Saturday, June 18, 2011

Migration of Legacy Systems Through Encapsulation

As IT infrastructures become more complex close to 70% of a typical IT operating budget will be spent on maintenance. This will leave only limited money available for new development and for capital purchases.

What is needed is a method how to extract systems from existing inefficiencies. A way must be found how to place all systems into a cloud environment where computing resources can be delivered without money spent on keeping up with a proliferation of options.

 Enabling IT as a cloud service will give to a business what it needs while retaining control and improving security. Applications and virtual machines can be provisioned automatically while resources are pooled pooled and then delivered on-demand according to business policies. This makes it possible for a firm to build a self-managing virtual infrastructure while cutting costs.

Encapsulation makes it possible for virtual machines to be portable into Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud environments. A complete copy a legacy system, regardless how organized, can be then relocated from a dedicated computer into cloud pooled computing. A virtual machine is a software container that bundles or “encapsulates” into a complete set of virtual hardware resources. It includes the operating system plus all applications and utilities inside a software package without making any changes in the programs.
   
The term “legacy application” is a misnomer. Legacy applications are simply software that still works but runs inefficiently because it does not share the ability to participate in the sharing of resources, including security appliances. The purpose of inserting encapsulated legacy into a cloud is to achieve combinations of assets for maximum efficiency.  Legacy applications, such as written in COBOL, that are still working can continue participating in a wide range of services that are available on a cloud that is offered by a particular vendor. Companies will not have to rewrite program code or to created new programming interfaces just to get to an application to operate in a private or a public cloud.  Encapsulation of applications allows the re-use of legacy systems with only minor changes.  The cloud platform will continue supporting identical interfaces so that applications can move instantly and seamlessly into a chosen cloud environtment without interoperability problems.

SUMMARY
The Department of Defense can realize currently mandated rapid cost reductions only by materially cutting back the number of data centers. This makes it necessary to depend on virtualization of computing assets to improve capacity utilization.

However, such consolidations will not deliver the expected savings unless applications are also migrating from poorly utilized servers to virtual cloud operations that can show much higher levels of efficiency.

The encapsulation of as-is legacy applications and then relocating them into an IaaS cloud environment is the best way of reducing operating costs in the immediate future. Large savings will accrue not only from greater efficiencies in capacity utilization but also from a reduction in the operating manpower. A small number of people will be needed to manage operations that are simpler and smaller.
After the legacy applications have been herded into consolidated data centers the work of systems designers to work on further integration can then begin.

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