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What's New in Transformation Advisor 3.0

By PAUL BARRY posted Wed January 12, 2022 07:46 AM

IBM Cloud Transformation Advisor 3.0 is now available. And it's awesome! A video showing What's New and voiced with my dulcet tones can be found here.

It has the great capabilities you are used to but now also gives you a whole new way to look at your data. The workspace level view gives you the estimated development effort to modernize your whole workspace by taking into account all the code that is common across your applications. Taking this common code into account, it's now easier to see that the average cost per application is much lower than would be the case looking at each application in isolation. That makes it easy to see where your modernization effort will be spent and helps in understanding the ROI for modernization.

Transformation Advisor 3.0 streamlines the data upload process (and its organization) by automatically detecting the source host and assigning the applications into the appropriate collections. It makes WebSphere Liberty a fully-fledged migration target, so at a glance you can compare your modenrization options and data export has been improved to make planning your modernization journey easier. 

Workspace total cost and common code

Transformation Advisor has always been great at assessing individual
applications. Now we have extended that capability to allow you to assess your whole workspace. To get an accurate estimate of the effort for modernizing a workspace we need to take into account two aspects: what code needs to be modernized only once (because it was used in multiple applications) and what is the reduction in effort for resolving the same issues that repeat across many applications.

To resolve the first aspect Transformation Advisor introduces the concept of common code. Common code is  jar files from shared libraries (customer defined common code) and jar files that exist across different applications (dynamically discovered common code). We use a combination of filename and checksum to ensure that dynamically discovered common code is truly common (and not just unfortunately named!). Once  you modernize the common code it is modernized for all application that use it. This means that the true effort involved in modernizing your workspace will be significantly less than it might appear when you look at each of your applications in isolation.  

To resolve the second aspect Transformation Advisor applies the concept of a base cost and instance cost across all issues at the workspace level, along with a capping mechanism for the cases where there are thousands of instances. We make the assumption that the same team will modernize all of code in the workspace, so the same issue that appears in every application will have its base cost (typically high) applied just once for the workspace and its instance cost (typically much lower) applied many times. 

The overall effort to modernize your workspace is the effort to modernize the common code, plus the effort to modernize the code unique to individual applications. In our customer trials we typically saw a reduction in modernization effort of around 70% when compared to the the apparent effort from the application centric approach.

Assessing your migration options

There are three possible migration targets for your Java applications. We now let you compare side-by-side any combination of those targets as well as giving you the full information for each target. In the past, WebSphere Liberty information was only provided when its estimate was different from its Open Liberty counterpart - now you can always see that information.

Streamlined upload and application organization

In Transformation Advisor 3.0 you no longer need to create Collections. You just create a workspace. When data is uploaded we automatically detect the host machine the data came from (the application server where the apps were running)  and create a corresponding collection and add the applications there. In some cases the host name may not be meaningful, or due to the nature of virtualization all your different application servers may appear to have the same host name - so we provide a number of options to let you specify the collection name on upload. As a result of this change the Data Collector downloaded from Transformation Advisor is now attached to the workspace and not a specific collection (as it was in the past).

Planning for your modernization journey

In Transformation Advisor 3.0 your workspace will provide a single view of all your applications and (most likely) very many common code files.  As you plan your modernization journey you will want to organize the work in a way that suits you, be that a proof of concept, a series of waves or an approach to build momentum quickly by initially modernizing the more straightforward applications. The export capability of Transformation Advisor now provides all the workspace data in a single export, with CSV files to summarize the applications and common code. The CSV format allows you to manipulate the data any way you chose to provide the best insights and inputs into your modernization plan. The data now also contains the IDs for all the elements to allow you to easily exploit the Transformation Advisor APIs and support modernization at scale.

Installing Transformation Advisor 3.0

Transformation Advisor 3.0 is available on RHEL (here) and from the IBM Catalog in RedHat Openshift Container Platform. Details of installing it can be found in our docs here.

Very significant changes have taken place under the hood for Transformation Advisor 3.0, which means that there is no direct upgrade path from 2.5.1 to 3.0. The recommended approach is to install Transformation Advisor 3.0 and upload your zip files again. If you don't have those zip files, or you have a great many zip files there is an option to migrate your data, which can be found here.

What is Transformation Advisor?

Transformation Advisor (TA) is an awesome tool that guides enterprise teams through the uncertainties of migrating existing, on-premise applications to the cloud by providing recommendations on modernization changes and insight into expected complexity and development effort, it even goes as far as creating the artefacts you will need to containerize and deploy an application on cloud. If you are not already familiar with TA you can learn more by watching the episodeAccelerate Application Modernization with IBM Cloud Transformation Advisor on our IBM Expert TV channel