Moving Legacy Applications to the Cloud

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-02-19 Print this article Print

Sun's approach to cloud computing at this time is to determine how best to bring legacy applications into it, Tucker said.

In fact, most enterprise apps-including such stalwarts as Oracle and SAP databases and Windows Exchange and SQL servers-fit this description, as they were not designed or optimized for use in cloud systems, which employ newer open-source and SAAS infrastructures.

Mixing and matching old and new at this level is a nightmare if not planned and designed correctly. Open-source and SAAS structures don't actively support legacy software versions; workarounds, patches and other tricks of the trade are commonly used for short-term fixes, but this is not a recommended practice for anything in the long term.

When should an enterprise begin thinking about modernizing its data systems to include a cloud component? It depends on where you are as a company, Tucker said.

"If you're a startup, it makes no sense to buy racks of servers," Tucker told an audience of about 200 at Cloud Connect, a cloud computing conference held Jan. 20 to 22 in Mountain View, Calif. "There are rooms of legacy computers downstairs here in the Computer History Museum-you don't want to spend your startup money on hardware that will join them."

The data center itself has now become the computer, Tucker said, and that specifically is what has caused the current shift to SAAS-oriented structures.

"You can't just take some prepackaged legacy application running somewhere and just throw it into the cloud," Tucker told eWEEK in a separate interview. "With virtualization, over time, we will be almost able to do that. In time, we'll be able to virtualize basically the old data center, and therefore you'll be able to move your applications over into it."

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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