Google Acquires Mainframe Migration Company Cornerstone

On February 19, Google Cloud announced its acquisition of Cornerstone Technology. This acquisition aligns with Google’s focus on ease of migration as a differentiator for its cloud services.

Cornerstone Technology specializes in application modernisation and migration. It has developed proprietary algorithms that use automation to help migrate mainframe applications to modern programming languages and application architectures.

As Daniel Stori’s memorable cartoon visualizes, the enterprise journey to cloud is not for the faint of heart. Legacy applications such as mainframe apps are notoriously difficult to migrate. Many enterprises have stuck with their backward-compatible and highly available multimillion-dollar pieces of big iron and simply integrated these with other applications when necessary.

Mainframes are a fact of life for many organisations in financial services and manufacturing, often requiring dedicated teams to support them and resulting in additional overhead for development, operations, and infrastructure teams.

Refactoring such applications – essentially, rewriting them in more cloud-friendly forms – is an expensive and risky proposition for many enterprises. 

Cornerstone’s value proposition has been to simplify and speed up application modernisation, promising quicker migration, reduced risk, and reduced complexity and operational overhead in the final state.

Our Take

Like Google’s play with its Anthos platform, marketed as a big red easy button for cloud deployments, its acquisition of Cornerstone promises to make it faster and easier for organisations to get their workloads into Google’s cloud.

Making it easy to get to the cloud won’t necessarily ensure that organisations realise the cloud’s full value, however. Splitting applications into microservices is supposed to allow for increased throughput of new features, but taking advantage of microservice architectures will require IT departments to change their organisational and governance structures to adapt to these new paradigms.

Even if most of the heavy lifting is done for them with the migration and refactoring of the application itself, many teams will have a good deal of work ahead of them as they continue to evolve to mature their DevOps capabilities.

It’s important that organisations develop solid plans for how to realise the value of cloud once they are there and establish appropriate governance to ensure continuous improvement for their evolving post-migration operating model.

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