Financial site shifts apps to new host
IMAGE logging: the poor man's shadow

Migration splits duties of dropping, testing

    In what’s becoming a proven strategy for large migrations, Speedware and ING Australia split the work between revising applications, known as “code drops,” and creating and managing the test suites and testing of the re-hosted software. The large-scale project was completed in 2008.

    “It was a pretty substantive project,” said Andrea McCarley, the deployment manager for the migration project ING called Chrysalis. “We had six streams going at one point, with 20-30 in-house staff and other third party vendors involved as well.” Even at that size of staffing, the project was occupying only about 10-15 percent of ING’s IT staff, which at the time was more than 300 professionals.

    Speedware’s marketing director Chris Koppe said another motivation for ING was to reduce the number of third party applications needed for a production system. While some new vendors have been introduced to make Chrysalis a reality, the third-party elements were reduced from more than 40 to less than 20, he said.

    ING counted on some Unix expertise among its IT staff at the time of choosing HP-UX, but not a lot. McCarley said Speedware employed its AMXW migration tool, “but HP-UX was definitely a new environment to us, and particularly AMXW, which is proprietary to Speedware. But it provides a lot of functionality for us — it’s kind of the grease between the operating system and the application code, so we didn’t have to rewrite specific utilities.”

    The time difference between Speedware’s Montreal labs and the ING operations is more than a business day, but having Speedware staff onsite in Australia helped. Some Speedware calls had to be made at midnight Eastern time to catch ING before the end of its business day. The two companies found a way to make the clock work for them.

    “In some ways you got a 24-hour cycle, because people could work on things here and then hand it off to [Speedware],” McCarley said, and then Montreal would work on the fixes overnight, so we’d get them pretty quickly.”

   The project was the largest that ING had undertaken, even if the end result was the same applications moved to another HP platform. “You were lifting up the hood and swapping out all the pieces, so at the end of the day you had the same car doing the same thing, but almost every component was changed,” McCarley said. The challenge was in the technology changes, since the objective was to make the user experience seamless.

    The tech changes occurred against the history of reliability and comfort with HP 3000s. “But everyone knew they couldn’t go forward in an unsupported environment,” McCarley said, “so we had to step and get acclimated to the new technology and the new platform. If HP was willing to support it indefinitely, no one would be willing to undertake this large a migration project.”

    Evolving, everyday-use business logic was making the migration during the project, rather than static systems. An analysis revealed programs and menus no longer used, streamlining away elements that didn’t need to be shifted onto the HP-UX system. “There was no point in paying for migrating something that was no longer being used,” McCarley said.

    After functionality testing took place in Montreal, the full environment was actively tested in Australia. A unique number of interfaces connected the systems, McCarley said, so complete testing had to take place at the customer site, including integration testing, user acceptance testing, operability testing, performance testing, and “a whole phase just around batch processing, to get it right for our environment.”

    Speedware’s staffers “were committed to the project and definitely there when you picked up the phone,” McCarley said. “When you’re working out an issue in the code, you don’t always know if it’s in the code or in the environment. So there was a lot of collaboration to figure out what root causes were the issue. Then either they would fix it, or we would fix it.”

    Stepping away from TurboIMAGE gave ING a chance to embrace Eloquence as the new database for the production environment. “It certainly made the data migration straightforward,” McCarley said. Eloquence indexing will enable ING to move away from Omnidex in the HP-UX environment, removing another third party element.

    ING was pleased with the results of its project, praising Speedware’s partnership model. Kulakowski said the ING project is “evidence that large organizations can undertake a well-planned and automated modernization project to migrate to a new, stable platform, providing increased business agility and significant cost savings.”