Azure kicks tires, lights fires on cloud Charon

During a recent RegCast interview, Stromasys CEO John Prot reported that some partners on the legacy virtualization projects know the emulator’s strengths well. So well that one partner, Microsoft Azure, has a better grasp than the vendor at times.

Prot spoke as part of an interview team including Jonathon Frost, product manager for Microsoft’s Azure cloud service. “We have an 88-page  guide that I wrote, with the help of John’s team, that walks through the steps,” Frost said.

The Azure engineering team “know our software as well as we do,” Prot said, “and sometimes even better than some. They’ve really kicked the tires and opened the hood on Charon.”

Prot says the work in tandem with Azure is especially collaborative in the design phase. Prot says, “We watch over the people who will do the actual migration — work with them, educate them, train them, certify them.”

Connecting with Oracle

Oracle databases are a common element in Sun SPARC sites. Frost says that Microsoft and Oracle have licensing agreements to cover databases being sent to the cloud. The agreements provide options for  a cloud interconnect between Oracle’s cloud and Microsoft Azure.

“It is completely possible to run an Oracle database on an Azure VM,” Frost says. Interconnecting Oracle’s  licenses with Stromasys emulation is part of the latest offering.

Charon-SSP 4.2 implements secure licensing in all major cloud provider environments. Emulated SPARC hardware runs legacy applications in the cloud. A new Virtual Environment licensing model from Stromasys enables flexible individual cloud installations, Some cloud markets have preconfigured images.

Joint engineering between Azure and Stromasys delivers data on virtual machine sizes. “We have a great engineering cohort between us,” Frost said. “We’ve done benchmark testing and research. What we found is the F series and the H series have the most optimal performance for running the SPARC Solaris workloads.”

Frost notes that the lower-cost Azure F series “has the best bang for the buck” for Charon emulation users in the SPARC environment. Azure is also developing workload research for PA-RISC and the DEC family of emulation.

Beyond on-prem speeds

The SPARC experiences show that matching on-premise speeds is well within reach. In some cases, Azure emulation outstrips on-prem processing speed.

In tests on the Azure F series, “we actually beat the equivalent of what the on-premise system would be,” Frost said. ‘We were happily surprised. We were hoping it would get close, but we actually beat it in some cases.”

Prot said in the interview that making a move into cloud hosting helps address realities of aging hardware. “There is a lot of invisible risk there, and it’s time that you face it,” he said.

A complete study of Charon on Azure is available at the Azure Marketplace, including a Virtual SPARC on Azure Setup Guide.

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