Legacy Mainframe

Application Modernization

There comes a time when even your most mission-critical mainframe-based applications must be modernized. Many of today’s enterprise applications are unable to change – built on heavyweight platforms, these applications are too inefficient, brittle, and lacking agility.

This is precisely where Keyhole Software can help.

Mainframe Modernization Consulting Services

Strategic Migration Consulting

Architectural analysis and modernization roadmap creation for the most strategic way to embrace modern technologies.

Application Conversion

Conversion of legacy batch applications to a modern distributed computing environment through green-field rewrites or employing code transformation and generation mechanisms.

Technology Education

Teaching your team how to effectively implement the modern technologies you will be using.

Cloud Implementation

Helping enterprise applications migrate to, and leverage the benefits of, cloud technologies like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud.

High-Level Benefits

Mainframes have anchored industries such as logistics, banking, insurance, healthcare, and retail. All of these industries require heavy-duty low latency transaction processing. Mainframes were designed to provide high availability of mission-critical applications, where downtime would be simply unacceptable.

This is a common business need. And time has changed from 1972 and its Model 204 to today's powerful landscape of software options to ensure modern solutions meet business requirements.

Cost Reduction

Moving from the mainframe can significantly lower upfront mainframe capital expenditures as well as ongoing licensing and maintenance costs.

Business Agility

Moving from mainframe to modern containerization, scale-out databases, and a larger talent pool all lead to much better agility.

New Capabilities

Moving to modern solutions allow significant feature improvements—AI, machine learning, and automation data solutions tuned to your needs.

One Modernization Approach: Re-Platforming

For some situations, Re-Platforming is an excellent option for modernizing a significant number of mainframe applications. That said, it comes with a long list of cautions that we would need to discuss with you prior to making the leap.


This is a process where older code bases are analyzed to determine a grammar or patterns in the code base.

Once either a grammar tree or a set of code patterns has been defined, the original code base (i.e. COBOL) is run through some single or multi-step compiler-compiler software to convert the legacy code into the desired end state – usually Java, C# or newer language equivalent.


Instead of staffing up teams of product owners and developers to gradually re-write each of the legacy code bits in a new language—all heavy lifting occurs by couple of button pushes. This is a short-term budgetary win-win.

Analysis provides valuable insight. Most clients end up reducing their code base to be converted by 10-25% just through the analysis activity.


Code translation does not necessarily fix technical debt, and running != performing.

In some cases, these legacy apps potentially have 20+ years of bad or mainframe-specific decisions baked into code.

All the translation process will give you is those potential code landmines now in a newer language that may not benefit from the mainframe’s horsepower.

Syntax Tree Transformer

If you ensure your team understands the limitations of this approach and select a robust, grammar-based tool (like our Keyhole open-source Syntax Tree Transformer and Parser), you can achieve a very predictable result that can get you budgetary and time wins.

See the resource Adventures In Modernization: Strategy & Example Converting COBOL To Java by Dallas Monson to learn more:

See An Example

Let's Talk Modernization

    Why Partner With Keyhole?

    Our experts are uniquely positioned to help our clients modernize to forward-thinking approaches.

    Over many years, our expert consultants have established our company as thoughtleaders in software development. Our teams have assisted companies is nearly every business industry with modernization initiatives. Capabilities span architectural assessment, roadmap guidance, software development, and education.