APPLICATION MODERNIZATIONTransforming legacy systems to create businessadvantage In a digital marketplace that demands faster time to market, exceptional user experience, and lower cost of operation, the pressure to modernize aging application portfolios keeps growing. Given the age, size, and complexity of existing business-critical applications, modernization can be a daunting prospect. As the examples in this paper show, however, there are multiple and incremental ways to extend the life of valuable business logic, deploy new functionality, and transform user experience—while reducing cost, risk, and complexity going forward.WHITE PAPER
DIGITAL BUSINESS DRIVERSBARCLAYCARD INVENTS A Today’s digital marketplace rewards innovation and superior customer experience.NEW BUSINESS MODEL To compete, enterprises need to be able to focus more on creating businessBarclaycard, the global financial value—and less on underlying technology.institution, had a vision for thelaunch of its new U.S. credit card. Just as virtualization and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) capabilities enableThey would build customer dramatic business agility and cost advantages, Cloud Application Platformawareness and loyalty by changing technologies and moves toward a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model arethe cardholder-card provider transforming the way applications are developed and deployed. New applicationrelationship. architectures make it much easier for companies to:Barclaycard had worked with EMC • Accelerate time to marketfinancial services industryconsultants, user experience • Reduce the cost, effort, and risk of developing, deploying, changing, anddesigners, and application developers maintaining applicationson UK and U.S. banking websites and • Improve user experienceon iPad, iPhone, and Android serviceapplications. They again selected • Deploy on Web and Mobile platformsEMC to help with their launch • Enable predictive analytics and real-time insightstrategy—to use social media andcreate a community of cardholders • Embed security and trustengaged in co-developing the cardoffering they wanted. • Shift IT spend and skilled resources from maintenance to innovationEMC researched target segments, • Improve asset utilizationinterviewing people about their Few organizations, however, are in a position to take a greenfield approach tointeractions with financial capitalize on this opportunity. Most must look at incremental, ROI-driven paths toinstitutions, experience with social modernization across the landscape of applications, platforms, skillsets, andmedia, and reactions to initial launchconcepts. In addition to face-to-face processes in use today.focus groups, EMC set up an onlineinnovation lab for 2,000 participantsto provide feedback. After designprototypes were created, refined, andvalidated through iterative usertesting, EMC designed the digitalexperience, leveraging advancedsocial and game-ification techniques,in a representation layer on theLithium social platform.The launch garnered significant newscoverage in the blogosphere, as wellas in business, financial services, andtechnology publications. Customerscollaborated on setting policies andrates and opted for member profit-sharing, based on a transparentmonthly reporting of card P&L, over a Figure 1. Focus on business valuetraditional rewards or cash-backprogram. Forrester Research New platform-as-a-service models enable greater automation and efficiency byawarded the site its Voice of the putting more IT operational workloads into the platform itself, enabling applicationCustomer Award. The new card developers to focus more on creating and delivering business value—and less onoutperforms peers and the underlying application infrastructure.cardholder community continues toactively participate in how the cardevolves.
TECHNICAL DEBTIt’s not unusual for enterprises today to rely on hundreds or even thousands ofapplications, whether on decades-old mainframes or running on heterogeneousserver architectures in multiple data centers.While these applications enable the business, they also represent a kind of“technical debt” that can hold an organization back from achieving new objectives.For example: • Traditional software development lifecycles are slow and delay time to market • Legacy software licenses, infrastructure, and maintenance consume time, money, and resources that could be invested more strategically • Critical business logic and data locked in proprietary platforms are difficult to access and use in new ways, to meet new needs • Data models established years ago often constrain new business directions and do not easily support web, mobile, or Big Data scenarios • Large, complex, and monolithic applications are difficult, and even risky, to modify—requiring IT involvement for even minor changes and multiple test and QA cycles • Technical skillsets for aging platforms become increasingly difficult to find as programmers and database administrators retire • As the market share for older application platforms shrinks, so do investments in new product development and the availability of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software and third-party tools and services • End users, developers, and business units, frustrated by corporate IT solutions and turnaround times, are turning to consumer technologies and public cloud services, creating a “shadow IT” that adds another layer of cost, risk, and complexityMOVING FORWARDLike any large debt that’s accrued over many years, getting out from under theburden of legacy applications can seem overwhelming. While many recognize thatexisting application architectures are unsustainable, making any changes to criticalapplications can seem fraught with risk for both application owners and IT. A senseof paralysis and a tendency toward procrastination are understandable, but as withany debt, the longer action is delayed—the larger the problem becomes.The good news is there are many ways to move forward in rationalizing andmodernizing the applications that the business depends on today, to speedinnovation, and significantly reduce the burden of technical debt going forward.What’s more, proven application modernization strategies, methodologies, andtools can greatly reduce the uncertainty, risk, and effort associated withtransforming applications.
WHERE TO START: PORTFOLIO RATIONALIZATIONWhile specific application modernization efforts are often driven by immediatebusiness requirements, organizations that undertake a holistic and objectiveanalysis of their entire portfolio can better prioritize and optimize modernizationefforts.Portfolio rationalization helps identify: • Legacy applications with the greatest risks/costs • Transformation opportunities with the highest payback potential • Changes that can be made relatively quickly and easily to reduce overall cost and complexityBecause applications are typically widely used across an organization and deeplyingrained into business processes, gaining a clear and accurate understanding ofwhat exists can be difficult. Proven application portfolio rationalizationmethodologies that leverage automated tools can reduce the time and effort ittakes to identify and categorize hundreds of applications and identify those thatare vital to future success.Application assessments must go beyond technical description. Only by evaluatingapplications within the context of enterprise objectives and business, technical, anduser requirements, can useful consolidation models be built and recommendationsmade for the disposition for each application. Armed with this information,organizations can make informed decisions about whether an application shouldbe: • Retired (archived or decommissioned) • Consolidated with other overlapping/redundant applications • Replaced by off-the-shelf software • Re-platformed, to cut infrastructure costs, minimize technological diversity, or enable virtualization potential • Re-architected, to support new data models, separate front-end functions from back-end processing, improve processing performance, etc. • Re-written, to add new functionality or take advantage of new cloud development and deployment platformsREDUCE UNCERTAINTY WITH APPLICATION INSIGHTAs part of the modernization planning process, a data-driven analysis of existingapplication code can provide helpful insight that reduces uncertainty and improvesproject planning and predictability.Large, decades-old mainframe applications, especially, can be particularly dauntingand opaque in terms of determining the time, cost, and risk of modernization. Inmany instances, although originally built for a specific business purpose, they havebeen expanded to meet changing needs in the interim and may have grown to betens of millions of lines of code.
Analysis of application source code, using specialized tools, algorithms, andstatistical analysis, can provide valuable insight by decomposing how code isclustered, what functional tasks are performed, and how much is duplicated orcloned. In context of a rewrite initiative, findings frequently show that whatactually needs to be rewritten is significantly less than first thought. For example,it’s not unusual for cloned or duplicate code to account for 30 percent of amainframe program. Analysis can also show how older, monolithic applications canbe functionally decomposed, replacing additional large portions of code thatperform specific tasks with modern architecture frameworks or tools, such asreport writers. Figure 2. All code has a story to tellAn EMC Insight Assessment can tackle even the largest legacy application within afew weeks. The assessment combines analysis of existing code and interviews withapplication experts to enable more informed decision-making, accurate scoping,and realistic planning for modernization. Application visualizations help identifyopportunities for improvement and foster meaningful communication amongbusiness and IT stakeholders.REWRITE—OR CONVERT?Organizations that want to extend the life of valuable business logic and datalocked in proprietary mainframe languages and non-relational databases shouldconsider the option of converting, rather than re-writing, applications.Automated application conversion tools, combined with experienced code analysis,conversion planning, and technical architecture and database expertise, canconvert code written in obsolete languages into industry-standard COBOL andmove data from old, flat files into fully relational SQL databases, running on eithera mainframe or x86 platform.
Conversion tools and methodologies that produce COBOL code—as opposed to ‘black box’ conversion solutions—enable development teams to continue to “ownBENEFITS FIRM the code” and to work with and enhance the application, using the language theyPRESCRIBES VIRTUAL already understand.DATA FABRIC TO SAVE Conversion has the advantage of avoiding ‘scope creep’ and other risks associatedMILLIONS OF DOLLARS with complete application rewrites. Testing, for example, remains straightforward—A large prescription benefits with the old application providing the baseline for new code performance andmanagement firm needed to be functionality. End-user screens and processes can be migrated without change,able to respond quickly to new leaving business users unaffected by the platform modernization.market conditions, regulations, In addition to dramatically reducing hardware maintenance and software licensingand patient needs. But makingchanges to its decades-old, 25- costs, conversion extends the life of critical applications. Converted applicationsmillion-line COBOL application gain access to new platform functionality, a larger pool of skilled developerwas slow—and costly. What’s resources, and more third-party solutions than aging platforms with rapidlymore, with the mainframe shrinking market share can offer.struggling to meet peak loadrequirements, purchasing moreMIPS seemed to be the onlyremedy. LEAP AHEAD WITH MODERN FRAMEWORKS AND FABRICS Whether updating an existing application or building a new one, enterprises canInstead, a team of EMC and use modern application development frameworks to break free from legacyVMware consultants worked with constraints and cut the cost, time, and effort of delivering innovative digitalthe firm to develop a solutionusing VMware vFabric GemFire to business solutions.migrate data processing from the The open source Spring™ Framework, for example, has proven so productive thatmainframe to a low-cost x86- it is used by more than half of today’s Java developers. VMware vFabric™based data fabric. Batch and application middleware provides an established runtime platform for Spring-transaction processing continue developed applications on virtual infrastructure, enabling developers to focus onto run on the mainframe. When creating business logic. Instead of “recreating the wheel” of runtime functions,the COBOL program calls fordata, the call is intercepted and such as data management or asynchronous messaging for each application,diverted to the GemFire Data developers can rely on the vFabric middleware to abstract and deliver theseFabric and the data is returned functions as services in a distributed fabric running in the data center or in thetransparently to the application. cloud. In addition to improved availability, security, and manageability, virtual resources can be automatically and dynamically provisioned to match changingThe solution improves mainframe application workloads—for example, to handle spikes in transactions or traffic orprocessing performance,eliminating the need to purchase support unpredictable social media activity.more MIPS. It also provides a In addition to developing new applications, frameworks and fabrics can be used topath for future modernization. By offload, speed up and improve the function of existing applications. For example,separating the data from the new data models to support Big Data analytics or to incorporate other data typesmainframe application and can be delivered using vFabric GemFire or SQLFire data fabric running on a virtualserving it from a next- x86 platform, while keeping much of the transaction processing logic on thegeneration, in-memory datafabric, the application gains very mainframe or other legacy platform. Alternatively, front-end end-user functionshigh throughput and no single can be separated from back-end systems and delivered from the cloud applicationpoint of failure, and the company platform layer for faster, easier updates and simplified deployment on web andreduces its dependence on the mobility channels.mainframe platform movingforward. The firm expects to savemillions of dollars from thesolution over the next five yearsthrough cost-avoidance andfaster, simpler application changeprocesses.
PRIORITIZE USER EXPERIENCEBROKER GAINS NEXT- Traditional software development starts with functional and technical requirements gathering. But software is no longer just a means to better productGENERATION TRADE and business efficiencies. Today, software is the product—it’s where businessPROCESSING APPLICATION gets done.A global agency broker and clearingfirm had developed its trading system Digital business models change the way people work and customers buy. That’son multiple core systems over time. why organizations and developers should preface application development andThe system could not handle spikes in modernization projects with serious consideration about how an application istrade volume. The frequency of trade going to be used. By whom? On what platforms and devices? Where, when, andbreaks and time-to resolve were high. why?The complexity of the solution requiredIT intervention for any change. User experience is more than an attractive graphical interface. It’s a personal,Provisioning new clients or adding new powerful, first-hand interaction that forms an impression and relationship with aproducts or exchanges took longer business. It can demonstrate a unique understanding of a customer’s needs,than the business could afford. And distinguish a product in a crowded marketplace, deliver new kinds of services,because trades weren’t being boost productivity and customer satisfaction, and establish a competitive lead.replicated across systems, there wasno timely visibility into volume or Developing and delivering a superior experience starts with data-driven research.workflow. It requires iterative feedback and testing with real users, and technical execution, as well as vision, inspiration, and creativity. It’s also an ongoingEMC consultants worked with process. Good user experience solutions are designed to evolve, to capturestakeholders to design a streamlined usage data and feedback, and incorporate innovation and improvement overtrade flow business process and build a time.distributed staged event-drivenarchitecture (SEDA) for highly Thoughtful service-oriented application development and deploymentconcurrent events on virtualized x86 architectures can help organizations to meet the challenge of user experienceinfrastructure. EMC application design that evolves over time. By separating the user experience presentationdevelopers used Agile development and reference layers from underlying infrastructure and back-end systems,techniques and the Spring Framework changes to the platform, branding, or the products themselves can be madeto develop a solution that leveraged quickly and easily without altering underlying business systems.VMware vFabric middleware, including:tc Server for application serverservices, GemFire for data services,RabbitMQ for asynchronous MODERNIZE THE SOFTWARE LIFECYCLE, TOOmessaging, and Hyperic for enterprise It’s not only legacy applications that hold organizations back. Inefficient andmonitoring. EMC managed all aspects outdated software development lifecycle (SDLC) processes add unnecessary risk,of the program—from initial dataanalysis and trade flow modeling to time, and cost—from initial design and development to testing and release and torequirements definition, process re- production, ongoing maintenance, and change management.engineering, sprint development It’s not unusual for different teams in different organizations to be responsiblecycles, integration, testing, and global for different aspects of the software lifecycle, be measured differently, and beproduction rollout. EMC also prepared working in relative isolation with different tools and processes.and trained in-house staff to take overrapid application development and Divisions can persist even as organizations move from traditional infrastructuremanagement of the virtual platform. to a virtualized IaaS model. But the time-to-market and cost advantages enabledThe new solution reduces dependence by PaaS service-oriented cloud application platforms lead to developers,on IT. It scales dynamically by a factor operations, and application owners collaborating in new ways.of 10+. Trade breaks occur less and By taking a more integrated “DevOps” approach to the software lifecycle,are resolved faster. Onboarding new organizations can make the people, process, and technology changes required tocustomers, products, or exchanges be able to:takes weeks, not months. Role-baseddashboards provide real-time, end-to- • Break down silos to create an integrated teamend visibility into all trades. • Rationalize, integrate, and automate manual processes
• Apply Agile principles such as sprints, continuous integration, and continuous deployment across the SDLCSHOPPING GETS BETTER, • Simplify quality assurance by testing sooner and more frequently andFASTER, ACROSS ALL automating testing for integration and functionCHANNELS • Accelerate dev/test and release management by creating standardA national department store wanted virtual runtime templates and automating provisioningto build on its in-store success anddrive up channel revenues with a • Enable collaborative agile team dev/test environments to be available inbetter, more consistent shopping hours, not weeks, and tools to be configured in minutes, not daysexperience across the web, mobiledevices, in-store kiosks, and third-party applications and sites. START NOWEMC retail consultants and solution Just as cloud has revolutionized data center operations to deliver low-cost virtualarchitects worked with the company infrastructure on demand, cloud is changing the way applications are built,to develop a multi-channel deployed, and managed in production. Service-oriented cloud applicationoptimization strategy, design a platforms and powerful frameworks and middleware are freeing organizations toservice-oriented solution, and focus on the business logic that brings their unique value to market, and deliverdevelop it using the open source it faster than ever before.Spring Framework. EMC re- Rationalizing application portfolios and modernizing critical applications to bearchitected the company’s able to benefit from new data models and cloud application paradigms caneCommerce application to decouple sometimes seem daunting. But the best way to start is to begin. EMC applicationthe front-end presentation from modernization consultants can help with an objective assessment of where youback-end business logic and the stand today, what’s possible, and how you can move forward to achieve yourunderlying eCommerce engine. They objectives.developed the new channelpresentation service layer anddefined best practices to enableinternal staff to take over ongoingdevelopment, maintenance, andsupport.The solution expands the retailer’schannel presence, brings newfeatures to shoppers faster, helpsmaintain brand consistency acrosschannels, and provides partners withan open API that lets them build onthe same baseline set of services thatthe in-house channels use, withouthaving to worry about complexeCommerce technology. The solutionmakes it easier to implement newfunctions, such as an intelligent 360-degree view of customer purchasesand spending patterns. It enableschanges in channel presentationwithout affecting back-end systems,and changes to back-end functionsand platforms without affectingchannel presentation.
EMC GLOBAL SERVICES DELIVERS RESULTSACCELERATING TEST AND EMC Global Services provides the strategic guidance and technology expertiseRELEASE organizations need to address their business and information infrastructureThe Internet Services division of a challenges and derive the maximum value from their information assets andglobal banking and financial services investments. We are committed to exceptional total customer experienceinstitution employs thousands of through service excellence. Our 15,000+ professional and support serviceprogrammers to develop and maintain experts worldwide, plus a global network of alliances and partners, leverageweb applications for its private, proven methodologies, industry best practices, and experience and knowledgecommercial, and retail banking derived from EMC’s information-centric heritage to address the full spectrum ofcustomers. The bank’s software customer needs across the information lifecycle: strategize, advise, architect,development life cycle (SDLC) implement, manage, and support.standards require that each applicationpass through seven different testingenvironments on its journey from initialdevelopment to release to production.The process required the manualcreation and submission of an imagefor each application version as itprogressed from one testing phase tothe next. The slow and complexprocess added months to the releaseprocess and hindered both developerproductivity and business agility.EMC DevOps consultants worked withstakeholders to simplify and automatethe process by leveraging cloud-basedvirtualization and collaboration. Theydeveloped an automated private cloudapplication development environmentwith virtual templates of all of theSDLC testing environments, usingVMware vCloud Director to orchestratethe process.Now, developers can select anytemplate from a single portal with asingle click, and vCloud Directorautomatically provisions the virtualsystem resources needed to run thatseries of tests in the cloud. Testenvironments are provisioned inminutes instead of weeks. Developersmaintain better control of theirapplications and are more productive.Tested, quality-assured applicationsare released to production monthsfaster, improving time to market andbusiness agility.