Posts Tagged ‘SaaS’

12 Ingredients for App Modernization

January 8, 2019

It is no surprise that IBM has become so enamored with the hybrid cloud. The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 21.4 percent in 2018 to total $186.4 billion, up from $153.5 billion in 2017, according to Gartner.

The fastest-growing segment of the market is cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS), which is forecast to grow 35.9 percent in 2018 to reach $40.8 billion. Gartner expects the top 10 providers, often referred to as hyperscalers, to account for nearly 70 percent of the IaaS market by 2021, up from 50 percent in 2016.

Cloud computing is poised to become a “turbocharged engine powering digital transformation around the world,” states a recent Forrester report, Predictions 2019: Cloud Computing. Overall, the global cloud computing market, including cloud platforms, business services, and SaaS, will exceed $200 billion this year, expanding at more than 20%, the research firm predicts

Venkats’ recipe for app modernization; courtesy of IBM

Hybrid clouds, which include two or more cloud providers or platforms, are emerging as the preferred approach for enterprises.  Notes IBM: The digital economy is forcing organizations to a multi-cloud environment. Three of every four enterprises have already implemented more than one cloud. The growth of cloud portfolios in enterprises demands an agnostic cloud management platform — one that not only provides automation, provisioning and orchestration, but also monitors trends and usage to prevent outages. No surprise here; IBM just happens to offer hybrid cloud management.

By the start of 2019, the top seven cloud providers are AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, VMWare Cloud on AWS, Oracle Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud. These top players have been shifting positions around in 2018 and expect more shifting to continue this year and probably for years to come.

Clients, notes Venkat, are discovering that the real value of Cloud comes in a hybrid, multi-cloud world. In this model, legacy applications are modernized with a real microservices architecture and with AI embedded in the application. He does not fully explain where the AI comes from and how it is embedded. Maybe I missed something.

Driving this interest for the next couple of years, at least, is interest in application modernization. Companies are discovering that the real value comes through a hybrid multicloud. Here legacy applications are modernized through a real microservices architecture enhanced with AI embedded in the application, says Meenagi Venkat, Vice President of Technical Sales & Solutioning, at IBM Cloud. Venkat wrote what he calls a 12-ingredient recipe for application modernization here. Dancing Dinosaur will highlight a couple of the ingredients below. Click the proceeding link to see them all.

To begin, when you modernize a large portfolio of several thousand applications in a large enterprise, you need some common approaches. At the same time, the effort must allow teams to evolve to a microservices-based organization where each microservice is designed and delivered with great independence.

Start by fostering a startup culture. Fostering a startup culture that allows for fast failure is one of the most critical ingredients when approaching a large modernization program. The modernization will involve sunsetting some applications, breaking some down, and using partner services in others. A startup culture based on methods such as IBM Garage Method and Design Thinking will help bring the how-to of the culture shift.

Then, innovate via product design Venkat continues. A team heavy with developers and no product folks is likely to focus on the technical coolness rather than product innovation. Hence, these teams should be led by the product specialists who deliver the business case for new services or client experience

And don’t neglect security. Secure DevOps will require embedding security skills in the scrum teams with a product owner leading the team. The focus on the product and on designing security (and compliance) to various regimes at the start will allow the scaling of microservices and engender trust in the data and AI layers. Venkat put this after design and the startup culture. In truth, this should be a key part of the startup culture.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghost-writer. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog, and see more of his work at

SaaS and the IBM System z

May 10, 2010

A year ago Mac Devine, IBM Distinguished Engineer, extolled the virtues of the mainframe as the foundation for a SaaS strategy. Since then a slew of z cloud initiatives by IBM along with enhancements to WebSphere and the System z and the growing embrace of SaaS by ever more vendors only reinforce Devine’s message. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Showplace, an independent online directory of SaaS products, reports over 1300 organizations now have SaaS offerings.

Devine outlined the case for SaaS on the z in a presentation at SHARE last year, the SaaS-y Mainframe—Cloud Computing with System z.  The core of the System z SaaS pitch, as stated at SHARE a year ago: Mainframes, as consolidation engines, are uniquely designed to virtualize and share everything—hardware, network, I/O, you name it—taking on the equivalent of hundreds or even thousands of servers workloads. Multi-tenancy, a core SaaS requirement, is baked into the DNA of the mainframe by default, which makes it particularly valuable for organizations re-architecting existing applications to deliver as a service.

Veteran mainframe data center managers were baffled when SaaS, ASPs (application service providers) and MSPs (managed service providers) first appeared on the scene years ago. That’s what they had been doing for years, for decades, they would tell me. Only, it wasn’t called that then. How is it any different from time sharing, they would ask.

Conceptually it isn’t very different. However, three things make it different enough: 1) the emergence of the Internet as a ubiquitous connecting fabric that everyone can use; 2) the browser as the universal client; and 3) the advent of services and service orientation. Previously monolithic code is now extracted as identifiable services and made accessible over the Internet via the browser following a requester-responder model.

Transzap, an online financial processor, remains IBM’s System z poster child for SaaS. The company handles payables, invoicing, and spend analysis through an Oracle database running as a service in a virtualized Linux on z environment. In 2009, the company handled 58 million customer transactions that way. You can check out their story here.

CA also has jumped into the mainframe SaaS game but from a completely different angle. CA wants to sell outsourced mainframe management to z shops as a contracted service. Their pitch is here.  CA really is offering not SaaS but managed services more like MSPs offered a decade or more ago.  Good luck.

IBM’s mainframe SaaS strategy envisions the mainframe as the center of SaaS offerings based on mainframe functionality delivered as sets of services. The goal is to enable IT to provide selected mainframe capabilities as online services and generate new revenue for the company. In effect, IT becomes what IBM refers to as rainmakers, using mainframe assets delivered as SaaS.

Are mainframe managers ready to think this way? Some certainly are. What mainframe data or functionality will your organization’s customers or new customers be willing to pay for?

In truth, the System z is well positioned to capitalize on the as-a-service phenomenon. The System z is multi-tenant to the max, which is critical to play the as-a-service game. Not only can it deliver SaaS data and functionality but also PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). And it doesn’t take much to do this if you already have a z in place. Linux on z, WebSphere on z, and z/VM get you started.

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