IBM InterConnect took over Las Vegas last month. I spent the week meeting with enterprises who time and again said, “we are going to the cloud, we just don’t know exactly how to get there.” This was a significant shift from last year’s event when these same organizations were still reticent to move core business applications to the cloud.

We were often asked to give multiple Skytap demos at a time at InterConnect

The enterprise shift to cloud grows each day, and Forrester predicts cloud spending will top $230B by 2020. Every business must deliver goods and services digitally and on-demand, and the scale, efficiency, and agility cloud delivers is a primary enabler of this digital transformation. So, today, our discussions with enterprises are all about, “How?” and not “Why?”

The challenge that these customers are facing is how to migrate core applications built on more traditional technologies to the cloud. For example, you can’t take your order processing application using WebSphere and DB2 and run it in Bluemix PaaS overnight—significantly refactoring or completely re-architecting it is required. This is a common problem within the enterprise, but Skytap was designed to solve this challenge.

Skytap is the cloud for an enterprise’s core and traditional applications—ones that weren’t intended to run in a cloud. Skytap Cloud has nine data centers around the world and works just like your data center. When I say “your data center,” what does that mean? It means that Skytap allows you to run applications that sit on both VMware and Power/AIX in the same environment, with the same networking configuration that they had on-premises. The benefit to the customer is that it makes lift-and-shift a reality for many applications where it was previously impossible or incredibly daunting.

Once in Skytap, you can modernize these applications at a far faster pace then you could on-premises. Skytap Cloud is designed to be self-service to those users that need these environments for development and test, in terms of both maintenance and modernization. Unlike other IaaS solutions where you must invest in complex automation and people to provide self-service, this capability is the fundamental function of Skytap. Skytap allows users to easily clone environments and work on multiple tasks in parallel environments.  The result is that not only can you lift-and-shift your applications so that they can run in Skytap long-term, you now also have a place to evolve their design on an accelerated path to digital transformation.

Since Skytap makes it easy to rapidly modernize your applications, you can use it as the launching point for your IBM Cloud journey. If your strategy with an application is to ultimately move it to serverless computing, you can start to take components of the application and move them to Bluemix PaaS.  You may also decide to leverage other Bluemix solutions, such their container services. Since Skytap treats containers as first-class citizens, you can develop your containerized application components in Skytap. This gives you the benefits of cloning and working on multiple copies, while at the same time pushing the finished code to your production containers running in Bluemix.

While an enterprise’s journey to the IBM Cloud may seem daunting, Skytap can give you a clear line of sight into what that cloud journey looks like and how to get there. At IBM InterConnect, we demoed the scenario of taking an application consisting of both x86 and Power/AIX workloads, migrating them to Skytap, and then taking components of the application and running them natively in Bluemix. When customers saw it, their eyes lit up as they observed something that was once abstract becoming reality. I’d love to show you this demo, too. To schedule one, please sign up at https://www.skytap.com/demo-request/.

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