Migrating legacy apps to the cloud: Building a business continuity and disaster recovery plan

The Challenge:
A large database, which is mission-critical to Professional Target Marketing (PTM), holds information that is one of PTM’s major assets and protecting it is paramount to keeping operations going. PTM is a marketing firm primarily servicing the pharmaceutical industry and targeting health care professionals (HCPs). With a dedicated team of data professionals, PTM continually updates their growing Oracle database of HCPs. With the customer’s consent, PTM uses the information for marketing campaigns. Essentially, the database contains the integral information that makes PTM function, the “bread and butter” of what they do.
Martin Novak, IT Manager at PTM, wanted to ensure he had a strong business continuity and disaster recovery plan in place. The database fed applications running in OpenVMS which were hosted on two Alpha servers. These are critical applications which continuously update data in the Oracle database.

The challenge was the two aged, high-risk Alpha servers and figuring out a DR plan around them: “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 a cold location both locally and then remotely back to our head office,” said Martin. Not only would this approach require additional hardware but Martin knew he would still be dealing with the increasing threat of aging technology, a risky idea for a disaster recovery plan. He also would still be stuck with past-end-of-life hardware and unable to fully modernize his IT infrastructure.

The Solution:
At an Oracle seminar in January, Martin was put in touch with Stromasys. They were looking for beta testers to migrate OpenVMS systems to the Oracle cloud. “Stromasys was recommended as an expert in migrating away from hardware to the cloud and they already had experience, so I wanted to pursue this option. It was an ideal solution, but I was skeptical,” said Martin.
The Stromasys team worked closely with Martin for the lift-and-shift migration, even writing the script for a back-up plan just in case. The process was fully tested upfront before the final migration, which took just one day. Martin uploaded the system and the Stromasys engineering team configured it for the cloud. Martin put it into production later that same day.

The Result
The migration to Oracle Cloud went smoothly and proved how effective emulation can be in moving essential applications away from the aging hardware to the cloud. Without maintenance for the servers, Martin lowered his support costs and ultimately, not only created an effective business continuity plan, but also optimized operations and increased IT agility.

Martin finally felt like he had a coherent and real DR solution, “The alternative still had hardware in the plan, and it was expensive. I’m sleeping at night knowing we have a business continuity plan in place and that the database, something we heavily rely on, is protected.”

About Stromasys

Stromasys is the original and leading provider of enterprise-class cross-platform virtualization solutions, including PDP-11, Digital VAX and Alpha, PA-RISC systems, and SPARC servers. The company extends the life cycle of business and mission-critical systems through virtualization, modernization, and system enhancement.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and in Boston, Massachusetts, with sales offices as well as engineering, development, and research labs located around the world, Stromasys has implemented more than 5,000 cross-platform virtualization solutions for the world’s leading companies.