Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

Auto Engineering Firm Taps CliQr For Cloud Migration 

Cloud computing is making enterprises more flexible than ever. The ability to spin up computing resources, take as much or as little as is needed, and then pay for them like a utility has become a game-changer for businesses.

While the breadth of services and flexibility of clouds are compelling, in some ways it is still somewhat unpredictable out there. Users of IBM’s SmartCloud, for instance, are experiencing these choppy waters first hand, as Big Blue shuttered the service in favor of its recently acquired SoftLayer cloud. To its credit, IBM offered free migration services from Racemi, which offers an image based tool to help with moving applications from one source to another. However, capturing and moving the image is just the tip of the migration iceberg, warns Dave Cope, executive vice president of development with cloud migration company, CliQr.

“With any image based tool, it feels easy in the beginning of the process,” Cope explained to Enterprise Tech. “You grab the big image, you forklift it, you dump it on the cloud. Now comes the hard work. Now you’ve got to script it into the target, and that’s really hard and complex.” This process can take considerable resources and time as the application gets wired into the new cloud and has its particular app dependencies ironed out.

According to Cope, migration and management tools developed over the last five to seven years have forced businesses to make uncomfortable tradeoffs between portability and manageability on the cloud, he says – tradeoffs that he says CliQr has eliminated with what Cope believes is a next-generation migration platform.

Cope says that there are three basic approaches for cloud migration. The first is a script-based approach that prioritizes manageability at the expense of portability. “With this approach, you arbitrarily pick a cloud, you write a bunch of Puppet and Chef scripts, then you would migrate your application to that one cloud, and you’re pretty well hardwired into that cloud with really no portability.”

The next type of tool  uses software images that give great portability, but can create manageability nightmares. “The trouble is, if you have any real app, it is a multi-VM app, and for you to be able to have visibility into that application, you have to then write your scripts once you move the image to the cloud.”

CliQr, says Cope, offers a third approach, which he calls “application aware” migration. “We’re saying, for that cloud to scale, it’s got to be about the app, not the cloud. There’s got to be a way to get apps to be able to move fluidly to and between clouds and get the clouds to alter the way that they provide their best practice resources.”

Today the company released the latest version of their CloudCenter platform, which  Cope says enables application managers to decouple the complexities of any cloud from the application itself, allowing the application to move natively between clouds. “We have a unique way of not forcing the app to conform to the cloud – instead we allow the cloud to dynamically provision for the app, which we think is a very subtle but powerful requirement to allow the cloud phenomenon to scale."

Automotive engineering firm, Pratt & Miller, uses CliQr’s CloudCenter for its racing simulations. The application, called PM-LTS (Pratt & Miller Lap Time Simulation) enables racing analysts to simulate various dimensions of vehicles (including tires, brakes, suspension, etc.) as well as various track details (such as elevation, banking, friction, cornering, weather, etc.).

Running on a single machine, these simulations became bottlenecked, especially as vehicle designs became more complex. Parallelizing the simulations in a public cloud became the obvious choice for an organization that didn’t have an internal IT environment up for the task. The company chose CliQr’s CloudCenter in part because it allowed them to port PM-LTS into the public cloud without the need for recoding or re-architecting.

“Cloud computing is a game changer for technical computing because it enables any size simulation to be completed in an hour,”says Chris Morgan, senior systems engineer for Pratt & Miller, speaking about the PM-LTS app. “CliQr lets us harness enormous compute power without having to become cloud computing experts, and gave us compete flexibility and the ability to use the cloud provider that best met our needs based on simulation requirements.”

For this last point, Cope explains that CloudCenter enables benchmarking across any cloud or cloud instance type and understand the price performance of the app versus the different cloud services available. “Different applications perform very differently on different clouds,” explains Cope. “With CliQr, once you’re deployed, you can keep doing benchmarks and decide where it’s running the best and the cheapest and the fastest and literally drag and drop and move.”

The newest version of the tool enables role-based access to applications and clouds, which the company says makes it easier to migrate apps while maintaining corporate governance policies across clouds, applications and users.

While the cloud has been picking up steam, Cope says that he believes this next generation of application-centric migration tools will be an impetus for the cloud to scale above and beyond its current trajectory. “Your average Global 2,000 business has more than 5,000 apps, and when they think about the cloud the benefits are a no-brainer,” he says. “But the challenge is the tradeoff in taking these apps and asking, do I really want to recode them? Do I really want to hardwire them into just one cloud this early in the cloud industry or marketplace?”

The answer in a large number of cases, says Cope, has been no. He hopes CliQr can help turn that around.

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