Mainframe Modernization with Platform-Based Automation

Multiple surveys on mainframe modernization indicate cost and schedule overrun as one of the major risks during execution. On examining the delays closely, it is observed that these creep in right from the project initiation stage. Majority of the enterprises are neither aware of the existing landscape nor have any SMEs with in-depth knowledge of the mainframe-based applications. This results in insufficient data and information, which has the consequence of slowing down any/all phases of mainframe modernization and having a cascade effect on the total timeframe.

With Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform, enterprises can accelerate their mainframe application migration journey. It unlocks information from legacy systems, simplifies decision making and reduces dependency on niche skills. In this blog, we will look at how Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform provides the necessary coordination and acceleration to enable large mainframe modernization programs in a seamless manner. Before delving into the details, let us quickly review the primary solution patterns for mainframe modernization projects observed in recent years. Below are the common patterns identified for mainframe migration during the last three years, while some less prevalent patterns are not discussed in this blog.

1. Cloud Re-hosting – Lift & Shift approach for migration of mainframe COBOL/PL1 code base to LUW using emulation software.

2. Re-write or Transform – Transform monolithic applications to micro services-based architecture

3. Auto Code Conversion – Tool base conversion from COBOL/PL1 to Java/.NET

4. Database Conversion -Conversion of Legacy Databases to SQL/No SQL Databases

Now, each of these solution migration approaches entails completing too many actions in a short period of time, without which the enterprises will end up spending a large sum of money and ROI will never be accomplished. We will explain how Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform addresses automation requirements at each phase and mitigates the risk associated with mainframe modernization.

Let us look at each solution pattern in detail and understand how it can be automated.

Cloud Rehosting:

Rehosting from Mainframe z/OS to LUW on cloud or on-prem is cost effective and also a relatively faster option. At Infosys, numerous successful implementations have been done with emulation vendors like Micro Focus and Raincode. Rehosting capability of Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform provides comprehensive solutions right from identifying the compatibility of the code base to go-live. Below steps explain acceleration in each phase through various automated solutions.

1. Assessment – Generating critical inputs for Blue Printing & roadmap creation

2. Code Migration – Automated solutions for code migration to Micro Focus

3. Data Migration – Solutions for IMS DB, DB2 to SQL server and VSAM file migration

4. Environment Set Up – Solutions for environment configuration and provisioning

5. Testing – Test automation for parallel testing and verification

6. Deployment – Automated solutions for code deployment & Data migration during cutover

Rewrite to Transform:

Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform is a perfect blend of services required for such transformation programs at a large scale. Initially, the legacy application insights are unlocked and the right fit target state architecture is defined. The business logic present in the legacy monolithic code is extracted in an automated fashion. Once the requirements are identified, the cloud-native application is built in an accelerated fashion.

Below are the stages in transformation project where Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform will play a key role –

1. Understanding the existing landscape

2. Define the target state architecture on open source & cloud

3. Extraction of business rules & functional specs

4. Development of cloud native applications & data migration

5. Enabling & adopting DevOps

Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform has already begun integrating with LLM’s Gen AI models for code comprehension, in addition to the deterministic technique of unlocking information from legacy systems. By being proactive in segregating technical rules from business rules, creating and feeding the domain glossary for highly meaningful business summaries, and capturing original authored comments from legacy code to enrich the generated documentation, it can bring actionable intelligence to the outcome of LLMs.

With additional application discovery insights derived from its automated parsers, Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform ideally complements AI-enabled tools abstract to significantly reduce SME dependencies.

Auto Code Conversion:

Auto code conversion is a solution which has seen a lot of traction and client adoption in the last few years. This involves automatically refactoring COBOL or PL1 source code to Java, migrating the database from DB2 to Postgres or SQL Server etc. and integrating it within the existing ecosystem. Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform provides key insights into legacy mainframe landscape. It also offers data migration services, facilitates test automation and enables CI/CD creation.

Below phases depicts Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform’s active participation in every phase of legacy application migration to distributed stack with BluAge.

1. Define the scope and gather all functional and technical artefacts for a deep dive

2. Top-down analysis to decompose functionality and bottom-up tool assisted analysis to uncover insights

3. Recompose Spring Boot Apps

4. Further enhancements to the generated code to convert them into micro-services

5. Go-Live and hyper-care

Database Conversion:

For database conversion and data migration of legacy database like DB2, IMS DB, VSAM and IDMS, Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform provides some automation for converting mainframe-centric packed decimal data types (COMP/COMP-3 etc.) to numeric data for files in the application on a mass scale, as well as converting the data from EDBCDIC to ASCII with no user manual intervention. Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform features for knowledge curation and bottom-up inventory analysis provides detailed CRUD report and impact to application code because of remodeling of the database. Application dependency capabilities will guide clients  for changes required to  upstream and downstream interfaces as an impact of such conversion.

Infosys Experience and Success Story:

Infosys has successfully implemented several mainframe modernization projects for various clients across the globe. Since its inception, it has benefited 20+ accounts to expedite the migration journey by intelligently deciding the right solution for migration. We have helped a US based client to transform their record keeping application from monolithic mainframe-based applications to micro-services-based applications on AWS. The application comprised 30M LOC, 600 + CICS front end screens and 4000+ DB2 Tables. Infosys adopted a hybrid approach for rules extraction with multiple pods comprising of product owners, legacy code analysts, business analysts, and target state developers, to help the client with up to 30% savings in business rules extraction.


Through its automation first approach, Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform allows developers, testers, architects, DBAs to focus on other key activities. With every mainframe modernization engagement, its coverage for automation has increased and we have brought gamut of activities which earlier was done manually or needed an SME to answer. With a framework driven approach and knowledge base extracted by home grown parsers powered by selective use of generative AI, 30 % productivity improvement and system cost depreciation by 40% has been realized for complex migration engagement.

Author Details

Virendra Natthvji Shambharkar

Virendra Shambharkar is a Senior Technology Architect with Infosys and has 20 years of experience in mainframe technologies, mainframe modernization, data base migration, MIPS optimization, performance, and DB tuning, application portfolio assessment, mainframe rehosting, product conversion. He currently anchors Infosys Live Enterprise Application Development Platform’s mainframe modernization development and deployment.


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