iSeries Aviation System Moving to .NET, Thanks to ASNA Monarch
January 8, 2008 Alex Woodie
The Navixa aviation management system from Pathix is being moved from i5/OS to Windows .NET with the help of Visual RPG and Monarch, a suite of modernization and migration tools developed by ASNA, the software company announced yesterday.
Navixa is used by airlines and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies to manage the operation, repair, and overhaul of aircraft flying in and out of airports around the world. The software is used to track all aspects of airplane maintenance, from materials and work orders, to finances and flight operations.
Pathix, which is based in St. John’s, Canada, originally developed Navixa in RPG to run on the AS/400 line of servers, now known as the System i (or i5 or iSeries, depending on what day of the week it is at IBM). For years, the reliability and scalability of the server proved a good match for Pathix, which needed a computer as dependable as the rotary and fixed-wing aircraft it helped manage.
However, Pathix eventually encountered resistance from potential customers when they learned that it only ran on the IBM server. This led the company to offer a hosted version of Navixa, delivered via the software as a service model. But this apparently wasn’t a good solution, and the company looked for other ways of modernizing its software.
Pathix considered its options, which included moving to Java or Microsoft .NET, or using a screen scraper to deliver a graphical interface. In the end, it selected .NET as its new target platform of choice.
Instead of rewriting all that code from the ground up in .NET, Pathix decided to try and convert as much of the RPG as possible. To help automate the conversion process, the company licensed the Monarch suite of tools from ASNA, which was acquired by BluePhoenix Solutions last year.
“We felt that ASNA had the best offering for our long-term business needs,” said Lex Hudson, vice president at Pathix. “The initial costs of migration were competitive and in the end we’d have a version of Navixa running under .NET and have the option of later using Microsoft’s SQL Server as the underlying database.”
So far, Pathix has succeeded in converting about 1,000 of the 3,000 RPG programs that make up the old, out-dated, RPG-based version of Navixa. The company expects to finish the conversion of the remaining 2,000 RPG programs by the fourth quarter of 2008, when it expects to officially launch the new version of Navixa, to be called NavixaMRO.