May 4th 2021
First let’s answer the question: why modernize your IBM i applications anyway? Well, many IBM i modernization projects don’t start until after a major production failure, so getting out ahead of problems saves you time, pain and resources. Secondly, many IBM i specific skills like RPG or 4GL development are becoming more and more scarce, meaning time could be running out. Finally, and most important, a well-managed modernization project can become a successful and profitable investment.
The process of modernization
The first step in any modernization project is a thorough application analysis. This will help you to clean up and restructure applications, hone in on areas that need to be upgraded or replaced, and will keep you on track with daily development tasks.
A great tool to begin this process is our ARCAD Observer. Knowing where to start and laying out a plan is the key to a successful IBM i modernization project.
The second step towards IBM i application modernization is through automation. ARCAD has an entire suite of tools (ARCAD for DevOps) that will create the backbone of your modernization process. In fact, by managing the end-to-end modernization process using our integrated DevOps tooling, we are able to guarantee the non-regression of transformed source code and database. This is thanks to the regression test automation module ARCAD Verifier. Furthermore, our DevOps tooling enables parallel development, so that maintenance and modernization branches can be worked on at the same time. This allows development teams to meet customer demands, while the application modernization is taking place, thus preventing any potential business impact.
Thirdly you can manage modernized code, convert RPG IV source code to RPG free-format and modularize your source code to a “multi-tier” application with our ARCAD Transformer tooling. The process doesn’t remove RPG components but instead modernizes them and more. The modernization of legacy code such as columnar RPG and Synon CA 2E is near 100% automated with our tooling. And most importantly of all, our DevOps and regression testing technology secures the entire modernization process to ensure the application works just as before.
Database Modernization – A key step in IBM application modernization is to be able to convert your DDS files to standard DDL (SQL) tables and views, improving performance and easy to understand by any developer. This becomes a reality thanks to our Transformer DB tools. With these tools you can automate the database modernization process and radically improve productivity and precision. This solution compiles the associated RPG programs as well as the data, all the while testing along the way to make sure everything is secure and safe during the process.
The final consideration when thinking about your IBM i application modernization project is Modernization as a Service (MaaS) – for those of you who are looking to delegate the entire conversion process. We can offer a tailor-made modernization solution specific to your needs. The scope of the project can cover database, source code and interface modernization, increase field sizes across your entire application, and finally universalize your IBM i applications for global support with Unicode. ARCAD MaaS guarantees non-regression thanks to the ARCAD for DevOps framework and delivers modernization at a fixed price.
A path forward
Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, a production failure will cost you time, money and pain to repair and overhaul. The good news is that ARCAD can help you avoid this situation, while securing a profitable and secure future for your system. If at first the task seems overwhelming, our customers’ impressive project results show that the road to IBM i application modernization is a viable and attractive proposition when the right DevSecOps tools are in place.