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2/16/2011
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Unisys Intros Cloud Based App Modernization

Service-oriented architecture approach aims to reduce cost, complexity of updating legacy federal software.

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Unisys is offering a new hosted service to federal agencies to help them modernize their legacy software applications.

The Application Modernization Platform as a Service (AMPS) is a subscription-based bundle of hosted applications aimed at reducing the cost, complexity, and risk associated with modernizing applications, according to the company.

Software from EMC, Red Hat, Terremark, and SOA Software are included in the service, combined with security and IT governance and a patent-pending approach to modernizing applications based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA).

"What we've done is take something that was a theoretical construct for companies and packaged that up to solve the technical problem without capital expense," said Peter Gallagher, partner with Unisys federal systems. "These are best of breed, open-standards-based products... you don't have to buy them and license them. We've brought them customized to you on a subscription basis to get you over the tech hurdle right away."

Gallagher said that sometimes that "tech hurdle" includes 18 months of procurement of the correct SOA software before an agency can begin transforming legacy applications.

The Obama administration has been proactive at trying to improve and modernize IT operations and services throughout government agencies.

However, a recent MeriTalk study sponsored by Unisys found that only one in three federal IT leaders say application modernization is a top priority at their agency, with half of the survey's 166 respondents saying agencies are only in the discovery or planning phases of implementation.

A "cloud first" policy for agencies mandated by U.S. CIO Vivek Kundra last December, which asks them to evaluate cloud-based solutions first when implementing IT projects, may help improve modernization strategies. But getting the right software, finding the right approach to do modernization, and paying for maintenance for legacy systems are still obstacles the feds face, Gallagher said.

He said AMPS supports the federal government's cloud-first approach, eliminating the need for upfront software licensing, hardware infrastructure, and systems integration. Unisys can either host the service in its own cloud or federal agencies can host it in a private cloud.

It also will reduce the cost of maintenance for legacy systems once applications are modernized. According to MeriTalk, agencies spend $35.7 billion each year to support legacy apps.

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