DOR’s Investment in Faster, More Affordable Solution Pays Dividends
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s primary mission is to manage state taxes and child support, assist municipalities’ finance planning, and administer the statewide Underground Storage Tank Program. Their system must be able to track relevant rulings and regulations, up-to-date tax policy analysis, digital communication, and coordinate legislative affairs.
The client relied on an out-of-date version of IBM WebSphere Portal, inviting security risks. The Commonwealth had purchased an extended support agreement to keep their operations moving, but that agreement had a looming expiration date and they would lose support. Under a deadline, the required development, testing, and server migration would need to be executed to align with the Commonwealth’s on-going work without interruption to the services their citizens rely on.
Asponte assisted Mass DOR through HCL Software’s DX Lab Services team from planning and migration through testing and transition to operations.
- HCL DX v9.5
- RHEL v7.9
- Oracle v19.10
A total of 9 environments, designed to support various user types, were migrated to updated systems. The Commonwealth now enjoys the security and functionality provided by the most recent version of HCL DX v9.5, RHEL v7.9 and Oracle v19.10. A Lift & Shift migration was the ideal migration pathway to build new servers, install a fresh version of WAS and Portal application software, and deploy existing codebase to new servers.
As part of the code migration, a custom portlet code was discovered to contain build dependencies on its separate Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) services. The Commonwealth did not want to update the associated SOA services due to the additional time and effort that it would take for their team to complete the portal upgrade project.
Next we dove into decoupling the build dependencies between the HCL DX custom portlets and their associated web services deployed to a different IBM WebSphere environment. Prior to Asponte’s engagement, both the web services and the custom portlets were built as a single package and deployed.
Decoupling the builds significantly reduced testing and deployment times. The Commonwealth was then able to deploy updates to each asset individually without impacting other custom applications while allowing the web services and custom portlets to leverage different java frameworks.
Previously, the Commonwealth leveraged IBM Rational Application Developer (RAD) as their Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Asponte assisted the transition from IBM RAD to open-source Eclipse IDE by assisting the Commonwealth’s development team in learning to perform their tasks using IBM RAD. The shift from a paid IDE to a free, open-source IDE provided significant savings on software development.
Each change and every upgrade was tested in lower environments prior to going into production.
Finally, Asponte provided collaboration and support during go live and for 30 days after to address any issues resulting from the migration.
Once the project was completed, the team at Massachusetts DOR noted several improvements on their experience with the platform.
- Better Access: Ability to use either Chrome or Edge
- Time Saved: Combined Portal & Eclipse deployment package on Developer’s workstations
- Vulnerability Remediation: (Log4J) for all upgraded servers
- New IBM RAD IDE with Open-Source Eclipse
- Updated Development Workstation Setup Guide