Atos Origin Optimizes Workloads on IBM System z using EGL

Services provider cuts operating costs 55 percent by migrating from the VAGen-Cobol legacy application to Java

Published on 28-Feb-2011

"The migration to EGL combines the best of both worlds: the stability of IBM System z and the flexibility of Java. Massive cost savings are also included." - Frank Landewee, Project Manager, Atos Origin GmbH, Essen

Customer:
Atos Origin

Industry:
Computer Services

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Enterprise Modernization

IBM Business Partner:
PKS Software

Overview

A leading international IT service provider, Atos Origin is renowned for its consultation and system integration, as well as transaction-based high-tech services. The company processes several million purchasing transactions for its customers daily and 100 million Internet payment transactions annually. Atos Origin is responsible for all the IT needs of the Olympic Games and operates command and control systems for leading companies in the energy and traffic sector.

Business need:
Reduce operating costs of a legacy application in the IBM® System z® environment.

Solution:
Implement EGL as a development language and migrate from legacy source to EGL for Java code generation.

Benefits:
Realize a 55 percent reduction in operating costs, with return on investment in less than one year. Provides investment protection through application modernization instead of new developments, while leveraging existing developer expertise.

Case Study

A leading international IT service provider with more than 49,000 employees, Atos Origin is renowned for its consultation and system integration, as well as transaction-based high-tech services. The company processes several million purchasing transactions for its customers daily and 100 million Internet payment transactions annually. Atos Origin is responsible for the IT of the Olympic Games and operates command and control systems for leading companies in the energy and traffic sector. Based in Essen, the German division of the company—Atos Origin GmbH—has 3,700 employees; sales in Germany alone amounted to €567 million in 2009.

Operating costs present challenge for legacy applications on the mainframe
The company hosts multiple applications for European mainframe customers at the Atos Origin European Mainframe hub in Essen, Germany. “When it comes to high availability, data throughput and scalability, the mainframe has certain undisputed advantages,” says Frank Landewee, project manager at Atos Origin in Essen. “However, the legacy mainframe applications our customers traditionally use can incur substantial operating costs.”

One source of these costs can be found in the licensing limitations of legacy applications written in Cobol or Visual Age Generator (VAGen). These applications are typically incapable of leveraging contemporary inexpensive license or operating models, such as the use of dedicated processors for special workloads like databases or Java applications.

Migration to EGL optimizes workloads while minimizing operating costs
The company realized it would be far more expedient to migrate legacy business applications to the EGL programming language, which allows traditional Cobol and newer Java workloads to be produced and executed in a uniform development environment.

“This is exactly what we succeeded in doing for a customer in the retail industry,” says Landewee. As he explains, Atos Origin operates the warehouse management system for this customer, including master data maintenance. The existing application was developed in VAGen for the IBM System z platform, serving roughly 3,000 users working on 3,270 text-based green screens.

“We believed it would be possible to achieve a reduction of at least 30 percent on the operating costs for MIPS and the billing unit on the IBM mainframe, as well as for operating System z software,” says Landewee. “To minimize risk, we wanted to retain System z as our stable, tried-and-trusted hardware platform. This way the database would not have to be moved nor would batch jobs need to be adjusted.”

Standardization on System z with EGL provides cost-effective stability
Atos Origin chose to migrate the retail application from VAGen to EGL and implemented IBM Rational Developer for System z with EGL as a new development environment. The project was supported by application modernization and migration specialist PKS Software GmbH, an IBM Premier Business Partner. A proof of concept based on EGL migration and workload automation options showed potential cost reductions of at least 30 percent. The next step involved migrating from VAGen to EGL, which allowed the generation of Java code. This made it possible to move workloads to cost-effective System z Integrated Information Processors (zIIPs) and System z Application Assist Processors (zAAPs).

“This solution could reduce our operating costs considerably,” says Landewee. Thanks to the migration, all the key benefits of mainframe operation remain intact, while the high-performance, fail-proof development database simply moves over to System z. Even the job control logic remains untouched. All automation and applications run as before. “The migration to EGL combines the best of both worlds: the stability of IBM System z and the flexibility of Java,” Landewee says. “Massive cost savings are also included.”

Cost savings of 55 percent exceeds initial IT efficiency target
Atos Origin placed particular emphasis on minimizing expense and risk during the change. To ensure minimal disruption, migration was implemented as a series of small sub-projects with short runtimes and broad computer support. PKS used rules-based tools and middleware to achieve a high level of automation during the migration. Parallel operation between the old and new environments was possible at all times, and sub-applications that had been migrated were available for immediate production deployment.

The training time needed for Atos Origin developers was also nondisruptive to the company’s operations, and required only a two-week time frame. To further minimize staff training time, only three employees were trained on EGL, while two others were trained on Java. No end-user application training was necessary. With tools and expertise from PKS, the 3,270 obsolete green screens were replaced by a modern web front end and an attractively designed user interface (GUI). The modernized retail application went live at the end customer’s site after eight short months.

EGL migration enabled Atos Origin to reduce the operating costs of the retail application on mainframes by 55 percent—almost twice the cost savings originally planned. Additionally, the customer realized a return on investment in less than one year.

“The teamwork between IBM and PKS was outstanding,” says Landewee. “All parties worked with dedication and commitment toward the common goal and actually far exceeded it. This is not always a given.”

Migration boosts competitiveness
Now Atos Origin has an operating platform fit for the future, an open development environment for modern architectures and the freedom to choose the final development language. Deployment can be done both in Cobol and in Java, depending on the requirement and use.

As a result of technical application modernization and migration, the company’s investment in its existing application is protected. “Atos Origin has gained an important competitive advantage,” Landewee says. “We can offer our mainframe customers highly attractive cost-savings potential compared to other outsourcing suppliers.”

For more information
Please contact your local IBM sales representative or visit:
ibm.com/software/rational

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
System z

Software:
Rational Developer for System z with EGL

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 U.S.A. Produced in the United States of America April 2011 All Rights Reserved IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Rational and System z are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml The information contained in this documentation is provided for informational purposes only. While efforts were made to verify the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in this documentation, it is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In addition, this information is based on IBM’s current product plans and strategy, which are subject to change by IBM without notice. IBM shall not be responsible for any damages arising out of the use of, or otherwise related to, this documentation or any other documentation. Nothing contained in this documentation is intended to, nor shall have the effect of, creating any warranties or representations from IBM (or its suppliers or licensors), or altering the terms and conditions of the applicable license agreement governing the use of IBM software. References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates. All customer examples described are presented as illustrations of how those customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics may vary by customer.