Archive for: Product and Services | Stromasys

Charon-SSP enables UNITEC to complete their data center exit to Google Cloud in 24 days

Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC) is one of the post-secondary education learning institutions under the Laureate Education, Inc., umbrella of Laureate International Universities. The CIO of UNITEC decided it was time to modernize the university’s IT infrastructure and that the most efficient way to do this was a full data center exit to migrate all IT workloads to Google Cloud.

UNITEC took full advantage of Charon-SSP’s SPARC system virtualization to move the legacy applications to Google Cloud, with no change to the applications or operating systems. The project was completed in twenty-four days.

“Given the time-crunch situation we were in, the Stromasys and Google Cloud teams stepped up and migrated all the servers, applications, and data in the promised time. I couldn’t have been more proud of the team.”

—Ivan Alonso, CIO, IT Services, Laureate International Universities

 

Laureate was running a SPARC T5-2 server ( 512 RAM | 32 Cores) to host their application servers, whereas the database back end was in an on-premises VMware cluster. The SPARC system had eight LDOMs, each with around 3-10 zones running Solaris OS versions 8-11.

 

UNITEC data center exit map
UNITEC data center exit of 8 SPARC servers to Charon on Google Cloud

 

The legacy application now running on Google Cloud not only gets a new lease on life, but can now take advantage of options and new capabilities. The benefits of Charon cross-platform virtualization of legacy SPARC, DEC, and PA-RISC systems on Google Cloud:

  • Risks of a legacy workload failure are mitigated (legacy hardware is gone)
  • Costs are optimized with Google Cloud pay-as-you-go consumption model
  • Google Cloud CPU fast-clock speeds deliver enhanced performance for applications
  • Organizations can now include legacy systems in their Google Cloud mass migration plans
  • No application recertification and end-user retraining is required (it is the same application)
  • System capacity becomes flexible with possible adjustments in minutes
  • New Google Cloud high-availability schemes and disaster/recovery best practices become available

Stromasys offers product support for Charon on Google Cloud during business hours or 24/7 for all emulators worldwide. Support typically applies to the Charon emulator software itself. Stromasys can also offer operating system support such as support for OpenVMS 7.3 and earlier.

Stromasys is a Google Technology Partner that addresses the data center modernization needs of customers by allowing the movement of legacy system applications and data to x86 infrastructure without changing any legacy code or data.

Read more about this amazingly fast transformation to the Google Cloud then contact us to learn more about how Stromasys and Google can help you modernize or exit your datacenter today.


About Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC)

Universidad Tecnológica de México (UNITEC), one of two private universities under Laureate International Universities, offers high school, bachelor, and postgraduate programs on 10 campuses in Mexico City and in the states of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico, and Querétaro, as well as online. With more than 90,000 students, it is the largest private university in the region.


“We used to have a guy for that…”

In discussions about aging technology, IT managers often state this. While most companies used to have the skillset to maintain all parts of their infrastructure, there’s a hidden and increasing risk. The expertise is gone but those systems and infrastructure still operate within the organization. Not only do they operate, but they play a mission-critical role and are often proprietary and customized to the organization.

Without the skillset, gaps in support within the layers of infrastructure emerge and usually, at the worst time. In 2017, 146 million individuals’ personal information was exposed at Equifax because “the complexity of its legacy system contributed to a failure to patch a critical vulnerability,” wrote Robert Charette in Inside the Hidden World of Legacy IT Systems. Within Equifax, there was a lack of support knowledge about its legacy systems. In other words, the company used to have a guy for that.

To understand the risks in support, it’s important to first understand each layer of the infrastructure, specifically the hardware and the operating systems.

 The hardware layer

Legacy hardware has played an integral component in IT departments for decades (SPARC servers were first introduced in 1986). As they’re now at end-of-life status, they’re at risk of unplanned downtime, increasing maintenance costs, and a growing security risk. Alarmingly, often the skillset within a company to help mitigate those risks is gone.

IT departments need to deal with this unstable layer, and they’re faced with either rewriting the applications in an expensive and time-consuming migration strategy or finding spare parts on eBay to keep the hardware (and its risks) running. Another solution is a “lift and shift” emulation strategy, which will decommission the hardware and shift the legacy applications to a modern platform or the cloud without any modification or recertification to the application. The risk of downtime is eliminated, maintenance costs decrease, and without the dependence on legacy hardware, IT departments can take advantage of new technologies.

The operating system

Operating systems don’t age the same way as hardware, but without knowledgeable troubleshooting and support, they pose an increasing security and stability risk. These systems have ongoing patches and fixes but when it comes to these older, end-of-life OS versions, the original vendor doesn’t provide the patches.

An IT department needs to have the expertise to troubleshoot, resolve issues, and help a company with their security strategy. Finding a support provider (or training your own staff) that understands the challenges the organization faces, specializes in a system’s specific version and then can also implement workarounds and the patches needed is essential.

There are four main areas for patches: 

  • Stability patches: These patches fix a performance issue.
  • Security patch: These are often the most critical to apply under any type of regulatory framework.
  • Kernel patch: Only provided by the vendor, these usually occur with the first year or two of the system being released.
  • Firmware updates: Vendors typically stop upgrading firmware about one to three years from the release date.

Unfortunately, not everyone agrees about what constitutes a patch, and most IT managers believe that if a vendor no longer provides patches, the system must be upgraded. But with the right expertise and support, this is not always the case. Upgrading can often come with a lot of hidden costs, including new storage and migrating the data and metadata. Version locking is one strategy that a proper support vendor would know and continue to keep your environment secure.

It’s important to not wait until an infrastructure layer fails or is exposed but to have the support in place for mission-critical applications. With that proper support, IT departments can keep costs down, their operations running smoothly and the opportunities to take advantage (and reap the benefits) of newer technologies.

For more in-depth information, view our webinar, sponsored by the OATUG, How to close the EOL systems drain and modernize your IT infrastructure


Press release: Announcing a new product version with Charon-SSP 5.0, Stromasys expands its offering to migrate legacy applications from aging SPARC hardware to the cloud

Stromasys announced the release of its new version 5.0 of Charon-SSP. With this update, Charon-SSP can accommodate more versions of Solaris (including 11.4) and the virtual environment (VE) licensing is now extended to VMware and additional cloud vendors.

For more information about Charon-SSP 5.0, please download the Software Product Description or contact Stromasys for a free demo.

Download the full press release here.


Press release: Stromasys announces product version Charon-SSP 4.2, which includes easier cloud licensing to migrate mission-critical applications from end-of-life SPARC hardware to the cloud

Stromasys announced updates to its emulation solution, Charon-SSP 4.2, which now allows organizations to implement secure licensing in all major cloud provider environments. IT professionals using aging SPARC hardware to run essential legacy applications can migrate them to the cloud or a modern on-prem platform. They can continue using the apps without the fear of unplanned downtime and enjoy lower operational costs.

Companies can use the new Virtual Environment (VE) licensing model, designed and implemented by Stromasys, for flexible individual cloud installations or with preconfigured images offered on selected marketplaces.

“IT Managers have struggled to find solutions to quickly lift and shift mission-critical applications off end-of-life hardware as they modernize their infrastructure,” stated CEO John Prot. “The ongoing pandemic has further highlighted the urgency to take steps towards a cloud strategy. Charon 4.2 enables IT departments to accomplish this effort for legacy workloads.”

Charon-SSP 4.2 has additional key features, including a new appliance-type package for easy on-prem installation and management as well as support for Red Hat/CentOS 8.

For more information about Charon-SSP 4.2, please download the Software Product Description or contact Stromasys for a free demo.

Download the full press release here.


Certification of non-vulnerability from SolarWinds Orion

In light of the security alert published on December 13 (https://cyber.dhs.gov/ed/21-01/), we certify that none of our products or internal tools for development or management of our IT infrastructure is impacted.

We do not use the Orion product to manage any of our assets and none of the solutions developed by SolarWinds are used to build, monitor, or analyze performance of our Software products in any phases of our processes from Research and Development up to Support. The only exception is the ‘SolarWinds IP Address Tracker’, an IP scanner from SolarWinds and not a product affected by the breach, which we are removing out of abundance of caution.


From Microsoft Azure: Charon-SSP Solaris emulator on Azure VMs

 

This reference architecture shows how an emulator called Charon-SSP from the Microsoft partner, Stromasys, can run SPARC processor-based Solaris virtual machines (VMs) in Azure. Charon-SSP is a member of the Charon cross-platform hardware virtualization product family. The emulator can create virtual replicas of Sun-4m, Sun-4u, or Sun-4v SPARC family members on standard x86-64 Linux physical computers or hypervisors.

Read more on the Microsoft website


Press release: Stromasys to show new product offering at Nutanix .NEXT

 

Stromasys, a Nutanix Ready AHV partner, announced it will demo its latest hardware virtualization product, Charon SSP 4.0, at the Nutanix Global .NEXT Digital Experience from September 8th to September 11th. A leading provider in hardware virtualization solutions, Stromasys, with its SPARC emulation software, allows IT professionals with endof-life legacy hardware to continue using essential Solaris applications, without modification, while also lowering operational risk, costs, and energy consumption.

“We work closely with Nutanix to bring their customers through the last mile of IT modernization,” stated John Prot, CEO of Stromasys. “For many IT managers, migrating away from aging hardware is an integral part of business continuity and disaster recovery plans, especially during this uncertain time. With the release of Charon SSP 4.0 and in partnership with Nutanix, we can emulate more widely-used SPARC systems on hyper-converged infrastructure.”

Charon SSP 4.0 creates a virtual replica of Sun4M, Sun4U, and Sun4V SPARC systems on standard x86-64 computer systems. These virtual legacy systems run on Nutanix AHV hypervisor and the associated applications are freed to run “as is” on Nutanix infrastructure (hybrid or public cloud) in a matter of days.

The Nutanix Global .NEXT Digital Experience will bring together visionaries, developers, and IT leaders from around the globe to share the latest in hybrid and multi-cloud computing, datacenter infrastructure, storage, end user computing, database and more. The interactive event will feature a virtual “expo floor” where attendees can explore and discover new ways to modernize and optimize their datacenter operations.

See the full press release here.


Press release: Government IT paralysis can be instantly cured with “lifting and shifting” legacy applications

As over 26 million Americans file for unemployment due to COVID-19, the computer systems processing state unemployment benefits are straining under the unprecedented increase in claims. 40-year old Cobol-based systems need extra capacity and the expertise of engineers who have the know-how to address decades-old servers.

The Charon solutions, by Stromasys, is “lift and shift” software; can be installed remotely and does not require re-authentication or re-certification by users. No changes are made to the applications, users experience the same “look and feel” and agencies can accelerate to full-speed operation, without the reliance on aging hardware.

“We’re here to help. Our solution will dramatically decrease the time it takes to process benefits and hopefully bring everyone some peace of mind during this uncertain time,” stated CEO, John Prot. “We understand state and government dependence on mission-critical programs, and we can quickly deploy and install our software to address the current crisis.”

Within a few days, legacy applications can be migrated on to modern hardware with legacy server emulation and can quickly scale, enabling antiquated systems to run on modern platforms or the cloud. State and government employees can then process claims quickly and efficiently.

More than 7,000 Federal, DOD, State, Municipal and Enterprise users have already implemented Stromasys software to rapidly unclog or cloud-enable legacy applications and servers developed in the 80s, 90s and 2000’s.

Read the full press release here


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….