Oracle, HP and Intel position SOA bundle as mainframe alternative

Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Intel’s joint Application Modernisation Initiative should be treated with caution as its cookie-cutter approach to SOA migration will not suit the needs of all mainframe customers, warns Ovum.

Oracle, Hewlett-Packard and Intel’s joint Application Modernisation Initiative should be treated with caution as its cookie-cutter approach to SOA migration will not suit the needs of all mainframe customers, warns Ovum.

The three vendors have spent the last six months developing an SOA reference architecture based on Oracle’s Grid Computing Platform. This includes its Fusion middleware, 10G database and Enterprise Manager software, which runs on Itanium-based HP Integrity Servers.

The aim in going down this route was not only to demonstrate what the combined technology could do, but also to create a foundation for modelling how an SOA environment might work in individual customer sites in order to demonstrate the potential value of migration.

But Dwight Davis, vice-president of Ovum Summit, said: “There’s no doubt that many mainframe applications could benefit by being re-hosted on such a modern, standards-based system. But some customers will question whether it makes sense to have a specific target platform defined before analysing the nature of their legacy applications and the best options for migrating and modernising them.”

He also acknowledged, however, that, because “much of the heavy-lifting” will be undertaken by consultants in HP’s Consulting and Integration unit, “not every assessment will lead to the reference architecture platform”, although “having that pre-tested and SOA-friendly architecture in place as a ready target platform should benefit a significant subset of existing mainframe customers”.

Paul Evans, HP Service’s worldwide director of application modernisation services, claims that some mainframe customers spend as much as 70% of their IT budget on maintaining legacy systems. As a result, although 10% will never move, a further 10% are in the process of doing so, while the remaining 80% are interested in migration but want to quantify the risks first.

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