Skytap Bets Old Apps Will Bring New Opportunities For Partners In The Cloud

New, cloud-native applications have driven the explosion of public cloud adoption in recent years. But cloud provider Skytap sees the next great opportunity for partners may be driven by a wave of legacy workload migrations.

The Seattle-based company that specializes in moving complex enterprise environments quickly to the cloud ramped its partnership with IBM on Tuesday, and is planning integrations with Amazon Web Services and other hyperscale providers to enable running traditional applications complemented by advanced tools and services, Wayne Morris, Skytap's chief marketing officer, told CRN.

Enterprises are looking to preserve investments in legacy apps—both custom and licensed—while shifting to a cloud-consumption model and leveraging capabilities like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things platforms, Morris said.

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Fresh off a $45 million fundraising round, Skytap has hired Neil Holloway, a longtime Microsoft executive, as senior vice president of business development to help drive those partnerships, Morris said.

The company is advancing an already close relationship with IBM, which currently yields IBM Cloud for Skytap Solutions, an OEM agreement with Big Blue, and Skytap reselling IBM cloud infrastructure on which it hosts its services.

Skytap is making available full support for IBM AIX, a Unix operating system that's still running important enterprise applications.

"There's a great amount of AIX still out there," Morris noted, and it's often supporting core systems.

Skytap is also introducing support for Linux on IBM's Power architecture

Enterprises want to modernize apps at their own pace, but at the same time not wait to gain access to advanced services from leading cloud providers, Skytap CTO Brad Schick told CRN.

The company's roadmap for 2018 involves pursuing integrations to complement its unique attributes, he said.

"We're conscious of the fact our real differentiation is in the traditional things. Not all those services the hyperscale clouds are investing heavily in," Schick said. "What we'd like to do is bring the customer workloads closer to those services."

While already integrating with IBM's cognitive and cloud-native services, Skytap is following customer demand, and that's primarily leading to AWS.

Deals with hyperscale public clouds, however, can be somewhat tricky—Skytap's proprietary software that models traditional customer environments needs to run on bare-metal servers. But public clouds are increasingly warming to offering partners non-virtualized hardware, as Oracle is demonstrating with its next-gen infrastructure and Amazon did in its hybrid cloud deal creating VMware Cloud on AWS.

Such deals, when they take shape, will create new opportunities for the systems integrators ready to ride the next wave of cloud adoption, Morris said

Old apps are "the new big opportunity" in the cloud, Morris said.