There were issues related to the code. There was no inventory of 5% of the code, and there were about 50 programs running that no one knew anything about. The people responsible for it had long left.
Some of the issues were overcome by using a Fujistu compiler that worked with Pacbase and allowed the legacy code to execute in a Windows environment.
The department sought bids for x86 systems. The agency selected Unisys ES7600 servers.
If Unisys had backed off on the need for MIPS charges, Albert said "we would have a much different conversation."
The MIPS charges have been a longstanding approach in the mainframe market said Charles King, an analyst at Pund-IT, says that as onerous as the charges may seem "the vast majority of mainframe owners don't seem to have a problem it."
Vendors argue that the mainframe constitutes is such a unique technology "that it deserves a unique kind of sales, service and maintenance model," said King.
Unisys, in a written response to a query about Ohio's migration, said the department "made its decision to transition off of its ClearPath system before Unisys introduced the new NextGen platforms and modernization technology."
"Evolving the ClearPath line to a common Intel-based architecture has enabled Unisys to improve price/performance options for our clients and reduce maintenance costs to levels comparable to those for other Intel-based platforms," Unisys said.
The mainframe and the Windows servers ran in parallel for three-and-half months before the switch became permanent.
In the end, Albert estimates that the project will save the agency between $7 million and $10 million over the next five years.
Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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