Software Migrations Made Easy


I’m a Toronto Maple Leafs fan and as many of you know, we are now 47 years without winning the Stanley Cup – the longest dry spell in the league btw – and I’m reminded of the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Well that can easily be applied to the Leafs, and could also apply to the topic at hand – software migrations.  But recently I’ve seen more and more customers wanting to change that old adage, and put in place plans and approaches to minimize risk when it comes to implementing new solutions and migrating from older technologies.

In the last several years working in the WebSphere Competitive Intelligence area I continue to be encouraged at how receptive customers are when offered migration guidance and expertise. It’s not that there is anything more complicated about software migrations in the last few years – in fact if anything the utilization of automated migration and configuration tooling is improving – I think it’s because the expectations for new solutions success are ever greater, coupled with very few software vendors willing offer these services and help customers with this requirement.

And given that software migrations represent a significant investment in time and resources for companies, this is an area where software vendors can add real value and differentiate their solution capabilities. In my experience it is not enough today to just position your ‘unique’ value proposition, you need to have a parallel strategy that helps customer’s migrate or convert assets from existing software. With that comes the need to optimize the capabilities of the new solution to ensure the full value is realized.

I write this blog to share what IBM is doing to address this requirement and respond to the ever growing demand to manage and minimize migration uncertainty.

The WW WebSphere Migration Team was founded a couple of years ago with global representation and has not looked back since. Originally focusing on the application server market to respond to customer’s frustrations with competing offerings – for a variety of reasons – the team was built with a mix of technology, development and implementation experience. Since then they have evolved to address connectivity and integration requirements largely targeting older ESB’s and point to point solutions that limit customer’s ability for flexible business growth. Older Business Process Management platforms are also fair game and today the team will address “Anything to WebSphere” that is, any middleware technology alternative to WebSphere and the breadth of capabilities we offer across the portfolio.

And the best part is that these services are a no charge, no strings attached offering – they’re an investment that IBM is willing to make to ensure customers not only gain the value from their newly chosen solutions but minimize the down time and risk associated with the transition from older incumbent software. More information on the migration methodology can be found here  http://http://whywebsphere.com/2013/04/02/migrate-off-java-caps-with-less-risk-and-cost/

For example a USA based financial services company had a multitude of application servers from commercial and open source vendors, and they sought not only the savings that come from moving to a homogeneous platform, but chose WebSphere because IBM was the only vendor who committed on-site resources to develop the detailed migration plan incorporating each application. Another global banking customer who chose WebSphere Application Server as their strategic platform, utilized the no charge workshops held in each of their three data centers, to target training for the operations teams who needed to learn the WAS management console capabilities. A third European Public Sector customer facing an EAI platform that was near end of life, confirmed their choice of IBM’s ESB, once they had the blueprint in hand to effectively manage the migration and convert existing Java assets.

There are three significant deliverables provided by the Worldwide WebSphere Migration Team:

First, a detailed “Assessment” of the current software technology environment, which includes an in-depth on-site review of the client’s applications, architecture, integration points and business processes. The goal is to understand proprietary elements, unique interfaces, frameworks and complexity of the environment to be able to assess the migration effort. On one end of the spectrum there is well defined mature standards which dictate how the software has been written and utilized and on the other proprietary unconventional approaches undocumented or even well understood. The “Assessment” takes all of this into consideration and systematically defines a migration blueprint following a proven methodology that understands how to mitigate known challenges and mitigate business risk.

Second, the Team provides “technology accelerators” or a set of automated tools and workshops intended to accelerate the migration outcome and minimize extraneous time and effort lost in learning and manually plotting through the steps. Not all software can be automatically migrated of course, but there are proven approaches and best practices that can be applied in all cases. In addition targeted skill transfer to the development and operational teams charged with working with the new solution can go a long way to overcoming any uncertainty in the new platform.

Third, is a commitment to stay engaged with the customer throughout the entire process, from early stage “Discovery” through to production running the new solution. Once the blueprint is defined it’s up to the customer to execute the plan, which may include additional IBM resources, or trusted Business Partners or some combination to work with the internally assigned team. This may require weeks or even months of on-going contact in larger global enterprises, but the outcome is significantly impacted by the team’s continued guidance, oversight and direct involvement.

So back to the Maple Leafs – during the 2013 first round playoffs all of Toronto was on the edge of their seats, tied 3 games each and the Leafs ahead 4 – 1 in game 7 with 12 minutes to go in the third period. Then disaster struck as we watched Boston score 3 unanswered goals pushing the game into overtime where they netted the winner in about 6 minutes. Following the tears, and several days of disbelief at how close we came to success, one agreed upon conclusion was the lack of playoff experience and the proven know how to ‘get the job done’.

But not to worry. You can rely on the IBM’s know how in migrations. We have done it hundreds of times for other clients. Additional information and insights on our no charge migration services at this link -> http://whywebsphere.com/2013/04/02/migrate-off-java-caps-with-less-risk-and-cost/



Categories: Migration

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