My previous blog talked about the digital transformation journey that many companies are on today and compared it with my own journey to deal with those old legacy photos and videos. My first step was to simplify – to rescue all those old photos, slides and videos sitting in drawers, shoe boxes, and photo albums, and centralize them on to a more modern platform, ie, my computer. I didn’t want to replace the photos; they may be grainy or discolored, but they still have a lot of value and I like to look at them. Now that I’ve scanned them into my computer, I can access them all from one place, they are more secure, and they’re much easier to manage.
We talk to a lot of customers whose computing environment looks a lot like my photo collection. A lot of old, but still useful applications, deployed in various places around the organization on multiple servers running in their own data centers, attached to traditional storage appliances, all of which constantly need to be monitored, reconfigured, patched and eventually replaced when they get old. Most of those customers have taken the first step to simplify their environment by consolidating applications into virtual machines on fewer servers, upgrading to software defined storage, and automating their management environment with SUSE Manager.
Simplification – the process of optimizing applications and data in an existing IT environment – is the first step along the journey to digital transformation, the quest to increase agility and deliver on customer expectations in this fast-paced on-demand world. In most cases, simplification is necessary just to be able to continue to run the business by reducing the complexity and cost of the current environment.
The next step is modernization, bringing those applications and data into a modern computing world. Modernization is not just about running the business, but about changing the business by focusing on increased agility and reliability, faster development cycles, and lower operating costs.
Practically, that means moving from a vm-based application environment toward containers, a software packaging method that encapsulates a software service or application, all its dependencies, and the minimal set of run-time resources it needs to perform its function. Containers are the modern way to enhance agility, efficiency, and resource optimization, and provide the following benefits:
- Applications start up in seconds
- Portable and lightweight
- Quickly scalable
- Increases availability
- Built on open source
- Require fewer resources, lower operating cost than full VMs
- Perfectly suited for agile development
Containers help companies modernize by making it easier to scale and deploy applications. Once these applications are containerized, they can be quickly changed to meet customer requirements, scaled to meet increased demand, and easily moved between the data center and the cloud to lower costs and improve the customer experience.
Now that businesses are deploying thousands of container instances daily, on-premise and in the public cloud, they need a way to efficiently create, delete, schedule, scale, monitor, and generally manage those containers. This is where Kubernetes comes in. Kubernetes provides automated container orchestration so that development teams can deploy their applications and let Kubernetes manage the rest.
SUSE customers can do this with SUSE CaaS Platform 4, a robust Kubernetes platform with enhancements that expand platform scalability options, strengthen application security, and make it easier to keep pace with technology advancements. SUSE CaaS Platform includes Kubernetes to automate lifecycle management of modern applications as well as a host of technologies that enrich Kubernetes and make the platform itself easy to operate. SUSE CaaS Platform 4 introduced a bunch of new features, and is the first commercial Kubernetes platform to integrate Cilium, the new advanced networking technology for Kubernetes that provides improved security, installation and configuration, features that the Kubernetes community has been asking for. SUSE CaaS Platform gives SUSE customers an easy way to simplify and accelerate the management of their Kubernetes clusters
As vital as it is to remain competitive, the journey from legacy to modern is not without its challenges. A good way to start is to hire a guide, someone who has done this before, who can look at where you are today and help you figure out the best way to get to where you want to be tomorrow. SUSE Global Services works with customers who are undertaking digital transformation, and offers a plethora of services designed to suit each customer’s particular needs.
Modernization of a legacy application infrastructure using containers and embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy is a necessary step to improve agility and help businesses compete in a fast-paced global market. But to stay competitive, and indeed accelerate, it’s not enough to just modernize old applications; new applications need to be developed from the ground up as cloud native. We’ll talk about that next time.