Exposing Legacy Apps to Today’s SOAs

HP today began offering Application Modernization Services to help bring customers’ legacy software closer to Web services and service-oriented architectures.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company’s new services, which fit into its SOA plan to help customers craft distributed computing networks, include porting and migrating applications to newer, less expensive platforms, said Paul Evans, worldwide director of Application Modernization Services at HP.

For example, this could include moving applications from older computer systems like mainframes to more newer Windows-based systems.

“Legacy doesn’t necessarily mean mainframes,” Evans said. “It could be people on Unix systems or people on Windows NT4 systems that are looking to move to a new environment.”

The executive also said customers who attend conferences on SOAs and Web services are coming to HP for help because their legacy applications cannot be exposed because they were built 20 years ago and the architecture won’t expose Web services or lend themselves to service-orientation.

“This is for customers who want to decompose their large, monolithic apps into more manageable parts,” Evans added.

Evans said HP is offering a portfolio rationalization service that helps businesses figure out how to spend their resources and time to update legacy systems. Application analysis services gauge legacy applications to see how their functionality can be improved.

The application transition service then helps customers re-write and update older applications to be more efficient, transfer an application to a newer platform, or replace custom code with a packaged application.

Customers who solicit HP’s new services can also retire an application that no longer supports the business. Additional services monitor the altered system. HP is also offering a workshop to help customers review business drivers and cost-and-benefit factors.

Cost depends on degree of service use and size and duration of implementation. HP said it has about 6,500 services professionals to throw at SOA issues.

The software world is peppered with vendors offering services to help customers get their systems up to speed. IBM and BEA Systems, HP’s largest competitors in this arena, also offer services to help customers align their architectures with SOAs.

These companies are securing marquee customers, too. SOA Software and IBM yesterday announced that Merrill Lynch is licensing SOA Software’s Service Manager to secure and manage Web services, courtesy of SOA Software partner IBM Global Services.

“The partnership of IBM Global Services and SOA Software will allow us to scale out use of SOA and Web services — technologies that are a strategic cornerstone of our process re-engineering initiatives,” said Andy Brown, chief technology architect of Merrill Lynch.

Brown discussed the evolution of SOAs at the SOA Exeuctive Forum in New York Monday. The CTO said that agility and responsiveness to change are core assets for managing IT at a financial institution.

“If you are in a commodity business, data drives efficiency,” Brown said, noting that SOA security and management are Merrill Lynch’s biggest concerns because they are two issues that directly face clients.

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