Monday, March 3, 2008

Nexaweb Advance takes RIA value to the enterprise application modernization imperative

There are so many good reasons to modernize legacy and 3GL/4GL applications that enterprises are moving wholesale to modernization activities, changing entire classes of applications, and aligning them with SOA, SaaS, data center consolidation, ITIL, and energy-conservation/green initiatives.

Oh, and modernization allows you to gracefully get out of the costly fat PC client software support business and focus on the browser-only end points.

The building interest in virtualization is also a spur to getting out the client/server business and making more applications Web-facing and services-based. These moves, in turn, allow for better organizing data into common warehouses and SANs, allowing for BI and other benefits, while reducing storage and back-ups costs. Business continuity also gets a boost, because everything is on the server-side (often of low-cost x86 Linux).

In short, what enterprise's are really up to these days is datacenter transformation, the whole ball of wax, and in which applications modernization is an early and essential ingredient to begin enjoying the larger holistic productivity and costs benefits.

The trick is to keep those same older (and often mission critical) applications performing well, with the rich GUIs that users expect, and quickly leading to the back-end integration flexibility to make the legacy logic also part of any enterprise's SOA patterns.

For those applications deemed no longer mission-critical, application modernization allows for proper sunsetting. It is often worthwhile to cull out the still valued logic, transactional mappings, and data -- and apply them anew to other applications or processes -- before pulling the plug.

Yep, so many reasons to modernize, so few ways to do it without pain, confusion, and cost. And so into this gapping need, Nexaweb today takes its rich Internet application (RIA) solution value with Nexaweb Advance. [Disclosure: Nexaweb is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

For more on the whole rationale and business case for application modernization, check out a sponsored podcast I did with HP Services. ITIL v3 factors into this in a big, so here's some background on that, too.

For Nexaweb, the end game for enterprises is flexible composite workflows, and so the newest offerings are more than tools and platform, there's a professional services component, to take the best practices and solutions knowledge to market as well. The process includes applications assets capture and re-factoring (sort of like IT resources forensics), re-composition, deployment and then proper maintenance. In the bargain, you can gain a enhanced platform, increased automation, and services orientation.

The goal is to harvest all those stored procedures, but target them to newer architectures -- from Struts to Spring -- and move from client/server to Enterprise 2.0, is a leap-frog of sorts. The re-use of logic then allows those assets to be applied to model-driven architectures and the larger datacenter transformation values.

Nexaweb Advance pairs Nexaweb’s Enterprise Web Suite with automated code generation tools and professional services to deliver a model-driven architecture approach to the transformation of legacy PowerBuilder, ColdFusion, C++, VisualBasic, and Oracle Forms applications, according to the Burlington, Mass. company.

We have seen quite a bit of associating RIA values with SOA in the past few years, so I'm happy to see RIAs also becoming essential to other mainstream enterprise imperatives, like datacenter transformation.