Blog January 30, 2019

Moving Your IBM i Customers to the Clouds – Benefits and Challenges

You have multiple customers that still utilize IBM i and while they may yet be undecided about moving their applications to the cloud, there are multiple benefits that both they and you should consider. Of course, cloud migration can modernize workflows, improve performance, and reduce work for system administrators, but the advantages only blossom from there.

Partnering with an IBM i Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Connectria will open the doors to value that extends farther than you’ve likely ever considered.

Basic Benefits of Cloud Migration

Presenting the immediate value to your customers is the best way to initiate migration consideration. They are highly likely to already be aware of the need to update their server hardware, but without knowing their alternate options and the full spectrum of advantages of migration, many of them are understandably hesitant. Especially when they’re considering those enormous prices they’ve been quoted for server hardware upgrades.

However, a few basic benefits of cloud migration can quickly get their attention:

  • Agility — Without having to acquire and deploy new hardware, you can have those much needed IT resources on demand and rapidly provide your users and business groups with what they need.
  • Scalability — Why should they continue to purchase equipment in an attempt to predict usage spikes? Connectria only charges for the resources your customers utilize, so you can accommodate those unexpected surges or seasonal usage patterns without the need for constant hardware upgrades.
  • Maintenance — With cloud based services, your clients can free up their IT administrators to work on bigger projects, leaving the infrastructure maintenance to Connectria. No more expensive, time-consuming tasks like pushing updates to individual computers, patching servers, or provisioning new hardware.
  • Security — Your clients no doubt know all too well that it’s hard enough to attract and retain IT professionals that understand their security and compliance requirements, let alone those that also understand the IBM i environment. Moving to the cloud means that they gain the freedom found in a trusted partner handling the most complicated part of the tech stack: i Series security and maintenance. We understand both the ever-changing security landscape and the IBM i platform which can significantly reduce your client’s risks and drastically enhance your service offerings.

While these benefits are certain to get many of your client’s attention, there are even more advantages for both them and your company.

Improvements Across the Board

As the IBM i platform ages, the reasons for migrating your clients to the cloud definitely outweigh any reasoning for continuing with their current setup. While many of them may be running mission-critical applications on legacy systems that they’ve been utilizing for decades, once they see the overall rewards inherent in migrating to the cloud, chances are quite high that they’re going to give you the green light to modernize their i Series infrastructure..

Benefits of partnering with Connectria that will get your clients’ attention:

  • Decreased costs — The main benefit that every organization looks for when evaluating a new solution, lowering fees and infrastructure costs, is one of the primary reasons to work with Connectria. Maintenance fees for client IBM i system can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars but you can eliminate these fees for them by partnering with an MSP that offers IBM i Hosted Cloud solutions.
  • Improved budget management — With the move to the cloud, many of your clients will be able to take those annual lump-sum expenses and break them up into monthly payments that are much more budget friendly. Additionally, many of your clients may have the added benefit of shifting CapEx to OpEx.
  • Efficiency improvements — Your clients need to understand that managing their IBM i platforms in their on-premises data center may not be the best use of their internal resources. When they dedicate their IT headcount to these time-intensive tasks, those specialists have substantially less time to focus on those IT services and innovations that are crucial for moving the company forward. Partnering with Connectria means that we handle these time-consuming, low-value-add yet critical tasks so that your clients can focus on reaching their organization’s vision.
  • Improved resource management — There’s no denying that it’s becoming more and more difficult to hire and retain qualified technicians that can maintain the IBM i Series platform. A partnership with our team at Connectria gives you a partner that focuses on the IBM i environment while spreading costs out across multiple clients. This enables us to offer comprehensive employment packages that not only attract but also retains some of the top talent in the industry. This means that your customers get consistent and affordable access to the best i Series experts, the experts they so desperately need.
  • Increased resilience — Data backups are arguably the most important practice that your clients should employ, yet because the process is an inherent resource-hog many companies naively delay or otherwise improperly maintain backups. Connectria not only ensures that client backups are completed and tested on a regular schedule and provide failover resources, we do so at a fraction of the cost of maintaining their own disaster recovery site.

Cloud Migration Challenges

When it comes to your IBM i clients attempting their cloud transformation journey on their own, there are some common challenges that tend to get in the way.

First, they have to assess their IT infrastructure and determine the best in-house solution to adapt their complex, highly customized legacy systems to an ever-evolving cloud environment and completely develop a way to adapt their operational processes to new cloud platforms. This process presents several hurdles and is exacerbated by the fact that enterprise IT environments can include multiple providers with various cloud platforms, with deployment options that are either on or off premises and in private or even public clouds.

Additionally, each cloud service has multiple granule levels, including platform as a service (PaaS), software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and business applications as a service (BAaaS). There are also cloud-native or cloud-enabled services and applications, multiple speeds of DevOps across systems of engagement, insight and record and it can be difficult for your clients to sort through these choices in order to determine what their company really needs.

When moving their workloads to an IBM i cloud, your clients have a couple of deployment options to consider and several key reasons why they may choose one solution over another.

  • Private hosted IBM i cloud — With this option, your client’s applications reside on equipment that is owned, managed, and housed by the MSP. Additionally, a solution like Connectria offers multiple managed services that can augment the skills of their current in-house staff and since you only pay for the actual services required and there aren’t any charges for unused services, you can pass the savings on to them. This solution is perfect for your clients that have legacy applications or workloads that won’t easily migrate to another platform — or they’re simply ready to eliminate the cost of maintaining both their systems and own data centers and because the cloud is private and hosted on IBM i systems, they’ll still get the performance that they’re accustomed to.
  • Remote administration and monitoring — If your clients have IBM i systems that are still functioning strongly, they may prefer to maintain their on-premises data center and if that’s the case, remote monitoring and administration may be the solution they’re looking for. This solution works well for those organizations that may no longer have the in-house talent or are tired of their time being consumed by those repetitive and low-value-adding tasks, because with this option they can offload a lot of that yet still house their IBM i systems in their data center facilities.

Expand Your Service Options

Partnering with Connectria means that you can offer your clients a whole new line of top-level and value-added services. If you’d like more information on how Connectria can help migrate your IBM i clients to the cloud, contact us and a Connectria Solutions Architect will be in touch as quickly as possible.

 

Related Resources

 
Top Cloud Computing Security Issues and Challenges, and How IBM i Meets Them
There’s no doubt that cybersecurity has become the #1 challenge faced by IT departments today. And, with more and more companies moving workloads to the…
 
Case Study April 17, 2019
Case Study: Red Gold Tomatoes
 
What is a CMP?
Want to Optimize Your Cloud Investment? You Need a CMP. It’s safe to say that cloud computing is enjoying overwhelming success from a market share…