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Blog May 4, 2021

A Practical Approach to Modernizing Your IBM Business Systems

IBM i continues to be the mission-critical platform of choice for many enterprises. In Profound Logic’s most recent State of IBM i Modernization study, 42 percent of respondents said they run more than 75 percent of their core applications on IBM i hardware. A large majority (86 percent) cited reliability as one of the primary reasons they remain loyal to the IBM platform.

IBM Application Modernization a Priority

For respondents to this survey, application modernization was a high priority. Thanks to outstanding forward compatibility, three-quarters of Profound Logic’s respondents were still running green screen applications. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) said ALL of their third-party applications were green screen.

No matter how you slice and dice it, these legacy applications carry a significant amount of technical debt. In a paper published in 2018, The Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ) neatly represented this technical debt as an iceberg. There are those costs that are readily visible to the organization, but underlying the surface view, there is a much larger set of costs waiting to sink your proverbial ship.

CISQ Iceberg Model

At Connectria, it’s not unusual for us to work with clients that have a real mix of legacy and modern applications running in their data centers. The vast majority of them want to remain on IBM hardware, but they know they need to upgrade their environment to stay competitive, assess costs, and ensure their data and systems are reliable and secure.

Our partnership with organizations like Profound Logic helps enterprises address the technical debt arising from their applications while we help them find a path that meets their operating goals so they can continue to enjoy the reliability and high-performance that IBM Power Systems offer.

Podcast: iModernize Episode 4: IBM Solutions with Profound Logic and Connectria

IBM IT Infrastructure Modernization Quick Wins

When taken as a whole, an IT modernization initiative focused on your IBM infrastructure can seem like a herculean task. Shedding technical debt does not have to mean getting rid of your IBM Power Systems. This is typically is the first thing we help our clients realize. Once that’s out of the way, the IT and business leaders we work with are often pleasantly surprised at how quickly they can make modernization gains. Here are a few examples of quick wins we’ve helped our customers achieve.

Optimize Staffing

The 2021 IBM i Marketplace Survey notes that a “unique selling proposition of IBM i is it requires little day-to-day administration.” Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents maintain their IBM i systems with just one sysadmin or less. That’s good news for organizations looking to keep their staff costs down.

The bad news is that IBM i systems administration is a unique skill that’s getting harder to find. While you may not need a full-time administrator, you need somebody who understands the ins and outs of IBM i to keep your systems secure and available. Many skilled IBM i sys admins are reaching retirement age and finding someone to replace them can be difficult.

The rarity of the skillset also drives up the cost of an IBM systems administrator, and when you keep one or more on staff, you’re paying their salary and overhead whether they’re troubleshooting an issue or just sitting around waiting for the next time they’re needed.

Connectria’s remote IBM monitoring services can help you fill the gaps in your IBM skillset and ensure someone has an eye on your systems at all times. Red Gold Tomatoes is a great example of how a company can use IBM i remote monitoring services. Based in rural Indiana, they have very limited access to IBM i talent. Connectria helped them retain their IBM i hardware on-site and consolidate their IBM i management responsibilities into Connectria’s hands for greater control of their environment.

Disaster Recovery as a Service

Disaster recovery is another kind of technical debt that lurks beneath the surface. Studies show that most organizations have a disaster recovery and business continuity plan, but many of these plans haven’t been updated in years. Tape backup is often cited as one of the primary methods for backing up data.

IBM i disaster recovery technologies have advanced a lot since the tape backup was invented, so if you’re relying on physical devices at the core of your strategy, it might be time to review your options.

Many of our first-time customers start with disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). They often want to continue to house their infrastructure on-premises. With DRaaS, we help them by designing a disaster recovery plan for their IBM i workloads on Connectria equipment that meetings their recovery objectives. Then, we implement, test, and maintain that plan to ensure it’s there for them in an emergency.

Eliminate Facilities Expense

While Red Gold Tomatoes was eager to keep their IBM infrastructure on-site, owning and operating a data center can eat up resources quickly in administrative staff, physical security, property taxes, HVAC systems, power consumption, and so on.

This midsized electronics manufacturer started out by asking Connectria to manage their IBM i systems remotely. That went so well that they eventually decided to eliminate their hardware and building expenses completely by migrating their IBM i systems to a Connectria Hosted Cloud. They estimated this move saved them more than $800K a year.

Leverage AWS with IBM

Applications running on IBM Power Systems can’t be ported to AWS’s X86 environment. However, the majority of enterprises with applications running in IBM i also have applications running on X86. Connectria has helped organizations migrate thousands of workloads to AWS while maintaining tight, low-latency connections between these workloads and their IBM Power Systems environment.

Watch: AWS Hybrid Architecture as Path to IBM i/AIX Modernization

Don’t Let Technical Debt Hold You Down

Lots of businesses carry around significant amounts of technical debt. If you’re one of them, it’s time to stop letting that technical debt keep you from achieving your objectives. Take the next step in your IT infrastructure modernization initiative by reaching out to schedule a consultation with one of our advisors.

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