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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“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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Prepare for AIX Migration to the Cloud

AIX in the cloud is now a “thing”.

When moving your AIX workloads from on-prem to the cloud, there are two big-ticket items to initially consider for planning and execution:

  1. Mapping Resources from on-prem to the cloud equivalent
  2. Techniques for the actual movement of the images

Mapping Resources

First, get a list of all the LPARs that are candidates for migration and capture the essential attributes like CPU allocation, memory, storage , IOPS, and expected network bandwidth required for each server. If you attempt to do a straight “lift and shift,” you may or may not be able to do an exact mapping in a pure self-service model. Why? Because cloud vendors typically have “safety caps” on some resources that prevent an untrained cloud user, or a run-away automation script from doing unwanted actions.

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The Cloud Dilemma

What to do with traditional on-prem applications that don’t appear to have a path to the cloud?

“My app can’t be moved to the cloud…..it is based on AIX or IBMi…….”

What is implied is that the app owner doesn’t want to re-engineer their application to all use cloud-native services, but instead wants to do a classic lift-and-shift of their application without making any application code changes. Since IBMi (AS/400) and AIX are based on PowerPC and not x86, the path the cloud is not apparent for these types of applications.

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