Cloud Migration Service Shifts From IBM i To Linux
February 3, 2014 Dan Burger
Even though we don’t talk about it much, there are companies throwing in the towel and looking for IT solutions that do not include IBM i, Power Systems, or IBM. One of the companies with a track record of working in the IBM i migration business is Infinite Corporation, which last week introduced a new cloud-based migration plan called Infinite i. It will compete head-to-head with IBM i-based clouds.
Infinite has built its business on IBM i migrations and the integration of legacy applications with other platforms. In the past, this has involved existing on-premise systems, but cloud options are being talked about more frequently. Those past engagements, however, have been enterprise customers. Infinite wants to position Infinite i as a SMB offering, figuring there are numerous IBM i shops that want to be free of hardware, free of RPG development, and free of the maintenance that goes with them.
“The fastest growing market for cloud computing is the SME,” says Infinite’s CEO Bruce Acacio, referring to the alternate term often used, small to medium enterprises, to describe companies that are not large enterprises. “It’s the sweet spot for IBM i as well.”
The conversation begins with a discussion about existing RPG and COBOL code that will be recompiled to a Linux-based environment and hooked to an Oracle 12c database. The screens are Web enabled and use a GUI front end. They are launched from Amazon Web Services.
To those who consider the cloud and migration too risky, Acacio says risk is low because the application code runs in a replicated environment–the source code is not converted to another language. It stays in the IBM i format. If there are existing application skills, they can be maintained in instances where it is necessary to maintain and enhance applications.
Infinite has established four pre-defined package deals that have user-based pricing to determine the monthly cost and a fixed, up-front price for migrating RPG or COBOL code to Linux.
With monthly prices this low, understand that this is a basic package. The monthly charge covers OS support, updates from the infrastructure, the Oracle license, Infinite i license, and the gear in the Amazon Web Services cloud. The GUI is limited in its editing capabilities, but screen shots can be seen on the Infinite website. The monthly “utility bill” does not support ongoing maintenance on the code. Infinite sets up accounts on a three-year minimum contract.
Integration with packaged programs will drive up the monthly costs from the base price. Situations that require additional interfaces being developed will also cause a price hike, as will requests for additional applications to be developed.
Acacio claims a typical migration consisting of 12,000 objects and 3,000 programs combined with physical and logical files, display files and command language can be accomplished in less than four weeks including migration, analysis, testing, and validation. On average, the re-hosting and modernization process takes about 90 days. That includes bringing all code to RPG IV, including CL and DDS.
“We recompile to one of our System i boxes to make sure we have it right,” Acacio says, “and then recompile it on Infinite i. After that, we deploy it in our app server runtime environment with all the utilities, commands, and the database. During the process, there is stuff that we need to strip out–missing source, non-matching source to object code, devices that are physically called within the code structure–that takes the time. It’s the stuff that is not part of the clean recompile. We put it into our app server, then we bring the data over–the format of which we have already created. At that point, we start testing. We move the migrated data into Oracle, and from that point all future writes are written to Oracle. Within our structure, we do a translation from physical and logical files to tables and views. That happens concurrently within the migration structure.”
Infinite introduced Infinite Cloud, a Java-based, Windows-type client in 2012. It remains a separate product from Infinite i.