Most enterprises today are trying to make sense of the best way to deal with their investments in mainframes, monoliths, modernization and microservices. In all cases, a vital ingredient is a good understanding of the existing estate of their systems – or Software Intelligence that shows the big picture. This is especially true for organizations that have copious amounts of clunky, legacy software.
While not all legacy systems are liabilities to business continuity, they are often cobbled together over many decades and include a combination of mainframe, JEE and other technologies, making them difficult to understand and risky to change. Today, digital capabilities have been layered on top of these legacy technologies. So the technology of old has not been replaced, but is now interconnected with new architectures and technologies that come on the market each year.
With new Agile ways of working, software engineers are working quicker than ever before – supporting speedy releases with DevOps while still having to support software quality, security and risk standards. In this environment, it’s difficult to understand the complexity of legacy software to establish an optimized modernization roadmap.
The first step in understanding the “big picture” is to discover all the layers, components and interconnections that make up your legacy stack. This kind of Software Intelligence helps teams ensure effective design for the future state of business-critical software that considers hidden risks or complications throughout the modernization effort.
Software Intelligence Streamlines Modernization Projects
Let’s take a concrete example. You need to learn about a huge system, comprised of 5 million lines of code with a mix of mainframe legacy connected via APIs to front-end software and mobile applications. The documentation you have is outdated, and it could be dangerous to make changes to the codebase, because the architecture you think you have might not be reality. So, you are going to dig into the source code, project, folder structure and more trying to understand the data flow and interconnections between layers and frameworks as much as possible.
While you are more than able to understand the architectural patterns you discover, you will inherently be required to make some assumptions based on what you’ve discovered. It’s impossible to manually validate every transaction, every connection to the database and every framework used. In this scenario, you will never fully know every connection between frameworks or every dependency between software layers.
What you need is a visual representation of a “system of systems” that lays out the various sub-systems, components and how they interact with each other – allowing architects, designers, developers and engineers to get on the same page, collaborate and comb through different layers and dimensions best suited to their domain. The discovery and documenting of the end-to-end data flow from user interaction, to business logic, middleware, scripts and data tables is essential to fully understand complex legacy systems.
What is CAST Imaging?
CAST Imaging is a web application that helps teams discover and map the state of their enterprise across all layers – business, operating and technology. With this Software Intelligence, teams can design and develop the optimal architecture layout for the future of the organization’s digital business.
Based on CAST’s powerful Application Intelligence Platform that scans, interprets and parses the application landscape into metadata, CAST Imaging automatically generates a visual layout of “system of systems” view that represents your true enterprise architecture.
No matter your use of technologies, standards or custom development, from historical blockchain architecture to microservices, CAST Imaging delivers a fact-based overview of your architecture to help you discover unique access to the database, where 99 percent is accessed through standard data layers.
Designed to accelerate the learning curve for existing and to-be architectures, CAST Imaging is the perfect solution to help teams decide, split and organize modernization projects. Using slick state-of-the-art tools, you can visually drag-and-drop components to create what-if scenarios and identify disjointed elements or redundancies, for example.
We are excited to launch CAST Imaging at a time when rapid modernization is essential to business success. If you’re interested in a free demo, simply contact us!
Erik Oltmans, an Associate Partner from EY, Netherlands, spoke at the Software Intelligence Forum on how the consulting behemoth uses Software Intelligence in its Transaction Advisory services.
Erik describes the changing landscape of M & A. Besides the financial and commercial aspects, PE firms now equally value technical assessments, especially for targets with significant software assets. He goes on to detail how CAST Highlight makes these assessments possible with limited access to the targetâ€™s systems, customized quality metrics, and liability implications of open source components - all three that are critical for an M&A due diligence.