An Eye-Opening Experience at AWS re:Invent 2021

Modernization’s hot.

If there’s a single takeaway from TSRI’s experience as a sponsor and exhibitor at AWS re:Invent 2021 in Las Vegas, it’s that enterprises and governments alike have their minds on software modernization. If they haven’t started the process of migrating their mainframes and legacy applications to modern architectures to the cloud, then they will be soon actively moving in that direction.

“Virtually every CIO who has a mainframe application is now looking to migrate,” said Scott Pickett, TSRI’s Vice President of Service Operations and Product Delivery, who attended the conference at the end of November.

“Mainframe modernization was the centerpiece of activity for the conference-goers we interfaced with at AWS re:Invent,” echoed Greg Tadlock, TSRI’s Vice President of Sales. While modernization comes in many different flavors—mainframes can be transformed in multiple ways (replatforming, redevelopment, or refactoring, for example.), software modernization is a niche inside the modernization industry. It’s a niche that TSRI has embraced for over two decades and doubled down on earlier this year through validation and selection as a launch partner of the AWS Mainframe Modernization competency. Mainframe application modernization is clearly a movement that has entered the mainstream. “The validation that we made the right decision to be a launch partner with AWS on their Mainframe Modernization competency was confirmed at the re:Invent conference,” Tadlock said.

René Wagner, left, and Scott Pickett at the TSRI booth
René Wagner, left, and Scott Pickett at the TSRI booth

What TSRI Learned

As a company, TSRI has mainly focused on migrating legacy systems to modern languages and architectures, whether on-premises or on the cloud. One thing that surprised the on-site team at re:Invent were the questions about round-tripping. In essence, a round trip is a refactoring of applications originally written in software languages that most modernizations currently target, Java or C#. Both languages have been in use for two decades (or more) themselves, and the technology landscape has changed significantly during that time.

“They came to us specifically because they saw refactoring and the need to take their older Java or C# apps and get them refactored to targeted cloud services, microservices, and containers,” said Kory Caze, TSRI’s Lead Account Executive. It’s a service TSRI has begun to offer, and will certainly become a focus area in the coming year.

The refactoring or transformation of nearly any legacy language to modern languages is certainly one the core values TSRI offers to the modernization market. The capability to modernize more than standard IBM COBOL applications can be useful for, say, an airline that needs to modernize their FORTRAN applications—an opportunity that actually presented itself at the conference this year.

“There are so many software languages and technologies out there, that you can't have a one-size-fits-all solution for,” Kory said. In fact, TSRI’s Director of Business Development, René Wagner, had three different inquiries about doing a transformation from MUMPS, a relatively obscure mainframe language originally developed for healthcare operations—all within 10 minutes of each other! “It's like the most random language,” said René.


The Necessity of AWS Cloud Migration

Knowing that several companies have joined AWS’s Mainframe Modernization competency is reassuring to smaller companies like TSRI. They have a significant role to play in bringing major corporations and public sector agencies to the cloud quickly and efficiently, according to René.

“If you went over to the modernization area [at re:Invent] and you asked Amazon, ‘Who do you use to transform your systems to modernize the mainframe?’” René said, “their answer was, ‘Oh, we have an ecosystem of partners that we utilize to get this work done.’”

Everyone on the TSRI team saw live, in action, that modernization will be important over the next few years. Migration to the cloud, they all said, is not a matter of if, but when.

“That was kind of the feeling that I got,” René said. “Modernization is happening, and these people have bled enough on what they currently have.”


TSRI's re:Invent booth, including a few collectibles.
TSRI's re:Invent booth, including a few collectibles.

The Future of Cloud

While TSRI has begun to focus more of its efforts on cloud migrations, with AWS as a leading platform, the re:Invent conference opened the company’s eyes to plenty of opportunities that the company’s leadership might not have considered even a year or two ago. Being on the floor as a first-time sponsor and having the ability to demonstrate what the company can do, through Application Blueprint® demonstrations, or walking booth visitors through case studies, has opened a lot of doors for the TSRI team.

“The AWS mainframe migration announcement validates the tools, capabilities, and shift that TSRI has undergone, as well as in the industry,” said Scott Pickett, TSRI’s Vice President of Service Operations and Product Delivery.

Next year should be even more interesting.

If you were unable attend AWS re:Invent 2021, you can still access the materials TSRI shared that show what we can do to help your organization modernize to the AWS cloud. Download this information to get started!

TSRI COBOL to Java for AWS case study  

Case Study: Modernizing a Critical ILS-S U.S. Air Force System for AWS


TSRI’s approach to modernizing mainframe technology for AWS


Checklist: Preparing for Cloud Modernization


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