Many Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendors have focused their energy on creating a platform that is geared solely towards greenfield application development. And with the growing importance of custom software in creating differentiation, reducing service delivery costs, and driving new revenue streams, that can be a solid strategy.
However, Apprenda’s PaaS supplements its cloud-native capabilities with support for the modernization of existing .NET and Java web applications. Such functionality helps enterprises demonstrate immediate ROI from a PaaS platform since those enterprises typically have thousands of existing apps within their portfolio, many of which are in dire need of modernization. They either need to enrich these apps with cloud attributes (such as scalability, HA, workload distribution, or multi-tenancy) or free them from the shackles of end-of-life operating systems.
One Apprenda customer is a “big four” auditing firm (which cannot be named for contractual reasons) whose apps were in need of modernization. This organization hit a large and expensive roadblock when Microsoft Windows Server 2003 went end-of-life in July 2015 and left a large number its applications–which had been written specifically for that operating system–reliant on an extended support contract from Microsoft, which is reported to cost $600 per server.
When you consider that in almost all cases, the “container” used to deploy these applications was an entire Windows Server, you can almost create a 1:1 ratio of app to server. These apps tend to also use replica servers or VMs and load balancing to achieve high availability, so in some cases it’s actually a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. This means the extended support cost for this class of applications at this scale is potentially in the millions of dollars.
Rather than rely on Microsoft’s expensive extended support for any length of time, this enterprise decided to take action and modernize the apps using Apprenda. They saw a lot of value in the fact that the Apprenda platform abstracts the on-boarded apps away from the underlying infrastructure and future-proofs them from similar situations in the future. They didn’t want to encounter the same problem a decade from now when Windows Server 2008 or 2012 reach the same retirement milestone.
We recently heard some great news from our Client Services team about this customer. Not only have apps rapidly been hitting the Apprenda platform (at a rate of about three apps per day) for some time, but they are also being migrated through the application lifecycle at breakneck speed. Last week, in fact, 71 internal-facing applications were migrated from a Dev environment to a QA environment in a single day. This is a remarkable achievement. That’s effectively $100,000 in Windows Server 2003 support costs supplanted in one day.
In this case, our customer enforces a particularly conservative application lifecycle model (which is understandable given its industry) to ensure best-in-class security and privacy practices. Each application has to pass through six ALM cloud environments in total, before reaching production. The fact that 70+ apps can be migrated between stages of that process in such a short period magnifies the value derived. It has resulted in an extremely agile DevOps process, where development teams and the six members of the platform operations team (who are located in disparate, global locations to offer sun-never-sets support) are extremely productive.
Consider the alternative: a highly convoluted process to migrate apps from one ALM environment to another. Apprenda is therefore adding value to this particular organization’s DevOps process and, when complete, its bottom line too. It is also evidence that PaaS should not just be about greenfield projects. There are many brownfields in need of help too and that’s one area where we shine.
I look forward to reporting more milestones from this customer in the near future. It will be especially exciting when those applications hit production environments and help to consolidate Apprenda’s position as the private PaaS with the largest number of production apps at Global 2000 organizations.
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