State Agency Successfully Converts 2,000 Mainframe Applications to Windows

The Ohio Department of Public Safety is touting its success in transitioning its legacy applications from its mainframe to Windows systems. Back in 2007, the department was spending about $1 million a year on MIPS charges to run about 2,000 applications. However, its Unisys ClearPath Dorado mainframe had reached its end of life, and many of the mainframe programmers who had written the applications had retired. The department’s IT department decided to transition those old programs to Windows, and because outside consultants wanted to charge $10 million or more, they decided to complete the project in-house.

The transition was no easy project. The Department of Public Safety spent $250,000 to train its existing Pacbase developers in .NET technologies. A group headed by 30 developers spent 84,500 man-hours over five years re-writing 2 million lines of legacy code, including about 50 applications that no one in the agency knew anything about. Despite the challenges, the project succeeded, and the department estimates that the transition saved between $7 million and $10 million over five years.

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