Visionet’s ESF.NET technology brings about numerous improvements over J2EE’s Struts framework and the standard ASP.NET paradigm. In comparison with Struts or standard Page Controller based ASP.NET paradigm, which is more suited for the general purpose development, ESF.Net provides tightly defined application skeleton and out of the box design resulting in greatly reduced technological complexity faced by the system development team. Instead of reinventing the wheel by expending 6-8 months in design and development, project team can delve straight in to the challenge of legacy code migration through adoption of the ESF.NET framework.
It is a continuous challenge for IT leaders and strategists to exploit the opportunities for optimally improving the enterprise IT Infrastructure by establishing a flexible and adaptable enterprise system architecture that not only facilitates new development, but also allows for leveraging the existing software assets through reengineering.
This paper discuss various challenges faced by the large IT organization and describes critical elements of solution strategy through Visionet’s Enterprise System Frame.NET (ESF.NET) for legacy system modernization leading toward successful long term implementation of Service Oriented Architecture.
Throughout history of software development, industry leaders continually fostered innovation in the very fundamental way the software is developed. This desire for improvement paved the way for continuous evolution of ideas, originating from an unstructured paradigm to object orientation and component based development approaches. Gradual emergence of these approaches resulted in considerable gains in the form of efficiency and capability of business applications. However, the paradigm predominantly remained as application centric, above and beyond the granularity where individual business functions or operations offered by the system could be externally used, invoked or published in a platform/technology neutral manner.
This application centric development approach adopted by industry over the years resulted in monolithic business applications of varying size and complexity. In essence, such applications act as information silos and had minimal room for reusability, along with the inherent inability to interoperate with other systems. A typical enterprise architecture based on this application development approach is highlighted in figure 1 below:
This fragmented enterprise architecture has introduced numerous difficult challenges for IT strategists and architects in the quest for making their organizations and systems efficient, agile and ready to take advantage of future technologies with a high degree of effectiveness. A few of the major challenges are listed in the following section.
The most common challenges faced by large IT organization today are:
The most notable challenges in system reengineering projects include the following:
These challenges can be managed through various measures like thorough upfront analysis, solid quality assurance and choice of appropriate system framework to ensure that the new intended architecture and design is enforced during implementation.
In order to ensure successful implementation of the above approach, solid IT strategy and planning is required. Among the most critical items is the selection and design of a System Framework that must be aligned with the required Enterprise Architecture for consistent implementation of major enterprise systems in the longer term. The framework should not only facilitate developing new applications, but should also provide the support for migration and reengineering of legacy assets at the same time. The Core of this Enterprise framework should provide integration with various middleware, databases and caching technologies. Other higher level features of the system should include support for most commonly required system features like data lookup inquiries, high performance pagination, caching, support for most commonly used GUI features (for making application development more efficient), robust security and high degree of scalability.
Besides choosing the right frame work, the success of the IT strategy also lies in defining the foundation methodology and having a trained project team for successful execution of the reengineering projects. This methodology needs to be laid out in detail to ensure that the objectives stated above are optimally achieved.
As an expert technology service provider, Visionet System Inc. has been helping large customers define and successfully execute their IT strategies over years. Visionet provides unique services as a one stop shop with its proprietary ‘Enterprise System Framework .NET’ (EFS.NET) Technology, its proven system reengineering methodology leading towards SOA and a highly skilled technical resource base.
.NET technology provides great deal of flexibility and features for both Web based and desk application development. However, being a general purpose technology, it does not enforce conformance to the architectural need of typical enterprise application development as outlined in the “Solution Approach” section above. This has created a vacuum for specialized application framework on top of .NET. In the current trend, savvy IT organizations end up reinventing such frameworks for their own needs which considerably adds (six months or longer) to the project timeline and draws the attention and focus of skilled workers away from business functionality development to inventing the framework technology. Companies without strong technical knowledge and insight tend to rush in to ASP.NET based standard development model and end up with systems that are inflexible and do not fall in line with the long term strategy. ESF.NET, a proven system framework, fills this vacuum with its diverse array of features, robustness and high degree of scalability that not only provides an off the shelf mechanism for new development, but also facilitates massive reengineering projects for legacy modernization from older Visual Basic technology to .NET.
Further details regarding migration from legacy VB to native .NET are covered in the Visionet white paper VB 6.x to Native .NET Conversion available on the World Wide Web.
Visionet’s multi-staged reengineering methodology and process involves detailed upfront assessment and analysis of the existing legacy software. Upon completion of this phase, elaborate functional, technical, project management and implementation related documentation is produced for drawing out workable project and resource plans. Subsequently, the project execution phase begins, under which each increment is designed, developed and rolled out to production. The outline of this methodology and it key steps are as follows:
Considering the large size of the enterprise legacy modernization projects, Visionet’s proven development process includes the clear phases of Architecture definition, detailed use case analysis, technical design, development, code reviews, stress testing and multi cycle QA testing with both functional and regression testing cycles.
Once the architecture and functional details are established, Visionet recommends iterative, waterfall SDLC for development which allows for detailed planning and design upfront and still allows for quicker delivery of iterations to customers without sacrificing quality. Figure 4 below provides a pictorial flow of the process.
Visionet’s ESF.NET technology brings about numerous improvements over J2EE’s Struts framework and the standard ASP.NET paradigm. In comparison with Struts or standard Page Controller based ASP.NET paradigm, which is more suited for general purpose development, ESF.Net provides a tightly defined application skeleton and out of the box design resulting in greatly reduced technological complexity faced by the system development team. Instead of reinventing the wheel by expending 6-8 months in design and development, project team can delve straight into the challenge of legacy code migration through adoption of ESF.NET framework.
The most notable features of ESF.NET technology are as follows:
It is of tremendous value for IT organizations to bring about technological improvements to the enterprise systems by cautiously moving towards Services Oriented Architecture. This can be achieved by leveraging existing software assets provided the critical decisions are made in a timely manner about the right choice of architecture, system framework, reengineering methodology and choosing a service provider with a team of highly trained and experienced resources. Choosing the right framework technology can reduce the overall project time line by 6 to 8 months by significantly reducing the highest complexity factor. Visionet’s ESF.NET is a proven best of the breed technology for legacy migration and a path towards SOA. This framework technology is supported by Visionet’s large pool of dedicated technical resources.