Archive for: cloud | Stromasys

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.


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 Charon-AXP and Charon-VAX is powered by Oracle Cloud and now available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace

Oracle Cloud Customers Can Use Cross-Platform Alpha and VAX Server Virtualization Solutions for Oracle Cloud

May 13, 2019 – CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Stromasys, the original and leading provider of enterprise-class cross-platform virtualization solutions for PDP-11, HP 3000 and HP 9000, SPARC, Digital Alpha and VAX, and a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN), today announces its Charon-AXP and Charon-VAX has achieved Powered By Oracle Cloud and is now available in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace offering added value to Oracle Cloud customers. The Charon-AXP and Charon-VAX helps enable Oracle Cloud customers to move critical applications running on their aging Alpha and VAX servers into the cloud in a reliable and cost-effective way.

The Oracle Cloud Marketplace is a one-stop shop for Oracle customers seeking trusted business applications and service providers offering unique business solutions, including ones that extend Oracle Cloud Applications. Oracle Cloud is the industry’s broadest and most complete public cloud, delivering enterprise-grade services at every level of the cloud technology stack including platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

“With our Charon virtualization products, we now have an expanded cloud solution by collaborating with Oracle,” stated John Prot, CEO of Stromasys. “Stromasys’s participation in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace further extends our commitment to the Oracle community and enables customers to easily reap the benefits of Charon-Alpha and Charon-VAX. We look forward to leveraging the power of Oracle Cloud to help us achieve our business goals.”

“The Oracle Rdb team has been successfully running the Stromasys emulators in our development environment for many years”, said Steven Hagan, vice president, Server Technologies, Oracle. “This technology gives our OpenVMS customers the opportunity to move to Oracle Cloud today and experience all the price/performance advantages Oracle Cloud has to offer.”

A recent performance study by Stromasys partner, Software Concepts International – who tested Rdb workloads on OpenVMS on Charon-AXP (Alpha emulation) in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure – revealed astonishing results: up to 50% faster legacy application performance for virtualized Alpha GS1280 workloads on Oracle HPC versus running on classic Alpha hardware. To download a PDF of the full analysis please, click here.

Powered by Oracle Cloud status recognizes OPN member solutions that have been tested or verified to run on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. This achievement offers customers confidence that the partner’s application is supported by the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure SLA , enabling they have full access and control over their cloud infrastructure services as well as consistent performance.

The Oracle Cloud Marketplace offers an intuitive user interface to browse and search for available applications and services, as well as user ratings and reviews to help customers determine the best business solutions for their organization. With its new automated application installation features, customers can easily deploy provider business applications from a centralized cloud interface.

About Stromasys
Stromasys is a pioneer in enterprise-class cross-platform legacy server emulation solutions, providing modern infrastructure for legacy applications running on PDP-11, Digital VAX and Alpha, HP 3000, HP 9000, and SPARC servers. Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland with sales offices as well as engineering, development and research labs located around the world, Stromasys has implemented thousands of cross-platform virtualization solutions to the world’s leading companies in over 50 countries. www.stromasys.com

About Software Concepts International (SCI)
SCI, a US-based company with over 32 years’ experience supporting OpenVMS, Oracle Rdb, and CODASYL DBMS database environments, is known internationally as the leading provider of Managed Services for OpenVMS System and Database Management with a consulting specialization in extreme performance for the most complex, demanding environments. As a Stromasys Premier Partner, SCI has over 15 years’ experience migrating VAX and Alpha customers to Charon emulators for mission critical legacy system environments. www.sciinc.com

About Oracle PartnerNetwork
Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) is Oracle’s partner program that provides partners with a differentiated advantage to develop, sell and implement Oracle solutions. OPN offers resources to train and support specialized knowledge of Oracle’s products and solutions and has evolved to recognize Oracle’s growing product portfolio, partner base and business opportunity. Key to the latest enhancements to OPN is the ability for partners to be recognized and rewarded for their investment in Oracle Cloud. Partners engaging with Oracle will be able to differentiate their Oracle Cloud expertise and success with customers through the OPN Cloud program – an innovative program that complements existing OPN program levels with tiers of recognition and progressive benefits for partners working with Oracle Cloud. To find out more visit: http://www.oracle.com/partners.

View the full press release here.


Webinar: Decrease your expenses in 2019 by emulating your legacy applications

Legacy systems in your company: The ROI & Organizational Impact

On Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, our engineer and sales experts, Dave Clements and Sandy Levitt, held a webinar in conjunction with IOUG. They discussed the pain points companies felt when having legacy systems within companies and what organizations can do about it.

Legacy hardware is costing companies over $1.1 million in lost revenue a year through downtime, exorbitant service and support fees, lost data center floor space, inefficient processing time and power consumption. Companies need to replace the aging hardware but they have mission-critical applications running or mandated data to reference. What should they do?

In this webinar, you’ll learn the benefits associated with legacy server emulation, as well as:
• What legacy systems are
• Overview of  risks & costs with legacy hardware
• Options for dealing with hardware
• Three different case studies showing the success of virtualization


An Interview with Chris Li on Semiconductors and Legacy Hardware Emulation

Read an interview with Chris Li, Stromasys managing director in Asia Pacific, about the important role of legacy hardware emulation in the semiconductor industry:

SEAJ: What do you understand about Japan’s semiconductor industry?

Mr. Chris Li, Stromasys managing director, Asia Pacific: I have been following the trends of the semiconductor industry worldwide, as I have spent a good amount of time studying semiconductors at university. I was an electronics and electrical engineer, and I graduated from London Imperial College in the early 90s. Semiconductors fascinate me with their ability, with the ever increasing packing of transistors, and their versatility, with manipulation by doping. Japan is the world’s third largest electronics manufacturer and the fourth largest export market for SME (semiconductor manufacturing equipment).

The semiconductor monthly sales figures for Japan are over three billion U.S. dollars. The industry had been facing some stiff challenges in the past few years due to a stagnant economy and the fact that Japan missed the mobile trend. However, consumer trends directly impact the semiconductor industry and the trend is moving towards IoT (Internet of Things). Japan is poised to tap this opportunity over their time.

SEAJ: How could Stromasys contribute to Japan’s semiconductor industry?

Li: Given the long history of Japan’s semiconductor industry and the mission-critical applications that have been in use in various stages of the semiconductor manufacturing process, there are inevitably legacy systems being used. By legacy system, I mean a previous or outdated computer system for which production had been stopped for a long time. There are various reasons for these legacy systems to be kept, perhaps due to the risk of rewriting applications, return on investment challenges, interface with peripheral devices, etc. In all cases, these companies are incurring high maintenance charges on the legacy systems; they are bearing the reliability risk of buying used replacement parts, etc.

Stromasys has a very unique range of products called “Charon,” which emulate (or virtualize) various legacy systems. This means that Charon replaces the legacy hardware. Users can port their existing applications (with no re-installation necessary) to a Charon emulator that runs on Linux or Windows on the latest x86 machine or in the cloud. We preserve our clients’ software investment across hardware generations.

SEAJ: How would this benefit our members?

Li: In the semiconductor industry, precision is paramount, and therefore there are good reasons to keep the existing applications intact. With a Charon solution, users don’t have to make a single change to their applications. Even if they have lost the source code, Charon emulation can help. The time and effort for porting the application to a Charon emulator is minimal.

With no dependency on the aged legacy systems, maintenance costs are reduced significantly. Also, users are able to significantly reduce risk of hardware failure and improve performance. The new system provides a wider range of peripheral devices. Finally, there are savings in operation costs, such as decreased power consumption, heat dissipation, and space occupation.

SEAJ: Any success cases of Stromasys in Japan and worldwide?

Li: Stromasys has implemented cross-platform virtualization solutions for the world’s leading companies in over 70 countries. We have been doing businesses in Japan for well over 10 years. One recent semiconductor client is Renesas (at their Palm Bay, Florida site), where they had five SparcStations,
five Sparc Ultras, and a Sun Blade. The Sun Blade ran on Solaris 8, and the rest ran on SunOS
5.6. Nine of these systems were dedicated to controlling furnaces, and the others played various
roles in controlling the tools and equipment related to semiconductor production.

SEAJ: That all sounds good. How about emulation coverage and costs?

Li: Currently, our Charon emulation covers SPARC, Digital VAX, Alpha and PDP-11 and HP 3000 servers. Within each of these server types, there are a large variety of models that we support. We are also partnering with Oracle to provide our Charon solutions in the cloud. In terms of cost, return on investment to clients is phenomenal. In most cases Charon would be less than one year’s maintenance and operation costs. I strongly recommend your members contact us for a free consultation with no commitment. Please see our contact details below.

About Stromasys

Stromasys is a pioneer in enterprise-class cross-platform legacy server emulation solutions, providing modern infrastructure for legacy applications. Our virtualized environments include:

Charon-PDP: Virtualization/ Emulation of PDP-11 systems.
Charon-VAX: Virtualization/ Emulation of VAX/ VMS configurations.
Charon-AXP: Virtualization/Emulation of Alpha/ VMS/ Tru64 solutions.
Charon-HPA: Virtualization/ Emulation of HP 3000/ MPE technologies.
Charon-SSP: Virtualization/ Emulation of SPARC/ SunOS/ Solaris infrastructure.
Charon on the Cloud: Virtualization/ Emulation of SPARC, Alpha, VAX, and HP 3000 systems in the cloud.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland with sales, engineering, and research and development offices located around the world, Stromasys has implemented cross-platform virtualization solutions in over 70 countries to help organizations lower costs, protect their investments, improve performance, reduce risk, and provide easier maintenance. To find out more visit www.stromasys.com or follow us on twitter @stromasys_HQ.


Charon Hardware Emulation Solutions Achieve AWS Well-Architected Status

As an AWS Well-Architected solution, Charon meets AWS criteria and is found to be aligned with the best practices for the use of AWS. By granting Charon solutions the AWS Well-Architected status, AWS acknowledges that Stromasys offers a trustworthy solution for AWS cloud customers and potential customers who need legacy system cross-platform virtualization.

Charon hardware emulation solutions were evaluated against the following five criteria in order to be determined AWS Well-Architected solutions:

  • Operational Excellence
  • Security
  • Reliability
  • Performance
  • Cost Optimization

Charon is known for being a high-quality and cost-effective way to preserve mission-critical applications while simultaneously reducing the risks associated with legacy hardware failure, such as increased maintenance costs and unplanned downtime. Now AWS customers can implement Charon in the cloud with the assurance that AWS has found it to be aligned with their best practices.