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Leveraging cloud technologies for OpenText Enterprise Content Services (ECS) software

For many of us, moving to the cloud invokes memories of moving to virtualized environments many years ago. We had to leave behind some of our tried and true practices from the physical server world, embrace new technology, and learn some new tricks to ensure we were creating optimal architectures for our solutions.

The new wave of interest in the cloud is a second revolution in system architectures, which requires us once again to become familiar with new technologies and acquire even newer tricks to create the correct architectures.

Containerization is key

Nothing is more important to leveraging the power of the cloud than the concept of containerization. Stripping the virtual machine down to the essential elements to operate application software, building a container layer-upon-layer, with plug-in replacements of any layer when new versions become available, is the engine that powers the efficiencies of the cloud. This model enables scalability on a level never seen before. Using software such as Kubernetes, the open-source container-orchestration system for automating application deployment, scaling, and management to manage containers, additional deployment can be completed automatically based on actual load, and scaled back when the usage declines again. While major upgrades may require additional analysis, regular operating system patching become routine, as machines are simply recycled, and the updated layers are pulled from the centralized repository. No longer will virtual machines need to be updated individually with patches; it will simply be a case of deploying the new layers to the docker repository and recycling containers.

While several OpenText™ products have a long history, they too have evolved for the virtualized world and continue that evolution to cloud technologies, with the OpenText Cloud Editions (CE) 20.2. Now we are delivering our core ECS components as cloud-native software container images, which can run in any containerized framework: on premise, in a third-party cloud or in the OpenText™ Cloud. Where customers have added custom modules or customized the basic deployments, these customizations can be captured in their own layer, sitting on top of the OpenText delivered container images. Once tested in lower environments, updates can be quickly promoted up to production, keeping systems far more up to date than was ever possible using virtualized environments.

Database and storage services

One of the last components of an Enterprise Content Management system to move to virtualization was the database. There was a long-held feeling that virtualized platforms could not handle the required processing. That opinion changed, and it will change again: the main cloud providers are centralizing database instances to get the best possible economies of scale, and many applications  will be consuming these services, such as Amazon Web Services Aurora or Azure SQL in the future. This may require some changes as organizations migrate to the cloud, depending on the underlying database technologies used, but all OpenText products are becoming supported on Postgres and specific certifications for the third-party services will follow.

Storage of content too, is changing. In the past, most content was stored on network attached storage or similar, with some long-term archiving solutions using content addressable storage. Cloud continues to offer both options, but improvements in storage technology and the S3 standard pioneered by Amazon mean that this is becoming the new go-to for content file storage in the cloud.

OpenText™ Professional Services is working with several customers on automating this process. For the database files that would typically have been placed on a Storage Area Network device for performance reasons, this is now embedded within the cloud’s database services, and no longer a concern when designing the cloud architecture(s).

Getting the most from the cloud will require more than just moving virtualized environments to a cloud provider, although that is an excellent first step. Pulling in experts with the correct skills and knowledge to architect the OpenText product environment in this new model is key to creating a best-in-class architecture for the future.  Contact us to learn more, and look out for the upcoming OpenText webinar ‘Unleash the power of cloud post-COVID-19′ coming soon.

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Chris Dyde

Chris Dyde is the worldwide leader of the Architecture Practice for OpenText Professional Services. He has 25 years of experience in enterprise content management, including 20 years with Documentum, EMC Enterprise Content Division and OpenText.

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