Three keys for iSeries cloud migration

August 01, 2018
Author: Chris Munoz
Blog | Cloud

The IBM iSeries has enjoyed a remarkable run. What started as the AS/400 in 1988 evolved into iSeries in 2006 and survives to this day under IBM’s Power Series brand.

But three decades of rock-solid performance have not overcome the challenges of hanging on to legacy iSeries systems. Dedicated hardware and software are difficult and expensive to upgrade. Seasoned iSeries experts are getting harder to find. Cloud technologies, meanwhile, offer power, flexibility, scalability, and economy that are too attractive to pass up.

Fortunately, embracing the cloud doesn’t force you to unload your iSeries infrastructure platform. You just need a sound strategy for migration to the cloud. Most likely, you’ll need a hybrid strategy that keeps some IT workloads in-house but seamlessly connects to others in the cloud.

Preparing for that move requires you to have three things in place: proper staffing and management, adequate power and space, and robust backup and recovery.

Let’s walk through each of these issues:

1. The staff to implement, manage, and support it.

Before you launch an iSeries cloud migration, you must solve several core challenges:

  • A cloud migration must be carefully crafted to suit your existing technologies and unique business needs. If you’ve never designed an iSeries cloud migration, the learning curve can be time consuming and expensive.
  • Staffing. Due to the maturity of the iSeries platform, younger IT professionals haven’t always been trained to master iSeries technologies. Many iSeries experts are close to retirement age and replacing them gets more difficult all the time. There’s still an abundance of iSeries talent available—the challenge is connecting them with your IT department.
  • Management and support. If you’re short on iSeries talent, managing and supporting your new cloud environment will also be a big challenge.

2. The power and space you need.

Many organizations have far more processing power in their legacy systems than they’ll ever need or use. Making the move to the cloud means you can still get the power and space you need, while cutting costs at the same time. This is especially important for organizations whose needs fluctuate throughout the year.

Moving portions of your iSeries environment to the cloud will reduce the overall iSeries IT spend while matching your processing power with the precise needs of your applications.

And with a managed cloud solution, you can scale easily and pay only for what you use as your needs change.

3. A robust backup and disaster recovery program.

Breakthroughs in virtualization, containerization, and replication allow any organization to develop robust backup-and-recovery systems. You no longer have to buy a duplicate data center that goes unused for years on end.

Cloud backup and recovery systems can be configured to create real-time failover for mission-critical systems like ERP’s or eCommerce, where downtime is a killer.

You’ll need these things in place when you migrate to iSeries cloud backup and recovery:

  • Tape-drive replacement plan. The cloud enables you to dump tape-drive systems. However, many legacy forms of archival data might be best retained on tape. Your backup-and-recovery system needs to work this out.
  • System design. You can build a system that uses virtual servers and containers to replicate real-time backup and recovery. The challenge is developing a system that accounts for your complex business needs and computing architecture.
  • Recovery goals. You have to establish recovery time objectives (RTOs) determining how soon you need to get critical IT operations back up and running. You also need recovery point objectives (RPOs) determining how many hours, days, or weeks of data you want to recover.
  • Testing. Conducting backup and recovery drills is the only way to ensure your systems work when you need them most. Testing often requires taking critical systems down temporarily, so it must be done with care.
  • Documentation and support. You need thorough directions so that your backup expert doesn’t have to be available in a crisis. Moreover, you need backup support staff who will monitor your systems and escalate at the first sign of trouble.

A partner for your iSeries cloud migration

This provides only a glimpse at the complexities of migrating iSeries technologies to the cloud. For many enterprises and organizations, it makes sense to partner with an iSeries expert like CBTS to design and implement their cloud migration and then manage everything under a service level agreement.

A cloud migration can help you embrace transformative, data-driven technologies like AI and the IoT. You can make it happen faster with CBTS, where our managed services division will deliver the talent, experience, and knowledge you need for a smooth migration of your iSeries technologies.

Want more? Download our free eBook for more on migrating iSeries to the cloud.

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