When your cloud provider is your competitor.

Industry-leading cloud technology services are revenue components of larger companies. Cloud technology is only one thing those mega-companies do in addition to offering many other products, services, and initiatives. Sometimes those “additional” offerings compete directly with end customers using their cloud service, and that might be a problem.

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Southwest needs a lift-and-shift to the multi-cloud, then refactor.

Most of us have heard about the crisis Southwest Airlines had over the Holidays. Most articles cite “problems related to legacy systems…” and “outdated scheduling software called SkySolver.” And, of course, there will be a huge financial impact as they try to make everything right with their customer base.

Most likely, the CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, and CTO of Southwest are receiving many calls and emails from vendors offering to “Let us fix it. We will convert everything to be cloud native…” This path sounds like the old saying, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM…” Southwest has a stated multi-cloud strategy, but legacy applications like SkySolver were obviously not priority cloud-native candidates. Though there will be pressure from investors, the industry, and the press to convert legacy applications like SkySolver to cloud-native, I would not initially recommend this approach.

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How to “Float” on the Multi-Cloud.

There is a lot of talk about “multi-cloud,” but trying to achieve that level of cloud diversity might be challenging for many organizations. If you are starting out in the cloud, instead of building cloud-specific expertise across multiple cloud providers, try to “float” across multiple clouds as much as possible. Here is how.

First off, “What is Multi-cloud?”

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Don’t have a Cloud Strategy? You should still migrate one app to the Cloud.

“Cloud computing is in its beginning stages and will only continue to grow, Amazon Web Services CEO Adam Selipsky told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Tuesday.” (June 28th, 2022)

Even if you currently don’t have a comprehensive cloud strategy, regardless of the reason, there is a justification for doing a “proof-of-concept” in the cloud for at least one application of significance in your app portfolio.

Here are a few top reasons companies cite why they don’t move to the cloud. Of course, there could be many others, but these are popular.

  1. Costs (cost of the cloud service, plus implied costs like network connectivity)
  2. Your applications are antiquated and based on mainframe or mid-range servers.
  3. Security
  4. “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.”
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“Lift and Shift” doesn’t mean “No Re-Factoring Required.”

If you have legacy applications and are moving to the cloud, one popular pattern is to do a simple “Lift and Shift.” That means you don’t architecturally change the application but simply move it to your cloud of choice and run it just like you did before. This approach lets you more quickly “get out of the data center” and doesn’t initially imply that you have to refactor any part of the application to use native services provided by your cloud vendor.

In fact, if the application is stable but just legacy, your valid strategy might be to let it run forever in an “as-is” state. Nothing changes. Just get it running in the cloud and out of the data center.

This approach’s major downside is that Lift-and-Shift also carries forward all the Technical Debt accumulated for that application.

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In the near future, you will administer your IBMi LPAR by putting on your headset and entering the Metaverse…

This is just a late-night “riff” of creative writing. A very raw draft of a storyline of one possible version of the future……

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It’s about 8:30 AM, and my work day begins. As a system administrator for a large insurance company, I’m responsible for keeping everything running in our various data centers. Typically I login to my laptop and scan various dashboards and trouble ticket systems that report when something isn’t working right. There would be an alert or log entry describing some problem. The problems could come from any of our data centers around the world. I login to those remote systems and try to figure out is was wrong and attempt to fix it. When needed, other co-workers assist depending on the problem and what skill set might be needed to fix it. Sometimes an application breaks, or maybe a network connection stops working. Occasionally some piece of hardware goes bad. I spend my whole day looking at log files and error messages, emailing, talking, or chatting with other co-workers using collaboration tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams, emailing, and calling hardware and software vendors whose products my company uses. 

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“My application can’t be moved to the cloud!”

My company provides the ability to host IBM Power AIX and IBMi application workloads in the cloud. We partner with two of the world’s largest technology companies to provide this service. During my daily activities as a Cloud Solutions Architect (aka Pre-Sales Engineer), I listen to many customers tell us about their “hopes and dreams” regarding moving legacy workloads to the cloud. These are definitely “Cloud Stubborn”. But when it comes to legacy applications based on IBM Power one of their common responses is:

“It is impossible to move my IBM Power-based application to the cloud.”

Of course, that begs the question “Why not?” The answer is often one of these:

  1. “My application is based on IBM’s AS/400 or more recently called IBMi, or IBM AIX.”
  2. “My application has hard-coded IP addresses compiled into the source code.”
  3. “There is no longer anyone around who knows about the code or applications that are still running.”
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The safest way to live test your ransomware, malware, virus defenses

You aren’t going to release a live virus on your production system, so how do you test your defenses?

In the article “The State of Ransomware in 2020“, research suggests that every 11 seconds, some business is being attacked by a cybercriminal. And in the report “The State of Ransomware 2021“, the frequency of attacks is up year over year along with the diversity of business types being attacked. Lower in the same report, you can see details from the various organizations being attacked.

Couple this with “Cybersecurity Talent Crunch to Create 350 Million Unfilled Jobs Globally by 2021,” and it is apparent that many companies will have to rely on existing worker talent to combat an ever-increasing threat. Of course, high-tech companies have high-tech talent, but what about all the other types of organizations like Government, Education, Service Industry, and Manufacturing. We all like to think we have skilled workers regardless of our industry. Still, under this new growing threat, our current in-house cybersecurity skills might not be at the level needed to provide maximum safeguard.

So what are we to do?

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Prove your IBM i Backup is Recoverable: The Cloud Way

Beyond having checklists and runbooks, what else can you do to test your backups?

In the comprehensive article called “How to Prove Your IBM i is Recoverable without a Real DR Test,” Tom Huntington from HelpSystems details all the IBM i Save Commands and system objects that should be included within a comprehensive backup. By performing an audit of your backup process, you might identify missing components that prevent you from doing the worst-case scenario, a full system restore. It is a great article that IBM i administrators should review.

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