The business drivers behind IMS to DB2 modernization – it depends!

So answer this truthfully, how often has your DBA answered your perfectly reasonable question with “it depends”? In my experience, DBAs are very helpful people and will expand on the “it depends” opening gambit to explain the pros and cons of the available options.

To set the cat amongst the pigeons, how do you think he or she would answer the question “Is IMS or DB2 the better DBMS”? The answer to this must be prefaced by “it depends”, although I’m sure that there are those on both sides of the debate with intransigent views. IMS folks (in the UK at least) could not bring themselves to say DB2, referring to it simply as “the other database”.

I’m most certainly not going to stick my neck out and offer my opinion – I can already hear the sound of axes being sharpened. However, there is no doubt that there is more development in DB2 than IMS today.

So, what’s all this got to do with an IMS to DB2 modernization agenda? I have been working with IMS to DB2 migration projects using DL/2 for almost 20 years, formerly with Circle Computer Group and now with Syncsort following the acquisition of Circle by Syncsort back in October 2013. During that 20 year period we have been through significant economic dips where the rules of IT moved from innovation and modernization to cost cutting at any cost!

Now that we have moved through the recent downturn and the economy is picking back up, we see the momentum shift back to modernization and renewal, as organizations release the purse strings ever so slightly, enabling IT groups to look forward and plan on much needed modernization of legacy applications.

If you have not heard of DL/2 before, it is an IMS to DB2 transparent data migration tool that provides opportunities to take a stepping stone approach toward IMS application modernization.  It does this by migrating IMS databases to DB2 without making any changes to application code and then enabling on-going enhancement and change to applications via SQL.

During the economic downturn our customers were largely focused on reducing cost. This is where DL/2 provided a low risk route to DB2 without changing any application code. We were tasked with the job of helping company’s migrate their legacy IMS application databases to DB2 to enable elimination of IMS DB and IMS tools licensing costs and eliminate the need for costly IMS upgrades. Whilst cost reduction was the focus and main business driver, DL/2 still provided the ability to assist organizations in their modernization plans.

Today, organizations are back on the application modernization trail as the requirement for agile development, accessibility and integration become key in today’s dynamic enterprise systems. Integrating legacy systems with new application development while maintaining business continuity can pose significant challenges and the staff to support these legacy applications are fast heading off to retirement, so making the decision to act now is becoming a business imperative.

DL/2 is a low risk, high ROI proposition that enables organization to make the move to DB2 without touching application code and therefore mitigating the risks of a “big bang” rewrite project. Why not view the replay of our October 29th Webcast entitled “A Three Step Approach to Low Risk IMS Modernization” and find out why so many organizations have turned to Syncsort to solve their legacy migration issues. You can access it by clicking here. I guarantee that you won’t hear “it depends” uttered once.

Stan Hoey

Authored by Stan Hoey

Migration Products Manager
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