What experience does OpenLegacy have in modernizing and integrating legacy applications?

The OpenLegacy team has decades of experience in legacy modernization and integration. Throughout our careers we have been involved in both software development of legacy modernization software as well as helping enterprises implement these solutions. We have lived the pains of developing and deploying solutions that are proprietary and/or solve only some of the legacy modernization challenges. These experiences inspired the creation of OpenLegacy. Our mission is simple, to be THE de facto standard for legacy modernization and integration that is quick, easy, and has no barriers to use the software. And most importantly, can be relied upon by our community of users.

Can you describe your Pro Edition support model?

OpenLegacy’s support offerings ensure that your organization maximizes uptime for your production applications as well as provides support for developers during the entire application lifecycle.

All developers may join OpenLegacy Online Community where they may ask questions, receive quick responses from other developers using the OpenLegacy platform, and share ideas with peers.

For Pro users, OpenLegacy’s enterprise software support, tools, and documentation will help solve immediate business problems quickly, risk-free and effectively as possible to maximize solution stability. Online, email, and telephone support are available, including up to 24/7 depending on the agreed-upon service level.

What is the easiest way for me to update or expose my legacy application to the new “on demand” world?

Many legacy modernization solutions, while appealing in theory, take too long to implement. Others are so invasive to the application that they require a huge set of stakeholders and approvals to move forward.

We recommend finding a solution that minimizes the impact to existing systems and lessens the expertise required to expose those critical backend processes.

The ideal solution combines a non-invasive standard with a full development environment with drag-and-drop tools, so that you get rapid to market results.

The “on demand” world is not going away, and is constantly changing, so the ability to deliver quickly, adapt, and stay current with technology trends is paramount for long-term success.

What are my options for modernizing my legacy systems?

There are five primary options for modernizing your legacy systems:

  1. Application Rewrite/Reengineer
  2. Application Re-Host
  3. Application Migration/Conversion
  4. Application Replacement
  5. Application Re-facing

Application Rewrite: “Fraught with peril.” This option takes the most time and usually costs the most money. Because of the duration of these projects, which begins with analysis and design, followed by the incorporation of new market demands and the need to put other initiatives on hold, these projects often get cancelled mid-way through the originally planned timeline.

Application Re-Hosting: This is a sound strategy if the only objective in your legacy modernization plan is to reduce costs (e.g. get off the mainframe). The end result of this type of project is that you spend time and money to save some money, but your end users see no difference. There is no improvement to user efficiency, business processes, addressing new markets, etc.

Application Migration/Conversion: This approach grew up through the Y2K analysis and parsing tool solutions. It is an effective approach if your primary purpose is to retain your original programming investment. This approach analyzes the code base and database structures, then, through an iterative approach, generates new code in the target language (COBOL, C#, Java, etc.). Some of the downsides to this approach are the re-training and hiring of new skills, testing requirements, and the reality that at the end of the project, the flow and efficiency of your new target application has not changed.

Application Replacement: This approach involves the trials and tribulations of purchasing a vendor “solution” and then customizing the package’s capabilities to fit your unique business requirements. At the same time, you must try to incorporate decades of past information stored in legacy application into the new package.

Application Re-facing: If your user community complains about navigating multiple menus and screens to perform a business task, or they are required to repeatedly sign on to different applications to enter or retrieve related information, re-facing your legacy systems with a new user interface may produce some significant benefits.

If it’s done right, you could end up with cheerful, efficient users that can access the same information in the same applications as today with a completely revamped interface. But make sure you keep track of changes to the legacy environment, because this text-based screen scraping will produce incorrect results if everything is not exactly where or how it should be.

What is the difference between SOA and API?

Conceptually, SOA (service oriented architecture) and API (application programming interface) based IT infrastructures accomplish similar end-goals: creating an IT architecture that abstracts consumers of services from the applications and technology that deliver the service. In either case, IT’s focus subtly shifts from delivering technology and letting the business figure out how to use it (SOA), to working with the business to deliver a series of services that are then combined to accomplish an objective (API).

SOA presumes that an IT department carefully manages and curates access to the services it delivers, striving to deliver limited and carefully controlled services. SOA mirrors integration efforts of years past, where access was created on an as-needed basis, and generally only between trusted and well-known partners.

This contrasts with APIs, which offer more of an “if you build it, they will come” philosophy of creating relatively open services, and allowing users and others within IT to figure out how to derive value from them. APIs mirror the development that occurs on the public internet, where everyone from payment processors to the postal service provides open APIs, and allows developers to access and use them.

Is a detailed legacy application assessment process needed before engaging in an OpenLegacy project?

The non-intrusive or non-invasive solution approach of OpenLegacy does not need a comprehensive assessment and documentation of the legacy application that needs to be exposed to the “on demand” world. A complete application assessment process can be long and the need to complete one is a big hindrance in achieving desired time to market objectives.

How do open source technologies help me save money?

From a business perspective, the purchase cost of software is only one factor. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is what really matters. Other things being equal, the most desirable solution is usually the one with the lowest TCO. Arguments in favor of low TCO for open source software include:

  • Possibly free
  • Potentially no need to account for copies in use, which reduces administrative overhead
  • Claimed reduced need for regular upgrades (giving lower/nil upgrade fees and lower management costs)
  • Claimed longer uptimes and reduced need for expensive systems administrators
  • Almost no vulnerability to viruses, which eliminates the need for virus checking, data loss and downtime
  • Claimed lower vulnerability to security breaches and hack attacks, which reduces systems administration load
  • Claimed ability to prolong life of older hardware while retaining performance

Some longer-term claims are more difficult to substantiate, yet they need to be taken into account:

  • Better adherence to standards, which permits competition in the market and reduces vendor lock-in and consequent monopoly pricing
  • Availability of source code provides greater continuity and security against
    • Financial collapse of key product vendors
    • Vendors choosing to withdraw support for unprofitable products

Protection against being required to fit your IT strategy to the cash needs of your software supplier

What flexibility does open source software provide?

Open source software provides further flexibility through freedom.

Freedom from a single vendor: Software vendors can go out of business, and they can arbitrarily decide to cease development of a product. How would your business cope if it relied on such a product? Open source software allows you to retain not just the right to use the software you already have, but the ability to continue to use it as your needs change.

Freedom to modify your software: You aren’t limited to what one company believes you need. Proprietary software vendors must cater to many different companies, predominantly their own. Open source software can be tailored for the way you do business. It is usually within the resources of all, but the smallest companies can modify open source software to suit their own needs (and potentially then to make those enhancements available as a public good). If in-house development skills don’t exist, a short email to the project’s mailing list will usually find a suitable consultant.

Who are your “go to” integrators to implement these solutions?

We have a growing list of partners who are experts in legacy modernization. As a part of our partner program we provide initial and ongoing training. In addition our partners are an active in the OpenLegacy community and participate in contributions to the software platform. Visit our partner webpage for more information about our partners.

How do you interact with Microsoft or IBM in building new applications?

We are active members in both the IBM Accelerator Program and the Microsoft Platform Alliance. We hold regular briefing sessions with them and when needed, utilize their respective facilities to test our solution enhancements.

Why are companies looking to modernize their applications?

Based on our experience the reasons companies modernize their applications are

  • To satisfy the “on demand” needs of today’s consumers,
  • To expand to new and emerging markets,
  • And to be competitive against new enterprises that do not have a legacy footprint.
What will be the impact of OpenLegacy on my end users, productivity, efficiency, relearning, etc.?

With OpenLegacy, you will be able to provide your end-users with an improved experience by providing access to systems through web or mobile devices within weeks. From an internal perspective, the time and resources needed to develop and deploy the solution are much less than other solutions. For your end users, they will have an improved experience in addition to information and new services they did not have available previously. Examples of what you can expect can be found in our case studies.

What strategy should I use to modernize my legacy system?

While the execution of a modernization strategy will be different for every enterprise, we recommend you include the following into your strategy:

Leave the backend system alone. Your legacy systems are highly reliable and contain your critical business processes that have been refined over the years.

Focus on meeting the needs of mobile, web, and cloud access.   For most, the reason to modernize is to support the demands of your customers for web, mobile and cloud access to your legacy systems.

Shift to a more lightweight, open source programming language that leverages APIs to communicate directly with legacy systems

Not only is this strategy faster and less expensive it will also be more successful. The areas of risk are minimized, and you can be up and running in a very short period of time, without committing to anything.

Why not leave my backend systems as-is and do nothing?

There is a high cost to the “Do Nothing” strategy.

Deciding not to modernize is a strategic corporate decision that will cause organizations to become unresponsive to customer needs. Ultimately, this will make it difficult to compete in the marketplace.

The problem will only get worse as the technology gap between where you are and where you need to be gets wider. This can cause a painful, expensive, and uncertain future.

Maintaining your current legacy systems can divert up to 80% of your IT budget and staff resources—an expense that grows incrementally each year.

Modernizing applications delivers greater performance with lower cost and risk, which positions your organization for innovation and growth.

What benefits are there to using OpenLegacy instead of other traditional legacy modernization approaches?

Open source is the new paradigm in modernizing legacy applications.

An application is broken into the following integrated parts:

  • Screen Logic Processing: What is the end user doing, how are they doing it, and how do we help them make sure they do it correctly?
  • Application Business Logic: Are the business rules embedded within the program logic? How do we add a customer, does that customer have credit with us, where do we ship items, where do we invoice, and how do we make sure that the data we have is synchronized with our other systems?
  • Data: How do we get to the data, what are the rules about adding and deleting the data, and who is allowed to look at the data?

Legacy systems are the definition of a closed universe. They are extremely effective at what they do, they ensure business rule integrity, and they maintain data and access security. But it takes a lot of time and money if you want to have them talk to another system, expose parts of the system to a smartphone or tablet, or allow some cloud access.

OpenLegacy allows to you to leverage your investment in your legacy application. We don’t mandate that you change, rewrite your system, or buy something new. Our solution listens and learns from your application environment from the screens, programs, and database.

You can use our automated API generation tool to extend your application. It is a standards-based, open source solution meant to improve your business footprint, your market accessibility, and end-user efficiency. It is absolutely non-intrusive to your critical back-end applications environment.

Do my legacy system programmers need to learn JAVA to be effective?

Our experience has shown that a traditional mainframe COBOL programmer is self-sufficient and effective two days after going through the training and demo workshops.

What does a typical OpenLegacy project look like?

A typical OpenLegacy modernization project follows these 5 simple steps:

  1.  Identify a legacy process & target: This may include a mobile device, 3rd party application (such as CRM, ERP, MRP, vendor/supplier access, etc.)
  2.  Automatically capture, parse & analyze: OpenLegacy’s workbench auto-generates a powerful API from your legacy business process
  3.  Enhance API and app: Enhance the API and customize the resulting rich application with maps, graphics, and new functionality
  4.  Verify & test: Speed your time to market with OpenLegacy’s built-in verification and testing tools
  5.  Deploy application: Access from mobile devices, cloud applications, ESB/Orchestration, and in-house applications. The sky is the limit!
How long does a typical OpenLegacy project take?

You can bring new life to your AS/400 and mainframe applications by extending them to the web, mobile and cloud in a matter of days. The majority of our customers are able to deploy solutions within a very short period of time. Due to or our non-invasive approach, automated generation of APIs and apps, and built in testing and verification, valuable development time is greatly reduced. Every project depends on your specific environment and needs. See our case studies for examples of what you can expect.

What is the impact of an OpenLegacy project to my systems of record?

The Openlegacy open source Integration platform is built on the principle of being absolutely non-invasive to the backend Legacy application. We do not believe replacing, rewriting, re-engineering, or re-hosting a proven and secure back end environment defines legacy modernization. The solution has proven itself to seamlessly analyze all three basic layers of your legacy applications (Screen Interaction, Programs and Data), to generate API’s that that can then be deployed and used for web, mobile, and cloud applications.

What is iPaaS?

iPaaS (integration Platform as a Service) is a development platform for building integration applications. It provides a set of services and capabilities for integrating applications in the cloud and within the enterprise. The core tenants of iPaaS are the same as PaaS, except the services on the platform are geared towards integration.

In addition to some base expectations, such as multi-tenancy, elasticity, and reliability, there is a list of core capabilities that you can expect from iPaaS:

  •  Intermediation: integrate application and services.
  • Orchestration: service composition, connectivity and ability to map data between services.
  • Service Container: ability to publish services using REST, SOAP or SOA technologies.
  • Security: authentication and authorization of access.
  • Enterprise Data Gateway: secure channels to access on premise back end system through a gateway.
  • Developer Tooling: ability to develop and enhance the services without impacting the enterprise’s development processes.
  • Runtime Monitoring: tracking response times, user limits, traffic boundaries and throughput through high watermarks alerts.
Why should I use open source?

“The Open source community attracts very bright, very motivated developers, who although frequently unpaid, are often very disciplined. In addition, these developers are not part of corporate cultures where the best route to large salaries is to move into management; hence some Open source developers are amongst the most experienced in the industry. In addition all users of Open source products have access to the source code and debugging tools, and hence often suggest both bug fixes and enhancements as actual changes to the source code. Consequently the quality of software produced by the Open source community sometimes exceeds that produced by purely commercial organizations.” (QINETIQ2001).

What is the ROI on OpenLegacy vs. other integration vendors?

From a business perspective, the purchase cost of software is only one factor. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is what really matters. Other things being equal, the solution with lowest TCO is usually the most desirable one. Arguments in favor of low TCO for open source software include:

  • Possibly zero purchase price
  • Potentially no need to account for copies in use, reducing administrative overhead
  • Claimed reduced need for regular upgrades (giving lower/nil upgrade fees, lower management costs)
  • Claimed longer uptimes and reduced need for expensive systems administrators
  • Near-zero vulnerability to viruses eliminating need for virus checking, data loss and downtime
  • Claimed lower vulnerability to security breaches and hack attacks reducing systems administration load
  • Claimed ability to prolong life of older hardware while retaining performance

Some longer-term claims are more difficult to substantiate yet they need to be taken into account:

  • Better adherence to standards permits competition in the market, reducing vendor lock-in and consequent monopoly pricing
  • Availability of source code provides greater continuity and security against
    • Financial collapse of vendors of key products
    • Vendors choosing to withdraw support for unprofitable products

Protection against being required to fit your IT strategy to the cash needs of your software supplier