Alcoa Australia Rolled Products: Legacy Upgrade Solution


Alcoa Australia Rolled Products was using fifteen year old software on an outdated Digital Equipment Corporation DEC hardware platform.  

The DEC server was being hosted on a Virtual machine that used emulation software on a HP Windows Server that enabled it to run. The ongoing support costs required to manage the speciality VAX VMS were prohibitive and the limitations on software development tools in the VM environment eliminated any possibility of future software development.

HordernIT Solution

HordernIT provided project management, business analyst and technical services to upgrade the existing Ingot Casting system at Pt Henry to a newer technology as well as making it compatible with a similar manufacturing software system in use at the Yennora site.

Key considerations when designing the upgrade procedure were:

  • Minimising business disruption whilst upgrading from the old to new systems.
  • Compatibility with the Yenorra Ingot Casting software system.
  • Upgrade to the corporate software and hardware platforms.
  • Use of sanctioned software development tools and adherance to development guidelines.
  • Supportable by local and contracted IT resources without the need for highly specialised and hard to find technical skills for outdated programming languages.

The solution provided addressed these considerations accordingly:

  • Development and deployment were handled in stages enabling both systems to run concurrently.
  • Key Alcoa technical resources provided expertise and advice in the legacy system and existing Yennora VB application
  • The existing system was analysed and documented. This analysis was then checked with the business to make sure it still met their needs. Once agreed upon, the functionality could then be translated into the new technology.
  • Corporate standards and guidelines were adhered to at all times and the applciation was developed using current standard .NET technologies enabling it to be supported by the majority of the developer community.
  • The migration of the application to the new hardware platform eliminated the need for specialist software and the new software application eliminated the need for specialist programmers reducing costs the organisation whilst ensuring maintainability and future development is possible and simplified.

Products and Services Provided

  • Business analysis
  • Architecture Review
  • Database design and administration
  • ASP.NET development
  • Project management
  • User acceptance testing coordination
  • Software installation
  • IIS configuration
  • User Training
  • Documentation (test plans, training material, user guides, system maintenance manuals)