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Mainframe Modernization: The Balanced Path to Success [Whitepaper]

Mainframe Modernization Whitepaper Cover Page.pngExecutive Overview

With all of the disruptive technologies introduced over the past several years, it is easy to forget that legacy systems still deliver most of the critical services we use every day including the mobile and online services so critical to your digital transformation.

The truth is that you can’t become a digital enterprise without the business processes and data contained on your mainframe. Unfortunately, legacy systems are the biggest roadblock to the progress you need to make.

This whitepaper is focused on the unique challenges of legacy modernization and migrating a mainframe system to an open-systems environment. It is based on experience gained during dozens of conversions completed over more than 20 years in the industry.

Our goal is to provide enough detail on migration alternatives, risks, and planning requirements for you to have informed discussions at the executive level to build consensus on next steps.

The report also includes details on several of the proprietary tools Astadia has developed over the years to overcome many of the migration challenges, including OpenMCS, Astadia’s message control system for Linux, Unix and Windows, that provides the necessary transaction processing features of Unisys COMS to support migrated applications.

We hope you find this document useful. Migrating your legacy infrastructure may represent one of the most challenging accomplishments of your IT career and is a critical step in your digital transformation. Choosing the right partner to assist you will be one of the biggest decisions you will make. We hope to hear from you.


  • While many Unisys platforms use COBOL, architectural differences between generations makes careful planning critical. Unisys COBOL may contain numerous extensions that make it proprietary to specific hardware. For this reason, Astadia developed the Rules-Based Transformation Engine which converts proprietary Unisys COBOL to industry-standard Micro Focus® COBOL.
  • Unisys mainframes also use Algorithmic Language to handle low-level operating routines and the code is specific to the Unisys operating system. Open systems, on the other hand, use languages such as C, Java, and .Net. Currently, no reliable automated processes exist to convert this code to C, Java, or .Net used in open systems so the code has to be rewritten.
  •  The proprietary Unisys Data Management System (DMSII) is a hierarchical database that includes backup and recovery tools. Migrating and preserving this data to an open-systems standard requires validation, conversion, and even possible modifications to the targeted destination architecture. It is not easy and requires extensive planning.
  •  DMSII also supports occurring items that programs can access with a subscript. Most relational databases, however, do not support occurring items. There are several methods for handling these, each with its own advantages and disadvantages which must be weighed against the overarching strategy. 


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Posted on September 01, 2016

Categories: Legacy Modernization