And here we are again. You might be at a fork in the road between refreshing your on-premise or colocated infrastructure and migrating to the cloud. Or, perhaps you already have some workloads in the cloud and are looking to move more. This article will help you by explaining cloud migration as well as the types of clouds available for your applications. We will also discuss which application types are and aren’t good candidates for cloud migration.
Simply put, a cloud is made up of remote compute (servers) and storage (disk) resources available over the internet or other connection mediums. A cloud migration, then, is the process of moving data, applications or other elements of your business to a cloud computing environment. Access to clouds is typically secured with SSL/TLS, VPNs or private lines.
The most common cloud types are:
Your organization may already be using some SaaS services and perhaps you have your own on-prem or collocated VMware environment and you may have some workloads in a public cloud. If this is the case, this article is for you.
It is important to realize that a cloud migration strategy is necessary, and it needs to be realistic. Not everything can move to a single cloud. Some applications are a better for private clouds and some are better for public clouds. Some may need to be scrapped and fully re-built on a SaaS or public cloud platform. In the end, a cloud migration strategy needs to be flexible. All involved parties should understand that, depending on the complexity of your IT business process, age of your software, application delivery requirements, supportability, security, budget and other factors, your cloud footprint may have to span multiple cloud types. Connecting all those cloud services together into a meaningful hybridized model is an important part of any cloud strategy.
Cloud migration strategy starts with discovery. Discovery is perhaps the most important part of the strategy building process. This is where application inventory, dependencies, security, performance, infrastructure, in-house staff compatibilities, network, storage, delivery and presentation requirements must be documented and analyzed. Next phase is where leadership alignment is checked, cost analysis is produced and options are evaluated.
Migration will not happen overnight. This is normally a lengthy process with many moving pieces which impacts everyone inside your organization and anyone attached to your organization from the outside, such as your clients and partners.
SaaS, public and private clouds should not be used interchangeably between applications. Some applications will run great and cost less on public clouds while others will be more cost effective and perform better in private clouds. The key to utilizing a public cloud to yield a well-supported, highly available application is to specifically build your application on top of the developed services the public cloud provider has available in their catalog. This means building the applications to utilize the native public cloud’s services such as databases, load balancers, storage and network as opposed to trying to squeeze in a legacy front-end/back-end application that relies on specific software and hardware requirements of an on-prem solution.
Let’s discuss matching cloud services to applications in greater detail. Here are some common on-premise application types and their supporting back-ends:
Web-based—Custom engineered or boxed applications which are delivered to users through a web browser with webservers, fileservers and database back-ends. Depending on the database, webserver type and licensing requirements, these applications can normally move into public or private clouds, using the following migration methods.
Legacy Applications—These applications run on top of specific operating systems (most commonly Windows) and have specific resource, licensing and software compatibility requirements. An example would be back-office systems, accounting suites, CRMs and others.
Mainframe—Yes, these still exist, especially in retail, insurance and finance verticals. These are delivered through hardware terminals or terminal emulators. Mainframes do not move into private or public clouds. If moving away from mainframe is your goal, then consider SaaS, or a complete re-architecture of the application on private or public cloud.
Many hours of work are required for any successful cloud migration. This is never a flip of switch type of a process. Having patience and knowing when to stop and roll back will be very important check points during the process. Make sure that you have a detailed and tested roll back strategy as well.
Not sure where to start? Reach out to the experts at INAP. Our team can take your current IT infrastructure strategy to the next level as we work with you to plan the migration. We can take care of everything for you, from design, deployment and management of your resources in the cloud.