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The Risk Problem: 'If It Ain’t Broke . . . It Will Be'

Legacy Lowdown – Options when migrating legacy Solaris applications

The battle cry of IT brinksmanship, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," means that risk has triumphed over cost. This fate is commonplace for legacy applications which can be found sitting on an outdated/unsupported box, running on ancient OS sporting a "Do Not Touch" sign.

Not important enough to fix; too important to fail. These applications are at risk of failure.  And everyone knows it.

AppZero offers an alternative that changes the risk/cost math by eliminating the risk at a slashed cost/effort - with no re-engineering or coding required.

Over the last few years, we have helped a number of significant IT operations use our application virtualization solution to migrate their legacy Solaris applications onto newer systems that are reliable and powerful systems. Prior to learning about AppZero, these organizations lived with risk hunting spare parts for their hardware systems from Ebay and Craigslist - sites that, like the old buffalo grounds, are now hunted-out. At this point, risk becomes probability.

Most people reading this article understand that the evolution of Solaris brought big changes between version 7 and 8. So why are so many applications still running on 2.6?

Because 2.6 was a very popular Solaris version, many customers invested in applications - both mission-critical/enterprise and line of business/departmental. As the Solaris operating environment grew, most mission-critical applications were moved to the more current versions of Solaris through application vendor upgrades, patches, etc. However, there were many organizations that had built custom applications, or had applications for which the vendor was no longer in business, and they had no easy way to migrate to the newer Solaris versions. Or the applications were not deemed ‘mission critical'. Enter the "wait and see" or "if it ain't broken" approaches.

Fast forward to today. We at AppZero know firsthand that there remain a sizeable number of legacy Solaris applications which continue to be supported by some of the largest and most recognizable companies. In our interactions with these organizations, we have observed an odd mix of magical thinking and fatalism.  It has always worked; we will deal with it when it happens.

What is the truth? Sun/Oracle made significant efforts and investments to provide backward compatibility for their customers. They are one of the few vendors who have made significant investments in order to try and make it easier for their legacy clients to easily migrate to more current Solaris environments. The challenge for organizations running Solaris environments of the 2.6 era is that their applications usually don't meet the criteria to be covered within the Oracle Binary Compatibility Guarantee.

They had legacy clients in mind when they originally developed Zones within Solaris 10. For any organization running Solaris 8 or 9 applications, it's a simple matter to put them into branded zones on Solaris 10 to enjoy the benefits of the newer OS and hardware systems. What many people fail to understand is that the branded zone approach is not an option for the older Solaris 2.6/7 applications.

Here's where AppZero comes in. Our software encapsulates your old 2.6/7 application, packaging enough of its OS eccentricities that it will ‘feel' completely at home when it is picked up and placed on the bright and shiny Solaris 10 OS and box. Instantly running.  Risk and cost dramatically cut.

If it ain't broke .... check out AppZero's solution and ask about our "no app left behind" service.

I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of the discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject, drop me a line at rwhitcroft@appzero.com, or tweet us at @appzero_inc. www.appzero.com.

Register to attend the Sept 29th Webinar, Legacy Lowdown - Options when migrating legacy Solaris applications

There are a few tools and capabilities that are available to help you migrate legacy Solaris applications. We'll share our knowledge on the options that are available to you in a free informational webinar.  We'll look at questions such as:

  • Sun/Oracle Binary Compatability Guarantee. Will your application qualify?
  • Solaris Zones/Containers. When and how to use them for your legacy applications
  • Tips, Tricks, and tools that you already have available to help you to understand the level of effort required to migrate your legacy applications
  • Other options available to help you mitigate risk and migrate these legacy applications today

Join us on Thursday, Sept 29th at 1pm EDT. Register now>>

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

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