Fire up your cloud migrationHow Heroes can help
Many companies still run their business applications from their own datacenters. The ever increasing speed of change in market and technology, lead them to the necessity to review their IT operations. To increase their adaptability, businesses often adopt Agile ways of working. Cloud plays an crucial role here as it offers greater flexibility than traditional datacenters.
But why should you move to the cloud? How can existing business applications successfully be migrated and benefit? What should be the strategy? Where to start and how to ensure business continuity during the migration? This article tries to unravel this challenge and shows how Heroes can guide you through this journey.
Potential benefits from the cloud
Applications that run in the cloud will generally run smoother, be more secure and have a higher availability. At the same time, operational costs are lower than those of traditional applications. We have seen some staggering savings at our clients:
- Cloud will contribute to a higher productivity (up to 30-50%) for your IT staff, because it is an enabler to adopt DevOps practices within the IT department.
- The cloud offers on-demand computing resources, meaning that cloud aware applications automatically scale up or down the use of resources (CPU, memory, storage) based on real usage, while traditional applications are often dimensioned for peak usage. This elasticity can lower operational costs up for cloud based applications up to 30% compared with traditional applications.
Cloud migration strategies
There are multiple ways that can be used to migrate an application to the cloud. After assessing the cloud readiness of an application, we generally see one of the following strategies:
- Rebuild or Refactor
Sometimes existing application can be optimized so that it can take advantage of the possibilities the cloud has to offer. This can be done by using cloud native (serverless) elements (such as a database-as-a-service or migrating from a monolithic architecture to a service-oriented architecture. However, in some cases applications are not fit for a migration to the cloud. This may be because of the legacy technology that was used, or the simple fact that it is more complex and costly that rebuilding it as a cloud-native application.
Pros: Low impact for users, benefit from cloud, lower operational costs.
Cons: Rebuilding may be rather costly.
Generic applications that do not contain too much business specific functionality, may be replaced by standard solutions, quite often offered by SaaS providers.
Pros: Can be done quickly, often with lower operational costs
Cons: Big impact for users, complex data migration and switch-over needed
- Rehost or Replatform
Basic applications may simply be redeployed to a public or private cloud, but will in this scenario not be able to fully benefit from the specific features that the cloud has to offer, since the application was not designed to run in the cloud. In case of the Replatform scenario, the application will be modified so that it runs (on the new platform (ie from Linux to Azure).
Pros: Fast, little user impact, possible intermediate step towards optimization
Cons: No benefits from cloud, potentially increased operational costs
- Retain or Retire
Research indicates that 10-20% of the IT portfolio of a typical organization is obsolete and can simply be turned-off. Decommissioning will lead to savings that can be invested in the migrations of applications that actually matter. If there is no valid business case for a cloud migration and at the same time decommissioning is not an option, an application may just be retained as it is.
Heroes has developed a standard approach to help clients overcome the challenges related to cloud migrations. Our approach consists of the following five steps:
For many organizations, the main reasons for a cloud migration are the desire to increase business agility, the need for on-demand computing and the desire to reduce the IT burden and capital expenditure. So far, so good, but a little more detail is required here. In order to come to the right conclusions, we need to look at things like security requirements, performance requirements, compliancy regulations, datacenter lease expiry, expected additional developer productivity, business expansion opportunities and the desire for standardized and consolidated architectures. This will help to set the right priorities, detail out the expected benefits, quantify them and reach a common understanding of the rationale behind the desired cloud migration.
In this step, we will conduct an assessment for all applications in scope. We will distinguish between generic versus business-specific applications and business critical versus non-business critical applications. Furthermore we will conduct a technical quickscan (looking at licensing, architecture and integrations) and zoom into security and compliancy related requirements. Based on the outcome we will advise a specific landing zone and define a migration strategy per application as described earlier. This includes a switch-over scenario, a cost calculation for each migration and a high level plan describing the specific order and timelines of all identified projects.
- Business case validation;
Based on the outcome of the previous steps the business case can be drafted and validated with the client, leading to a mutual agreement on the approach per application, the budgetary constraints and the timelines that apply to the entire cloud migration.
In this step the focus is on the design and actual execution of the migration for each application in scope according to the defined strategy. Best practice is to work with parallel DevOps teams, focussing on separate application types or migration strategies. Part of the work is related to data migration so that no data gets lost in the process, whilst business continuity is ensured throughout the project.
After the migration has been completed, it’s time to handover to operations. If needed, this is generally the time to implement DevOps practices in the IT organization.
Our added value
Heroes can support you in setting up the right governance structure and managing the migration. This can include the management of third parties. Our cloud architects, who are specialized in Azure and AWS, can help in definition the target architecture. Our developers are specialized in cloud optimization and cloud native development on the Azure stack.
Want to know more? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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