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Bank of Israel Replaces their IBM Mainframe 

Move to UNIX results in significant cost savings for the bank

Background

The Bank of Israel, Israel’s central bank had been a longstanding IBM Mainframe user having graduated through various mainframe upgrades over the past 40 years. In parallel UNIX usage began to infiltrate the bank at a departmental level until the bank found itself at a crossroads a 3-4 few years back – to continue to invest in the IBM mainframe environment or to consolidate key strategic applications on the UNIX platform. Further to a study relating to the potential savings in moving to the UNIX environment, the bank decided to go out to tender with respect to rehosting their entire mainframe operation to a UNIX platform. MOST Software Technologies was tasked with the lion’s share of the rehosting activity and responsibility.

Objectives

The bank’s key objective was to save costs and to replace the complete mainframe operation with a requisite UNIX platform in such a way that:

  • The bank would be able to completely decommission the mainframe

  • There would be minimum impact on the user experience as a result of the exercise. Both end user and operations should be able to continue to function with minimal changes and retraining.

  • The period of parallel operation would be as short as possible

  • Existing IT staff should be retrained to continue to maintain the new platform

Project Scope

The bank had a portfolio of applications that comprised a variety of tools and products to include:

  • ADABAS Database Management System

  • Application programs written in Natural, COBOL and Assembler

    • Batch and online (CICS) applications

  • SAS for statistical analysis

  • Control-M and some related components for production scheduling

  • Security and remote printing infrastructure

Project Methodology and Timeline

MOST’s approach in delivering the requisite solution was to essentially perform a ‘shift and lift’ operation wherever possible and to concentrate on integration of the different components in order to provide the users with a near seamless transition to the new operating environment.

Where possible, 3rd party tool capability was exploited to support the shift and lift process so as to reduce impact on existing application assets and ensure that the migration process would be achieved with minimum risk. This was based on:

  • Availability of ADABAS/Natural, SAS & Control-M  licenses in the UNIX environment

  • MicroFocus Enterprise Server to emulate the mainframe operating environment specifically with respect to COBOL /CICS & Job Control

MOST Software’s tool set – OnTarget – was deployed to perform:

  • Application assessment and discovery

  • Automatic code generation to resolve platform incompatibilities

Additionally, MOST made extensive use of specially purpose COBOL/Python wrappers to handle the integration between the seemingly disparate components of the operating platform which included the native UNIX environment and the mainframe emulation as provided by Enterprise Server.

A two phase approach to implementation was adopted with Phase 1 involving a relatively small subset of applications migrated to the new operating platform and put into full production some 9 months after project start. 

Thereafter the second phase was delivered 12 months later with the mainframe decommissioned 3 months later – 24 months after initial project start date.  

Customer satisfaction

The bank’s CIO had gone on record at saying: “I was very sceptical regarding the chances of this project succeeding but the management and final delivery of the project exceeded my expectations by far. “

All the bank’s objectives were met with respect to the project -

  • First and foremost cost savings were evident within the first year of operation

  • Project timetable and budget were adhered to

  • Transition was near seamless from a user perspective