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WebSphere Migration Knowledge Collection: Getting Started

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Abstract

Migration is no longer as simple as moving your applications to a newer release of the traditional WebSphere Application Server. Businesses today must assess each application to determine the best strategy for moving forward. Whether you do a full traditional WebSphere release to release migration or move a single application from a traditional WebSphere environment to Liberty in a container deployed to the cloud, we have tools to help you accomplish your goals.

Content

Brief Overview of Application Modernization

Application modernization is a journey. The first step is to determine a long term strategy for your overall modernization effort. The second step of the journey is to assess an inventory of your company's application estate. The third step is to develop a plan for each of the applications you have chosen to modernize. Understanding the complexity, cost and criticality of each application will help drive your plan to fit your overall strategy. Lastly, put your plans into action.
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Strategize
As you develop your modernization strategy, your applications will fall into various categories. Applications in the legacy category are those that are cost-prohibitive to be modernized or do not provide significant business value. Applications in the strategic category are mission critical applications that run your business and those that you plan to invest future development resources.
For legacy applications, use traditional WebSphere v8.5.5 and v9.0.5 to provide stability through the lifespan of those applications. One strategy is to isolate each application in its own traditional WebSphere container and deploy it to your cloud environment; which affords you operational modernization, so you can manage all your applications in a single management plane. Standard support for these traditional WebSphere releases is available until at least 2030, see support announcement 220-128. Use this strategy until you are able to replace it with a new cloud native application.
For your strategic applications, Liberty is IBM's composible, cloud-ready server, which provides support for the latest Java SE, Java/Jakarta EE and security enhancements. Liberty is poised to run your business applications targeted for your modernization journey.
Explore Cloud Pak for Applications for a complete end-to-end solution for building new cloud native applications as well as modernizing your existing applications. CP4Apps provides a common operational model and set of runtimes for managing both legacy and strategic applications to accelerate your team's velocity for content delivery.
Assess
To better understand your applications as you prepare for modernization, here is the primary set of tools with details of the key functionality each provides:
  • IBM Cloud Transformation Advisor (TA)
    • Scans traditional WebSphere profiles to inventory your deployed applications.
    • Analyzes applications to help move them from a traditional WebSphere profile to containerized deployments provided by Cloud Pak for Applications.
    • Provides complexity ratings and development cost estimates.
    • Provides options for deploying to different cloud runtimes (Open Liberty, WebSphere Liberty, and traditional WebSphere).
    • Generates a customized set of deployment artifacts for the selected target runtime.
    • Also evaluates applications running on Oracle WebLogic, Apache Tomcat or JBoss application servers.
  • IBM WebSphere Administrative Console - Liberty readiness analysis
    • Runs in the WebSphere Admin Console versions 8.5.5.16+ and 9.0.0.11+. 
    • Analyses selected enterprise applications and their configuration for moving to Liberty.
    • Produces exportable reports that can be shared with teammates
  • IBM WebSphere Migration Toolkit for Application Binaries (binary scanner)
    • Command line tool to analyze applications running in a traditional WebSphere, Liberty and other competitive servers.
    • Provides inventory, analysis, evaluation and configuration reports to facilitate moving an application to Liberty or to a later version of traditional WebSphere.
When deciding which tools to use, consider the following:
  • The IBM Cloud Transformation Advisor is recommended to produce a full view of your application estate since it includes more comprehensive application and configuration analyses, provides important planning information, and generates customized assets and recommendations for cloud environments.
  • The IBM WebSphere Administrative Console provides a quick first look towards making your applications Liberty compatible without installing additional tools. This analysis can be run from the enterprise applications view.
  • The binary scanner is a good option when you only have a few applications to scan or when you do not have access to the application source code. The scanner can quickly provide insights into your applications and their configuration. It generates the same reports as those displayed in the admin console and Transformation Advisor.
As you assess each application, determine whether it should be migrated to Liberty or remain on traditional WebSphere Application Server, whether to containerize it, and whether to deploy it to a cloud, or should it just be left out of your modernization efforts and remain where it currently resides until it can be decommissioned.
Some questions to consider during assessment:
  • Will the application be retired or replaced within 3-5 years?
  • Can you modify the applications source code?
  • Is the application critical to your business?
  • Does it use technologies which will require it to be upgraded before it can be moved to a new platform?
Plan
Once you know your modernization strategy, which includes both operational and application changes, and have assessed your applications, it is time to fill in the details by planning what to do with each of the applications. 
Begin by taking a look at the applications that you identified as being strategic. For these applications, various options are available as you work to modernize these applications. We recommend that you start small with a few simple applications and build your expertise moving forward as you tackle bigger and more complex applications. As a first step to modernizing, move a few simple applications to Liberty for use of a right-sized, container-ready application server. As you move your application to Liberty, you may also need to update your application to run on a later Java or Jakarta EE level. Use the WebSphere Application Migration Toolkit to identify and make the necessary changes. Where possible, the tool includes quick fixes to facilitate the changes. 
There are varying degrees of application modernization. As you move to the modernized environment, you might find you want to build a new front-end to your applications or do a total rewrite to use microservices. The IBM Garage Services can help in this effort. And if your plan involves moving to IBM Cloud, consider the migration factory services offered by IBM Global Technology Services (GTS).
One option for legacy applications is to modernize the operational environment by placing the application in a traditional WebSphere container which can then be managed along side Liberty and other application stacks. Another option is to leave the application running in its current traditional WebSphere environment. Regardless of whether the application is on-premises or in a container, WebSphere releases 8.5.5 and 9.0.5 will be supported until at least 2030 as described in the 2030 announcement. Our recommendation is that you invest your migration dollars to reduce your technical debt by modernizing the applications and moving them to Liberty.
Action
Now it is time to put your plan into action. Here are a few more things to consider as you begin:
  • When planning your migrations, create a cross-development-team communications mechanism so that different teams can learn from each other. When modernizing applications, coding patterns new techniques will emerge that should be shared across your teams. 
  • From the Transformation Advisor assessment, start with the simple applications to gain experience using the tools, develop a migration process (workflow) and running the application on Liberty.
  • Focus on updating your common code shared across multiple applications either as shared libraries or packaged within the EAR files. This focus can benefit multiple applications. By moving multiple applications to the latest version of common JAR files, you can eliminate redundancy within your applications.
  • WebSphere Application Migration Toolkit (WAMT) Eclipse plugin is invaluable to developers making code changes. The changes identified by WAMT match those identified in the assessments generated by Transformation Advisor and the binary scanner. If your developers do not use Eclipse, they can use the assessment reports to make code changes. 
 

Original Publication Date

15 June 2020

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Document Information

Modified date:
17 June 2020

UID

swg27008724