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Relativity To help IGS Update Legacy Apps

IBM has tapped Relativity Technologies to provide modernization tools for IBM Global Services' strategy to update mainframe applications, CRN has learned.

Relativity, based here, and IGS plan to provide tools and services that help customers update COBOL applications through Relativity's Modernization Workbench, sources close to Relativity said.

At IBM's developerWorks Live show in New Orleans last month, IGS unveiled two new services to help customers update legacy applications. Relativity will be a key partner in providing those services, sources said.

THE MAINFRAME LEGACY: Quick stats on the impact of existing legacy investments >> Seventy percent of the world's business data is still processed by mainframe applications written in COBOL. (Source: Aberdeen Group)
>> Between 60 percent and 80 percent of an average

company's IT budget is spent on maintaining existing mainframe systems and applications. (Source: Gartner)
>> In 2003, at least 40 percent of enterprises plan to be engaged in some form of architectural re-engineering of their core business applications, up from 5 percent in 2000. (Source: Gartner)
>> Mainframes worldwide contain 200 billion lines of COBOL code. (Source: IBM)

Recent Aberdeen Group research found that about 70 percent of the world's business data is still processed by mainframe applications written in COBOL. Solution providers say accessing these legacy applications and integrating them with Web-based apps is a major headache when working on large IT projects.

Relativity, which has traditionally provided tools for the transformation of COBOL code into Java, recently revamped its company strategy, said Relativity President and CEO Steve Maysonave.

Relativity repackaged its RescueWare transformation tools into the Modernization Workbench, which provides an incremental approach to updating legacy code, he said. The workbench consists of four modules that can be used separately: Application Analyzer, which generates HTML analysis of legacy applications; Application Architect, which re-engineers COBOL applications for easier management; Business Rules Manager, which helps developers reuse business rules from legacy code; and Transformation Assistant, which provides partitioning of legacy applications.

Marc Maselli, president of solution provider Back Bay Technologies, Boston, said Relativity's new step-by-step approach reflects the current IT environment in which customers are hesitant to undertake large projects that re-engineer legacy code.

"It's daunting to take away all of that legacy logic and migrate applications [to Java]," he said of existing mainframe code.

Instead, Maselli said customers are building out EAI strategies that utilize Web services and other connector technology to access the data and logic from legacy systems.

Pieces of Relativity's solution such as the Application Analyzer would be helpful to identify existing COBOL assets, Maselli said.

To accompany its new strategy, Relativity adopted a partner-friendly compensation model for its salespeople, effective Jan. 1,so they receive more commission on partner deals, Maysonave said.

Relativity, which has a direct-sales background, said it also is readying a formal channel program for launch in about a month.

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