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Cloud Expo: Article

Note to Mark Hurd: AppZero Prescribes “Virtual Viagra” for Solaris

AppZero = engineering-free Solaris application modernization

Imagine you are an IT professional or executive, and your teams are running a data center with 1,000s of machines and applications.  You know that there is a set of 10-15 year old applications running business critical functions on SUN hardware and the Solaris operating systems.

These applications, their OS and the underlying infrastructure are old.  In fact, measured in "IT-years," where the lifespan of an infrastructure is 3-5 years, they are ancient.  By my calculations, an IT year is equivalent to 20 people-years, making these systems 200-300 years old ...and ....

... stranded on an island.

It is not a question of if one of these servers will break or die; it is a take-it-to-the-bank-matter that these mission critical application servers will die.  The only question is when.

There is no replacement hardware available.  You can't even find these servers on eBay anymore.  The poor old servers can not access new SAN based storage.  The cost of re-engineering the applications so that they can play in a supportable IT world is huge.

I have talked with many people in this situation and simply put, they do not sleep well at night.

Here's their situation in a nutshell:

  • Fact: Extremely valuable business application runs on infrastructure that is soon to fail.
  • Fact: Huge pain and lost dollars to the business will result when these servers fail so there is a very tangible and measurable need for them to be fixed ASAP.
  • Fact: I have talked with some IT folks who say that if their custom Solaris applications ever went down, it would take them weeks, months, or even years to recover.
  • Fact: These applications are integrated with other systems and do very specific tasks tuned for the business, making them poor candidates for prebuilt alternatives.

At this point four choices are available for these companies:

1.) Rewrite/port the applications

2.) Complain loudly so that when it hits you can say "I told you so"

3.) Run ... find a job at a cloud company where systems are only a couple of years old

4) Take AppZero's "virtual Viagra" to scoop and move your apps from the old OS to a new OS with zero re-write

The AppZero capsule, taken once, will last more than 4 hours without requiring any re-engineering or any trip to the doctor.

AppZero = engineering-free Solaris application modernization -

How do we move old Solaris applications to new environments without re-engineering?  We separate the application from the OS and put it in a very portable capsule.

Just to be clear, separating an application from the OS is not something you can easily explain to your mother.  I know.  I've tried.  Why these old applications are stuck on old hardware and how AppZero can separate and move them to new hardware in a matter of hours excites me, but Mom?  When I hear, "That's nice, Greg," I know she has no idea what I am talking about. So instead we talk about how Jameson is doing in football this year.  (btw, he's doing real well, thanks).

AppZero builds software that enables IT and software developers to create, control, and maintain virtual application appliances (VAA).  The VAA decouples an application from the operating system (OS).  It encapsulates that application, along with all of its required underlying infrastructure, so that it can then easily be transferred and run on a different system.

I sometimes compare the VAA capsule to the gelatin that surrounds everyday medicine you'd find in the average medicine cabinet.  The gelatin isn't the medication, it surrounds it.  In a similar manner, the VAA is not the application, but contains or encapsulates it.  This capsule can then be picked up and moved to another system with very little effort or interruption.

VAA vs the cost to rewrite or port an application

An AppZero customer who modernized a few dozen applications with our technology recently spent a good 45 minutes telling me about the bidding process with IBM, Accenture and Wipro to "refactor" the systems that he later moved via our application virtualization.  The baseline number was $7M and 4+ years.

Our "capsule" solution was less then 4% of that number and implemented in 9 weeks.  Maybe I need to talk to my new board members about raising the price of this tool we have for Oracle and its newest crowd of faithful users?

Many of our prospects have been talking to us about how they can remain faithful to Solaris while still getting the thrill of running their applications on a "newer model".  They are confident that Mark will inject some new life into the Solaris platform.

In the meantime, long-time, faithful Solaris users can take advantage of "capsules" that allow them to share in this exciting new life today without having to divorce themselves from the applications that they have come to love and rely upon.

To quote Viagra's tagline, "This is the age of taking action.  And getting the answers you want.  So you can get on your way."  AppZero couldn't agree more. Greg O'Connor, AppZero CEO.

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

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