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IBM Maximo Application Suite (MAS) Architecture

No matter the size of your business, software application technology has an impact on the scope of what you deliver to your workforce and of course the costs to do so. Application containerization is making inroads across the spectrum of application delivery methods and it will impact your approaches and plans to provide tools for your teams. This article seeks to cover the following:

  • What does the MAS 8 architecture mean to your business and infrastructure?
  • What are the merits of the new architecture whether you already embrace it or not?
  • What is the impact and way forward?
Containerized Applications Moving Quickly Into Production

Containerized applications enable Developers and IT Operations to work together vs. in silos. By linking these two teams, release errors and inaccuracies in the delivery of applications to the end user are greatly reduced if not eliminated.

Adoption of the technology is accelerating as IT decision-makers are doing their initial research, standing up proofs of concept environments, and then implementing at a double-digit rate each year. Following are some statistics and predictions from Gartner industry research* to visualize the growth that is occurring.

  • By 2023, 70% of organizations will be running three or more containerized applications in production, up from less than 20% in 2019
  • Software containers will become the “default choice for 75% of new customer enterprise applications” by 2024. As a result, 15% of all applications will be running in containers by then, up from just 5% today.
  • 75% of large enterprises in mature economies will be using containers in production by 2024, up from less than 35% presently.

Companies are increasingly hosting applications in the cloud for cost benefits, scalability, and resilience. However, over time, companies can become locked into a cloud provider due to the complexity and cost of migrating workloads to other providers. The “run anywhere” nature of application containers lends itself to a company being able to pick up their toys and move to a new sandbox in a much easier and cleaner fashion than in the past.

The Evolution of IBM Maximo – MAS

Given the adoption rate of containerized applications, it seems logical that enterprise application vendors such as IBM would begin to roll out releases of their suites leveraging the technology. Following are some key points about the new Maximo Application Suite:

  • MAS 8.4 is scheduled for release in April 2021 will be a fully containerized version of Manage, the Maximo we know from the past.
  • MAS uses the RedHat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP), an entity owned by IBM
  • MAS requires IBM Cloud Pak for Data (CP4D)
  • The licensing approach for MAS uses “AppPoints,” which provide entitlements to Users for the different modules of MAS
  • MAS runs on OCP platforms residing on internal (on-premises), private cloud, or public cloud infrastructure or a combination of any of these, commonly referred to as hybrid cloud.
What is the View From a Small to Medium Business (SMB)?

Enterprise application suites are in use across the spectrum of business sizes. However, the implications of this shift in technology will be different depending upon the size of your business.

  • Currently it is unlikely that SMB’s are containerizing their own applications. They may however be subscribing to software services in the cloud that are running within containers, but unknown to the SMB.
  • These organizations are not likely to have application container infrastructure expertise to operate on premise, nor manage the environment that is being hosted for them.
  • The minimum compute requirements and cost for the baseline hosted OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) and Cloud Pak for Data (CP4D) is very high relative to current hosting requirements.
  • On-premises solutions are likely to be expensive for the typical SMB and will require additional expertise either from current staff or outside contractors.
  • MAS SaaS (cloud) providers such as TRM can deliver lower cost due economy of scale with their OCP infrastructure and SaaS operations, benefitting the SMB
  • The overall and initial cost of MAS will drive SMBs currently with on-premises deployments of Maximo 7.x to a SaaS or hosted delivery model when they consider migrating to MAS.
For the Medium and Large Enterprises?

These entities are in a bit different situation due to the number of users that need to be supported, and the dispersed nature of the workforce. As such, companies of this size account for the costs of providing enterprise applications as a larger percentage of their overall budgets.

Based upon industry research, many already have or plan to operate Kubernetes/OpenShift platforms in-house, on the private or public cloud, or hybrid cloud (see previous Gartner references)

  • Larger companies are more likely to have application developers that may have already developed and deployed containerized applications.
  • Given the larger company may already have the infrastructure and expertise, it can make sense to deploy and operate MAS on the corporate OCP infrastructure. These companies will also look for help from managed service providers, such as TRM, who excel at delivering solutions on hybrid cloud environments where multiple cloud providers are being used.
  • In the event of infrastructure or expertise gaps, outsourced solutions include MAS SaaS (license, infrastructure, and operations) and customized combinations of license, infrastructure, and managed services.
Way Ahead

For any size business who is sourcing their enterprise application from the cloud, application containerization might not even be visible to you. Whomever is hosting the application suite will be orchestrating the environment for you. The end user will not experience any difference in the applications they are using, other than perhaps having more tools available to them.

For the company that has historically hosted their own applications, or those from vendors, this technology will have an impact on development, operations, future planning, and budgets. Architected and operated correctly, this technology can yield very positive results for your organization. Your IT staff will need to be given time to pilot the environments and learn the intricacies of it prior to rolling out any new application sets to the user community. As with any new technology that has impact on a large percentage of your users, careful research, partnering with knowledgeable vendors like TRM, piloting, and planning will be key factors of your success.

 

Article by John Q. Todd, Sr. Business Consultant at TRM. Reach out to us at AskTRM@trmnet.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss deploying MAS 8 or Maximo AAM for condition based maintenance / monitoring.

 

 

References

https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-06-25-gartner-forecasts-strong-revenue-growth-for-global-co

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