Running SPARC Solaris on AWS: Migrate Legacy Systems Seamlessly with Charon-SSP

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    Applications on Sun SPARC systems often handle business-critical workloads. But the aging infrastructure raises concerns about downtime risks and high maintenance costs, prompting businesses to consider cloud migration, especially to the renowned Amazon Web Services (AWS).

    However, rewriting SPARC Solaris on AWS (complete migration) presents a huge burden in time and expense. Therefore, businesses look for options that enhance organizational, operational, and technical capabilities without re-architecting anything.

    To solve this challenge, companies leverage Charon SSP on AWS by Stromasys, an emulation solution for cross-platform migration that does not modify or create anything new.

    With us, your applications, database, and operating system will remain unchanged. So, your applications will continue to run as usual on AWS (only your hardware will be eliminated). And as an AWS partner, we have successfully done it over the last few years.

    Guess what? We’re excited to announce that Stromasys will be at the AWS Summit Milan on May 23rd, 2024, at the Allianz MiCo – Milan Convention Centre. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet our Sales Director for Southern & Eastern EMEA, Paolo Battimiello, and Sr Sales Expert, Piotr Wajszczuk to gain deeper insights into migrating legacy systems to AWS.

    Let’s now shift our focus back to the article. Here, you will find a detailed guide on using Charon-SSP’s lift and shift strategy to efficiently migrate mission-critical SPARC systems to AWS.

    So, let us begin.

    What are Legacy Systems, and What Challenges Do They Present?

    Legacy systems are outdated software, hardware, or entire IT setups still hanging around in organizations, even though they are considered out-of-date.

    They were made ages ago, specifically designed for what businesses needed back then, and have become super ingrained in the fundamental operations of sectors like finance, healthcare, and government.

    For example, consider the responsibility of running air traffic control, a nuclear power station, or any kind of power plant. Or the intricacies involved in designing aircraft or satellites. Think about the complexity of updating a system directly controlled by a satellite orbiting above us.

    Challenges Associated with Legacy Systems

    Every business is so caught up in short-term issues that it fails to see the bigger picture. This oversight causes problems to grow, increasing its risk of failure.

    In reality, holding on to outdated legacy systems can cause an organization to spend 15% more of its yearly budget just on maintenance.

    Also, older systems are more prone to crashes and unplanned outages, which can lead to significant business disruption and potential revenue loss.

    Moreover, Legacy systems usually operate with old security protocols and miss essential updates, which puts them at a higher risk of cyber-attacks.

    Finally, they usually do not have the flexible architecture needed to keep up with fast technological changes and what the market wants.

    So, we get to the point that modernization is the need of the hour. But the sheer complexity of doing something when there is no source code around makes no one really want to touch it. It becomes the limiting factor. This is where Lift and Shift migration by Stromasys comes into play.

    Maximize Your Savings with Our Migration Strategy: Here’s How…

    Migration from Solaris to AWS enables organizations to make tremendous savings on their cost envelope. Let us deep dive into how the switch over to cloud affects the financials on IT infrastructure maintenance:

    Annual Maintenance Cost

    More importantly, applications migrated to AWS without requiring much redesign can bring down the annual maintenance cost that is common to on-premises hardware and software.

    It reduces not only the replacements and physical repairs of the solutions but also lessens the software update and security patching costs, saving a lot every year.

    Cost Savings Are Also Huge in the Area of Power Consumption

    As applications and data move to the cloud, the physical servers they ran in-house on no longer exist. This means huge savings on the amount used to power and cool these servers.

    Hence, an organization will witness a decline in its power bill, reducing the overall power consumption cost.

    Heat Dissipation Costs

    In addition to the power savings, the reduction in the number of on-site servers reduces the need for complex cooling systems. The typical machinery, the servers, generate so much heat that they need to be cooled to the correct temperature in order not to become overheated.

    By outsourcing to the cloud, the obligations of heat dissipation and in the final analysis, the costs are passed to the provider of the cloud. This typically happens at a scale high enough that cooling can be performed better and more effectively.

    Space Utilization

    Finally, rehosting applications from Solaris to the cloud releases the physical space that was reserved for big servers and their hardware in the data centers.

    This means that such released space can be used for some other crucial operation, or, in case of its large availability, it can facilitate the organization to downsize. Any of these will save an organization on the expenses made regarding real estate and facility management.

    From SPARC to AWS – Understanding the Lift and Shift Migration by Stromasys

    Our Charon SSP ensures a smooth migration, transferring your workloads to AWS without requiring extensive refactoring or rewriting. Yes, this is what we call a lift and shift migration.

    Experience the benefits of migrating your Solaris workloads on AWS in a hassle-free environment. To know more about it, download our datasheet.

    Why Lift and Shift?

    Our clients love this approach for its security, cost-effectiveness, and efficiency compared to other migration methods, such as complete migration, spare parts replacement, and maintaining the status quo.

    Lift and Shift vs. Full Migration: Lift and Shift is preferred over complete migration because it allows for a quicker cloud transition without requiring extensive modifications. It helps avoid disruption by speeding up the migration process and using fewer resources.

    Lift and Shift Compared to Spare Part Replacement: Lift and Shift has a more integrated approach than spare part replacement, where the whole application stack is moved to the cloud. It makes the process smoother and does not expose other compatibility issues related to spare parts use.

    Lift and Shift vs. Status Quo: The proper establishment of Lift and Shift, and the preference to avoid the status quo, allows organizations to see the benefits of cloud computing, including scalability, flexibility, and improved security, even while also allowing for the modernization of their IT infrastructure to remain relevant in a changing technology landscape.

    How Does it work?

    global cloud computing and hosting market

    Please refer to the image. At the bottom left, highlighted in red, you see the problem: it is the SPARC legacy hardware. This system has been operational for a long time but is now beginning to fail. It is imperative that we address this issue.

    Above, indicated by green arrows, are your application, your database, and your classic operating system, in this case, Solaris. Ideally, you would want to preserve these components.

    The plan involves phasing out the old hardware, which will be replaced by a setup in the AWS cloud. This could involve running Linux or incorporating our own emulator, so you will not have to manage it. Our emulator acts as a thin layer upon which your application, database, and operating system can be seamlessly transferred just as they were—this is what we refer to as the lift and shift approach.

    The problematic hardware (the red part) is what gets replaced, while your essential software (the green part) is lifted, shifted, and then reinstated to continue operating as before.

    Are any modifications or coding required? Absolutely not, and that is precisely the point. Our service targets customers who, for various reasons, either cannot or choose not to modify their source code.

    Avoiding recompilation eliminates risks because recompilation can introduce unforeseen issues—even if it is performed in the same environment. You might wonder what would happen if it does not work? The consequences can be significant, potentially leading to system outages.

    That is why our approach is to take your existing setup, back it up, and restore it to the new environment, just as you would transfer it to a new piece of hardware. This ensures continuity and stability without delving into the original code.

    Would you like to see a demo of Charon SSP on AWS?

    Check out this video where our field engineer is sharing the operations & features of Charon-SSP in the AWS cloud:

    Success Story

    The customer was able to close two physical data centers by summer 2021 and completed migration to VMware Cloud running on AWS.

    Stromasys and Effectual enabled the customer to validate the migration path and leverage the software-defined data center (SDDC) and cloud-native capabilities to achieve their business goals.

    “Without the Stromasys solution and the expertise of Effectual, we would not have been able to meet our data center exit deadline. We had time to spare! Furthermore, with these mission-critical applications now hosted in a modern, secure environment, we have the luxury of time to decide if, when, and how to modernize the Solaris applications.

    This project shows the true strength of what companies can accomplish together,” says Tom Spalding, Effectual’s Chief Growth Officer. “The customer’s team and partners were able to provide business value that far exceeded what a single company could have achieve y77y67ed on its own.

    This was a result of the customer’s openness, partnership, and willingness to pursue a holistic solution; Effectual’s creativity, focus on business outcomes, and desire to execute on behalf of our customers; and Stromasys’s incredible technical solution, adds Tom.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the main benefit of migrating Solaris to AWS using a SPARC emulator?

    The best part is to leverage Solaris on AWS’s modern and scalable platform without redoing or heavily tweaking the original code. This means businesses can keep running smoothly, reduce hardware upkeep costs, and take advantage of AWS’s top-notch security and scalability.

    2. What is Charon-SSP by Stromasys?

    It is a SPARC emulator that bridges the gap between the past and the present, letting us run these classic apps on the latest x86 hardware or even in the cloud with services like AWS emulation. It perfectly mimics the original SPARC hardware, which means you can keep using your essential applications without changing a single line of code.

    3. What are the prerequisites for Solaris migration to AWS?

    Before you switch over, make sure your apps work with Charon-SSP. You will also need the right software licenses for Charon-SSP and AWS. Remember to back up all your data and apps and set up an AWS account with everything you need, permissions, and resources.

    4. Where can I get additional help and support?

    If you need further help, consider using AWS support plans for technical guidance. For issues specific to the Charon-SSP emulator, simply contact Stromasys.

    5. Explain the migration process?

    The migration process starts by launching VMware Cloud on AWS to set up the necessary cloud infrastructure. Next, network connectivity is established between the on-premises environment and VMware Cloud on AWS to ensure seamless data transfer. Then, the VMware Cloud on AWS cluster is integrated into the existing on-premises VMware vCenter. Production data from the current SPARC/Solaris hosts is updated to staging VMware virtual machines. Using vCenter, a vMotion is performed to move these staging virtual machines to VMware Cloud on AWS. Finally, the application is cut over to the new environment by updating the DNS records and redirecting all traffic to the AWS setup.