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December 18, 2020

Aman Gupta, Mainframe Solutions Specialist at Google Cloud


Walter (00:00):

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the latest edition of Walter's world. The stadia podcast series, talking about mainframe migration, modernization and solutioning. Today I am delighted to have with me Aman Butta, who's a mainframe solution specialist working for Google specializing in mainframe transformation. Welcome. And how are you doing today?

Aman (00:24):

I'm doing very well. Thanks for having me.

Walter (00:28):

Oh, we're delighted to have you here. I'll look for the audience. Could you kind of describe what you and your team do for Google?

Aman (00:37):

Sure. So strategically we help customers find the right platform technologies to put the business on the growth trajectory. And I know that it's a loaded statement, but that's more of a vision, more tactically we work with with our clients to understand their main family legacy estate, their business priorities, challenges, ongoing initiatives and modernization strategy and solution roadmap, which this is their imperative to modernize, identify the right point of intervention so that we don't disrupt the ongoing initiatives, the right balance between risks, costs and benefits and help them execute the programs by Google and our partner involvement. Like speaking of that what is your approach to mean mainframe modernization?

Walter (01:32):

Well, thank you for asking. You know, we find it fascinating what the cloud has done to the mainframe migration space over the last multiple years. Things that people wouldn't have believed possible before are becoming a reality. It truly is the art of the possible right now. And a lot of that is because of the cloud. So our goal is to be able to have that mainframe understanding, working with an organization like Google, who specializes in cloud and has such amazing offerings, so that there's a marriage of best benefits for both organizations. Just moving mainframe by itself is of interest moving it to an environment where you can start to leverage moving forward, what these mainframe customers can do. That's where the real beauty is. So our approach is to work with an organization like Google to offer that best of benefits to our joint customers, where they get to retain their business logic or their functionality, if that's what they want to do, if they instead want to go through and read back through their applications, to be able in a more cloud native environment to work with that moving forward.

Walter (02:53):

That's what we're so excited. We think it's such a great partnership. You have a lot of mainframe expertise with a stadia. You have the perfect cloud knowledge with Google that gives customers options. That in my opinion, they just never had before. Thanks for asking that question.

Aman (03:11):

Well, that's so wonderful to hear and I, as you'd like it said, it's a perfect marriage.

Walter (03:15):

Yeah, I think so. Absolutely. talking about, you know, changes, could I ask you, do you feel that the, the pace of companies talking to Google about mainframe alternatives has 2020 seen an increase in that for you?

Aman (03:31):

Yeah, well, absolutely it sure has. And it's a dump is not only talking to Google about mental alternatives, but also working with us to actively engage and embark on their digital adoption journey. A bit of a history lesson. So I think modernization came into the mainstream somewhere around 2005, 2006, and that time it was perceived as let's take a one big mainframe and put the workload into the multiple small servers and create it from a well that didn't go quite far because it was leading to quite a bit of server management overhead. So with advent and maturity of cloud infrastructure meet the modern medicine picked up again, I think around 2014, 15 that then solution providers were more focused on, more on the maintenance decommission and like workload onto the cloud product, then taking the business to a different level. And that's where Google has a very differentiated approach.

Aman (04:38):

Our focus is more on, you know, because, you know, Google is a innovation and technology company, right? So innovation DNA, our focus is more on 200 X business amplification and putting it onto the books directly by leveraging and integrating the larger Google system. So we have search map ads, Google ads, and domestic heavily in healthcare, retail, financial services travel. So not only do you just want to take workload onto the Google cloud, but also provide them a platform and services that help them take the business to just a different dimension. So it's not only just solving the status scope, but showing a future futuristic point of view about it.

Walter (05:29):

That's what makes it so exciting to me is that it's not just a transition to a different environment. It's a, I've always called it a spring ward to being able to do things differently than an organization has ever been able to do it before. You know, it's funny for me on back in probably, I don't know, 2012, when I first started working with looking at moving to the cloud and to provide that capability, we have lots of people ask us, you know, do you have ability to move to the cloud? And the answer was yes. When I would ask them, are you ready to do that? The answer at that point in time for many was, Oh, heck no, I don't want to be first today. Every conversation we have with a customer, it seems starts out with the question, how can you get me to the cloud, the quickest? So it sounds like you've seen the same kind of changes that we have here.

Aman (06:22):

Absolutely. And it's not only about just get to the cloud and it's not only about solving the issues that we see from the mainframe modernization just about the skillset or whatnot. That just sort of in one part of it, and there will be steps to get up the main payment to the cloud, but the point, the main point and the definitive point is how business would benefit to the new business models, the changing customer behavior and get to the stage where they are futuristic and point of view and more innovative company rather than doing the same, but cloud. So they're just solving one part of

Walter (07:01):

Absolutely. Absolutely. I'm a mother, I ask this, do you feel that Google has a global presence for your mainframe modernization to GCP strategy?

Aman (07:12):

Well, absolutely. We currently have teams in us, so I'm visceral for us. We have a significant footprint in EMEA and APAC, and we are continuing to expand in other geographies, including Latin America and Canada. So it's, it's a global base focused on, on main fin to Google cloud. And we are continually expanding in both in solution offering P sales, technical and building a robust partner network as well.

Walter (07:44):

That makes sense. Thank you. I'm always interested in this from your experience. What do you think the number one reason has been that your customers are coming to Google for mainframe transformation?

Aman (07:57):

Well it's, it's hard to pick a number one, but I mean, there, there are many, but first and foremost, I think the customers are coming to us because Google is a, is an integration and a technology. I think that's where it's not DNA to help customers looking from more from the innovation standpoint, not just solving the current problem. Our focus is on customer growth trajectory leveraging our larger ecosystem really positions us well in the boardroom and with decision maker. Now our investment in Google cloud as a solid enterprise infrastructure with services like AI ML, big query analytics and toss APJ Kubernete is, is other big reason because when, when the daughter comes to Google, there's only services available that the application can start being. One could never dream of being while on mainframe now coming spectator to meet them. I highlight two main reasons that really distinguish and differentiate Google cloud from others.

Aman (09:07):

One is the reason extension. So what we do in digital extension is we have approximate maintain data center that customers can migrate them income application and exit the data center. It tells two ways. One is they can exit the data center and focus on the business. Second as you know, water, the mainframe transformation journey is typically a slightly longish time depending on the solution team. So CIS always have an interim tout about the performance drop during the course of transformation with our regional extension. We offered them sub-millisecond response time between applications and maintain and applications on cloud. So that takes care of the concern about the performance. Second, we have made huge investments in, in building a model driven automated application task commission engine. We call G4 that helps us understand the application to, you know, deep discovery demystify the herbal unraveled program, data interdependencies and funny big words to microservices. And with this, we not only adopt the new modern languages, but also new data architectures while leveraging the investments made in the legacy applications. So these are the, some of it's not one, but the, the key reasons why many of the customers have gravitated towards GCP towards main to modernization while just a while ago, main and Google would not take on.

Walter (10:50):

It's a, it's a fascinating story. And you said something that struck a chord with me. I truly believe this when you were talking about the ability to kind of analyze where people have so that, you know, what is involved. I often say that you can't figure out how to get where you're going. If you don't know where you're starting from. So having that understanding of all of the components, main mainframe, as we all know, is it's a wonderful environment. You know, it, it works great. It does the same thing, the same way every day gives you the same perfect results. But understanding all of the components that are there and what that mapping to their replacement of technologies might be, is really important. So I understand how that has been a, a big benefit for you. One other question I'd like to ask, if you don't mind, I'll find this one.

Walter (11:43):

Fascinating, here are the stadia. We, we try to offer alternatives to our clients. We think that we never want to force someone down a particular road. We want to understand what's right for them because you know, no two mainframe environments or the same. So we help people refactored in new technologies. We also help people you know, kind of use the same technologies that they have in place today. If they're a cobalt shop, they can stay a COBOL shop. I'm curious from your perspective and talking to your clients would you say that your customers are more interested in retaining their business logic and technologies? Who are they more interested in moving to newer technologies or is it a hybrid where they, they do one to kind of get the cost savings to then pay for the second alternatives?

Aman (12:40):

It's, it's really interesting. And at the same time, very tricky question. I don't think the customers are concerned about beginning business logic in the language, but they're more concerned about their ability to change that logic and cater to the business. So the responding to business needs, changing that logic at a much easy, you know, having the skillset to maintain that application and keep continuing catering to business requirements. Adopting new business model is, is the main concern. And with that, you know mainframe environments and applications are so diverse that move one size fits all so that we don't go with one as you call it, you know, prescription based approach whether if we just cobalt the cobalt versus cobalt refactoring or repost or retire, the 10, we will look at from more from the business lens, we identify what platform our solution team would fit well to the complete world. You're part of the workload. And then we create the modernization and we understood about the existing investments being made in the legacy technology. So we made investments in G4, which leverage that business logic, but yet provide a new way of, of managing or changing that business logic so that they get best of both worlds.

Walter (14:12):

Okay, perfect. Thank you. Given today's current events, I have to ask, do you feel that COVID has accelerated the push to consider alternatives to mainframe workloads and interfacing with GC?

Aman (14:30):

The answer is yes. There were some memes going on in social media where the question is, you know, which pushed your company to adopt digital practices CXO, CMOs, CIO, or COVID, and many times the answer was ticked as COVID. So I think this is, this is no different scenario who has pushed many companies to come out of their comfort zone and take different action towards a future proofing of their IPS and rapid adoption of new technologies. Move companies are moving from human managed data centers to software managed data centers, because COVID has committed to evidence that there may be times when people are not able to go to the envelope basis. There may be a disruption because of four stocks being available. So it should be more managed by software so that the business can be continuously sustained many customers and especially state and local government. There was a famous appeal from many columnists asking for cobalt programmers so that they could dispose the government funding during the time of COVID. And they are facing challenges because of dated and legacy technologies. So more are making it you know, the concerted effort to come out of the legacy technologies, more adoption of newer technologies more on-prem data center to cloud infrastructure, more human managed to software manage and hence more mainframe migration.

Walter (16:18):

We have seen the same. It has had a dramatic impact as this aging workforce has had to consider how COVID impacts. So many people have said, I, I just don't think I want to go back to that data center. I don't want to go to work. So it has certainly changed this environment and hopefully this next year will be a better one for us all with it.

Aman (16:41):

And not only it has changed the way people are working the workforce, but tomorrow the workforce, if you ask many people the ability to go back to the regular office, a nine to five 40 hour work week in office, I think that mindset mindset has completely changed. Now. People would opt into new post-modern they will be more flexible because maintain balance and the more productive and work from home to some extent, but the taboo before COVID, and now the COVID has also proved that people can work remotely and being equally or more productive. So I think that also will play a critical role in my patient data set mindset, shift to move.

Walter (17:30):

I totally agree with you. I'm gonna like pass through it. Obviously people were concerned when they consider changing something that they've been doing for 40 years. What are the biggest objections you hear from companies when you talk to them about them considering a move to the cloud? So,

Aman (17:50):

Walter, the objections come at a different objections come from different levels. So if you're talking to C-suite, which is typically more motivated towards to modernization, because they think more strategic and they set the vision of the company. So they're more motivated but their objection is more towards managing workforce culture change. And of course, because they write the check, they also are more concerned about

Walter (18:17):

Return on investment,

Aman (18:20):

Right? They also have concerned about how the main thing booklet then transform may be integrated with larger ecosystem instead of continuing to be looked at as legacy. So they just don't want to lift and shift for the sake of it, but to see how they can leverage the transformed application and improve their business. Now, if you're talking to infrastructure executives, they have a different objections, which is more concerned about performance during and after the top commission application team is more concerned about quality retraining of the workforce, DevOps, CACD integration with the other digital application. So we've seen different objections from different blocks or echelons of power. And that is why if you see our approaches is to address everything G4 emphasis, the application viewpoint and provide the complete model, manageable port quality offers the right performance during and after the transformation and larger one group will end. The system integrates the first one maintenance workload with a larger Google environment and embarks onto the growth trajectory.

Walter (19:46):

That certainly makes sense. Thank you. People ask this question of me all the time, and I'm curious to see if you get the same question from your perspective, do you feel any practical limits to the type of mainframe workloads that can be moved to GT

Aman (20:06):

As you know, the hardcore technologist? I will say one thing that technically it is everything is possible. There's all kinds of workloads with a package TPF for anything can be run on Google cloud, however, a little bit more getting my consultant hat. And if I were to do that, the solution my recommendation is to look at your business and identify the right platform for the right workload. We don't adjust the prescription based solution of that change, but what we, what we suggest, if it's a high transactional volume, if it's a more customer facing, we'd write if it's a heavy batch oriented data processing [inaudible] on Google cloud so that you get the best. However, if it's a application which has a very limited longevity, and, you know, after the end of the life cycle, you may just be okay with keeping it on maintenance training from there. So we don't, we don't go with the prescription based solution. Why anything can be run on GCP? I don't see this any problem or whatsoever, but from the strategic standpoint, we look at the local and offer what makes sense for the business and, and as a full, as opposed to just what makes sense for the consumption. So we, we are more business centric, customer focused at post, as opposed to just the consumption business.

Walter (21:45):

Understood. Thank you very much. How, how important do you feel that scalability is as a topic to people who are considering moving to the cloud, being able to have that flexibility to increase capability and decrease it based on season out? Is that something that you hear people talk too about very often?

Aman (22:11):

First of all, the scalability is important to everyone, more to some than the others. So we'll take an example of retail customers. Now we are in the holiday season and black Friday was just two to go. So most of the retailers have beat black Friday, Christmas mother's day Valentine's, day, Baxter's their singles day in many countries. So piece and many customers on main team either have to buy that or additional capacity throughout the year, or pay much steep and significant charges just to address that. So we have beginners coming all the time to the Google cloud because of the flexibility of the compute that we offer. And it's not just a VM, even the size of the VM, you know, Google offer, I think is the only company which offers custom compute. You can decide how many VMs and CPU that you need as opposed to the cookie for the sizes. But the scalability is main concern. And one of the reasons people want to do more with less, and that is one of the main feature that we'll talk about office.

Walter (23:25):

That makes sense to me. Something that you touched on before, I just think is, is so critical and so important. I just wanted to see if you had any other thoughts on where the organizations being able to leverage newer and differing technologies. Do you feel that it's easier to do that in the cloud than on the main print, but I know I always hate when I hear people talk about the mainframe big old technology and not modern. You can do so many things on the mainframe, obviously. But do you feel just in general that people have the ability to integrate different technologies and business intelligence and artificial intelligence off of the mainframe in the cloud that own the mainframe?

Aman (24:13):

The short answer is absolutely the long answer is, you know, being in the last 20 odd years or something which have all existed between the main data center state and non-mainstream, and non-meat them is just to build it cloud and all the good stuff that it as a whole is marching towards. And I mean, just the fact that, you know, when the wall exists, that eats and doesn't know much about the other side that really hampers the business, right? So what happens when the maintenance worker comes in cloud, a wants, is broken and everyone is on the same site. Second, the integration happens at much faster pace. You know, even if it's a COBOL runs as cobalt that can be exposed as a web service and in DPA application. The other thing that happens when the bone is broken, you unleash the power of data.

Aman (25:16):

Now, all your system of records, customer data is in, is in one site and you can run much better analytics to understand the customer behavior, to project the new business model, to run all the analysis analytics and integrate your new services at a much faster and easier way than what it was on the main team. It's not about just running workload. That is a tactical shift that I've seen over time, that it's not just maintain application versus Java application, but it's about more about how a business is serving the customer. Now we see more newer models like you know, the Airbnb, the social crowdsourcing crowdfunding microwave economy. There's an occupancy that was unique that the companies are offering insurance auto insurance based on how many miles that you drive as opposed to just owning a car, right? So it's not about owning a car, but it's driving because the risk factor is differentiates when you're on the phone and not in the garage, exactly the adoption or responding to those newer business models becomes much faster. If each system is talking to each other seamlessly, if the, if the data about what is hot desk and does the information is derived from data, which can works into knowledge and wisdom. I think that is a true reason behind integration and not far beyond just the technical integration, but to serving to the end customer.

Walter (26:57):

I still agree with you. And I've certainly seen that over the years work, as you described it, when that wall is broken down and you have the ability to share information and share data organizations can really do some fascinating things that probably would have been a lot harder. Otherwise it looks like we are coming up at the end of our half hour. I just wanted to thank you so very much for taking the time to join us today. I've found this to be a, a fascinating talk, and I really did appreciate your viewpoint and sharing them with it. Thank you so much

Aman (27:33):

For having me. It was really an interesting conversation with you. And as we started stabbing stuff back in the beginning, that between GCP and CDA at South affect matters, and I'm really looking forward to working with you and your company, many more helping our main complaints.

Walter (27:50):

We absolutely feel the same. Thank you so much. And for the audience, thank you again today for taking the time to join us. Please come visit us at www.astadia.com and check for our future podcast. We look forward to spending a lot more time with you. Thank you all. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday season. Bye now.