It seems like everyone is talking about cloud these days. Research from Cisco Systems, for instance, predicts that more than nine out of 10 IT workloads and compute instances will happen in the cloud by 2021. By contrast, a mere 6 percent of IT will be in traditional data centers three years from now, Cisco predicts.
Meanwhile, many organizations keep chugging along with three-decade-old legacy technologies like rock-solid IBM’s iSeries. Stable companies whose IT demands stay within predictable boundaries can argue with conviction that there’s no need to fix technologies that aren’t broken. Large, complex enterprises with heavy computing demands like ERP systems also may be hesitant to explore uncharted opportunities in the cloud.
The challenge is that legacy technologies are not like fine wine—they don’t necessarily improve with age. Eventually, legacy systems cross a cost threshold where the price of maintenance exceeds the expense of replacement.
As your organization weighs its options on legacy IT systems, keep a few central points in mind:
The bigger your organization is, the more it’ll cost to replace your data center infrastructure. A capital expenditure in the neighborhood of $10-$20 million can be difficult to justify when those funds could be put to use in driving additional sales or improved customer service.
You also have to pay to configure, install, and support the hardware and network. Electricity remains a major cost for data centers. Moreover, your equipment is well on its way to obsolescence on the day you install it. You also could have a difficult time recruiting professionals to staff your data center.
This challenge underscores why the cloud is so popular: Somebody else has to be the data center expert and on top of the latest technologies. You avoid the 7- or 8-figure CapEx hit and switch to an OpEx model that’s billed on a pay-as-you-go model. Your cloud vendor keeps the equipment up-to-date, pays all the cooling costs, and goes the extra mile to maintain security.
The price of computing power declines over time. This usually means that when companies replace racks of servers, the new equipment can have four or five times more computing capacity than the old equipment, if not more.
This often means you pay for a wealth of computing resources you won’t be using. That’s not the most efficient use of your IT budget.
A cloud provider, by contrast, bills only for the resources you use. You don’t pay for capacity you don’t need. And the agility of the cloud ensures you can easily scale up during your busy season and add more capacity if your business grows suddenly.
Legacy systems tend to have legacy backup technologies to match like tape and optical drives. These devices can take days or weeks to provide a full backup. And these backups can fail, leaving organizations in a serious bind.
The cloud represents essentially infinite storage capacity, which makes it an ideal disaster-recovery environment. Servers many miles from your home location provide a measure of distance between you and a flood, earthquake, or hurricane. Furthermore, technologies like virtualization and containerization join forces with advanced replication software to ensure near real-time disaster recovery.
Global corporate titans aren’t the only ones who can afford fully redundant backups. These days, companies of any size can establish robust disaster recovery programs that hold downtime to a minimum.
This challenge is happening throughout the industrialized world, but it’s especially acute in niches like the IBM Power iSeries.
Lots of organizations are one or two retirements away from losing the experts who know their systems inside and out. Unfortunately, technical schools, colleges, and universities are not always training the IT professionals of tomorrow on these legacy systems.
That’s not to say there are no experts on legacy systems anywhere. They’re just hard to find.
Cloud providers succeed because their technologies have distinct advantages in cost, capacity, availability and computing power. But you should not underestimate the complexity of embracing cloud solutions and how varying workloads will perform. They must be carefully designed, implemented, and managed in alignment with your distinct business needs and existing IT capacities.
That’s why many organizations are partnering with managed cloud providers like CBTS. We help companies get out of the data center business and focus their IT energies on core business objectives. Our Disaster Recovery as a Service and Unified Communication as a Service businesses help companies deploy powerful, sophisticated technologies that put them on an even footing with their larger competitors.
Our cloud services ensure you have around-the-clock access to IT experts with advanced training and certifications you might not be able to find on your own.
The iSeries product line, now called IBM Power Systems, dates to the 1980s. Many organizations rely on these systems because they perform as expected and deliver rock-solid security.
For all their strengths, these systems are running out of time in on-premises data centers. Our latest eBook explores five signs that it’s probably time to migrate your iSeries environment to the cloud.
Download our free guide to find out more.