Archive for: News

Emulation in disaster recovery plans: How and why it works

 

Martin Novak, IT Manager at Professional Target Marketing (PTM), needed to protect one of the company’s main assets. A large database of customer information was mission-critical for the company and Martin knew he needed to ensure business continuity and put a strong disaster recover (DR) plan in place. Based in Toronto, PTM is a marketing firm primarily servicing the pharmaceutical industry.

We sat down with Martin to find out the “hows” and the “whys” he got to the DR plan he ultimately put in place.

Tell us about your company and why it was a priority to have a DR plan
PTM, formerly Formedic Communications, helps pharmaceuticals target Health Care Professionals (HCP’s) as part of their go-to-market strategy. With ongoing work with a dedicated team of data professionals, we continue to update our growing database of HCP’s and their information for marketing campaigns on behalf of our clients with their consent. So, essentially, the customer database forms the “bread and butter” of what we do. If it’s gone, our main asset is gone.

I knew I needed a strong DR plan and it was up to me to find it.

What were the different options you looked at before choosing Stromasys?
At that point, most of our production VM servers were backed up to the cloud. Except, I had an OpenVMS system running on two Alpha servers. OpenVMS was being used as the critical application server to update data in our Oracle database.

I knew I could buy another Alpha server used, set it up in a cold location and create a connection. But then, I would still be dealing with hardware and I would still have to back up the data in the cold location both locally and then remotely back to our head office. This would also require additional hardware for the local backup.  It wasn’t a good long-term plan for DR…and I would still have hardware including a new backup device for local backups!

How did you find Stromasys?
In a January 2019 at an Oracle seminar, they were looking for beta testers to migrate VMS systems to the Oracle cloud. Stromasys was recommended as an expert in migrating away from hardware to the cloud and Stromasys already had experience in migrating to the Oracle cloud.

How did the implementation plan go?
As this was my DR plan, I had a lot of questions about back-up. But the Stromasys team, particularly Greg Reut, were patient, helpful, and extremely responsive. Greg even wrote a script for me for the back-up plan. And it didn’t matter when I would email him, he would respond promptly. I never had to wait long. I felt like I was in good hands with Greg and the whole team.

How has the Charon solution helped with your overall IT strategy?
I finally have a real DR solution! The alternative still had hardware in the plan and it was expensive. I feel confident with Greg and the Stromasys engineering team and I’m sleeping at night knowing there is a business continuity plan in place. The customer database, our “bread and butter” is protected.

 

Are you facing challenges with your legacy system? Contact us today for a free consultation of our Charon software solution or to migrate to the cloud.

Use our FREE ROI calculator to get a quick snapshot on how much you could save in budget and resources.


On the Microsoft blog: Legacy Alpha application gets a new life as SaaS on Microsoft Azure

For years, a successful actuarial services company relied on a vital financial application that ran on Alpha hardware—a server well past its end-of-life date. To modernize its infrastructure with as little risk as possible, the company turned to Stromasys Inc., experts in cross-platform server virtualization solutions. In a matter of days, the company was running its mission-critical application on Azure. Soon after, it began to offer the software as a service (SaaS) to other companies, turning the formerly high-maintenance legacy software into a growing profit center.

Read the full success story on the Microsoft blog….


Stromasys announces a new product version, Charon-SSP 4.0, to include emulation of the hardware SPARC-V9 64-bit processor

Stromasys announced today its release of Charon-SSP version 4.0 (SSP 4.0), which extends the number of processors the Charon software can emulate to a modern platform or the cloud, as well as offering more memory and increased performance. IT professionals with end-of-life SPARC servers can use the Charon-SSP emulation software in order to continue using mission-critical applications, while also lowering operational costs and energy consumption.

With SSP 4.0, Stromasys enhanced its cross-platform hardware virtualization product to include a virtual replica of sun4m, sun4u, and sun4v SPARC systems on standard x86-64 computer systems. These systems are running Linux on top of physical hardware, or a hypervisor, and can be emulated on a cloud through a cloud-specific product variant.

“The SPARC-V9 64-bit processer is more widely used than other SPARC systems.  Thanks to this addition to our product line, more companies can now fully modernize their IT departments, use new technologies, have IT agility and take part in cloud migration,” stated John Prot, CEO of Stromasys. “They will not be held back by aging technology.”

Key features of SSP 4.0 include an integrated SSH tunnel in Charon manager, an automatic initial password change, emulator suspend and resume, USB removable device support, and various bug fixes and improvements.

For more information about Charon-SSP 4.0, please download the Software Product Description or contact us for a free demo.

View the full press release here.


Press release: Stromasys releases its legacy Sun SPARC emulation product in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Microsoft Azure customers can now migrate any Sun/Solaris applications – without modification – from their aging SPARC hardware to the Azure cloud, ridding themselves of the increasing risks of aging hardware.

Stromasys, a leading provider of enterprise-class cross-platform virtualization solutions for SPARC, Digital Alpha and VAX; HP 3000 and HP 9000; and PDP-11, announced today that its Charon-SSP solution for aging SPARC hardware is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online store providing applications and services for use on Azure. Stromasys customers can now move critical applications running on SPARC servers into the Azure cloud platform in a reliable and cost-effective way.

Business-critical and customized applications run on these aging servers, and while they are at risk of failing, legacy systems are also holding organizations back from embracing new technologies. Classic hardware doesn’t run on modern IT infrastructure that could easily migrate to the cloud. The Charon-SSP solution from Stromasys virtualizes the SPARC hardware layer on industry-standard x86 computer systems, with no need for conversion code or source code.

“Our participation in the Azure Marketplace marks our expanding commitment to Azure customers to help embrace new technologies by moving away from aging hardware,” stated Stromasys CEO John Prot. “Classic hardware, such as SPARC, should not keep an organization from IT agility, and we’re here to offer a solution.”

The virtual layer acts as SPARC hardware and is compatible with any Sun/Solaris software running on it. Charon-SSP is fully binary compatible with SPARC hardware, including storage, Ethernet, and serial line I/O. Charon-SSP can replace SPARC systems from the sun4c, sun4m, and sun4u families and allows all applications on these legacy systems from Sun Microsystems to continue running without modifications.

Sajan Parihar, Senior Director, Microsoft Azure Platform at Microsoft Corp. said, “We’re pleased to welcome Stromasys to the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, which gives our partners great exposure to cloud customers around the globe. Azure Marketplace offers world-class quality experiences from global trusted partners with solutions tested to work seamlessly with Azure.”

The Azure Marketplace is an online market for buying and selling cloud solutions certified to run on Azure. The Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative cloud-based solutions with partners who have developed solutions that are ready to use.

Learn more about Charon-SSP at its page in the Azure Marketplace.

See the press release here.


Press release: Stromasys announces the release of virtual SPARC in the Amazon Web Services Marketplace as an AMI

Stromasys, an industry-leading legacy server emulation company, announced today that Charon-SSP is available to customers in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace as an AMI offering (Amazon Machine Image). Charon-SSP recreates a virtual SPARC hardware layer on AWS. The layer is compatible with any Sun software running on it and acts as SPARC hardware, with no need for code conversion or source code.

Charon-SSP is one of a family of cross-platform hypervisors (emulators) from Stromasys which extend the lives of mission-critical legacy applications by freeing them from the underlying, past-end-of-life SPARC, VAX, Alpha, HP 3000, and PDP-11 servers. In particular, the Charon-SSP can replace SPARC systems from the Sun4m and Sun4u family and it supports SunOS 4.1 to Solaris 10. Additionally, this AMI is also offered on AWS GovCloud to U.S. government customers and their partners.

“We can now help our customers completely modernize their IT operations,” said John Prot, CEO of Stromasys, “By having our Charon-SSP in the AWS Marketplace, we are giving customers access to modern cloud hardware without recompiling. We are excited for this latest development and for being able to offer a solution on a problem that seemed unsolvable.”

Charon-SSP is fully binary compatible with SPARC hardware, including storage, Ethernet, and serial line I/O. Stromasys also offers a bare-metal version that is available but not under this AMI.

See the full press release here.


On the Oracle Blog: Migrate Apps with Stromasys, an Oracle Cloud Marketplace Partner

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is the ideal platform for enterprises that depend on and need to migrate their on-premises-based enterprise applications to the cloud. We offer the only marketplace where you can download Oracle Applications and middleware images, fully automated solution stacks, and automated migration and lifecycle management tooling for Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, Siebel, and WebLogic.

We also understand that you might have applications running on legacy OSs or even SPARC, but want to take advantage of the scalability and agility of cloud. And we’re collaborating with leading ISV partners to offer solutions to help you do so. In addition to offering integrated solutions to help you develop, test, and migrate applications to the cloud, partners also offer innovative solutions like Robotic Process Automation to support automating and streamlining core business processes.

Now, with the newly launched Oracle Cloud Marketplace paid listings, you can easily click-to-launch third-party solutions to help you migrate and augment enterprise applications in the Oracle Cloud. You have the flexibility to bring your own license (BYOL), pay by the hour or use Universal Credits (UCM),and in the end, you receive one unified bill for both Oracle and ISV partner solutions.

Stromasys

Stromasys is the inventor of enterprise-class, cross-platform virtualization of legacy servers. Their software extends the lifecycle of mission-critical applications by virtualizing their aging hardware. Stromasys solutions virtualize legacy Sun SPARC, DEC VAX, Alpha, and PDP-11, HP 3000, and HP 9000 systems on modern x86 servers running on-premises or in the cloud.

“We are excited to offer Charon-SSP on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace because it extends our commitment to the Oracle user community and to our already strong relationship with Oracle. Users of Sun4m, and soon 4u and 4v, systems may now move their applications on the Oracle Cloud without recompiling, thus revolutionizing reliability and performance.” —John Prot, Chief Executive Officer, Stromasys

Charon-SSP for virtual SPARC on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Charon-SSP 32-BitCharon-AXP, and Charon-VAX are all available as paid listings on Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

See the full blog post here.


Press release from Oracle: Purchase Stromasys through the Oracle Cloud Marketplace

Oracle Expands Ecosystem and Announces Simplified Third-party Software Purchasing

Oracle Cloud helps software partners achieve improved customer experience and lower costs, and adds the ability to sell complete solutions through Oracle Cloud Marketplace

ORACLE OPENWORLD, San Francisco, Calif.—Sep 16, 2019


Oracle today announced that Oracle Cloud Marketplace now supports billing for third-party software listings. Customers can now use their Universal Cloud Credits in addition to bringing their own license to consume enterprise applications and solutions directly from premier software vendors including A10 Networks, Aviatrix, Blue Prism, Center for Internet Security (CIS), Compellon, Couchbase, Fortinet, Kinetica, Palo Alto Networks, Pyramid Analytics, ScyllaDB, Sesame Software, ShieldIO, and Stromasys.

Oracle Cloud has the only marketplace that offers click to deploy solutions for Oracle WebLogic and Oracle Applications in addition to certified and optimized partner solutions.

A link to the full press release is here.


When production stopped…a Q & A with Wheeler Manufacturing

 

In 2014, everyone at Wheeler Manufacturing was working overtime to fulfill orders ahead of their busy season. Wheeler is a wholesale domestic jewelry manufacturer in South Dakota and its clients were resellers in the travel, resort, tourist, and jewelry industries. Their high seasons are May, June, July, and August and they needed to have orders turned around within three to four days.

But all production stopped when Wheeler’s hardware, a DEC AlphaServer, failed. It wasn’t the first time a drive had failed but it was the first time it had happened during business hours. Wheeler lost a day of production in addition to everything on the drive…and it took three or four days to receive necessary support.

Over the 15 years Wheeler had been using the Alpha server, it was historically a reliable system but it had started to fail and receiving a support quickly was increasingly a difficult challenge. Looking for a solution, the search eventually led Wheeler to Stromasys. We were able to sit down with Jason Rambo, Treasurer and Comptroller at Wheeler, and catch up with what happened at the time and how things have been since then.

  1. What systems were running on the server when it failed?

A completely customized software, called Workwise, ran off the VMS operating system which sat on the Alpha server. That Workwise software handled many aspects of the manufacturing process, including inventory control and order processing, as well as accounts payable and financial statement. It’s a critical piece in our IT structure to our business.

  1. Before deciding to go with Stromasys, what other ideas were you thinking about?

We knew this was an ongoing problem that needed to be fixed. It’s really expensive to completely rewrite the software and it takes a lot of time. We thought about buying another software but that would take more time to customize it and rework it to fit our needs. We needed something that would work quickly and help move us away from the Alpha server.

  1. What made you hesitant at first about the Stromasys solution, Charon?

We had serious reservations about just throwing money out the window and this solution sounded too good to be true. We talked to many customers about how Charon worked and decided to go with it. The Alpha server was growing problem that was becoming worse.

  1. Once you decided to move forward, how did the implementation go?

We arranged for a Stromasys engineer to be on-site and implementation was like a piece of cake. Obviously, we did testing but everything functioned the way it should. Once we installed Charon, it was essentially the exact same product we always used.

  1. How has Charon changed your IT infrastructure?

Performance is about four to five times faster than it was before. Being in IT, we also now have the peace of mind that our server is not going to go down, especially during high production times. As far as I’m concerned for anyone who wants to operate on VMS software, Stromasys is the only ticket in town.

Are you facing challenges with your legacy system? Contact us today for a free consultation of our Charon software solution or to migrate to the cloud.

Use our FREE ROI calculator to get a quick snapshot on how much you could save in budget and resources.


Getting out of the legacy IT trap

 

When mission-critical systems get older, operating costs skyrocket and the risk of outages increases dramatically. But what if the legacy environments cannot be replaced, but continue to operate for years to come?

Despite cloud, Internet and digitization, very few organizations can move their mission-critical applications to modern architectures overnight. Frequently, legacy applications continue to be used- with some dating back to the last century. These systems are often the headaches of the IT department. With each year of operation, they become more unreliable and error prone. As the underlying hardware is outdated, maintenance and repair become increasingly difficult. As a result, IT staff spend more and more time on eBay – not because they are bored with their jobs but looking for spare parts for the long-deadlocked computer systems.

Despite these difficulties, legacy issues are not a priority in many companies. More pressing challenges and more important tasks such as digital transformation, and integration of cloud resources into the IT infrastructure and are far more burdensome to IT than a few legacy systems in one corner of the world Server room do their service. No wonder, then, that there is little budget for the replacement or further development of legacy applications.

Only when the neglected systems fail, companies realize just how important these legacy applications are. They often occupy key positions in production, the supply chain or financial accounting. Production stoppages, delivery shortages or defaults are often the result of such failures. In regulated industries such as healthcare or the financial sector, additional risks are added. If legacy systems stop functioning and therefore lost patient records or account data, this can lead to high penalties.

But even legacy systems can pose a risk. Often, they do not meet the IT security requirements. In addition, they cost more and more in operation with age. In some industries and areas, such as the financial sector and public administration, 80 to 90 percent of the total IT budget is spent on legacy hardware maintenance. Many companies pay $ 50,000 a year or more just to keep a single legacy system operational.

 

Strategies against the Legacy Dilemma

Companies cannot sit out on their legacy problem without taking on high risks and incurring great costs. Business have the following three strategies to consider:

 

1. Continue operation

Maintaining legacy operation is an option, especially, when the impact of downtime on business-critical processes is low, enough spare parts and know-how are available for quick repair, and / or the system is only run for a limited time because it requires transitional periods for legislative changes.

 

2. Migration or replacement

In some cases, existing applications can be modernized to run on current hardware, but others require complete reprogramming. In any case, the costs and risks of such a migration or replacement should not be underestimated; the duration of such a project is usually months or even years, during which the legacy systems must continue to be operated and maintained. There is no guarantee of success. Almost half of all IT migration projects fail ,with just under 20 percent of projects completing their budgets and schedules.

 

3. Hardware emulation

An alternative is to emulate legacy hardware on standard x86 servers. Applications can continue to operate without any changes. The migration of the application is usually done in a few days. By moving to modern, centrally managed hardware, the operating and maintenance costs can be significantly reduced. Customers at Stromasys have saved around 50 percent in the first year and as much as 95 percent of the operating costs of a legacy system from the second year onwards. In many cases, emulation even allows you to take advantage of the cloud and run the legacy applications on virtual servers in cloud environments.

The emulation works well as an interim solution to bridge the time until migration or reprogramming has taken place. But it is also suitable for the long-term operation of legacy applications.

Conclusion

Many legacy systems cannot be replaced for operational or regulatory reasons, or only with high cost risk. Companies therefore face a dilemma: continued operation as before engulfs large sums of money, binds valuable human resources and becomes riskier the older and more vulnerable the hardware becomes. But even a migration or replacement of legacy systems involves risks. Many projects fail, are delayed by months or years and are many times more expensive than planned. The emulation of legacy hardware on standard x86 servers offers a way out of this trap. It enables legacy applications to be deployed without adaptation to powerful, easy-to-administer standard hardware or even migrate them to a cloud environment.


Press release: Stromasys announces virtual SPARC, VAX, Alpha, HP3000 for VMware Cloud on AWS and Attains VMware Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS Validation

Stromasys’ virtualizations solution, Charon, provides customers with the ability to move legacy workloads – unchanged – to modern x86 infrastructure or a hybrid cloud

Raleigh, NC, June 21, 2019 — Stromasys, the industry-leading legacy server emulation company, today announced Charon-SSP, Charon-VAX, Charon-AXP, and Charon-HPA are available to customers of VMware Cloud™ on AWS. The company has also attained VMware Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS validation.

VMware Cloud on AWS brings together VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software and elastic, bare-metal infrastructure from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to give organizations consistent operating model and application mobility for private and public cloud. Charon delivers extended life expectancy for legacy applications, many born last century, to customers of VMware Cloud on AWS .

Charon emulators perform dynamic instruction translation of legacy-to-modern OS hardware commands, while taking advantage of modern processor speeds—without making changes to legacy applications or data. Combining Charon with VMware virtual machines provides additional failure protection should the physical server—which hosts a VMware virtual machine—fail. The associated Charon virtual machine takes advantage of vMotion to transfer to another vSphere-based server. This also works for virtual machines on which Charon is running VMS Cluster.

By validating Stromasys with VMware Cloud on AWS and attaining the VMware Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS logo, Stromasys has tested and verified interoperability and can fully manage customer support requests for Charon solutions with VMware Cloud on AWS.

“Stromasys Charon for VMware Cloud on AWS will help our customers go the last mile in their IT modernization,” said John Prot, CEO of Stromasys. “This collaboration further extends our commitment to the VMware community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of virtualized legacy systems. We look forward to leveraging the power of the VMware Cloud on AWS to help our customers achieve their goals.

“We are pleased that Stromasys Charon is validated for VMware Cloud on AWS. This signifies to customers that Charon can be deployed with the knowledge and reassurance that the partner fully supports the specified versions and configurations on VMware Cloud on AWS,” said Kristen Edwards, vice president, Emerging ISVs & Solutions, VMware.

The Partner Ready for VMware Cloud on AWS program enables partners to validate their application/infrastructure component on VMware Cloud on AWS. Partners extend their on-premises solution capabilities to the cloud, enabling a consistent user experience and functionality on VMware Cloud on AWS.

Stromasys Charon can be found within the online VMware Solution Exchange (VSX) at https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/virtual-sparc-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-1-4?ref=search, https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/virtual-vax-fro-vmware-cloud-on-aws-4-8?ref=search, https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/virtual-hp-3000-for-vmware-cloud-on-aws-1-11?ref=search, and https://marketplace.vmware.com/vsx/solutions/charon-axp?ref=search. The VMware Solution Exchange is an online marketplace where VMware partners and developers can publish rich marketing content and downloadable software for our customers.

 

About VMware Cloud on AWS

Jointly engineered by VMware and AWS, VMware Cloud on AWS is an on-demand hybrid cloud service that is delivered, sold, and supported by VMware and AWS, and the companies’ respective partners. Powered by VMware Cloud Foundation and running in the AWS Cloud on elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure, VMware Cloud on AWS enables customers to run applications across a consistent hybrid cloud environment, with optimized access to the broad range of native AWS services. With the same architecture and operational experience on-premises and in the cloud, IT teams can quickly derive business value from use of the AWS and VMware hybrid cloud experience. For more information on the VMware Cloud on AWS partner ecosystem, visit: http://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws.

 

About Stromasys 

Founded in 1998 with global headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and US headquarters in Raleigh, NC, Stromasys is the original and leading provider of enterprise-class, cross-platform virtualization solutions.  Charon software products emulate legacy VAX, SPARC, Alpha, and HP3000/9000 (PA-RISC) systems on new x86 infrastructure (on-prem or cloud), thus extending the life and agility of mission-critical legacy applications.

View the full press release here.