BT Group extends Kyndryl deal to migrate legacy mainframe apps to the cloud

The facade of BT corporate office in London, UK
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BT Group has struck a ten-year deal with Kyndryl to migrate the legacy copper infrastructure-based part of its business to the cloud.

The project has been described as “complex” and will see critical applications - the shutting down of which would lead to major operational disruption - being moved from BT Group’s mainframe to the cloud so they can be managed “in a modern way”.

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BT Group said it plans to realise £17 million worth of cost benefits every year by 2026 with the move.

The bulk of the savings is expected to come from areas such as lower maintenance and mainframe operating costs, and reduced energy consumption to the tune of 70%.

The project also aims to open up data insights for the business, and will see some legacy applications being retired, refactored, or rehosted.

Retired apps will no longer be used, in line with the Group’s ambition to be reliant on fewer than 500 strategic systems by 2027.

Some refactored apps will see their functionality added to existing systems and the app itself being retired, and the rehosted apps will be “repackaged” so they can be hosted in the cloud.

“We like thinking out of the box to solve complex problems - like how to move off mainframes given the prohibitive increase in legacy infrastructure cost - without rewriting decades-old applications,” said Harmeen Mehta, chief digital and innovation officer at BT Group.

“With that mindset, working with Kyndryl, we figured out how to turn legacy mainframes into modern digital apps and run them at a fraction of the cost.”

In addition to reduced costs and greater levels of insights throughout the business, BT Group also expects customer experiences to improve, such as helping customers during the migration of copper networks to fibre.

The Group said with more of an API-driven model of digitally managing its mainframe infrastructure, it will open up greater automation capabilities across its wider systems.

“It’s exciting to be partnering with BT Group on such an ambitious and critical programme,” said Petra Goude, global practice leader of core enterprise and zCloud at Kyndryl.

“Migrating from mainframes to cloud extends the usefulness and lifespan of these applications in a modern, microservices-led, cloud-centric way and helps unlock intelligent data insights.

“We’re excited to draw on our deep knowledge, ecosystem of partners, and community of industry-leading experts to help deliver this transformation.”

BT Group originally signed a five-year deal with IBM to manage its mainframe infrastructure in 2020.

After IBM spun off its infrastructure services business in 2021, the business unit was named Kyndryl and it naturally took continued managing BT Group’s mainframe under its new brand.

The announcement today marks an extension of the existing partnership that will take it to 2030.

Connor Jones
News and Analysis Editor

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.