Our advice: Expect cultural challenges among the management and technical advisory staff, the technical support and operations staff, and among the software developers as they become acclimated to new roles and concepts.
Management Tips Be sensitive to the possibility of five pre-existing mindsets as they might affect the selection process:
Moving from MVS to anything else is called "downsizing." Both Unix and Windows have demonstrated the ability to handle huge and equivalent transactional loads.
Moving from MVS means compromising availability. In fact, non-MVS systems can be configured for absolute availability, by which we mean around-the-clock transaction processing for multiple consecutive years, capable of surviving fire, flood, or terrorist attack without loss of service and without data corruption. The team should be open to a collection of different technical approaches used to achieve this result, such as clustering, storage networks, and rolling upgrades.
Moving from MVS means compromising security. Unix and Windows systems have often been configured to make access as easy as possible, and therefore vulnerable to hackers. Properly managed versions of Unix and Windows can be kept as secure as MVS.
Unix is more virtuous, because it's open. Windows is just as open, if you define open as permitting easy porting of applications across multiple hardware vendors.
Linux is free. Cost must be computed for the whole environment, including middleware, security, and system-management applications, which make the cost of Linux comparable with other alternatives.
Be aware of potential concerns staff members may have about losing their status because Window is easier to use and maintain than MVS. There are still specialized technical skills required in a Unix or Windows data-center environment, so while many users know how to install Windows, not many people know how to configure complexes of Unix or Windows systems for absolute availability, nor how to design tight security or maintain portal servers. We recommend you tell the technical staff early on that they will not lose their status.
Software Developers' Concerns They will face several issues, such as a) approaches to the enhancement of the new applications, b) development speed, c) the extent to which users are empowered to program independently, and d) perception of the human interface. With those in mind, consider these:
Sanjay Anand,, TAC Expert, has more than 20 years of IT and business-process-management experience as a strategic adviser, certified consultant, speaker, and published author. More than 100 personal clients, large and small, have included companies from a diverse array of industries and geographies, from academia to technology and from Asia to the Americas. Often referred to as a "consultant's consultant" for training and mentoring skills. He is author of books "The Sarbanes-Oxley Guide for Finance and Information Technology Professionals" and "J.D. Edwards OneWorld: A Beginner's Guide."
John Sinclair, TAC Expert, has more than 26 years of experience spanning a variety of industries. His last 11 years have focused on process, project, and information management in consumer-goods and clinical-trials environments with experiences in document and content management, systems validation, FDA compliance issues, and 21CFR-11 legislation. His strengths include research and analysis and evaluating the business use of emerging technologies. He's certified as a Project Management Professional and is a graduate of the Society for Information Management's regional leadership program.
Wes Melling, TAC Expert, has more than 40 years of IT experience with a focus on enterprise IT strategies. He's founder and principal of Value Chain Advisors, a consulting boutique specializing in manufacturing supply-chain optimization. He's been a corporate CIO, a Gartner analyst, and a product strategist at increasingly senior levels.