Announcing General Availability of Application Transformer for VMware Tanzu

February 3, 2022 Ashok Aletty

Today, I’m delighted to announce that Application Transformer for VMware Tanzu is now generally available. Application Transformer for Tanzu is a tool that aids in the discovery, analysis, and containerization of legacy applications, thus helping customers to simplify and accelerate their app modernization journeys by targeting their re-platforming strategy on the well-known “5 R” modernization framework. 

Why did we introduce Application Transformer for Tanzu?

The industry landscape is changing rapidly. Organizations must constantly evolve to stay competitive and meet changing customer needs. They need to develop and deliver services faster than ever. Modern applications, such as cloud native apps based on microservices architecture and containerized applications, provide an unmatched advantage over legacy applications in terms of being efficient, portable, and providing consistency of operations. Many enterprises face the mandate of modernizing their applications to take advantage of digital technologies and build a flexible foundation for future innovation.  

However, creating an inventory of legacy applications, gathering the implementation details, and modernizing them are not trivial tasks due to the inherent complexity in customers’ application environments. Each organization’s modernization endeavor can be complicated, time-consuming, and costly, depending on the size and nature of their application portfolio. At the same time, knowledge workers may move on, and expertise may get lost. Without clear visibility into existing systems, enterprises cannot move forward with their modernization efforts. 

Furthermore, enterprise-run data centers are dynamic entities with virtual machines (VMs) or their equivalents being created and destroyed every day. As organizations evolve their architecture and adopt new technologies, such as multi-cloud, their infrastructure environments become more complex; this further exacerbates modernization challenges.

Finally, app modernization approaches can drastically impact the outcome. For example, some organizations use an arbitrary top-down approach by manually determining which applications they would want to modernize rather than evidence-based practices. By limiting application modernization to a select few business-critical applications, organizations lose out on the benefits of modernizing at scale.

Organizations need tools to help their modernization efforts. Application Transformer for Tanzu is designed to help in this journey.

What are the key capabilities of Application Transformer for Tanzu?

At launch, Application Transformer for Tanzu offers a rich set of capabilities for discovery, analysis, and containerization of legacy applications. 

Discovery 

Customers’ application portfolios can be complex, and many applications run in a VMware vSphere-based environment. Lack of visibility into application environments can hinder the app modernization effort. 

With access to VMware vCenter Server, Application Transformer for Tanzu scans VMs, gathering information such as folder structure, resource pool, application names, and processes of the target environment. Then, Application Transformer for Tanzu creates application topology, giving customers complete visibility into their application environments.

VM discovery and inventory in Application Transformer for Tanzu

Application Transformer for Tanzu supports the discovery of a broad range of application types, across Linux- and Windows-based OSs, through more than 200 application signatures and VM introspection. Application Transformer for Tanzu also supports the customer signature, so enterprises that have homegrown applications can create custom signatures. Once the signature is defined for a custom application, Application Transformer for Tanzu can discover that application just the way it discovers other applications. The level of information gathered may vary by application. For example, with WebLogic and Tomcat-based applications, Application Transformer for Tanzu can collect a vast amount of information from server types, application names, processes, software versions, directory location, and file folders. 

Component discovery and application association in Application Transformer for Tanzu

Analysis 

As an agentless tool, Application Transformer for Tanzu utilizes the vCenter Server API to introspect the entire vSphere- or VMware Cloud-based data center. Since there is no agent needed to be running on the VMs, there is no need to have routable access to VMs. Additionally, because of integration with VMware vRealize Network Insight, Application Transformer for Tanzu can leverage vRealize Network Insight flows to automatically create an application topology with an end-to-end view, which is critical in visualizing application dependencies.

A view of application topology in Application Transformer for Tanzu

Application Transformer for Tanzu gathers information for a broad range of application components. For Tomcat and WebLogic, Application Transformer for Tanzu further introspects the VMs to get information about configuration and deployed artifacts. All of this gathered information forms the basis to help customers analyze their application environments and decide what application component to prioritize and modernize. 

Application component analysis in Application Transformer for Tanzu

Transform 

Application Transformer for Tanzu creates artifacts such as Docker files, OCI-compliant container images, Kubernetes manifest YAML files for container deployment, and scripts to generate secrets to use in the VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid environment. 

To help containerize any running process, Application Transformer for Tanzu prompts a few simple steps for users to follow. Environment variables are automatically filled, but users can customize and override them. Needed files that make up the process can be chosen from the file explorer and presented to the user. 

Linux-based application containerization as seen in Application Transformer for Tanzu

For applications such as Oracle WebLogic and Apache Tomcat, Application Transformer for Tanzu creates OCI-compliant container images based on the detailed insights gathered during the analysis phase, including server types, application names, processes, software version, directory locations, and startup commands. Application Transformer for Tanzu can automate most steps in containerizing these application components, making modernization efforts simple.  

Containerizing Apache Tomcat

What customer values does Application Transformer for Tanzu deliver?

Application Transformer for Tanzu brings many benefits to customers, from inventory and analysis to re-platforming, all through integration and automation.  

  • Holistic view – Application Transformer for Tanzu creates visual topologies through CLI/API using information such as application component metadata and dependencies. Creating the complete view of customers’ application environment allows customers to identify and prioritize the right legacy applications to modernize. 

  • Efficiency through automation – Application Transformer for Tanzu removes tedious manual processes such as introspection, component inventory, and VM mapping. Quick initial success can set precedence for longer-term modernization efforts. 

  • Flexibility – Application Transformer for Tanzu allows customers to choose the best actions from the 5 R framework. Further, the product enables you to modernize at the speed you choose, based on your business objectives and priorities. 

  • Increased agility and speed to market – Application Transformer for Tanzu shortens the time and reduces the efforts required to modernize applications. Doing so helps to reduce time to market for new software and service offerings and improve developer productivity.

Modernizing legacy applications can be complex, time-consuming, and costly. Application Transformer for Tanzu simplifies app modernization with speed and efficiency. Start by identifying and containerizing the right workloads, then quickly deploy them on the Tanzu Kubernetes Grid platform to take advantage of what cloud and containers can offer. 

To learn more about Application Transformer for Tanzu, visit the resource page

or email AppTransformer@vmware.com.

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