Achieving success with cloud adoption remains an elusive challenge for many organizations. But why is that the case? After all, there are countless tools designed to facilitate the process of taking on-premises operations to the cloud. It is common to use these purpose-built tools for moving virtual images, automatically provisioning services, migrating data, right sizing deployments and optimizing cloud operations. But when it comes to application migration, this variety of infrastructure tools actually contributes to the problem.
These disparate systems certainly work well enough for their specific use and purpose. However, successful execution of application rehosting requires that users look above these infrastructure tools to see the full picture and select the tools appropriate to the specific migration method, or "R approach" — rehost, replatform, repurchase, refactor, retire, retain — for the application.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about these point solutions is that they all focus on infrastructure migration tasks, while selecting the R approach and the specific sequence of steps required are entirely dependent on the application and business goals. How is it possible to decide which R method is optimal or appropriate if you never look into the application requirements? Before committing to a specific path for each application, it is essential to consider the business needs for its availability, access, performance and the total cost to achieve the migration.
Of course there will be times where a straight rehost (often called a "lift and shift") will be appropriate and optimal. This is especially true for mobile workloads that are self contained on a specific server with few external dependencies, no external storage and no requirement for real time app-to-app communications. In other cases, a rehost may be possible, but not desired. For example, rehosting may violate corporate information security policies such as HIPAA or GDPR. Or perhaps some refactoring or reconfiguration is required to achieve target availability goals. Organizations should assume no more than 10-20% of their total server inventory will be highly mobile and ready for an automated rehosting process.
In our experience, organizations that proceed with an "infrastructure first" approach quickly recognize that it does not take into account the impact on critical business applications early enough in the process. Unfortunately, this approach often results in wasted time as plans must shift once the business factors are acknowledged and considered. Taking an application-centric approach is the only way to orchestrate a successful cloud migration.
Know Your Environment Before You Commit to a Migration Approach
Cloud-native platforms typically provide much more agility and flexibility than lifted premise ones. Refactoring apps can be costly and time consuming, so some organizations prefer the lift-and-shift approach. But before you make the decision to take a lift-and-shift migration approach for an application, carefully consider your current environment, your business and IT goals, and expected cost and staff impact first. Simply shifting a legacy, premise-based app to the cloud with all its limitations instead of refactoring it may limit you from taking full advantage of all the benefits associated with the cloud.
Bottom line, tools to support general planning and to assess server mobility can provide useful data points, but are not sufficient for comprehensive planning. Developing appropriate migration plans requires a comprehensive understanding of the entire environment including appropriate information from siloed tools and application SMEs (subject matter experts). Applications should be identified and assessed for readiness: some will be able to be migrated immediately, while others will have to be rewritten or modernized to be workable in the cloud. The indispensable first step for any migration is having an actionable picture of the entire data center, which includes:
■ Accurate information about where apps reside, who owns them, and what SLAs, RTOs, RPOs apply.
■ Complete knowledge regarding the application dependency landscape. Don't just rely on autodiscovery. Your subject matter experts know the ins and outs of your business and will be able to tell you things that machines can't detect.
■ A normalized view of the landscape.
■ Visual dependency mapping of the entire landscape, including what applications are dependent upon, and what is dependent upon them.
■ An understanding of what applications should generally be "grouped together" for a cloud move.
■ The ability to distinguish superfluous data from information that matters. For example, the operating system, manufacturer/model, and IP address are commonly used data points in migration analysis and planning activities, while other information such as CPU speed, MAC address, BIOS, and OS Install Date are simply not necessary or beneficial to the migration activities. Tracking unnecessary data will distract the team and slow down discovery. Don't boil the ocean; just capture the data you need.
Application migrations are among the most complex projects an organization can undertake and require a cautious approach. If you take the simplest path, assuming that rehost is the preferred approach, then rapid early progress can be achieved by first focusing on the easiest mobile workloads. But once you complete the migration of the easiest workloads, the progress will come to a screeching halt. The majority of your app-to-cloud migrations will require deeper analysis, more careful planning and choreographed execution to assure success.
Orchestration of such an ambitious and sometimes treacherous initiative may seem to be an elusive goal. To avoid mishaps or stalled projects, here are several tips for orchestrating successful outcomes of your cloud migration initiatives:
1. Move up the stack, take an application-centric approach
2. Establish visibility across all silos and users
3. Don't boil the ocean – leverage a sprint-based, iterative approach
4. Leverage existing info and tools where available
With a disciplined approach, you can drive successful outcomes for your cloud adoption initiatives. You'll achieve greater agility and scalability in hosting solutions while avoiding any unplanned outages of your business applications and services.
I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...
Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...
When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...
Teams tasked with developing and delivering software are under pressure to balance the business imperative for speed with high customer expectations for quality. In the course of trying to achieve this balance, engineering organizations rely on a variety of tools, techniques and processes. The 2020 State of Software Quality report provides a snapshot of the key challenges organizations encounter when it comes to delivering quality software at speed, as well as how they are approaching these hurdles. This blog introduces its key findings ...
For IT teams, run-the-business, commodity areas such as employee help desks, device support and communication platforms are regularly placed in the crosshairs for cost takeout, but these areas are also highly visible to employees. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction and business performance by building unified functions that are measured by employee experience rather than price. This approach will ultimately fund transformation, as well as increase productivity and innovation ...
In the agile DevOps framework, there is a vital piece missing; something that previous approaches to application development did well, but has since fallen by the wayside. That is, the post-delivery portion of the toolchain. Without continuous cloud optimization, the CI/CD toolchain still produces massive inefficiencies and overspend ...
The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects. To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services ...
The rush to the public cloud has now slowed as organizations realized that it is not a "one size fits all" solution. The main issue is the lack of deep visibility into the performance of applications provided by the host. Our own research has recently revealed that 32% of public cloud resources are currently under-utilized, and without proper direction and guidance, this will remain the case ...
The global shift to working from home (WFH) enforced by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders has had a massive impact on everyone's working lives, not just in the way they remotely interact with their teams and IT systems, but also in how they spend their working days. With both governments and businesses committed to slowly opening up offices, it's increasingly clear that a high prevalence of remote work will continue throughout 2020 and beyond. This situation begets important questions ...