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Justifying the Migration

The first stage in any migration project involves justifying the migration. In this particular case study, a manufacturing company has a number of systems deployed. Although the company has numerous Sun platforms in place, its inventory application and the associated database run under the Tru64 OS. The custom-written application was written in the C programming language and uses a Sybase database to store inventory data. This database uses third-party tools to manage the database and produce reports.

A simplified overview of the application and the supporting environment is presented in the following figure.

Figure 1FIGURE 1 Overview of Application and Supporting Environment

Identifying Migration Motivators

The platform supporting this application is running out of capacity. The enterprise must decide whether it wants to purchase another Alpha server to provide the required capability, or to migrate the application to another vendor's platform that has the capacity to support the enterprise requirements. Two issues suggest that migration to a different platform would be the preferred choice:

  • End of life (EOL) of the Alpha processor. Industry consolidation has led to the acquisition of DEC by Compaq Computer Corporation. This consolidation resulted in the announcement of the EOL of the Alpha processor after its manufacturing was turned over to Intel.

  • Changes to the Tru64 roadmap. After Compaq acquired DEC, they were in turn acquired by Hewlett Packard (HP). HP already has its own version of the UNIX OS, HP/UX. The new HP/COMPAQ entity has stated that they will be phasing out Tru64 and consolidating on the HP/UX version of UNIX. To compound the problem, HP has also elected to use the Itanium processor as the basis for its new platform. If the client migrated to HP/UX, they would have to migrate again when the Itanium platform is introduced.

If the enterprise chooses to migrate its inventory application to Sun's Solaris environment, it can leverage its existing Oracle licensing agreement and can reduce expenses by switching their database from Sybase to Oracle.

You will explore these issues during a one-day meeting with all stakeholders from the enterprise. By performing that due diligence, you will gain a better understanding of the drivers and end goals of the migration.

Identifying Migration Strategies

In this case, the benefits of the migration are well understood. The application provides the business functionality that the enterprise requires. It does not want to move to a COTS application. Because the enterprise's problems relate to IT effectiveness, the system has run out of cycles, and the platform/environment product line they are using has a limited life expectancy, the recommended solution is to rehost the application. The benefits of the migration will be that the IT effectiveness of the platform will be improved and the required capacity will be achieved.

In other situations, the drivers might not be as obvious as they are in this case study. If poor total cost of ownership (TCO) or return on investment (ROI) was the driver, and the goal was to improve TCO or ROI, a more detailed investigation might have to be completed to determine whether rehosting is the correct migration solution.

The result of the meeting is an agreement to proceed with a more detailed assessment of the application environment to determine the associated migration costs. The executive responsible for this initiative then releases a mission statement and the detailed assessment begins.

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