Last Updated 28 Jan 2021

Understanding Downsizing and Rightsizing

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DOWNSIZING AND RIGHTSIZING Downsizing: The downward migrations of business applications are often from mainframes to PCs due to low costing of workstation. And also today’s workstations are as powerful as last decade’s mainframes. The result of that is Clients having power at the cost of less money, provides better performance and then system offers flexibility to make other purchase or to increase overall benefits. Rightsizing: Moves the Client/Server applications to the most appropriate server platform, in that case the servers from different vendors can co-exist and the network is known as the ‘system’.

Getting the data from the system no longer refers to a single mainframe. As a matter of fact, we probably don’t know where the server physically resides. Upsizing: The bottom-up trend of networking all the standalone PCs and workstations at the department or work group level. Early LANs were implemented to share hardware (printers, scanners, etc. ). But now LANs are being implemented to share data and applications in addition to hardware. Mainframes are being replaced by lesser expensive PC’s on networks. This is called computer downsizing. Companies implementing business process reengineering are downsizing organizationally.

This is called business downsizing. All this would result in hundreds of smaller systems, all communicating to each other and serving the need of local teams as well as individuals working in an organization. This is called cultural downsizing. The net result is distributed computer systems that support decentralized decision-making. This is the client/server revolution of the nineties As client/server technology evolves, the battle cry is now right sizing--design new applications for the platform they are best suited for, as opposed to using a default placement.

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An application should run in the environment that is most efficient for that application. The client/server model allows applications to be split into tasks and those tasks performed on individual platforms. Developers review all the tasks within an application and determine whether each task is best suited for processing on the server or on the client. In some cases, tasks that involve a great deal of number-crunching are performed on the server and only the results transmitted to the client.

In other cases, the workload of the server or the trade-offs between server millions of instructions per second and client millions of instructions per second, together with the communication time and network costs, may not warrant the use of the server for data intensive, number-crunching tasks. Determining how the tasks are split can be the major factor in the success or failure of a client /server application. And if the first client/server application is a failure, for whatever reason, it may be a long time before there is a second.

Some variations on this theme are: 1. Downsizing: A host based application is downsized when it is re-engineered to run in a smaller or Local Area Network based environment. Downsizing involves porting applications from mainframe and mid-range computers to a smaller platform or a Local Area Network based client/server architecture. Downsizing is not as easy as buying and installing hardware and software that support client/server computing. This paper presents a case of rightsizing, with an outsourcing approach, of a mainframe based information system.

A full downsizing process, is a highly complex process due to the following reasons: * The need to manage, at the same time, the old and the new technology and environment for the parallel periods; * The need to migrate in the new platform the millions of LOC (line of code) of the several applications. In this paper we describe how that process can be performed in an outsourcing framework. We discuss which are the critical factors that assure an efficient process and big savings from the cost/benefit and cost/performance point of view.

There are several key factors to be considered in order minimizing the risks of failure and maximizing the success. The paper is organized in the following three parts: * The Rightsizing process; * The case study and the results obtained; * The lessons learned from the experiences done. The rightsizing Generally we can distinguish two main streams of the Rightsizing process: the downsizing and upsizing processes. The downsizing process is characterized by data and process shifting from Mainframe to desktop connected with LAN and WAN network.

The following steps, instead, characterize the Upsizing process: * The integration and connection of stand alone workstations or LAN * The development of distributed applications on this new architecture The Rightsizing of the applications and systems, that is their Downsizing or Upsizing, provides a major opportunity for cost savings and improving the flexibility of the information systems. In the following figure we see the rightsizing of the case study. It is from a traditional architecture based on a MVS IBM to a new distributed Client-Server architecture.

The new Client-Server applications are executed on several application servers. Down Sizing is nothing but The Process of moving an application from a {main frame ) to cheaper system, typically a (client-server) system. Downsizing and Client/Server Computing Rightsizing and downsizing are strategies used with the client/server model to take advantage of the lower cost of workstation technology. Rightsizing and upsizing may involve the addition of more diverse or more powerful computing resources to an enterprise computing environment.

The benefits of rightsizing are reduction in cost and/or increased functionality, performance, and flexibility in the applications of the enterprise. Significant cost savings usually are obtained from a resulting reduction in employee, hardware, software, and maintenance expenses. Additional savings typically accrue from the improved effectiveness of the user community using client/server technology. Downsizing is frequently implemented in concert with a flattening of the organizational hierarchy.

Eliminating middle layers of management implies empowerment to the first level of management with the decision-making authority for the whole job. Information provided at the desktop by networked PCs and workstations integrated with existing host (such as mainframe and minicomputer) applications is necessary to facilitate this empowerment. These desktop-host integrated systems house the information required to make decisions quickly. To be effective, the desktop workstation must provide access to this information as part of the normal business practice.

Architects and developers must work closely with business decision makers to ensure that new applications and systems are designed to be integrated with effective business processes. Much of the cause of poor return on technology investment is attributable to a lack of understanding by the designers of the day-to-day business impact of their solutions. Downsizing information systems is more than an attempt to use cheaper workstation technologies to replace existing mainframes and minicomputers in use.

Although some benefit is obtained by this approach, greater benefit is obtained by reengineering the business processes to really use the capabilities of the desktop environment. Systems solutions are effective only when they are seen by the actual user to add value to the business process. Client/server technology implemented on low-cost standard hardware will drive downsizing. Client/server computing makes the desktop the users' enterprise. As we move from the machine-centered era of computing into the workgroup era, the desktop workstation is empowering the business user to regain ownership of his or her information resource.

Client/server computing combines the best of the old with the new—the reliable multiuser access to shared data and resources with the intuitive, powerful desktop workstation. Moving to Open and Client-Server System environments allows organizations to take advantage of several opportunities: the new cost/performance relations for the hardware components, the ? easy to use? graphical interfaces, the portability of the software, the adoption of faster software life cycles like RAD, the use of the information highways (for example internet) and so on .

Most of the organizations invest in rightsizing processes to build Client/Server architectures. Actually, upsizing and downsizing process has become a phenomenon of big importance for a lot of organizations. It is possible to preview that the next years the rightsizing tendency will increase very much, and will become a rule. Anyway we must consider, from the point of view of the architectural structure, that a rightsizing process is complex and may imply an increase of complexity of the final system if it is not well planned.

A typical distributed Client-Server architecture is characterized by the presence of workstations and personal computers acting as clients, by the interconnection of different groups of these computers through different local and wide networks, by the presence of several servers including eventually a mainframe as a file server. It is typical of the local network that there is a local database; the local stations of the network are able to reach this database instead of the remote database. In order to lower the complexity of the process, an outsourcing of all the IT activities, for the rightsizing period, or even more, can prove effective.

The IT system after the outsourcing/rightsizing period (typically from 3 to 5 years) becomes technologically updated and easier to maintain (especially if the outsourcing/rightsizing contract provides strict guidelines for the development of the new software and for the Reverse Engineering projects). The major trend for corporate information systems this decade will be downsizing. In its broadest sense, downsizing means implementing applications traditionally deployed on mainframes or minicomputers, on personal computers and Local Area Network (LAN) platforms.

Applications most often involved in downsizing are those designated as mission-critical, the success of these applications is integral to the daily operations of the organization. This shift will enable companies to use the power, affordability and flexibility of the microcomputer as the hub of their information systems, and when appropriate operate cooperatively with existing mainframe or minicomputer investments. Downsizing is enabled by a number of factors: -Powerful cost effective PC platforms. -Mature networking technology providing a communication infrastructure. Software that delivers a robust development environment for the creation of applications with mainframe-like complexity. -Economical migration paths for moving applications to the desktop. -The ability to integrate and synchronize front-end tools and back-end data sources. ……. In the 1970s, the prevalent model for information management systems was a centralized hierarchical database platform. Such databases, residing on a mainframe or minicomputer, offered high performance and tight security but little if any end-user access or control.

Essentially, the mainframe provided a highly sophisticated server with unintelligent clients, or "dumb" workstations. For its day, the approach was sound, giving information system managers a way to electronically store huge amounts of information that previously filled volumes of books and ledgers in company storage rooms. But it soon became clear that accessing and manipulating these databases was difficult, as well as prohibitively expensive. The 1980s saw the introduction of PCs that were used by individuals and departments within an enterprise to provide local, easy-to-use decision-making tools.

Over time these users became more sophisticated in their usage, their expectations rose and they had a desire to communicate with others in their group and to have greater access to all corporate data. The solution at the time was to link these PCs through Local Area Networks, giving the users increased information access. This approach, which used a "file server" model in which the server acted as an unintelligent storage device, did offer peripheral sharing but, there was no intelligent data management capability, which severely limited the types and sizes of applications that could be used.

The immaturity of this approach was reflected in the lack of well integrated and transparent connectivity to mainframe and minicomputer systems, where much of the corporate data resided (and still remains). In short, workstations were restricted in their ability to handle complex applications and to get at relevant data. Information system managers were highly interested supporting their end-user's desires and in gaining improved access to all their corporate databases through the use of PC technology.

A significant concern of these managers though was a guarantee that they could maintain security, integrity of data and accessibility. The existing single platform approach would no longer work, a new model of computing architecture was needed. Downsizing: A Critical Edge By downsizing applications to the desktop, organizations can more easily deliver vital information to its users, providing a competitive edge. With the cooperative processing model these organizations can integrate their applications and information system resources with others throughout the enterprise.

This approach, which blends the flexibility and power of the PC (linked more and more through LANS) with the benefits of the resident database management system, offers numerous advantages: An Open Computing Environment. Despite well-intended and energetic attempts to impose a single computing standard on the industry, the truth is that corporate information systems are and will remain heterogeneous. Standards provide for a level playing field where users can invest and be assured that their investments will be protected.

And, standards provide a platform for software innovation, a mainstay of the computer industry. Integrating new technologies and approaches with existing standards should be a goal of every company. The challenge in running this type of heterogeneous environment is to find the correct balance between innovation and standards. Therefore, a information system designed to work with existing processing environments, utilize industry standards and be capable of taking advantage of emerging technologies will deliver the most effective business solutions.

The desire to balance new technologies and trends with existing resources is a large part of the motivation behind downsizing. By providing a modular architecture and component pieces that easily connect, the cooperative processing model delivers an environment that enables enterprise-wide connectivity and integration of heterogeneous data formats. The alternative is to create a homogeneous environment that by its nature is limited to its native capabilities. Rapid Application Development Part of the attraction of downsizing is the ability to rapidly prototype, develop and implement applications.

One of the principle shortcomings of a mainframe or minicomputer-based information management system is the application development time required and the resulting backlogs. Building a mission critical systems at the desktop is literally months and years faster than on a mainframe or minicomputer. Having robust development tools that enable the creation and implementation of systems in weeks rather than months allows organizations to benefit more from their information and realize a significant dollar savings in the process. Leveraging Existing Investments

Information management systems that handle mission-critical applications represent investments of millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours of work. When faced with the need to expand or upgrade these systems, scrapping the existing investment and building a new one is simply not a financial option. Nor is it necessarily a wise one. What is required is the ability to responsibility migrate these systems to the desktop by integrating the various platforms. Development Flexibility The purpose of any software application is to provide a service that makes accomplishing a task efficient and economical.

Downsizing mainframe and minicomputer applications to the desktop offers the application developer a wide range of PC-based tools to assist them in meeting needs of specific applications. The flexible nature of this environment lets the developer work faster, maintain applications with less effort, and be more responsive to the needs of the organization. Financial Considerations Developing applications on the desktop platform is a much more cost effective than traditional mainframe or minicomputer approaches.

PC-based development means your hardware and software investment is less, development time and its related costs are reduced and with the ability to leverage existing information system investments, and you do not incur the large expense of starting from scratch. Other Advantages Downsizing also offers smoother application maintenance; freedom from being locked into proprietary systems that may become outdated; and the ability to scale applications to match the changing needs of the organization.

Ultimately, downsizing gives users improved tools and critically needed access to data, which in turn increases productivity and the effectiveness of an organization. Rightsizing is defined as finding the correct platform for your enterprise. Compared with downsizing (moving to a smaller platform) and upsizing (moving to a larger platform), rightsizing lets a company align its information systems to its corporate goals. Rightsizing involves selecting the most appropriate computing resource to perform a task based on location, size, organizational structure, business work flow, and processing requirements.

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