Cloud computing has emerged as the key foundation on which digital architecture platform and digital transformation solutions can be implemented. The leading cloud platform providers such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud Platform are innovating at a breakneck speed and providing services across the whole spectrum: Compute, Networking, Storage, IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Analytics, DevOps, Security, Identity Services, API Integration and much more. Simply put they cater to the need of all the roles in IT: operations, application development and infrastructure.
Due to the end-to-end technology and business benefits provided, cloud computing has become the foundation for digital business initiatives. Business cases which were not viable a few years back can be easily implemented today. It has become imperative for organizations to develop a cloud playbook optimized for digital strategy. The cloud computing juggernaut will fuel digital transformation like no other technology has done before.
Organizations across the industry verticals irrespective of their size are looking to migrate their applications to cloud platform. The complete migration journey from laying down the goals and objectives to the final go-live of application on cloud is depicted in the diagram below:
This article breaks down the above migration journey into three essential steps:
- Goals and Assessment
- Migration Planning and Strategy
- Migration Implementation
Step 1: Goals and Assessment
- Strategize cloud migration goals and priorities: Migration to cloud may sound a technical decision but it’s more of a business decision as well.
|Rapid time-to-market||Legacy application modernization|
|Capex cost savings||Supporting scalability|
|Agile and digital technologies development||Operational efficiency|
Get a better understanding of your application portfolio: Discover and identify on-premise applications and servers. Collect information about every application on:
|Complexity||Performance or Latency Sensitive|
|Interdependencies||Architecture : Monolithic, SOA, Microservices|
|Presence or absence of sensitive transaction or data||Business criticality|
|Incremental benefit of moving it to cloud platform||Lifecycle stage|
|Benefit of retiring legacy applications||Data storage requirements|
|Infrastructure requirements||Compliance requirements|
|Security requirements||Internal and external integration requirements|
|Business Impact : Revenue, customer engagement , customer acquisition, process optimization, time-to-market|
- Leverage tools provided by the cloud platform providers or third-party tools to do the application portfolio analysis.
Step 2: Migration Planning and Strategy
- Develop decision criteria to determine which applications can and cannot be readily moved to a cloud environment.
- Cost and savings analysis across the following parameters:
- On going cloud service costs
- Application re-design and development costs
- Application maintenance and support professional services costs
- Training and talent management costs
- Capex to Opex savings
- Infrastructure load scalability savings
- Staff optimization savings
- Decision criteria for IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, FaaS.
- Leverage tools provided by cloud platform providers or third-party tools to do the application portfolio analysis.
- Decide which cloud platform and migration techniques offer the chance to optimize the application’s contribution to stated and implied business and IT goals.
- Determine for each cloud ready application what is best strategy for migration :
Rehost (IaaS: Lift and Shift)
This is also referred to as lift and shift, this strategy involves migrating an application to cloud while making changes in the technology stack or application itself. It involves moving in-premise physical servers and VMs as-is to the cloud platform. By simply shifting current server environment straight to IaaS, you reap the benefits of cost savings, security, scalability and increased reliability.
Rebuild ( PaaS, FaaS)
This is also referred to as cloud native or app modernization or legacy modernization. Applications are re-built by leveraging services provided by cloud platform(PaaS model). It’s built on microservices architecture leveraging scalability, load balancing , security and DevOps. For example: Modernizing a C or Fortran logistic management system , using Angular , Java EE and other latest digital technologies.
Refactor (PaaS, FaaS)
This strategy is also known as cloud optimization.
In this current applications are deployed as-is, with some minor application code or configuration changes. It makes use of on-cloud platform’s new infrastructure services such as containers, database, servers , scalability etc.
“Replace” refers to discarding an existing application (or set of applications) and use commercial software delivered as a service on cloud to deliver the required business requirements. In this a complete turnkey application solution is not built but may configure and integrate it. In this the users access SaaS via Web browser or a mobile device.
Step 3: Migrate and Optimize
- Set up the organization, processes, procedures, and tools that will be used to manage and monitor the environment.
- Create the cloud environment: Provision, install and test the storage, compute, network, identity, firewall, and other cloud platform resources required for the migrated application.
- Implement all integrations between cloud applications and other applications or resources.
- Install additional utilities for business continuity and security.
- Depending on your application portfolio you may plan an iterative or parallel migration process.
- Execute a mock migration.Undergo a trial run of the migration project plan to uncover unintended results or unnoticed issues during the planning phase.
- Optimize the whole migration governance and process based on each migration experience.
Cloud-first strategy has become the fulcrum of digital transformation. It has become inevitable for organizations to adopt or migrate to cloud. The whole cloud migration journey might appear to be complex, risky or daunting. However, when executed in smaller steps, cloud migration becomes easy and effective.
Avinash Thakur, Head of Digital Business Consulting, RapidValue