Datacenter embraces outsourcing for 3000s
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Tested tools convert the costs to migrate

Speedware has developed and offered tools for self-migrators, the companies in the 3000 community who prefer to do the work of migration with their own staff. (And perhaps some consulting to start, advice to help organize what will be the biggest project ever for most IT departments.) Using a formula that's become proven in the marketplace, the 3000 toolset for migrations also includes some software best used by a migration services team rather than in-house staff.

In the earliest years of the migration march, Speedware developed a database transformation and migration tool, DBMotion. But migration can mean moving much more arcane elements than old databases to new platforms. This year Speedware is offering an RPG to .NET converter for the world of applications which reach back into the 1980s.

Admittedly, there's not much RPG out there on HP 3000 systems. But Hewlett-Packard offered the language alongside the almost-omnipresent COBOL during the 1980s, partly to lure IBM sites using RPG. While the three-letter language has far more fans in the IBM AS-400 marketplace, RPG can be moved with the ML-iMPACT software created by Sykora-ML and now resold and used by Speedware. RPG applications, Transact code ā€” nearly anything can be moved off a 3000. The question to ask about such tools is "how much hand-coding is required to complete the job?"

As it turns out, ML-iMPACT stands out because the answer to that question is "very little." In a report to a group far more fascinated by RPG use, Speedware's Chris Koppe told the AS-400 Web site ITJungle that the software "does some really fascinating things in the area of automated transformation to Java and .NET," changes that most software tools don't do well. ITJungle's Alex Woodie also noted that Koppe "sounds more like a seasoned systems architect than a marketing director."

That comment on the skill set of a classic HP 3000 expert illustrates why migration might take a long time for some companies, but it's available for any which can muster the will and budget. With more than six years of research and experience behind them, 3000 professionals are becoming seasoned in the nuances of the most complex IT task, migration. Sykora-ML wasn't the first RPG to .NET tool Speedware tried. It's just the one that finally impressed the .NET veterans in Speedware's stable.

RPG skills become less available with every retirement of a 50-something IT pro, just like knowledge of Transact. Transact, another '80s relic, can be carried to COBOL using the T2C tool from ScreenJet ā€” one that appears in the migration partner MB Foster's toolbox. Such conduits of code can make the difference between maintaining a single app on a 3000 and cutting all ties to the server. Companies smirk when they hear of tools that bring Transact and RPG apps into the 21st Century. But a tool is often what is needed to make a migration affordable. Testing emerging tools has expanded the options for a migrating community like the 3000 customers, or its cousins in the AS-400 world.