Traditional or cloud-native? Why not something in between?

by Daniel Pelke |
Aug 9, 2018 |
I usually write blog posts about general IT trends and about the paths and aberrations of digital transformation. I have always avoided writing articles about us, fme AG. Today, for once, I want to break that rule. Sometimes you walk out of a customer meeting and ask yourself: “What in God’s name do some so-called cloud consultants tell clients? Why are they confusing their clients more than neutrally showing them the options for the way to the cloud?

Your on-premise cloud options at a glance

Starting from complete use in their own data center (on-premise), companies have the following options:
  1. Cloud storage: adding storage capacity from the cloud to your application.
  2. Re-platforming
    1. Lift’n’Shift: i.e. virtualizing or containerizing the application and hosting the virtual machines or containers with a cloud provider. Of course, provided that the containers are orchestrated accordingly, they can also be hosted in one’ s own data center.
    2. Lift’n’Extend: i.e. to containerize the applications and to enhance with other cloud services functionally, or to create new cloud-native functions. It is also possible to develop individual elements of the application, e.g. the clients, in a new and cloud-native way and to link them to the backend. Such solutions are commonly referred to as hybrid cloud applications; not to be confused with hybrid cloud concepts.
  3. Re-Factoring: i.e. to redevelop the application on a PaaS stack as a cloud-native application. If the solution is based on a commercial basic product such as a DMS that is not cloud-compatible, this method is not possible.
  4. Use a new solution from a SaaS provider.

Containerization as an ideal middle way between traditional and cloud-native

For example many organizations, are facing the decision to continue to operate DMS-based solutions at great expense and cost or to choose option 4, i.e. to switch to a SaaS provider. However, the options listed under 2 offer an ideal middle way with containerisation. The advantages of containerization have already been described in detail in the fme blog post “How can Linux containers save your day?”. Our “Distributed Environments With Containers” data sheet provides a more technical insight into containers. In particular, the use of containers in validated environments – so critical for the life sciences industry – is a prime example of the additional advantages offered by container technologies.

Your container advantages at a glance

  • Proven software and aplications remain in use
  • The user interface and user guidance remain the same
  • Faster, less error-prone, automated processes can result in faster application deployment and lower validation costs
  • The agility in projects increases
  • Upgrade paths are simplified: Entire migration environments are containerized, even with different host operating systems for which previously elaborately installed, own virtual machines were necessary
  • The applications are manifold!

Strong expertise from fme’s independent cloud, container and migration experts

The containerisation experts from fme disassemble the basic product, pack it into containers and reassemble it in your data centre or at a cloud provider, such as AWS, to form the new basic application. For some products, fme has already built ready-to-use containers that can be rolled out fast and easily. Subsequently, configurations and, if available, customizations are made. The new system is filled with the fme Migration Services and thus a 1:1 copy is created. What sounds so simple requires a high level of expertise and is associated with costs that are more than justified if one considers the advantages of containerization.

A useful example for Lift’n’Extend (2b): Connection of Alexa to a containerized DMS application

An example for the extension of a containerized DMS application with native cloud services can be seen impressively in the YouTube video Showcase: Alexa, please open Documentum! “ For this purpose, fme containerization experts have rolled out OpenText Documentum on AWS and fme AWS specialists have connected it to Alexa. We believe that Alexa skills can make your daily work easier. In environments where operating a system with mouse and keyboard is difficult, Alexa can use voice commands to find and read documents. A use case could be a laboratory where safety gloves have to be worn, but the user working there needs SOPs from a DMS system.

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