Websphere: The Business value of Cloud Computing – without re-architecting existing applications

A business is only as agile and flexible as it’s infrastructure. It’s hard to adapt and take advantage of market conditions when your Oil Tanker infrastructure is anchored firmly to the sea bed.   By the time you have raised your anchor and steered the ship, some pesky inflatable dinghy has motored over there and claimed the market.

Cloud computing offers the tantalizing opportunity to spin up infrastructure on demand – in minutes not months! Start small and scale as and when you need it.   Resources just at the point you need them rather than having to predict the peak demand and provide an infrastructure that can cope with it even when largely it will be unused. Equally bad, under scaling it so that it crashes from over demand at peak times. Both options costs a business dearly.

Efficiency and agility are clearly great benefits – one could argue they are necessities to survive but what about quantifiable costs rather than speculative predictions of either doom and disaster or fabulous riches?

Providing 24×7 availability, state of the art security, increased collaboration between employees and supply chain, easier mergers and acquisitions, and even reduced environmental impact also have huge price tags in traditional infrastructures but are offered as benefits in Cloud Computing environments.

Initially there was much talk about shifting capital expense to operational expense. No kit to buy upfront is clearly attractive but now companies can see their annual bills with some SAAS (Software as a Service) vendors soaring and just like the large infrastructure providers of old, they are difficult to move away from. Most comment on Cloud benefits revolves around the storage and compute capacity rather than the licence costs.

Cloud Computing is a no brainer for new businesses. I saw a presentation at the AWS from Deliveroo – complex compute algorithms calculate the best routes for hipster cyclists with a large green box attached to their back (Deliveroo, can’t you make it more aero? Maybe there are some marginal gains that could mean that you deliver fast food). Cool! Seeing it working live like Douglas Adams’ DeepThought , in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. These kind of companies can take advantage of the latest architectures, Microservices, Docker etc with simple repeatable deployments.

What about the companies who have already heavily invested in infrastructure? Are these companies forced to rewrite the core systems in order to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing? The business value of spending years re-writing core systems with the same functionaility just does not stack up! Not only is it ridiculous to spend vast sums of money on re-writing everything but by the time it is written the market that it is trying to compete in would have completely changed and therefore the functionality of the system. These systems in many cases have been around since the 70’s. Is it possible for these companies to take advantage of Cloud infrastructure benefits without re-architecting everything?

Certainly in the case of some of these applications it is perfectly possible. Websphere for example is extensively used by many of the kind of organisations that face this challenge. Running Websphere in the Cloud is one thing but the licensing model from IBM does not lend itself to the pay as you consume model that is so attractive with Cloud services.

MidVision have a long history with IBM products and developed a deployment automation tool long before people talked about DevOps. Customers have been using RapidDeploy increasingly with cloud infrastructures and recognising this trend we wanted to offer the best advice and tools to our customers and how to make the transition. We decided to offer Websphere Application Server, MQ Series and Integration Bus in AWS and Azzure to provide a platform for customers to move existing applications to the Cloud with a pay as you consume model.

So how does running Websphere in AWS stack up against traditional approaches from a software licence cost point of view? We did some calculations based on IBM Websphere in AWS or Azzure for three different scenarios; Development, Test and Production.

The focus is purely on licence costs and not on any of the other more broad benefits above.

If you are interested in the full details you can download the eBook here but in summary we found that organisations can make substantial savings by running Websphere IT infrastructure on the AWS Cloud Marketplace rather than internal servers.

For DEVELOPMENT phase we estimated Using WebSphere Application Server Base Edition on AWS for development is 21.82%
of the price of using it on internal servers . Similarly for a TEST scenario, we calculated over a 15% saving. For PRODUCTION though we calculated a whopping 35.5% saving!

Couple these benefits with the flexibility, agility, availability and security benefits then its easy to see why Cloud computing is compelling even for older infrastructure.

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