiently and securely.
The operational cost savings of migrating off the mainframe was dramatic. In a large mainframe of more than 11,000 MIPS the average annual cost per installed MIP is about $1,600. Hardware and software accounts for sixty-five percent of this, or approximately $1,040. Consequently, the annual infrastructure cost for a 15,200 MIPS mainframe is approximately $16 million. Eliminating these mainframe costs and running the same application to an open-source system based on commodity hardware directly benefitted the Customer’s bottom line.
Moving legacy applications and systems to an open environment with minimal impact on business users requires a combination of automated conversion tools, proven methodology and experience. However, the most important factor is experience; the knowledge of how to spot potential show-stoppers, to anticipate certain surprises and to be prepared with viable solutions.
The biggest business risk to this type of project is potential impacts to the day-to-day operations of the business. The next largest risk is cost; the longer a project takes the higher the cost and the increased risk of failure. This “time to profit,” or the amount a time it takes to deliver value, is critical to project success. The speed that automation adds dramatically shortens project timelines, significantly reduces costs and the risks of failure.
This combination of automation, methodology and experience is how mLogica can guarantee success.