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More R's for APM's Migration Uses

Over time, app management changes its R's

Every application is an asset. Every asset deserves evaluation. Changing valuations will affect migration planning, software selection, and the career of the IT pro who manages software like it's a portfolio.

Application Portfolio Management rides on those three tenets. It's a strategy that's been practiced for more than a decade, and even in the HP 3000 world, APM has been promoted as good management. Birket Foster of MB Foster started talking about it in the earliest days, explaining how APM could get an IT managers a seat at the boardroom strategy table.

However, things have changed in the eight years since Foster wrote that article. In 2007 the Three Rs of Applications included Replacement and Rehosting. But back then, the Third R was to Remain. By now that Third R has become Retiring. Retiring apps through APM can be used as a strategy for tuning a migration plan. As Foster says

The quantification and conditions of applications in terms of business fit, stability, quality and maintainability allows for the 3 R’s of migration to be applied. Once the portfolio is triaged and divided into categories, it is time to prioritize, and execute on a plan appropriate to each of the applications.

IT QuadrantMore details are available Wednesday (Dec. 9) at 2 PM Eastern in a webinar Foster is hosting. Registration is on the company's website. Remaining, rather than Retiring, is the nirvana, available for any application that can sits in the coveted upper-right quadrant of the triage chart. Retiring an application can be the trigger for a migration, though, especially if it's an MPE keystone app. That's to say, an application that has been critical to your company's business success.

Why retire something like a keystone? Business fit could be slipping loose, as the static nature of HP 3000s discourages application modernization. Stability isn't an issue, unless that MPE app relies on outside code or middleware that's being mothballed by its vendor. Maintainability might become an issue if a company's MPE expertise retires.

Companies can engage an outside resource to take on development and maintenance of 3000 apps, yes. Managed Business Systems, one of the four founding HP Platinum Migration partners, used to specialize in this, along with other suppliers. (MB Foster is another founder.) However, it takes a manager who's comfortable with legacy IT to adopt the responsibility for MPE and its mission-critical keystones. "I like old tech," one such pro told us this year. He is a fellow who'd cut his teeth on Data General minicomputers.

The word minicomputer has long been retired. Even though they've been renamed servers, it's the software that drives decisions regarding when to migrate, and how to do it. APM gives managers a best practice to judge which R fits which app best. Even if your apps live in that upper-right, and they're candidates to Remain, they'll still need to prove that valuation to boardroom managers. Knowing how to prepare is a good skill in times of change.