We have all heard by now that IBM has extended the end of support for WCS V7 to April 2020. We can all breathe a big sigh of relief as there is more time to plan. The end of V7 also means migration for all customers and is such an important topic and rich in details, that we feel it deserves several discussions.
Every migration comes with a set of challenges but this one is particularly difficult. Why? There are a multitude of options to evaluate and a number of dependencies and assumptions we have to make to be safe. A wrong assumption can drive cost and puts you in trouble. Migration is typically not a very exciting project because 100% success means that the application works as before, no more – no less, exactly as-is. But because it affects business operations, it draws a lot of attention and energy. So not a lot of glory, but undue scrutiny.
Besides the usual top 3 challenges which are budget, resources and schedule, there are 2 additional key decisions which change all the planning numbers: your target version and infrastructure.
What will your target version be?
So let’s tackle the version decision first. The current supported versions of WCS are V8 and V9 and also there is the SaaS version known as IDC (IBM Digital Commerce).
Most customers will opt in for V9 as it is the most obvious choice; why go to V8 when I can go to V9 and avoid 1 more migration.
However, there is a main difference between V8 and V9; V8 has the same architecture as V7, a monolithic Java application, and does not offer a whole lot of features or benefits. But it’s within your comfort zone, same architecture, same infrastructure and business as usual. It just feels safe. But do you just want to play it safe? or do you want to win?
V9 is a departure from the old monolithic application and breaks it up into 4 pieces: storefront, transaction (IBM code), search and customization servers. V9 holds the most promise of a cloud architected solution and provides Headless Commerce capability.
IDC is a cloud solution but limited in functionality so it is better suited for new customers; most existing customers don’t even think about it, although IDC is always in the back of everyone’s mind as an IBM strategic direction.
Well, we have good news for you. IBM promises to have V9 and IDC converge into a single product again soon. There is a lot to look forward to in 2019!
In the meantime, in our next blog post, we will dive into how your choice of the target version will influence your infrastructure decisions. Stay tuned!
We are excited to share what we learned about this migration journey. We promise that there will be unfiltered information and facts that can help you determine what’s best for your organization and business. Until our next post, take care and send us your questions!