As CEO of a cloud migration services company, I guide enterprises each week on their digital transformation and the best path to the cloud. And over the past decade, the challenge that frequently surfaces is how to include legacy applications in the broader cloud transformation initiative. We’ve all seen how modern applications have migrated to or been built on mature cloud infrastructures such as Azure, AWS and GCP, and yet until recently, companies with critical legacy AIX and IBM i workloads have been limited in their choices, often being forced to exclude these workloads from their cloud strategies.
However, with the expansion of Skytap on Azure over the past few years, local and global organizations can now bring their IBM Power workloads into a modern cloud environment making overall IT operations easier with a single pane of glass interface, as well as facilitating the improved performance, security, compliance, backup and DR utilities that come along with cloud-native technologies.
Historically, organizations with IBM Power workloads were served by local service providers offering managed-to-host solutions, going with a global outsourcing solution, or being sucked into a repetitive cycle of IBM Power hardware and maintenance renewals often with over-solutioned or overpriced purchases way beyond what was realistically required. The alternative to these choices of course was also to simply do nothing and hope for the best.
Local service providers typically offered good service but lacked the ability to really integrate with modern data analytics solutions leveraging AI and machine learning that are now available on most global cloud platforms. They were also susceptible to instability and M&A activity and even more so today with electricity price hikes and the precariousness of the global economy.
Clients of global outsourcers are frequently frustrated with the intransigence toward innovation and the lack of outcomes that are promised, but never delivered. Doing nothing is ok for one hardware cycle maybe, but eventually, the infrastructure needs replacing or the data center/server room needs to close while buying the new hardware platform every cycle is costly and an increasingly antiquated model.
Skytap on Azure has addressed these issues for local and global organizations alike. AIX and IBM i (formerly known as AS/400) workloads are now part of cloud strategies, whether simply moving servers off-premise, being part of a digital strategy to extract data from these critical applications for analytical, AI and modern data initiatives, or responding to increased remote working requirements from employees.
Companies that have migrated to Skytap on Azure have found a modern cloud infrastructure for their AIX and IBM i workloads with pay-as-you-go pricing or 1-yr and 3-yr committed consumption resource models. Physical security and robustness are increased with the Skytap infrastructure being located within Microsoft data centers worldwide with backup data securely and efficiently held in tiered Azure blob storage.
The benefits have continued with ease of operation, either through a service provider specializing in Skytap managed services or the ability to manage Linux, Windows, AIX and IBM i workloads on a single cloud platform. At L3C we provide tools to bring AIX and IBM i system monitoring into the Azure Monitor dashboard further enhancing operational efficiency.
Fundamentally, the critical data often associated with the AIX and IBM i applications can now also be better accessed and utilized in modern data analytics solutions that are available across the Azure platform.
Certainly, as with any migration, the move to Skytap on Azure needs planning and we would recommend the involvement of specialist migration expertise such as those provided by L3C to ensure the infrastructure costs are identified and optimized, the Skytap cloud network and landing zone are well-designed and implemented and the migration plan is executable within the windows permitted. We haven’t come across an environment yet that we could not migrate and with the global availability of Skytap on Azure infrastructure, the improvements in security, backup, fit-for-purpose server infrastructure, operational management, DR as well as the ability to simplify the use of AIX and IBM i application data in new data analytical initiatives, Skytap on Azure has established itself as the de facto cloud for IBM Power workloads.
About the author
Jerry Crossfield is CEO of L3C, a specialist cloud migration services company based in the UK, with offices in Bulgaria. For more information on L3C and Skytap on Azure, visit https://l3c.cloud/services/skytap-on-azure/