Why it Matters to Have an IBM i Cloud Expert

Laurie Leblanc
Laurie LeBlanc, iTech Solutions

With many companies considering a move to the cloud, it’s important to note that not all clouds are created equally.  There are many providers for cloud hosting. Some are application providers who host the application and your data in their cloud, and others host your infrastructure.  Some are experts in the hardware and OS and others are application experts.  You should consider what is most important to your company before you select a cloud provider.

It’s important to start with the end goal in mind.  What do you want to accomplish long term?  Is it the complete outsourcing of IT or are you just looking to replace your hardware and you are not looking to purchase it?  Are you looking to implement DR or HA and you don’t have a second location?  Do you want to rely more on the application vendor?  Are you looking for someone to manage your environment?  Or is the goal to save money?

Once you know what your goal is that you can start to make a decision about what you need in a provider.  We recommend that you consider who the provider is and what they offer, whether or not the cost of moving to the cloud makes sense for your business and the services provided.  By focusing on the goal, you can make the right choice for your business.

All IBM i Cloud Providers Are Not Created Equal

We have all heard the announcements that Google and IBM offer IBM i in the cloud. What we don’t know yet is what this is going to cost. Chances are it won’t be inexpensive. We believe that this option is one that is geared more towards organizations that want to outsource their entire environment to a third party.  If you’re running multiple IBM platforms then you would likely feel comfortable moving your environment to IBM.  It makes sense.

Just like it makes sense for IBM i centric shops to want to work with someone who knows IBM i. You also need to consider what services are available with your cloud offer and how many resources are available to assist you with any issues.  As we see the pool of IBM i resources shrink, this is also happening with some providers.  When you are considering a provider, you should ask how many IBM i resources they have available to assist you.

Have you heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” ? This applies to many things including IBM i expertise.  With the influx of companies who offer IBM i hosting, we feel it’s important to make sure that your provider can support you completely.

Consider Cloud Costs

We have said it before and will say it again: Moving to the cloud in many cases does not save you money.  There are cases in which it makes a lot of sense, such as if you have old hardware and your application truly needs minimal system resources.  In this case, have a slice of a system can save you over the cost of investing in new hardware and keeping current.

For DR and HA, cloud makes a lot of sense and can save companies from investing in second data center and redundant hardware.  When you have a data center and you own all the licenses you need, migrating to the cloud is more often than not more costly.

If your goal is to move from an OPEX to a CAPEX model than the cloud is good for this, but so is a lease.  A lease allows you to spread the cost of your hardware purchase over a period of years, typically from three to five years. These options can help you achieve the goal and will allow you to refresh your hardware on a regular interval.

What Services Are Included?

Another important consideration is what services are included with the cloud. Are you strictly purchasing IaaS or will your environment be managed, as well? Will you be able to do OS upgrades and apply PTF’s or does the provider do that.  Can you completely offload the management of the system?

Not all providers will offer the same services, and not all will provide the same level of service either.  Be sure that you select a partner that can meet all of your goals, not just the one with the lowest cost.  It could cost you more, in the long run, to add on the pieces you really need later.

Why iTech for the Cloud?

We help companies to analyze their cloud goals and reach a decision that makes sense for them.  We layout all the options and work with you to find the best solution.  With all the facts, your business can make the right decision to help your business thrive.  Contact us if you want to learn more about IBM i in the cloud.

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