Fujitsu Introduces RPG to .NET Application Modernization Service
April 14, 2009 Dan Burger
The reason application modernization gets as much attention as it does in the IBM System i market is directly related to two widely believed drivers. Executives see it’s possible to improve business performance and reduce application and infrastructure costs. How to reach those goals is another issue. Moving RPG applications to Microsoft .NET is one tactic, and it’s brought a new vendor into the System i community. Fujitsu has begun to market a service it calls Progression.
No tools to buy, no annual software licensing and maintenance fees, and very little impact on the IT staff are benefits that Fujitsu believes will be appealing to most companies that are considering a modernization project. For one thing, if you are not buying tools, you don’t have to learn to use the tools. This model has worked well for Fujitsu, which in the past has sold tools and trained customers to use them. Progression also avoids using any “black box” code. Instead the customer owns the source code and is not “held hostage” while paying for maintenance fees for updated modules.
The conversion process is automated and, generally speaking, 90 to 92 percent of the code can be automatically converted, says Makoto Sumida, the project director for Fujitsu’s Midrange Migration efforts. Sumida says the remaining 8 to 10 percent of code is converted manually by the Fujitsu staff.
He also points out that companies can retain the look and feel of their legacy applications, which translates into users that remain comfortable using the applications after the conversion. In most of these cases, re-training staff is unnecessary. And the fact that customers own the source code, as mentioned earlier, allows customers to maintain code themselves. Makoto says many customers are more comfortable with this arrangement.
According to information on the Fujitsu Progression Web site, more than half of AS/400 users are dissatisfied with RPG green-screen applications and two-thirds of the shops are concerned about a lack of young AS/400-trained staff that potentially leads to holes in the development staff. These are provided as encouragement to migrate from RPG and the AS/400, iSeries, i5, System i, and Power Systems servers.
Fujitsu hopes to gain acceptance by offering proof of concept demonstrations for prospective customers. The POC involves completing an inventory of the source code and data that is to be migrated to .NET and doing enough conversion work to prove that the inherent business logic and interface remains unchanged. The POC is offered at no charge.
Progression services are under way in two customer locations in the United States, according to Makoto.
Pricing an application modernization project is ultimately determined by the size and complexity of the applications. With such a wide degree of possible variables, Makoto did not want to be pinned down to average cost.
For more information, see the Fujitsu Progression Web site at www.fujitsuprogression.com.