Blog: Cloud

5 Strategies for Moving Applications to the Cloud

February 21, 2019 - by Synoptek

Given the benefits cloud offers to businesses big and small, in the last few years, the pace of adoption has been rather high. While scalability, speed of deployment, and cost savings top the list of business drivers, for a growing number of enterprises, cloud is also a key enabler of business transformation. Using the cloud, businesses are able to boost customer engagement, capitalize on new revenue streams and drive competitive advantage like never before. As the world discovers the benefits of cloud, many organizations are looking to migrate to the cloud immediately, but are unsure of the strategies to adopt – especially when it comes to moving applications to the cloud.

Why application migration is tricky

Any migration will be successful only if applications can leverage the modern capabilities of the cloud, without impacting the user experience. Given the fact that there will be differences between the existing and target application environment, application migration can indeed be complicated. Moreover, most applications that were created, were created to run on the platforms they were developed on. Since migrating applications to the cloud depends on many parameters such as operating systems, management tools, networking architecture, storage systems, and VM configurations, here are some reasons why application migration is tricky:

  • Identifying the type of application chosen for the migration and evaluating if the application is mission-critical
  • Checking if there are any binding legal requirements – and ensuring all the legalities are considered before the migration
  • Evaluating usage patterns, and checking for predictability and consistency
  • Assessing the architecture of each application, and understanding how the migration will impact their design
  • Considering the bandwidth each application would require during the migration process
  • Checking for compatibility issues with internal as well as third-party applications before migrating to the cloud
  • Identifying internal and external users of each application, and assessing how migration will affect workflows

Strategies for moving applications to the cloud

If you feel anxious about moving applications to the cloud, you’re not alone! Many businesses around the world find themselves in a tough spot when it comes to migrating applications to the cloud. The directive “move applications to the cloud” often causes a tsunami of puzzling choices that require architects to understand application migration from multiple perspectives. Since several complicated decisions with respect to cloud requirements, evaluation criteria, and architecture principles come into play, the migration can be complex, if not planned properly. Add to it the criticality of choosing the right cloud model – how do you make the decision between SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS?

In order to reduce the risks associated with cloud migration, it is essential to prioritize applications that need to be moved to the cloud and understand the general parameters to consider for migration. Developing an application migration strategy that is aligned with your business goals and objectives is critical to get the most out of your cloud investment. Listed below are 5 strategies you should consider while moving applications to the cloud:

1. Rehost on IaaS: If you’re looking to migrate applications quickly to the cloud and save on on-premises infrastructure costs, rehosting on IaaS is a plausible option. By simply rehosting an application – in part or whole – from its existing environment to the cloud, you can achieve a fast migration – without having to make any changes to the application architecture. Since most of the tasks can be automated, rehosting is also an extremely cost-effective way of migrating your applications to the cloud, and causes minimal disruption to the application workflow. Although rehosting on IaaS might not offer the scalability you expect, once your applications are in the cloud, you can always change or re-architect their configuration and optimize them for your business.

2. Refactor for PaaS: Making major changes to the application configuration and code before you move them to the cloud can help drive major cost and performance efficiencies. This strategy is extremely useful when there is a strong business need to add features, improve scalability, or performance that is otherwise difficult to achieve within an existing, on-premises environment. It is, however, important to make sure that code changes do not impact the external behavior of the applications. And while there is a risk of framework lock-in, refactoring for PaaS offers a great opportunity to move your applications from a monolithic architecture to a service-oriented architecture to boost agility and improve business continuity.

3. Revise for IaaS or PaaS: Modifying or extending the existing codebase of your application and then rehosting or refactoring them on the cloud is also a good strategy for migrating applications. By moving some components of your applications to the cloud, you can leverage cloud characteristics of your providers’ infrastructure. While this strategy might require upfront investments for modifying the codebase, and might take the most time to showcase its capabilities, you get the benefit of leveraging the cloud provider’s infrastructure, and driving fully managed solutions with less operational overhead.

4. Rebuild on PaaS: Rebuilding existing applications on PaaS and removing existing code can enable you to completely re-architect your applications. Not only does this give you access to innovative features of the cloud, it also allows you to use new code and frameworks that can boost the existing capabilities of your applications. While this strategy requires you to have extensive knowledge and familiarity of existing applications as well as cloud services, developers can make use of cloud services and features, customize data models, and improve productivity.

5. Replace with SaaS: If you have many legacy applications, discarding them entirely, and replacing them with SaaS based applications is a great way of improving the throughput of your applications. By utilizing commercially developed software, you can save humongous costs in developing applications, and move applications to the cloud almost instantly. This strategy helps greatly in optimizing your application portfolio and getting rid of applications that are no longer useful. These savings can boost your business case, and direct your developers’ attention to more business critical applications.

Get the most out of your cloud investment

Cloud computing has caused a paradigm shift in the way IT services are being delivered and consumed. The on-demand environment provides organizations with the required agility, flexibility and scalability to carry out IT operations and enables them to meet their business goals with ease. However, moving to the cloud is not as straightforward as it seems; it requires you to be adequately equipped with a robust migration plan and the right strategies – especially with respect to application migration. Since business applications bring with them several dependencies, it is important for you to prioritize migration, consider each application in isolation, and see what works best for that application (and your business). Once you have the right strategies in place, you can achieve the scalability, cost-efficiency, and performance benefits the cloud brings, and get the most out of your cloud investment.

About the Author

Synoptek is an established firm that provides information systems consulting and IT management services. Synoptek and its predecessors have been providing these services for 23 years.

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