TSRI, headquartered in Kirkland, WA, strives to enable the defense industry to checkmate its inefficient legacy software systems by employing the company’s broad-spectrum offering of automated modernization services. TSRI’s services are uniquely low-cost and low-risk, while agile and scalable due to its highly advanced, artificial intelligence-based, software re-engineering toolset, called JANUS Studio®.
‘Breaking the Inertia’
While comprehending the strategy and possibilities that lie within each move of a game of chess is a great analogue to business, Mr. Newcomb also well understands the extraordinary challenges faced by the defense community, and the hard moves his customers need to make, to successfully modernize their legacy computer systems. The struggle to modernize outdated legacy IT infrastructures to enable defense systems to keep pace with the rapid evolution of IT has been a losing battle for CIOs for a long time now. Sustainment of on-going operations and maintenance (O&M) of legacy systems typically accounts for 70-90 percent of an organization’s IT budgets and crowds out a CIO’s ability to innovate and adopt new technologies.
JANUS Studio has an unprecedented ability to mediate as well as document all changes to software as the transformation takes place
Contributing to this challenge are several additional cultural forces. In many agencies, legacy systems built 20 to 50 years ago still serve as the backbone of the organization. These legacy systems have been patched countless times and have grown increasingly complex and resistant to change. In addition, the workforces of these organizations are aging and have focused their skillsets on maintaining ever more antiquated legacy IT systems while learning little about modern IT technologies
With their members lacking the modern technical skill-sets to maintain the legacy systems after they are modernized, in some case unions have exercised political influence to prevent change. In some organizations retirement has left virtually no one who understands how the organization’s legacy systems function or are structured. CIOs in many legacy IT dominated organizations are trained to ensure continuity of day-to-day operations. They are ill-equipped to safely navigate the transition of the organization’s systems from legacy platforms to the cyber-threat filled environment of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the cloud. Finally, the only modernization option most CIOs are familiar with is the traditional approach of manual rewrite and application package replacement. Many CIOs are skeptical of technologies that can automatically transform their legacy systems into modern systems employing state-of-theart software languages and hardware platforms.
This knowledge and technology gap is where TSRI’s JANUS Studio® comes to the CIO’s rescue by transforming, modernizing, and hardening legacy systems against cyber threats with 100 percent automation levels.
The Secret Ingredient
As a member of the Architecture Driven Modernization (ADM) task force of the Object Management Group (OMG), TSRI has long sought to achieve, with TSRI’s JANUS Studio® toolset, the most complete implementation of the Object Management Group’s ADM vision of an authoritative set of standards and best practices for modernizing legacy software. At the heart of JANUS Studio® is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine that captures all the intermediate products and processes of a rule-driven process that combines bottom-up reverse-engineering with top-down forward-engineering. JANUS Studio® makes code translation, code and database refactoring, software metrics capture, software assurance analysis, documentation of the ‘As- Is’ code model into an Application Blueprint® and the generation of ‘To- Be’ Transformation Blueprint® into mechanical repeatable processes.
"The JANUS Studio Rule System is the secret sauce that makes TSRI’s entire process reliable and repeatable"
The Application Blueprint® captures the detailed functional design and architecture models for the legacy system. The Transformation Blueprint® documentation on the other hand, is the legacy system’s modernization roadmap. The latter visually documents transition of the legacy system’s code, design, and architecture. Key performance metrics of the legacy and target systems are used in Return on Investment (ROI) models to estimate the cost savings that can be obtained by reducing technical debt and lowering the maintenance and operating costs of the legacy systems. JANUS Studio® has an unprecedented ability to mediate as well as document all changes to software as the transformation takes place, and the Transformation Blueprint® permits the legacy and modernized system to be viewed and compared side-by-side at every step in the transition process.
Dwelling on the benefits of JANUS Studio®, Newcomb points out that the greatest savings occur when TSRI’s flagship offering is used to combine redundant code and data in groups of closely related systems into reusable micro services in a cloud architecture. When collections of similar and related systems can be combined the savings are amplified by the ability of JANUS Studio® to preserve the unique services of individual systems, while consolidating common code and data into common library services. TSRI’s entire process is driven by rules, which are easily tailored to the end-user’s specific requirements and mediated within a language-neutral reusable intermediate model.
“The JANUS Studio® Rule System is the secret sauce that makes this process reliable and repeatable. If anything goes wrong in one place, the rules are adjusted and the process is fixed—not just in the first place where the problem was found, but in every place it can occur.” says Newcomb.
The trick is to apply the rules at an abstraction level that is below the surface syntax of the code. There, the rules can be applied to an unlimited number of situations and finely tuned to nuanced situations by using local and non-local context matching. The other important ingredient is the high-throughput and high-performance of the conversion. JANUS Studio® achieves massively parallel pattern recognition and pattern based transformation when it is compiled in grid computing architectures or into multi-threaded, shared-memory super computers.
TSRI has an impressive portfolio of more than 130 successfully completed modernization projects with more than 70 percent of those projects modernizations of mission-critical defense systems. TSRI is frequently called in when all else has failed. In 2012, the USAF cancelled the development of a $1 billion logistics management system, called the Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS). ECSS was one of a half-dozen large legacy enterprise modernization projects behind budget at the time of cancellation. The DoD decided to try again in 2014. This time they used TSRI’s fully automated transformation capabilities to incrementally modernize one of the largest legacy systems in the Air Force Depot Maintenance System ECSS was intended to replace, the Reliability & Maintainability Information System (REMIS), which consisted of 3.1 million lines of source code written in COBOL85, TAL and C running on a Tandem Symmetric Multiprocessor with nonstop SQL/MP DDL and a Tandem database. Working as a subcontractor to Northrup Grumman REMIS was transformed by TSRI into Java. The economies of scale were remarkable. TSRI transformed the final 1.5M lines of COBOL and C++ into Java, completing the overall project for $1.54M saving $500,000 of the original $2.04M projected cost. In addition, the 12-month timeline for the project was cut to just 6 months. The Air Force subsequently contracted with TSRI to undertake a follow-on project to modernize the Standard Base Supply System (SBSS) as a subcontractor to Array Technologies. Perhaps most notable among TSRI’s many successes is the company’s conversion of Eurocat from Ada to Real Time Java. Eurocat rebranded as Top Sky by Thales Air Systems in 2012, is installed at 280 airports around the world where it is widely regarded as the most versatile and advanced flight operations systems in existence.
Experience is the Best Teacher
TSRI’s modernization process learns and gets better with each modernization project the company undertakes. Newcomb elaborates, “Lessons learned from previous projects are rigorously incorporated into rules that are applied to subsequent projects. This allows TSRI to modernize entire systems at a very low cost and technical risk, over very short timelines. The highest ROI occurs when the up-front capital expense (CAPEX) of information system modernization can be eliminated altogether, and the cost of modernization can be amortized as a series of payments built into much lowered future operational expense (OPEX). TSRI helps its clients achieve nirvana by trading upfront CAPEX for greatly lowered future OPEX.”
Under Newcomb’s leadership, TSRI dwells and excels in the dynamic state of technology and views the Cloud and the Internet of Things as the next big thing. “These two technologies will change everything and are multi-dimensional and multitrillion dollar markets. The world economy as well as its social structure will be transformed as these two waves of technology weave their way into everything that we do. TSRI is looking at several vertical and horizontal markets within which TSRI has an already established presence and we can facilitate change transition for our clients. Among these are defense, engineering, manufacturing, telecom, healthcare, cyber security, and cloud and grid computing architectures.” concludes Newcomb.