Who is driving the COBOL to cloud journey?
In some way, it is the Ministry of Defense and the government of the United States who are also promoting the migration of legacy COBOL applications to more modern environments. And obviously, they are not doing it because it is trendy.
All the infrastructure on which the systems developed in COBOL were built suffer from some problems of reliability, scalability, poor documentation and lack of modern features such as microservices or containerization, keeping them isolated from predictable future improvements.
We cannot ignore that, in some way, it also put pressure on the need to migrate the massive retirement of programmers responsible for application development.
For these reasons, the US government was convinced that migrating to a Cloud environment, based on modern programming languages was a task that needed to be started immediately.
The Department of Defense evaluated various technologies and tested various solutions such as rehostings, refactoring and COBOL emulators.
Finally, they defined 3 major phases to be completed as necessary to face the migration process:
- Phase one: Automated code conversion. Refactoring of COBOL to Java.
- Phase Two: The Purge. Removal of any persistent COBOL code.
- Phase Three: The Big Move. Cloud migration itself.
In broad strokes, the definition of these stages sounds logical and common sense, but they do not delve into everything that involves the process of migrating from COBOL to the cloud.
In fact, there are hundreds of tips on the web on how to take the first step. Unique tips that present one or another face of the migration journey.
For example, we can find suggestions of the following type to migrate COBOL to the cloud:
- Decouple systems: look for division points that separate the old “all-inclusive” paradigm.
- Integrate, automate and then replace technologies: optimize the integration of the decoupled parts. Check which technology responds best to your requirements.
- Remove blocking technologies: Identify where the flow of information slows down or blocks.
- Adopt agile development practices: DevOps and open code is the new paradigm.
Again, they sound logical and full of common sense, but it seems that we are immersed in a sea of tips and more tips, so the million-dollar question is, what is the way to follow?