Cover-All Managed IT Services - Case Study

Case Study: Mainframe Technology Refresh

Businesses can save time and money by migrating their mainframe to an updated hardware and software environment.  

Our client is a leading Canadian natural resources company. Their IT infrastructure was no longer supported by IBM, and their mainframe employees were nearing retirement. The client needed to make a decision about the future of its mainframe and whether to keep it in-house, or outsource to a managed services provider. In an effort to focus on their growth and changes in their business model, they decided that using Cover-All’s Managed IT Services provided them with the best option moving forward.  

Business Challenges

Pull quote Mainframe Teck RefreshMigrating our client’s mainframe from their corporate office to Cover-All would require a multi-phase approach. Their hardware and software had not been updated since the year 2000, approximately 14 release levels, and was no longer supported by IBM. As a result, their mainframe staff did not have the necessary skills to manage a hardware and software refresh.  

One of our client’s key objectives was to ensure that mission critical mainframe applications needed to remain available. If there system was down more than four hours, it would shut down their entire production plant, potentially costing them hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, they wanted to be able to access historical data in a “read-only” mode for an additional seven to ten years.  

Business Solutions

Cover-All has decades of experience moving clients into our Data Centre and have developed procedures and processes to ensure a successful transition. Our employees managed the transition with a proven transition methodology.

Phase 1 – Review Current Environment

In the first phase it was important for Cover-All to get an understanding of the client’s short-term and long-term business objectives to ensure we recommended the right hardware and software solutions for the client’s business needs. This critical step helps us design a mainframe architecture that not only meets the client’s specific needs today, but into the future. It also enables us to design an environment that provides them with efficiencies that lead to cost-savings.

Phase 2 – Migrate Hardware and Software to Cover-All’s Data Centre

With the client’s objectives in mind, and considering we were migrating a hardware and software environment that was 14 release levels behind, a like-to-like move was recommended as the best approach to minimize the potential of migration failure.

With the client’s approval, the decision was made to purchase a mainframe that was similar to their current mainframe. We purchased a slightly smaller machine in the same family. By downsizing, we were able to save our client 27% in monthly IT costs.

Next, we created a software environment that was identical to the client’s mainframe. The Cover-All team then moved the data from the client location to the Cover-All Data Centre.

Utilizing a like-to-like hardware and software migration was instrumental in ensuring the data was transferred without interrupting their mission critical applications.

Phase 3 – Upgrade Operating System (OS)

In this phase, we outlined the process to upgrade the client’s operating system in order to meet their growing demands on their mainframe system. In a 6 month period, we were able to update the OS 14 release levels. We achieved this without an interruption to their critical mainframe applications.

Phase 4 – Upgrade Hardware

Once the OS was updated, we were in a position to update the hardware to meet the company’s growth and changes in their business model. In this phase we analyzed the various mainframe systems that would accommodate their needs. The client wanted a system that would manage their data for an additional five years before a new upgrade would be necessary. We identified a mainframe that would provide the client with seven years of service in the event that they needed it. In moving to the z10BC-L01, we were able to save the client an additional 18% in monthly IT costs.

Phase 5 – Migrate to new hardware and software 

During the term of the contract, as the client’s business needs change, we continue to work with them to update their hardware and software and develop an IT infrastructure that reflects their business forecasts.

Business Results

Our client was able to update their hardware and software while realizing overall cost savings of 62%. When the transition was made to Cover-All, our client’s mainframe staff retired, helping them to realize further savings. Our client ended up with a more stable mainframe environment, leading to increased stability in the production of their product, and they have access to their read-only data secured in Cover-All’s Data Centre for a fraction of the cost.

Many businesses defer hardware and software upgrades as a cost-saving measure. Cover-All was able demonstrate how an updated environment can lead to significant cost savings for our clients.


Cover-All is a Managed Services Provider (MSP) delivering cost effective solutions for Managed Cloud, Managed IT, Cyber Security, Co-Location, Backup & Recovery/DR, and Cloud and IT Consulting Services. To find out more call 1-833-268-3788 or visit