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 Most articles cite “problems related to legacy systems…” and “outdated scheduling software called SkySolver.”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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“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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“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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Application Archiving in the Cloud

Introducing “Cold Storage” of complete application systems in the Cloud.

Traditional application archiving is often described in one of two ways:

1) Archiving – this is where you have an application that has accumulated large amounts of historical data that exists on Tier 1 primary storage within the data center. The basic concept is that you take some of the older, infrequently accessed data and “archive” it or move it to some other read-only data warehouse that utilizes less expensive storage. The idea is to save money by reducing the pressure to expand more expensive storage and potentially reduce those costs over time. The application system remains “active” but with only newer relevant data.

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Cloud Taxonomy

Non-Production Use Cases for the Cloud.

The following use cases are potential ways to use the cloud for non-production use cases. The key is to deliver “quickly” the infrastructure needed to perform a specific need or task. Waiting weeks for infrastructure delivery should be considered an “anti-pattern” since the cumulative time of waiting over the course of a project would be considerable. Building internal resource delivery processes with slow delivery times goes against the concepts described in works such as “The Phoenix Project,” “The Goal,” and “Healthcare Digital Transformation.” Here are a few ideas:

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Resetting QA Test Data: The Cloud Way

Stop running database scripts to reset test data, there is a better way.

One of the common use-case problems we hear about from QA Teams is figuring out how to reset test data once any testing activity has been performed on a complex test environment. In most cases, the stories describe multi-day or multi-week processes that must be completed to reset a test system back to some known data state. If you don’t do a reset, then you are accumulating technical debt in your test data. Any repetitive testing results become suspect, and quality decisions can not be made from the testing results. In some cases, it isn’t possible to start a new iteration of QA testing without first resetting your test data from the prior test run.

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