Survival of the Fittest: Modernize your NonStop applications today


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Many CIOs and IT leaders view applications running on HP NonStop systems as inflexible and/or expensive. After all, these systems have been around 35+ years after all – so OLD indeed they are. And aren’t these systems kind of like mainframes (so sure enough they are EXPENSIVE) ? Finally, the people working on the platform are using special emulators getting to the systems (INFLEXIBLE?) ?
The reality is more complex and is discussed controversially using themes such as “Total Cost of Ownership”, the platform being “open” or “standard”. Let’s try to stay with the facts here:
-yes, the systems have been around for a long time
-So have been some applications running on it
-Some applications have not seen changes in the last 10 years
-the Gartner’s of the world don’t like them (if nothing else, because they don’t run on X86 hardware)
This presentation discusses that it is up to YOU, the NonStop platform owner to modernize your applications in order to make sure they are *not* inflexible, *not* expensive to operate etc. It also shows that application/platform modernization is often easier than you think.

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Survival of the Fittest: Modernize your NonStop applications today

  1. 1. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This deck of slides was used as the basis for a Webinar which comForte presented in May 2011 This PDF document serves as the “offline” version of the Webinar – but it is still HIGHLY recommended to listen to the actual Webinar which is available on YouTube: comForte general YouTube channel: On YouTube, this Webinar split in two parts: • Part 1/2: • Part 2/2: 1
  2. 2. comForte Webinar "Application 4-Jul-11Modernization" As of June 2011, comForte is far and foremost the worlds largest ISV in the HP NonStop space which focuses on platform modernization in the key areas of security, connectivity, networking and emulation. comForte 21 GmbH is a privately hold organization with subsidiaries across the globe as shown here. It has roughly 60 employess and has a strong business relationship with the HP NonStop Enterprise Division (NED): several comForte products are OEM’d by HP. For more information on comForte, please see 2
  3. 3. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" In this section, we look at how many people (wrongly!) perceive NonStop systems as “legacy” and “costly”. 3
  4. 4. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Side note on cars: On the left there is a Porsche 356, predecessor of 911, produced 1948 – 1965. And yes, Porsche is NonStop customer ! The headline of this slide is (unfortunately) the view shared by many CIOs and IT leaders. These systems have been around 35+ years after all – so OLD indeed they are. And aren’t these systems kind of like mainframes (so sure enough they are EXPENSIVE) ? [both true for the car shown here by the way] . And don’t I see my people using special emulators getting to the systems (INFLEXIBLE?) ? The reality is more complex and is discussed controversially using themes such as Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) discussion, the platform being “open” or “standard”. Let’s try to stay with the facts here: -yes, the systems have been around for a long time -So have been some applications running on it -Some applications have not seen changes in the last 10 years -the Gartner’s of the world don’t like them (if nothing else, because they don’t run on X86 hardware) While the speaker personally does not find the systems either expensive or inflexible, he has heard that statement from customers over and over again. So it seems like that – if nothing else – some CIOs will find this statement accurate. 4
  5. 5. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" From the perception “inflexible & costly” it is a small step to want to bring cost down or migrate off the platform. In the car analogy, that might translate into: -Keeping the Porsche, but don’t maintain it fully -Sell the Porsche, buy Golf This matches what comForte hears when talking to some of their NonStop customers: - “The platform is no longer strategic” -“Our CIO wants to go into the cloud direction” -“No new applications are put on the platform” At the end of the day, it seems like the two options considered most often are indeed “migrate off” or “get rid of it totally” 5
  6. 6. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" What happens if you under-maintain a Porsche: worst-case it looks like this Porsche 356 in Berkeley, CA.. The money spent on actual modernization of a typical NonStop system beyond the cyclical hardware upgrade is – in comForte’s estimate – rather low. That actually does imply risk for the applications running on your NonStop. If these applications would not be VITAL for your organization, they would not be running on the platform in the first place – so let’s look at some risk scenarios: -Scenario I: Financial institution driving their ATMs. System goes down. ATM outage. In the paper the next day -Scenario II: Payment solutions provider aquiring POS transactions. System is “hacked”. All credit card data of the current day (month) is lost to the hackers. Very bad press. Stock price will go down. -Scenario III: Hospital using NonStop for medical records. NonStop is hacked, medical data is posted online. So from a simple risk perspective, the NonStop seems well worth investing in. Note that while scenario #1 is well covered (this is what NonStop is all about), scenarios #2 and #3 are typically not. Why is the NonStop often overlooked ? Photo source: 6
  7. 7. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Obviously, you want to start with an assessment on where you are (left side, hopefully neither picture being close to your status). Then you need to decide where you want to be on the right side. Talking with many customers, we find it interesting, that there seems to be no “best practice” as to “how modern” NonStop systems are at the typical large IT operation. You will find all kind of “cars” … Where you want to be is obviously on the lower right … however your budget is limited – both in terms of human resources and capital investment. The car analogy is maybe not the perfect fit here, but you certainly don’t want to run your critical applications on IT systems which match some cars on the left side of the slide. A modern car (whether a Porsche, Ferrari or Golf) will cost you less money and better integrate with your other IT systems. 7
  8. 8. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Why would you want to work with comForte: -We have changed many tires / modernized many NonStop applications -We are the only vendor in the NonStop world which offers a whole breadth of products in areas of modernization such as Terminal access, SOAP-enabling, security standardization In the rest of this presentation, we’ll show some specific examples 8
  9. 9. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Here we (briefly) look at the foundations of Pathway and how modern it was decades ago. This is the reason why many of the old applications can be modernized relatively easy. 9
  10. 10. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This picture shows how you do *not* want to modernize your NonStop systems – changing an engine while driving is not a good idea… 10
  11. 11. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This diagram is from a HP NonStop manual on “Pathway”, the transaction monitor for NonStop systems. It looks somewhat old because it actually *is* old – Pathway was created about 20 years ago. The terminology used here (PATHCOM, TERM, Terminal, PATHMON etc.) certainly looks outdated. But let’s look behind what Pathway is actually doing – the colors in the diagram show an abstraction layer for: -database (blue), -server code (“app logic”, green) -client code (“presentation layer”, orange) 11
  12. 12. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This diagram is how a modern Software stack for Java development might look like. All acronyms are modern and up-to-date (at least today…). However, looking at the abstraction layer we see the same three layers (Presentation, Business logic, Database). This proves that Pathway was a very modern (brilliant!) concept when it was invented. 12
  13. 13. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The similarity between Pathway and modern development paradigms such as J2EE are very important: Because NonStop applications were designed based on still-up-to-date design “patterns” 20 years ago, they can easily be modernized with very low risk and at moderate cost 13
  14. 14. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" In this section, we look at some reasons for modernizing – saving money being among them. 14
  15. 15. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Side note: for many customers, NonStop system *are* their cash cows as they process the very transactions which generate the core revenue (credit card transactions, ATM transactions, stock transactions, connecting mobile phones to the network). The point here is different, namely that Modernization can pay for itself .We will look at some real-life scenarios in which actual comForte customers are saving money through having modernized their NonStop applications. 15
  16. 16. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Here is an example for a return on investment (ROI) calculation for an actual project comForte did for a large Dutch customer. The “ROI calculator” shown here has been put on the Internet by a provider of Single-Sign-On solutions, NetIQ. The math done here calculates potential savings through implementing an SSO solution based on some numbers: • International Data Group reports that an average user in a 10,000-employee company has 14 separate passwords. • One password reset costs $10 - $30 • Calculator from • Assumptions from comForte • Total cost = (#incidents) x (time help desk) x (wage help desk) + (#incidents) x (time end user) x (wage end user) =120000 x 5 + 120000 x 7.5 = 600000 + 900000 = 1.500.00 The car falling in the water was in fact used as a model by the project manager: when facing internal resistance to put the finished project live (“we are too busy”) he threatened to put a crane on the parking lot and drop a brand new BMW every month as this was the money they were loosing by not putting the project live. 16
  17. 17. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Here is another look at cost savings through modernization: in the “before” scenario, costs occur through: -Maintaining of the SNA network -The very high license cost for SNA connectivity software on NonStop 17
  18. 18. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Post-modernization, the user is using the comForte product uLinga, replacing SNA network with “full IP”. There were no application changes required to reap these savings. 18
  19. 19. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The diagram shows that in many organizations, NonStop systems have not followed trends in security and application design which evolved over the past 20 years. The reason for that is probably that “the system works”; but also the system often is simply overlooked by the organization. In Information Security, it is rather hard to calculate an actual ROI. The author of these slides think, that ROI is the wrong approach to security: are you calculationg the ROI of the fire alarms, sprinkler systems, emergency stairwells in your office buildings ? The computer security industry is gravitating towards “best practices” which are imposed through regulation and that is a healthy trend. It comes down to “risk management” rather than “ROI calculation”. Many NonStop systems lack some very basic security controls such as: -Firewalls -Integration in User provisioning, Strong Authentication, Single-Sign-On -Network IDS -Modern GUI tools for operators & developers -Modern GUI for applications -Integration in user provisioning, single-sign-on As the information on the platform is very confidential/important this results in massive risks. In the payment industry, that risk can easily be calculated: - The typical cost to replace a stolen credit card is $2-3 per credit card replacement - Assuming you process 1000 TPS on your NonStop system, that translates into $2000/second or roughly $170 Million/day For application modernization, doing nothing also has implied costs such as: -lack of platform acceptance for new employees (operators, developers) -loss of end user productivity 19
  20. 20. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" In this section, we will look at three real-life examples of modernization using comForte products and services 20
  21. 21. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" NonStop systems are complex by nature. Application –and their supporting infrastructure- have grown over years, so “where to start” modernizing is not always an easy question. Also, there is never a clear boundary between “the application” and its “foundation technologies” such as how to get to the application (TELSERV anyone?), how users are authenticated etc. comForte is uniquely positioned within the NonStop ISV space as only comForte has the breadth of modernization products and experience ranging across security, networking, emulation access and application design. 21
  22. 22. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Here we look at a rather typical application scenario of a comForte customer prior to working with us: - Beyond the NonStop platform, there were corporate standards for how integrate applications in the corporate SOA framework - On the NonStop, BASE24 is running and while it is handling the transactional load nicely, all management of users is done through terminal emulation Beyond the IT issue of having a platform which does not follow corporate design standards, from a business perspective there was the requirement to allow access to BASE24 for end users through the Internet. 22
  23. 23. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This diagram shows the customer scenario after modernizing with comForte products: BASE24 is now fully integrated into the corporate SOA ecosystems. From and end user perspective, NonStop/BASE24 is just “another service” which can be used when authorized properly. Note that only minimal application changes for BASE24 where required, see next slide. 23
  24. 24. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This “Geek Slide” shows the technical details for the chosen solution: • Grey/orange: the corporate SOA ecosystem for “other systems” • Light blue: BASE24 classic • Bright orange: comForte product CSL enabling integration of BASE24 via a WS endpoint implementing a BASE24 gateway. • Please contact comForte,, for details of this implementation 24
  25. 25. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This example shows how Applied Industrial Technologies chose an evolutionary approach to Application Modernization. From left to right, the application was modernized in two steps. ___________________________________________________ Here is an excerpts from Connection article, written by AIT, available from comForte upon request: In our ongoing efforts to deliver top products and services, our operational infrastructure is critical: It plays a central role in how responsive and effective our sales and support organizations can be, as well as how efficient and profitable, our organization ultimately is. Consequently, OMNEX® is integral to our success. OMNEX is a NonStop-based operational system used for order entry, order processing, inventory management, and a host of other business-critical processes. In many ways, OMNEX is a typical NonStop application. Developed in COBOL over the course of 15 years, this system has hundreds of screens, batch programs, and associated Pathway servers. Accessed through traditional NonStop “green screens,” the system, while extremely powerful, was highly complex to use. To do anything beyond the most basic tasks, new users faced a very steep learning curve. 25
  26. 26. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The old application (leftmost figures) presented a classical text mode screen using a fixed size and proportional fonts. During the first step of the modernization, the comForte product JPath was used to do a quick conversion to a more modern look and feel (see figures in the center). Access is no via a browser; also the “proportional font block-mode screen” has been replaced by a more modern, HTML-type view. This works without having to redraw any screens manually. In the last step, the client-side code of the application was completely rewritten. 26
  27. 27. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" This diagram shows the final architecture: • the old application code is still being used for these screens which were not used enough to justify a rewrite (using JPath via 6530 terminal sessions) • CSL is used to connect a middle tier implementing Web Services to the original Pathway servers • JDBC is used to make direct SQL calls from the middle tier to the SQL database • SOAP requests are made from new client (called Asyst and implemented using Ecclipse) to the middle tier 27
  28. 28. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" We have looked at this customer early when we discussed the savings involved in many users having to enter their password again when logging on to the NonStop system. This is the “before” scenario where users first logon on to Windows using a smart card to provide extra security. Then they log on to NonStop using username and password which is both cumbersome and not very secure. 28
  29. 29. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The modernization project via comForte required only a couple of lines of code being changed in the application; now authentication to logon leverages the existing logon to Windows. 29
  30. 30. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The SecurSSO product combined with J6530 emulation here implements secure Single- Sign-On. SecurSSO uses the Kerberos protocol to tightly integrate NonStop into Microsoft Active Directory authentication. 30
  31. 31. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" 31
  32. 32. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Here are “50 reasons not to change” – found on the Internet at The red ones are probably really hard to get by (but it will depend where in the organization you sit). However, the green ones are simply not true: Modernization of NonStop applications is possible and not complicated. It can and has been done and it is NOT a fad. 32
  33. 33. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" The picture here is an image drawn during a workshop on NonStop security. It shows the “organizational disconnect” of different players such as CIO, the CSO, Application Architect, NonStop group, the IBM group etc. All players have different knowledge, viewpoints and a different agenda. The end result very often that decisions regarding properly securing NonStop systems do not yield the best end result. A very similar situation occurs with “modernizing NonStop systems”: There is a culture clash between the CIO (influenced by Gartner), Midrange management, NonStop management (rightly mostly concerned with keeping the system and applications up), the CFO and other players. That all said, from the proper viewpoint, *not* modernizing NonStop systems does not seem the best choice in most customer scenarios – as this Webinar tried to explain. 33
  34. 34. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" 34
  35. 35. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Let us summarize a bit … -Cost cutting alone can be dangerous -There are many options to modernize -Many NonStop users are already modernizing -Modernizing can in fact save money 35
  36. 36. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Let us try to summarize why we believe you should work with comForte in the area of “Modernizing your NonStop applications” -we do have a proven track record of successful projects. While we can not name many customers publicly, we are happy to provide more details about any of the scenarios shown here -no other vendor in the NonStop space comes even remotely close do our breadth of products and expertise -unfortunately, the Gartners and Accentures of the world have very little understanding of the NonStop platform comForte CAN help in these areas 36
  37. 37. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" Finally coming back to the opening evolutionary theme (and away from the car analogy)… We are looking at the evolutionary graph of “cats” here with the sabre tooth cat living about 25 million years ago. Today, the sabre tooth cat is extinct. Where do you see YOUR NonStop system on this graph ? Will it become extinct ? Or a rare instance in zoos such as the Tiger ? Or a very smart, adaptable animal such as cat ? But please DO remember: right now your NonStop *is* vital to your organization, so some ‘minimal application modernization’ is highly recommended… 37
  38. 38. comForte Webinar "ApplicationModernization" We hope this Webinar was interesting to you. This Webinar is available on YouTube, see introductory slides. comForte does welcome any feedback to this Webinar – please see or send an e-mail to the author of this Webinar, Thomas Burg, at 38