Digital Transformation or just keep going? Bringing AIX / Unix environments into your Cloud & Digital Strategy.
Digitisation, cloud, multi-cloud, being more flexible and agile are all popular agenda items, however for many, probably the most basic concern at the moment is how to keep services running cost effectively in the current climate.
Those with key AIX, Solaris and HPUX workloads have long been concerned with declining skills, out of support environments and their Unix based applications being omitted from cloud and digitisation plans as x86 workloads are migrated to public and private clouds. Organisations have often been left with the uncomfortable choice of either paying ever increasing maintenance costs for their Unix environments or leaving them unsupported with an accompanying risk that only increases year on year.
Now we all have to do more with less, or at best the same with a lot less, what options are there for reducing costs and modernising Unix environments?
■ Moving to a Cloud/Hosted environment
Over the past few years many organisations have adopted a cloud first policy to take advantage of increased agility and flexibility. Certainly public clouds such as AWS, Azure, Google and IBM Cloud have given organisations far more agility and a more obvious control over costs (though not necessarily lower costs).
However AIX and Unix workloads have largely been omitted from this strategy as the major public clouds supported only x86 environments. Token acknowledgements for the need for Unix environments have recently been acknowledged in some of these public clouds but there are restrictions around usage and the charging structure is at best Byzantine and expensive.
For most, as the underlying operating system versions and hardware platforms have become unsupported, risks have increased as well as the respective cost of supporting these environments as a proportion of overall budget. Yet Unix continues to support many critical applications across multiple industries.
At L3C we specialise in Unix, it is our core service, not an afterthought to other services provided. Our Unix cloud and hosted solutions are typically built with dedicated environments for our clients as not everyone is ready to share key infrastructures. We provide a simple, clear, all inclusive price per LPAR (or LDOM for Solaris) and can include System Administration and Oracle DBA for those struggling with skill shortages. We connect to your x86 environments in the public clouds allowing you to bring your AIX / Unix workloads into your cloud and digital strategy, We support back level environments realising that not everything can be moved to the latest technology.
We also believe we will clearly reduce your costs, so even if you are not in a ‘digitisation’ place we can help you keep key systems running.
■ Modernising your Unix applications
Another option, budget and skills permitting, is to modernise your Unix applications. A complete rewrite is generally unrealistic. However AIX and Unix applications could be analysed and broken down into the key business processes they serve. These could be converted to microservices while retaining the core business logic on the Unix platform. This can maintain robustness yet bring the application into the digital world facilitating more flexibility.
■ Keeping everything as is
Of course there is the option to carry on and do nothing and there may be good reasons for this. However the risk level does increase each year and if these environments are being maintained then these costs can take up a large proportion of budget, denying other projects the chance to proceed. At L3C we can still bring older versions into our environment. We would look to migrate them on the most current hardware platform their operating system can support and provide the full monitoring, backup and availability service levels you need. Eventually these applications may be replaced by new ‘off the shelf’ applications and our commercial model allows for this while continuing to support your other Unix workloads that are not necessarily at this stage.