What Cloud Providers Must Do To Attract IBM i
June 13, 2018 Lief Morin
The cloud is a compelling platform for almost every business. It’s real, and it’s here to stay. There are many reasons cloud consumption models are attractive, starting with the big four: predictable payments and cost savings, consistency of service, almost unlimited elasticity and access to advanced services and personnel. These are the benefits that cloud service providers have emphasized most as clients try to understand how cloud services might work best in their enterprise.
The real benefits of the cloud, however, go far beyond these three things. As the cloud matures and service providers’ offerings blur into each other, they have to offer more features to stand out. For IBM i customers, there are a few more recent drivers that are making companies take a harder look at the cloud. There are three particular features and capabilities customers are looking at when they are considering moving IBM i workloads to the cloud – plus a bonus one that is always top of mind for organizations in certain industries.
Better Operations Capabilities, Lower Costs
When you look at where the IBM i platform is in its maturity cycle, this makes perfect sense. There are still thousands of installations in the world, and most run mission-critical data workloads.
If a company is running multiple IBM i platforms in its on-premise data center, for example, that may be not the best use of resources. Managing your own hardware and operating systems adds no value to your underlying business. It’s the opposite, in fact. It takes away options, ties up your IT department, and presents potential risk for no real value gained.
Eliminating these risks and inefficiencies is a main reason that organizations seek out the cloud and managed service providers that have the expertise to keep you up and running, as well as the economies of scale to cut your costs.
BraaS And DRaaS Built In
Backup and Recovery as a Service and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) are becoming a great use case for moving IBM i workloads to the cloud. When you think about it, these services are a great shared services. Your company doesn’t have to buy a whole backup and disaster recovery system, maintain it, pay for colocation, manage everything associated with it. For DraaS specifically, being vigilant about keeping the systems in compliance all for an event that happens once a quarter or less – or an actual event that you hope never happens is a constant struggle.
When you consider it this way, using DRaaS once every three months, on average, for a few days while your business gets back up and running, is perfect for a shared architecture model. And for those true disasters that hopefully never happen, a DRaaS option that lets you run in the cloud indefinitely while you get back on your feet doesn’t just provide peace of mind, it’s a real business benefit that you don’t need to think about.
A Data Platform Option
Many companies have created application services or data services that run on IBM i. The end users who consume these services don’t know what environment they reside on or where they live, and they don’t care as long as the services meet their technical, security and performance objectives
This means your company can run database as a service on an IBM i platform and expose the APIs, and interconnect any other database – Microsoft SQL Server or AWS Redshift – and use an IBM i backend. Some providers now have app hosting to go with IBM i managed services; there aren’t a lot of companies taking advantage of this right now, but it’s growing rapidly.
Bonus: The Ever-Present Regulatory And Security Compliance
For organizations in many industries, compliance is like a haze that sits over everything you do. For midmarket companies, often the only way to meet resource-intensive, increasingly difficult regulatory and compliance mandates is through a shared service. For example, the resources consumed by audits and compliance alone have real fiscal impacts, and a small healthcare company might have trouble meeting those responsibilities.
Delivering compliance and regulatory capabilities, even though the expertise and technology required to deliver is formidable, is a differentiator for service providers. By leveraging scale to provide compliance to a broad market, it can be a financial benefit for both parties.
This list only scratches the surface of what companies will be looking for as they consider moving IBM i workloads to the cloud. If a service provider can allow an enterprise to gain all the benefits of the cloud through a shared consumption model and at a price point that is significantly lower than building it themselves, the enterprise will choose that option.