California Department of Justice


The California Department of Justice already had programs in place that would move most of their Unisys OS2200 applications to their chosen strategic platform – CentOS Linux. However the last, possibly most difficult, applications remained. These comprised several different systems written in diverse languages.

DOJ chose to use MSS tools to “lift and shift” these applications to the target environment. MSS staff were able to tackle not only the standard application languages of Cobol and Mapper but also the PL/1 application running on compiler technology now obsolete for many years.

The Cobol programs were translated to Open Cobol running against Oracle database using the COBOL-IT compiler. The department has a bias towards open source software and low cost. It therefore chose the compiler for its cost-effectiveness and availability of support. The Mapper applications were migrated to BIS, the successor product from Unisys that runs on Linux. The PL/1 application was moved to PL/1 on Linux using the Iron Spring compiler.

In addition data was modernized from the mainframe and from its attached virtual tape subsystem to Oracle database using programs provided by MSS.


The California Department of Justice (DOJ) is based in Sacramento, California and is responsible for a wide range of law enforcement issues throughout the state. DOJ has run Unisys OS2200 systems for many years and has had a large body of mainframe code running on Clearpath Dorado servers.

The applications are expensive to run on this platform and difficult to support by an ageing workforce of legacy programmers. To cut cost and improve agility DOJ embarked on a multi-year programme of application rewrite and replacement. However, it became clear in 2011 that this programme would not be complete by the relicensing deadline of July 2012 and the last and most contentious applications would still not be completely transferred to new technology.


MSS and delivery partner Practical Transitions contracted through LCS, a well-established and trusted supplier to the State, to complete the migration of the last applications away from the mainframe. The migration project was conducted during the first half of 2012 and the last components went live at the end of June 2012. The end result was a system running faster than before on commodity hardware and low-cost software.


The migration project was completed by July 2012 enabling the Dorado machine to be decommissioned on time. The Linux system proved to be very stable and performed well. DOJ is very happy to be able to lower its cost base and take advantage of more modern technologies enabled by the Linux / Oracle platform and now has a development path for the future unencumbered by the old difficult-to-maintain mainframe assets.