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4/14/2011
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HP To Transform Legacy Applications In The Cloud

Suite of services aims to help modernize aging mainframe systems to achieve more streamlined operations, greater flexibility, and more innovation.

Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
HP, a firm with 11,000 mainframe specialists and no mainframe sales, is offering legacy-application transformation services as a way to modernize an aging data center. It hopes some of those transformations will result in applications running on a substitute for the mainframe: the HP cloud.

HP senior VP David Shirk didn't make the IBM mainframe a specific target of HP's announcement Tuesday, but he made it clear that HP is ready to apply its expertise to old Cobol applications and other forms of mainframe legacy systems. The ultimate goal, he said in an interview, is to help customers achieve more streamlined operations, greater flexibility, and ultimately more innovation.

Much of HP's mainframe expertise came with its 2008 acquisition of the EDS technology consulting firm, with its 120,000 employees, for $13.9 billion. HP now claims expertise in Cobol, Java, and Microsoft.Net systems. Part of the transformation expertise it's offering is the ability to identify all the applications that an enterprise is using, locate matching or duplicate parts, and map out a way to simplify and standardize the environment.

"In some cases, due to acquisitions, companies have applications that they've forgotten about," noted Shirk in an interview. HP Application Portfolio Management, one of the new services, will help companies inventory their applications and identify the candidates "to be brought forward to a cloud environment," including legacy applications that previously have not struck IT managers as good candidates for the x86-based cloud.

Engaging HP Application Portfolio Management does not require a visit by HP consultants and technicians. Shirk said HP is offering it as software as a service, running in an HP data center and giving prospective customers the means to start evaluating their own environments. The service identifies what applications a customer is using, analyzes them, and rationalizes the portfolio based on the customer's stated goals. Customers get started on their own initiative without the expense of a consultant visit, noted Shirk.

The rest of HP's application transformation services are a combination of its broad legacy application expertise and its new emphasis on cloud services. Transformed applications will run in a more cloud-like environment, whether on an internal or external cloud service. On March 14, CEO Leo Apotheker said HP was going to offer a broad set of cloud services, including a scalable infrastructure as a service based on its own data centers.

A second offering is HP Applications Rationalization services, with the roadmap tailored to an individual customer on what constitutes the desired application portfolio.

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