Incompatible: When New Applications Can't Handle Old Data

Organizations across the globe are moving away from legacy applications at an increasing rate. Many of these companies harness the power of COTS (Commercial-off-the-shelf) packages to replace some, or all of the functionality of the legacy applications they are eliminating. Interestingly, implementing these complex COTS packages is a monumental task that requires hard work and out-of-the-box thinking to achieve success. However, when the dust settles, there is often a jumbled mess of pre-relational data from the legacy system that needs to be maintained for regulatory compliance or historical reference.

Most compliance standards that govern data retention insist that data remains in place and accessible in some cases for a decade or more. As a result, many companies opt to retain pieces of legacy systems to run alongside their new application deployments to meet retention requirements. Unfortunately, this strategy is expensive and comes with a very high total-cost-of-ownership. The most obvious solution- making the archived data accessible via the new system- is incredibly cost prohibitive as well. Fortunately, legacy modernization companies offer automated solutions to efficiently retain and use archived data at lower cost. In many cases, the applications that use the archived data can also be transformed to enable the organization to access it natively without the crippling cost of retaining the original mainframe infrastructure.

Modern Systems has been working with the UK Government and their partners to move some highly critical and sensitive security data away from IDMS databases to modern platforms such as SQL Server on Azure. In addition to transforming and archiving the data, Modern Systems provided views to allow the data to be queried and utilized going forward. Transforming the data from IDMS to Relational has allowed the mainframe it was residing on to be retired, saving a large sum of money. The acute sensitivity of the data and the necessary controls around access and movement meant that the technical side of the project was compressed into very tight timelines, so tight in fact that the final conversion and verification was only completed less than an hour before the mainframe was decommissioned. Modern Systems went above and beyond expectations by working all night in order to get the job done. Subsequent checks have proven the data retained integrity and is now in a safe place where it can be queried for many years to come.

Learn more about data archiving and transformation here.

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