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Tag Archives: platform

The Top Six Reasons Companies Are Afraid of Mainframe Modernization

 

So, why haven’t more IT organizations embarked upon modernization efforts?

 

Well, modernizing applications, especially mainframe applications, comes with a perceived set of formidable challenges. As part of our “Mission Possible 2013” series, let’s take a closer look at the six main reasons companies shy away from even approaching a mainframe modernization effort. (Note: The next blog will explain why these challenges are not so formidable, and I’ll offer proven strategies for overcoming each one.)

 

 

1. Interruptions to Business

Mainframes are highly reliable, available, and serviceable so they tend to run your business and mission-critical apps. In addition, mainframe apps are very mature because they’ve been in production for years, if not decades. IT organizations fear pulling the plug on a mainframe app without extensively testing the new app (perhaps for months or years) because it may cause catastrophic issues to the business. To decrease the possibility of service interruptions, IT teams can do two things—utilize modern software testing methods or run the legacy system in parallel with the modernized app for some time. But why risk testing an entire mission critical application wholesale? In the next blog, I’ll describe incremental approaches for modernizing mainframe apps.

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Messaging Architecture: Using RabbitMQ at the World’s 8th Largest Retailer

Today, we are pleased to have a guest blogger from a VMware customer share with us their story of how RabbitMQ transformed their business by “solving some really interesting problems”. The following is sent courtesy of Pablo Molnar of MercadoLibre:

If you haven’t heard of MercadoLibre (NASDAQ: MELI), we are the largest e-commerce ecosystem in Latin America. Our website offers a wide range of services to sellers and buyers throughout the region including marketplace, payments, advertising, and e-building solutions. Our products are present in over 14 countries, and the company is ranked as 8th largest online retailer in the world. We were also on Fortune’s list of the fastest growing companies in 2012, and we use RabbitMQ to solve some interesting problems.

About Our Technology Stack and How RabbitMQ Helps

In terms of technology infrastructure, MercadoLibre is fully committed to the open source development model. Most of our apps are primarily written in Grails, Groovy, and NodeJS,  but we don’t stick to any language or framework. We entrust tool selection responsibilities to the Software Engineers on each team. Almost all applications are hosted by our in-house cloud computing provisioning system and implemented via OpenStack with more than +7000 virtual instances at the moment. Also, we have successfully launched applications using emerging storage solutions like Redis and MongoDB. With an average of 20 million requests per minute and 4GB bandwidth per second, our traffic management layer is crucial and most of the routing rules job is done by Nginx proxy servers. Our labs department includes a huge Apache Hadoop cluster to perform complex analytical queries, and we are experimenting with real-time data processing using Apache Kafka and Storm.

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The Best VMware vFabric Stories of 2012 & What’s In Store for 2013

As this year comes to a close, it’s time to be reflective of what happened in the past and start planning for a new year. The vFabric team has had some major achievements this year, introducing several new products to the market including the innovative vFabric Application Director, the widely anticipated Project Serengeti to enable rapid cloud deployments for Hadoop, and a new tool to the vFabric Suite users called vFabric Administration Server (VAS).  We announced a new VMware Cloud Applications Marketplace to help further accelerate application development with a professionally moderated library of enterprise grade, ready-to-use application components that can be run on any cloud.

Next year is going to be even bigger with the Pivotal Initiative where several of the products covered on this blog will be following the new venture. This is still in the planning stages, so we will be expecting to share with you the plans for our products alongside the formal communications from each of the companies involved. (Sorry — no extra information is available right now)

One thing that we are going to be doing in early 2013 is to move the conversation of how you manage applications to be with the conversations of how you manage virtual infrastructure. To that end, we will be moving all topics of Application Performance Manager, AppInsight, Application Director, Hyperic, and Spring Insight to the VMware Management Blog as of January 1st. To make sure you keep up with the management topics, please be sure to follow us @vmwareappmgmt and @vmwaremgmt.

In the meantime, we’d like to reshare with you the top 20 stories we had for 2012, and invite you to comment here on what stories you would like to see us cover on either blog for 2013.

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Announcing the Availability of vFabric Data Director 2.5, GemFire 7, EM4J 1.2, and More

Application developers and data management teams continue to look for ways to modernize legacy apps, manage costs more effectively, build new apps on robust application platforms, and solve big data problems. These are some of the key reasons why vFabric is on the CIO (or CTO) agenda. With several new product releases in the vFabric Suite, VMware continues to provide a best-in-class application platform and help customers solve their top application development and data management problems.

vFabric Data Director 2.5

Database as a Service (DBaaS) helps companies virtualize data engines and automate management while getting a handle on the costs and compliance issues related to data sprawl. In the newest version of Data Director, several new data engines are supported (in addition to Oracle and Postgres) along with other new capabilities:

  • Support for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012
  • Support for Hadoop deployment, management, and monitoring across all major distributions through Project Serengeti
  • Enhanced automation of Oracle and SQL Server template creation
  • Broad support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Oracle Linux
  • Enhanced Oracle database ingestion, including ingestion to a point-in-time and more
  • Support for static IP database virtual machines (DBVMs)
  • Express set-up for development or experimentation

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A Tale of Modernization: Stopping Bank Robbers as a Service (20 Billion Times to Date)

Pirates. Pick pockets. Bank Robbers.

What do these have to do with applications modernization?

Well, bank robbers have turned digital, and this article is about modernizing one of the most successful systems used to stop them.

Stealing credit card numbers, emptying online bank accounts and stealing identities is now big business for thieves and consequently a big area for software companies and banks to collaborate and stop them. Cybercrime and malware have become such an issue that, according to Gartner, the web fraud detection market (where RSA competes) grew 35% in 2010 and 25% in 2011.

RSA is in the business of stopping banks and their customers from being robbed (among other things). Their technology has protected people, businesses, and financial institutions from online fraud for almost 20 years. Their Adaptive Authentication solution is deployed at over 8000 companies, used by over 200 million people, and has protected over 20 billion transactions to date. To jump on the “everything as a service” bandwagon, Adaptive Authentication is literally embarking on a project to “Stop Bank Robbers as a Service.”

We had the opportunity to catch up with the RSA engineering team that is developing this next-generation service using a wide range of VMware capabilities, including VMware vCloud Suite and vFabric. We learned that VMware virtualization infrastructure management, application performance management, automated provisioning, and application servers are already providing benefits along with improved runtimes, and got a peek into how they plan to do the financial side of IT business management using VMware tools.

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Big, Fast Data Opportunities in Mobile Applications

Mobile applications are one thing, but mobile apps WITH fast data requirements are another.

The combination of mobile apps and fast data requirements can cause major data scale issues. Whether you are trying to update an existing application or build a new application, mobile apps with personalization, pricing, location, or gaming functionality must consider data architecture differently from the outset.

The Fundamental Growth Characteristics of Mobile

It’s official, mobile applications now account for over 50% of the computing market. It crept up on us quickly, and it’s easy to forget that mobile growth is different than what we’ve seen before. Of course, most people in the mobile space know about the growth. You would have to be living in a country without internet, TV, or radio if you haven’t heard that mobile usage is growing tremendously along with mobile applications. But, let’s put this in perspective: AOL took 2.5 years to reach 50 million users and Angry Birds took 35 days. Yes, Angry Birds was a smash hit, but so was AOL.

An AT&T Senior EVP recently wrote, “Over the past five years, AT&T’s wireless data traffic has grown 20,000%. The growth is now primarily driven by smartphones.” In fact, many say that mobile use will cause a spectrum deficit in the U.S. According to the Telegraph, smartphones are mostly used for internet (24 minutes and 29 seconds per day) and social media (17 minutes and 29 seconds per day) while phone calls are ranked 5th (12 minutes and 6 seconds per day).  Similarly, mobile commerce is planned to rise from 1% of all e-commerce sales in 2010 to 7% in 2016 (i.e. from $3 billion to $31 billion in a 6 years period). Apps are also accounting for more minutes of usage. So, no wonder business groups are clamoring for mobile-centric programs and applications.

The bottom line is that mobile applications are growing data differently than traditional database applications.

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Application Director Community is Open & Growing

With the announcement at VMworld that vFabric Application Director is now part of VMware’s vCloud Suite, the popularity of the product and usage among VMware users has grown significantly. In order to best support a group of diverse users creating cloud applications that can run on any cloud, VMware has created a new community for Application Director users.

But why? Why is application provisioning becoming so popular?
Well, here is how the story is unfolding.

>> Join the Application Director Community
>> Follow us on Twitter

Why IT Departments are Prioritizing Application Director
If you look at it through an extremely pragmatic, financially conscious lens, it’s not terribly difficult to imagine how things evolve as IT looks to prioritize improvements. Here is an example of how we have seen our customers thought processes unfold in discussions:
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Cloud Diaries: Financial Services Company Saves 30-50% Capex & Automates 3000+ VM Deployment

Deploying an application automatically to over 1000 blades with 3000 to 5000 virtual machines is a big deal, particularly when a failed system can stop millions in daily revenue as is the case with large financial services company.

When you are an architect within a financial services company and responsible for such a massive infrastructure like this, your technology architecture decisions also cost millions of dollars.

VMware had the opportunity to open the “private diary” of a cloud architect responsible for such a system at one of the most well-known global financial services brands in the world. In our dialogue, we were able to better understand why and how they use VMware’s vCloud Suite and vFabric Application Management in their data center.

Here are the highlights:

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3 Signs Your Relational Database Must Go

Application and operations teams sometimes reach a point where they must upgrade the database. Whether it’s due to data growth, lack of throughput, too much downtime, the need to share data globally, adding ETLs, or otherwise, it’s never a small project. Since these projects are expensive, any recommendation requires a solid justification.  This article a) characterizes 3 signs where traditional databases hit a wall, b) explains how vFabric SQLFire provides an advantage over traditional databases in each case, and c) should help you make a case for moving towards an in-memory, distributed data grid based on SQL.

For those of us tasked with upgrading (or architecting) the data layer, we all go through similar steps. We build a project plan, make projections and sizing estimates, perform architecture and code reviews, create configuration checklists, provide hardware budgets and plans, talk to vendors about options, and more.  Then, we work to plan the deployment with the least downtime, procure hardware and software, test different data load times, evaluate project risks, develop back-up plans, prepare communications to users about downtime, etc. You know the drill. These projects can take months and consume a fair amount of internal resources or consulting dollars. If you are starting or working on one of these types of projects with a traditional database architecture in mind, are you considering these 3 signs as you consider your options? Continue reading

Buying vSphere or vCloud? Get a Free vFabric Suite Advanced License

As most followers of this blog know, vFabric Suite is a lightweight, scalable, integrated middleware suite for on-site or cloud-based data-intensive custom applications. It is the best Cloud Application Platform for running Spring/Java on virtualized infrastructure. This free license is worth checking out for a myriad of reasons – for example, you can:

Customers who place an order (from an authorized reseller, the VMware website, or VMware) that contains an eligible SKU (most vSphere and vCloud Suite SKUs, acceleration kits and upgrades, EXCEPT vSphere Essentials), will receive a Promotion Code redeemable for one (1) VM license (up to two vCPUs per VM) of vFabric Suite Advanced 5.2 with a corresponding one (1) year of Basic Support and Subscription Services for each license at no additional charge.

This promotion ends November 30, 2012 and you have until January 31, 2013 to redeem the promotion code.

For frequently asked questions, a list of eligible product SKUs, and further details, visit the promotion page.