The partnership spells opportunity for Skytap ISVs and Azure channel partners whose clients use IBM i, AIX and Linux.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

September 16, 2019

3 Min Read
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Retrofitting legacy workloads for the cloud is no easy task and for a while, wasn’t even feasible due to cost and complexity.

Things are changing. More vendors continue to develop ways to run older on-premises systems in the public cloud, and Skytap is the latest join those ranks.

The company, which was founded more than a decade ago for the purpose of moving legacy platforms to the cloud, soon will offer IBM Power-specific capabilities on Microsoft Azure.

That will spell opportunity for independent software vendors working with Skytap and for Azure channel partners with customers operating workloads dependent on IBM i, AIX and Linux. Organizations can reduce their infrastructure expenses and footprint, and gain benefits including scalability and disaster recovery assurances, all without having to rewrite their traditional applications.

“We recognize that enterprises have many critical systems that were not designed with the cloud in mind,” said Eric Lockard, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Azure Dedicated, in a prepared statement. “Skytap’s ability to migrate and run these applications natively in Microsoft Azure with minimal changes accelerates cloud adoption.”


Skytap’s Dan Jones

According to IT Jungle, Microsoft will install Power9 servers in an Azure data center, while Skytap will manage the application environments for clients. And demand is speaking for itself, Dan Jones, vice president of product for Skytap, told IT Jungle.

“We’ve seen a number of software vendors in the [IBM] i ecosystem reach out to us,” he told the publication. “The interest in running [IBM] i workloads in the cloud is off the charts.”

That comes as little surprise. IBM says almost 80% of the Fortune 100 use IBM Power Systems for their most critical tasks. And while IBM itself recently launched cloud options for its Power servers, Skytap is teaming with Azure, the no. 2 cloud provider, because of customer interest. In its 2018 survey, Skytap found that respondents lean most heavily on Azure when adding enhancements including web services, mobility AI and IoT to applications in Skytap.


Skytap’s Brad Schick

“We will bring Skytap’s native support for a wide range of legacy applications to Microsoft Azure,” Skytap CEO Brad Schick said in a statement. “This will give businesses the ability to extend the life of traditional systems and increase their value by modernizing with Azure services.”

After moving to Skytap on Azure, enterprises will have the ability to integrate Azure DevOps, in addition to CI/CD toolchains for Power such as Eradani and UrbanCode.

Skytap and Microsoft have not said when the services made possible through their partnership will be generally available.

This type of project is not unique to Skytap and Azure, although it is representative of the trend toward extending the lifetime of legacy investments through ISVs. Other vendors already offer similar programs for Azure and Google Cloud Platform — examples include VirtaMove and Cameyo, among others.

Even as enterprises adopt hybrid and multicloud models, many still use…

…on-premises applications that contain their most critical workloads, to IBM’s point. Yet organizations are not ready to abandon those applications. Retrofitting can provide the ideal solution and ISVs are essential to the process.

Plus, the effort should pay off financially for ISVs. Research firm MarketsandMarkets in June found that the global application transformation market size will grow from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $16.8 billion by 2024. That marks a compound annual growth rate of 11.6%, fueled by cloud and big data technologies.

“The constant need to be updated with new technologies and enhance the return on investment requires a scientific approach and agile methodology to mitigate the key risks and challenges involved in the existing legacy applications,” the firm noted in a press release. “These factors are expected to drive the global application transformation market.”

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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