How State Governments Let Go of Their Relationships with Mainframes | #education | #technology | #training


Minnesota Breaks Up with Legacy Mainframe Applications

Minnesota opted for a Fujitsu tool called PROGRESSION, which allowed the state to convert its COBOL applications into C# and move applications to a Microsoft Windows SQL Server platform. The state initiated the project in late 2018 and finished up the migration in February 2020.

Testing and quality assurance were major challenges of the move, says Laura Wakefield, MNIT’s mainframe modernization project manager. “We had to make sure the system was going to work for users on day one,” she says.

In all, the state moved 28 applications from the mainframe to SQL and leaned heavily on the vendor to assist with testing, Wakefield says. “I can’t call out enough how well organized they were, and how well we worked together. Bringing those teams together was really powerful.”

Previously, application performance was limited by both the technical specs of the mainframe and the mainframe vendor’s licensing model, Reeg says. Running one important monthly report used to take up to four days. That shrunk to 12 hours after the migration, and now takes less than three hours.

“It used to be that, if there were performance issues on the mainframe, we would look at our queues and deprioritize some applications to give more processing time to others,” Reeg says. “We don’t have to do that anymore.”

RELATED: How modern IT infrastructure supports digital government services.

New Jersey Adopts MFaaS to Maintain Business Processes 

When New Jersey’s IT officials decided that it was time to move away from the state’s on-premises mainframe, they opted for IBM’s zCloud MFaaS offering.

New Jersey CTO Chris Rein gives three reasons for the move: First, the state was having trouble finding workers with the skills necessary to maintain mainframes. Second, with MFaaS, the state no longer has to plan for the capital cost of new mainframe hardware every several years. “Third, the timing is right,” Rein says. “The MFaaS market has matured, and we took advantage of some really highly skilled staff for the planning and execution of our migration to cloud.”

Although the shift to MFaaS was a major effort, users kept the same system access, credentials and interface that they were already familiar with. Switching away from mainframe entirely, Rein notes, would have required significant changes to business processes. “That would likely mean substantial training on the new system for staff.”



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