Cloud migration has long held the promise of more agility, scalability, and cost efficiency for IT leaders. But if the IT environment is to meet today’s business demands and truly prepare for digital transformation, it must also provide long-term relevancy, resiliency and recovery.
But getting there isn’t always a smooth process. Cloud migrations often take too long, cost too much, run into trouble with compliance requirements, or simply fail to deliver the benefits you were counting on. As with any major initiative, it’s crucial to have a well-designed process in place before you begin.
To confront the challenges and make decisions about what will be migrated to the cloud, when and how, you have to first gain a thorough understanding of your workload attributes by asking the following questions:
Next, it’s important to consider the cumulative impact of these attributes on your workload placement decisions. And that means gathering data to assess your current environment, analyzing options, deciding which applications will require enhancements to ensure they will continue to meet inevitable technology changes without disruption.
To do this right requires more than simply taking inventory. You must not only discover many or most of your assets but capture their business context as well, so you can understand how they support specific business services, and how ready the assets are for migration. Given the rapid rate of change in today’s dynamic digital environments, even the information that does get collected is liable to become out-of-date and quickly become unreliable.
Consider if a new regulation or security measure is rolled out that impacts your industry, how will you know which data and applications need to updated? Can you immediately make changes and have confidence that no application will be missed or that they won’t cause an outage?
Armed with the essential workload data that is linked to building a resilient environment, applications can now be more comprehensively assessed and organized in a number of different ways, and we find these six cloud application migration approaches (first outlined by Gartner back in 2011 and then expanded by Stephen Orban, Head of Enterprise Strategy at AWS) to be the most effective:
|Rehost||Otherwise known as “lift-and-shift”|
|Replatform||Sometimes called “lift-tinker-and-shift”|
|Repurchase||Migrate to a different product/license, often SaaS|
|Refactor||Re-architect or re-imagine leveraging cloud-native capabilities|
|Retire||Get rid of|
And last point, for your cloud migration to yield long-term value for your IT organization, make sure your discovery process captures all of this in an actionable platform. Such a platform not only informs the migration process but serves your need for a new IT environment that is agile enough to withstand changes. Done right, you’ll be able to visualize the complexities of your application relationships and easily identify gaps in resiliency targets and abilities.
IT teams should always be prepared to respond and restore service with accurate and actionable data at their fingertips. From full-fledged disaster recovery plans to addressing other major outages, on-the-fly runbooks can ensure the human and automated tasks enable it all to return to a steady state. The results will enable IT operations to assure their business team counter-parts that they have created an environment that will respond to any changes thrown their way while maintaining long-term relevancy, resiliency and recovery.