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As new technology becomes available, businesses desiring to take advantage of it are faced with a daunting task.

  • The lack of "backward compatibility" means converting or rewriting applicaltions.
  • New capabilities are dificult to incorporate into old, legacy, systems.
  • In some cases, the source is no longer available.
  • The new technology doesn't readily support older methodologies.
  • Finding talent that know both the old and the new is difficult.

Many of the processes running in a data center are related to the actual running of the data center (ex. backups, file copies, etc.) The scope of the replatforming effort can be greatly reduced by first identifying those processes that are "Business Rules" related and focusing on them.


The three keys to a successful migration are planning, planning, and planning. There are three plans that need to be built.

  • Plan the scope of the migration - What will and will not be moved.

A migration project is a good time to identify "the fat", those processes, programs, and databases that are no longer needed or offer minimal return. Take a full inventory of all of your data center activities. Identify the consumers of those activities and their benefits.

  • Develop a detailed project plan with a budget.

Know up front how the work will be performed and what the costs will be. Once you know how much it will cost, you can schedule the project over a timeframe that fits within the organiztion's financial constraints.

  • Create a backout plan - Know up front how to undo parts of the project.

A development project consists of many tasks. The failure of one task may cause it to be redesigned. A migration project, on the other hand, consists of a few tasks performed for each component. The failure and redesign of any task will have a major impact on the project since that task is repeated over and over again. A backout plan can be crucial in maintaining continuity of data center operations.

Types of Migrations

Over the years Online Networking has performed conversions, migrations, and upgrades on a variety of platforms. In some cases we have developed tools to assist the process.

  • Data Center Move - A data center move is the simplest of migrations. The goal is to have your data center up and running in a new location with a minimum of disruption.
  • Conversion - A conversion translates programs and utilities from one language to another.
  • Extracts - This is the most common form of migration. Most organizations extract data for reporting, import into other systems, or sending out of house.
  • Replatforming -

Some migrations, of course, consist of a combination of the above.


There are a variety of tools available that will, usually, expedite the migration process.

  • Translators - Translators will convert programs written in one language to another. Although most data processing languages provide the capablity to execute most business function, they do it in different ways. The architectural differences in languages means that translators create clumsy, inefficient, programs. For Example: Translating online COBOL programs to VB.NET is difficult because COBOL is not an OOP language and has no event handling.
  • Emulators - Emulators run programs written in the old language. The process of emulating a languange on an incompatible platform introduces tremendous inefficiences and program modifications continue to have to be made in the old language.
  • Business Rules Management Systems - Using a BRMS system is essentially a rewrite. They process the business logic and don't address data processing issues at all. The migration to a BRMS is lengthy since you have to learn a new language and locate the business logic in your legacy systems.


Planning for a Data Migration Project

Upgrading VB 6 to .NET


Online Networking and Assoc. Inc.   dennis@onlinenetworking.org