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.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

April 14, 2011

5 Min Read

Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision

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.

Slideshow: HP Tablet Announced

Slideshow: HP Tablet Announced

(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: HP Tablet Announced

The third is HP Applications Transformation to Cloud, a set of services that weigh the value of migrating particular applications to a cloud environment, given their dependencies on middleware, databases, and other applications. Customers then can map applications' transformation and deliver them as a set of revamped services in the cloud.

"The next piece of the puzzle is modernizing and managing the client side" of the many applications that need to upgrade to Windows 7, Shirk said. HP Application Transformation Services for Client Computing uses HP's Windows 7 expertise to modernize Windows applications' client-side device presentations, offering users improved mobility and security. HP can do it faster than IT staffs can, Shirk said.

HP is also offering a new version of HP Fortify 360, the system that came with its Fortify acquisition last August, for the preventative testing of application source code, as opposed to a production system's compiled code, for vulnerabilities. Fortify 360 uses a process known as static testing--the code is not running but has been set aside for careful analysis. This capability has been combined with a new version of the risk monitoring and assessment system for running Web applications, HP Application Security Center.

Shirk said HP is also offering the first system able to examine attacks as they happen and offer the root-cause vulnerability enabling the attack. That system is HP Fortify Real-Time Hybrid Analysis. IT managers, working with HP's current set of security products, can both protect their application operations and assess the level of risk they are encountering.

HP is now offering HP Cloud Service Automation 2.0, software that allows an enterprise to build, deploy, and manage applications in both private and public cloud environments, Shirk said. The software provides for automated provisioning of servers and application monitoring.

HP Exchange Services for Private Cloud can implement the Microsoft Exchange messaging system in a private cloud setting with a chargeback or pay-for-use capability. Exchange Services give the email system the capability of scaling as needed, while maintaining email operations in a behind-the-firewall environment, Shirk said.

HP's final new service was HP Enterprise Cloud Services for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, or "Microsoft software as a service running in an HP data center," Shirk said. In effect, an HP customer runs his Dynamics application in an HP cloud under private cloud-like conditions as an HP managed service. The customer relationship management system might normally have too much sensitive information to run off premises, but under Cloud Services for Microsoft Dynamics, the privacy of the information is guaranteed by HP.

All the new services are available immediately.

To consolidate, eliminate, or modernize customer's applications, HP has 7,000 certified Java experts, 3,000 certified .Net consultants, and 1,900 services oriented architecture architects, as well as 11,000 mainframe experts. In all, it has 60,000 application consultants, mainly a result of its EDS consulting firm acquisition in 2008, he said.

Shirk joined HP’s Enterprise Business unit a year ago from Siemens and reports to Ann Livermore, executive VP of the unit, who is part of CEO Leo Apotheker’s inner executive circle.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights