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Mode 1 IT operations are focused on legacy applications and systems that are typically found in an organization’s on-premise data center. Applications, databases, and systems that are core to the management of employees, customers, finances, partners, productivity, and revenue are usually housed in a Mode 1 environment. These environments are relatively predictable and have well-established processes and protocols that help them run smoothly and handle emerging issues and threats. IT departments are usually well-staffed with resources who have the experience and expertise to manage these Mode 1 elements, which are considered to be the lifeblood of most businesses.

The primary characteristics of a Mode 1 environment are stability, reliability, efficiency, high availability, and bullet-proof security. Changes are always introduced with extreme prudence, to safeguard these mature systems. Most business-critical systems go through significant evolutionary changes over time, and managing these upgrades carefully is the job of Mode 1 IT operations. Some Mode 1 applications are traditional mainframe, client/server apps, and may never be virtualized or moved to the cloud. Other Mode 1 applications may need to be rearchitected to incorporate some cloud-like attributes such as greater resiliency and the ability to scale more easily or renovated to fit a digital world. Mode 1 operations can sometimes include cloud applications, so the line of demarcation between the Modes is not the cloud, as many assume. For example, some Mode 1 applications may end up being deployed on a private cloud which is owned and operated by the business.

Most organizations have moved at least some of their services to a Mode 2 environment and are managing their Mode 1 and Mode 2 environments separately. This has introduced many IT challenges, as the two environments are very different. These bimodal IT departments can use a multimodal operating system to bridge the two Modes, allowing seamless interoperability from Mode 1 to Mode 2 and back. This lets the organization carry out a digital transformation at its own pace, while maintaining their business-critical legacy systems. SUSE Linux Enterprise System 15 (SLES 15), the newest version of its enterprise-grade operating system, is designed to support multimodal IT environments.