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IBM Application Discovery Unlocks New Value and Accelerates the Adoption of Hybrid Cloud Solutions

IBM Application Discovery
Illustration by Nick Reddyhoff
 

The name of the IT game is new value creation. Often, one of the fastest paths is to unleash trapped value by cloud-enabling existing core business apps and data. However, this can be risky. With billions of lines of code, often intertwined and decades old without proper documentation, these apps are at the heart of the business. The thought of tinkering with them might create fear in the best of us.

But fear no more: As a result of its EZSource acquisition and a series of strategic enhancements, IBM released IBM Application Discovery, a powerful tool for clients looking to create competitive advantage and accelerate cloud adoption. Developers can use it to quickly identify, change and cloud-enable core business applications via APIs. By combining IBM’s strength in digital transformations, API economy, hybrid clouds and enterprise DevOps with IBM Application Discovery’s capability to understand and analyze applications, businesses can more rapidly discover new ways to take advantage of their mainframe.

Many companies want to modernize their software to support the business moving to a digital enterprise. However, they’re averse to modifying aging business-critical applications because of the risk. Code changes often rely on manual analysis and are therefore error prone, depending on only a few employees with domain expertise. Applications are often poorly documented, which can result in increased risk and effort. Code changes can be difficult if the understanding of business-critical applications is limited.

“Enterprises have a wealth of valuable information and insights locked in their time-tested code,” says Sherri L. Hanna, portfolio marketing manager, DevOps for IBM z Systems*. “Many of their applications have been running well for 40 years or more. They’re afraid to touch them because they’re not broken and they don’t have accurate documentation on code that has been maintained over the years by developers who may no longer be with the company. IBM Application Discovery gives them the blueprint they need to modernize and improve the equity they have in their existing systems.”

Update Code Efficiently

Today’s applications can be made up of billions of lines of code—over 220 billion lines of COBOL are in production (on.wsj.com/1CTX36D)—and updating them can take weeks, months and sometimes years. Reading that much code isn’t feasible, which is where a tool like IBM Application Discovery provides value.

For example, a programmer working on a financing application may need to add support for a new tax code. She knows where the changes have to be made but is unsure of all of the interactions that may occur. IBM Application Discovery can quickly locate the area of the code or data that needs to change. And it can perform impact analysis against not only this particular transaction but also any other transaction that might drive the code or touch the data files being changed. This approach is more scientific than searching source files manually and saves significant time while reducing risk.

“Many clients are moving from a traditional waterfall development model to an agile, component-based development model,” explains Mike Fulton, IBM Distinguished Engineer, CTO for Enterprise DevOps. “A challenging part of this transformation is determining how to tease apart the application into components—a fundamental step in moving to rapid, high-quality enterprise application development. IBM Application Discovery makes this transformation easier and fits naturally into IBM’s larger portfolio of DevOps tools for all stages of development, such as IBM Application Delivery Foundation for z Systems and IBM Application Delivery Intelligence for z Systems.”

Brett Martin is a freelance writer based in Shakopee, Minnesota. He’s been writing about business and technology for more than a decade.


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