Yes Virginia, you can virtualize almost anything with cloud computing.

This morning I’ve been reading from an article about virtualization not being a universal panacea. I do have to disagree some with Steve though. In this post, I’ll be talking about this from the standpoint of an IaaS cloud computing provider, but this should mostly be applicable to non-cloud virtualization as well.

Any application can benefit from a move to a cloud computing environment, whether that move improves performance or functionality of the application. Reduced complexity for the customer and disaster avoidance (quickly and seamlessly move virtual machines out of a data center threatened by natural disaster, for instance) should make this a no-brainer right from the go. What prevents this from happening more often than not are businesses that aren’t feeling enough pain around it to do anything until after the worst happens.

Far from being bad candidates for virtualizing, abandoned apps, obsolete apps, obsolete and oddball operating systems, and apps running on orphaned hardware are all prime candidates for cloud computing. It isn’t generally the application software or the OS itself that eventually kills these apps, it’s the failure of irreplaceable hardware that drives the nail in the coffin.

Big cloud computing providers typically have a limited range of the more common operating systems available as virtual machine images but smaller cloud computing providers can usually supply a solution for almost any OS that can still be found on the net (and most of them can). From the standpoint of non-x86 antiquated hardware, many old platforms can be found as very good emulators now. This means that the OS can either be run directly in a virtual machine (for x86 hardware) or on top of an emulator in a virtual machine (for non-x86 hardware).

So now, many of these orphaned applications can take advantage of cloud computing without having to become “kill” applications. If the software is still performing a useful job, put it on a cloud and and dump the caveman hardware.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for cloud computing services (give m a challenge, nothing is too weird to cloud!)!


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4 responses to “Yes Virginia, you can virtualize almost anything with cloud computing.

  1. Vern

    I would love to see you try to put a 1967 mainframe cobol application that uses DB2 and CICS on VMware. It would be a giggle.


    • OK, so I said ALMOST all :). If you’re still dragging along with a 40+ year old mainframe, I don’t think even I could help you.

      Let’s add a 20-25 year time limit on that to give me at least a fighting chance :).


  2. Stephen Hickey

    Though I see that perhaps you are technically correct – that anything can be put into a Cloud – I think the reality is that CIOs and Application owners won’t take the risk and move their older/unsupported applications to the Cloud. To migrate to the Cloud, they’d have to go through many changes, at least the OS version, and increase the risk that their Apps won’t run. If the App were moved to the Cloud “as is”, and had special support agreements, then this is no different to a bespoke offshore support arrangement. I just can’t see what the overall benefits of virtualising the old stuff would be. Better to migrate (or kill) the App to supported versions and then virtualise.

    • Well, of course updating everything would be optimal solution. The benefit to what I’m suggesting is, for those who don’t want to or for some reason can’t update, this gets rid of the expensive nightmare that running an obsolete and near impossible to support hardware platform (such as a 40 year old mainframe) is. Is it any more risk to transfer the app to a cloud than it is to risk the antiquated pile of junk it’s running on finally falling over irreparably?

      I stand by my original assertion, the issue with “kill” apps isn’t really the software, it’s the antiquated and obsolete hardware required to run it.


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