Tag Archives: Cloud Migration


Key Migration Strategies for Application Migration to the Cloud

While you may already have a plan for cloud migration there are some important strategies which can make the process simpler. These strategies also ensure that you make this move with a lot of caution and you can successfully attain your ultimate goal. When you undertake cloud migration it is not necessary to shift everything to the new environment. You can always keep some applications running in your local tier III data centers while you move the others to a cloud. This is the popular hybrid model being adopted by enterprises which makes it easy for them to perform migration at a pace which suits them.

Businesses need to chalk out a plan for migration which they can even change as migration progresses. This plan will decide how the businesses wish to shift each of their applications and the order in which the apps will be moved. Complexities of shifting the existing apps will depend on their architectures and licensing arrangements. Below are given the most important cloud migration strategies for applications:

1. Re-hosting: Rehosting refers to the popular lift-and-shift approach which means redeploying apps in the cloud environment and also making the necessary changes to the app host’s configuration. This is by far the easiest and fastest cloud migration strategy but it has its trade-offs too. IaaS based advantages of scalability and elasticity will not be available when you use rehosting strategy. At the same time, there are many automated tools for this purpose which has been popularized by Amazon Cloud Services. There are some client enterprises which choose to learn as they perform the migration and therefore they redeploy manually. Whatever the method you use, when apps are finally running in a cloud, they become simpler to re-architect and optimize. You will find the biggest advantages of rehosting for large scale migrations.

2. Re-platforming: Replatforming refers to running application in the cloud infrastructure. So, you may need to optimize some cloud services in this case to get advantages but you will not have to spend a fortune on changing the application’s core structure. So, developers can actually make use of familiar resources, which include development frameworks, legacy programming languages and caches of a company’s codes. The main drawback of this strategy is the still-evolving PaaS market which fails to offer some of the capabilities that existing platforms can offer to developers.

3. Re-architecting: A third key cloud migration solutions for app migration is re-architecting or refactoring. This entails reimagining how the app has been structured and developed. Businesses may find re-factoring to be useful in order to add new features or for better performance which would otherwise be hard to get in the existing environment. The downside to this approach is loss of legacy codes and loss of familiar developmental frameworks. But at the same time, you can get access to top-notch developer tools through the provider’s platform. For instance, you can get productivity tools offered by the PaaS providers such as app templates or data models which are customizable. Another disadvantage with a PaaS solution is that clients tend to become very dependent on their providers. So, any fallout over prices or policies can be very disruptive for the business. When there is a switch of providers, it would imply giving up most of the client’s re-factored apps.

4. Repurchasing: Refers to giving up of a legacy app or platform and then deploying commercially marketed software as a Service. With this approach you will not need development teams when needs for business functions changes fast. This approach indicates a move into the SaaS platform like Drupal or Salesforce. There are however disadvantages of this strategy too in the form of issues like vendor lock-ins, interoperability problems and inconsistent naming conventions.

5. Retiring: The first step in cloud migration is discovering the whole IT portfolio. For this you may have to perform application metering to see the actual use of the apps which are deployed. It is during this exercise that one will find that nearly 20% of the business IT estate is not being used any more. So, retiring the unused apps becomes necessary as it can have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line. Not only does it help businesses enjoy cost savings as it no longer has to maintain these unused apps; it also allows IT resources to be used elsewhere. Side by side, it also does away with security concerns about these outdated applications.

6. Finally, there is a sixth migration strategy retain which implies “revisit” of refrain from doing anything at that moment. For instance, you may be riding out depreciation and you are not yet prepared to prioritize an app which has been recently upgraded or you may not be keen to shift some apps. In such a situation, you should only seek to migrate those apps which are necessary for the business. As the magnitude of the portfolio keeps changing from on-site to the cloud, you can slowly do away with this strategy.

These are some of the key cloud migration strategies which can make your application migration journey smoother and hassle-free.

Read More at: Why are Agile Development Practices Needed for Smooth Cloud Migrations?


Why are Agile Development Practices Needed for Smooth Cloud Migrations?

When you are planning on moving to the cloud, you must take into consideration Agile development practices. Agile development basically refers to a sum total of many incremental software development methods. Each of these will be unique but they all share a common goal and core values. They involve continuous planning, testing, integration and evolution of both software and projects. These methods are all lightweight compared to traditional processes and inherently adaptable. The cloud essentially depends upon such methodologies. When you can adopt these Agile practices you are able to make cloud migration easier and hassle-free. Your organization can step into the cloud faster and innovate right away.

Usually most businesses will choose the conventional approaches where designing and planning for a product release is likely to take months. There will be a long period for developing the product followed by testing it and then releasing the software finally which may or may not live up to its expectations. In contrast, an organization which chooses the Agile development methods starts off with a MVP or Minimum Viable Product which is the least needed for creating any product that is “testable”. When the MVP is created, extensions and features will get added following short developmental spells, each continuing for about 2 weeks. So, Agile helps to guarantee faster speeds and speed is obviously the most important factor in a digital era.

How can you use Agile for cloud migration?

– You will first have to identify the cloud hosting services that need Agile. This is because applications including the important Software as a Service or SaaS apps such as Salesforce must be continuously updated. With the rapidly evolving cloud applications, the organization cannot possibly stick to the old waterfall development methods.

– You can embrace Agile development methods as a company-wide effort. These technologies are typically first used by the engineering departments. This is why many businesses had been hesitant in using these practices because they felt this would only benefit the engineering teams. The truth is that without the operations personnel adopting such practices, the engineering teams will find it hard to function. Since the enhancements and features have to be approved by management team it is important to have these teams involved during the process too. So, with the engineering teams embracing the Agile methodologies the rest of the teams soon follow suit. Agile helps to make teamwork more effective and this is needed for managing and coordinating all the changes which are taking place at such a rapid pace. On the one hand the business becomes very responsive to buyers and on the other, it can respond faster to new market opportunities.

– When planning for a smooth cloud migration, you should also adopt the Agile development practices as part of the journey and not as a distinct exercise. Evolution to these practices is never going to happen overnight. It will end only when the organization enters a stage of continuous learning. So, you need a formal plan to adopt Agile and this plan must have routine training sessions and prefixed milestones.

– Even if you hire consultants for the migration, you must ensure these professionals make your internal teams a part of the journey. So, it is important that developers and operations staff work hand in hand with consultants and all the stakeholders must be part of the decision making exercises. Usually it is the business leaders who are unaware of this new style of development. They have to be helped so that they can successfully optimize Agile and exploit its advantages.

– Finally, the trick to making the Agile development practices work for you is to use the approach Lotito took to “eat his airplane”. You must break down the transition into small pieces and then handles these one instance at a time. So, what seems to be impossible at the beginning eventually becomes doable. You will need to have a lot of commitment and a solid plan for you to work incessantly to achieve your goals. If you can take baby steps, you are certain to reach the goal in no time. and it will only be a matter of time before you have a fully-functional Agile organization before you, one that is totally capable of handling all kinds of demands in today’s digital era.

Just like any new radically different method for conducting business, even the Agile methods have stirred quite a bit of controversy. The software community has been skeptical of its benefits although its usage in project after project has always yielded positive results. They have successfully delivered much better quality systems compared to traditional procedures in far less time. So, when you are working as a software professional, it makes sense to familiarize yourself with the Agile development practices.


How to Convince the CFO about Cloud Migration

When you are one of those businesses which are still to make a transition to the cloud, there can be many reasons for it. It could be because you are hesitant to give up control over your own environment. It could also be because you are waiting for more cutting edge technologies to arrive and impress you further. Finally, it may be because you have still not been able to justify the costs of migration to the Chief Financial Officer or the CFO. The CFO is usually the one who needs a lot of convincing when you decide to migrate the business to the cloud.

Why is it necessary to Convince the CFO about Migration Costs?

Almost all businesses are considering adoption of cloud computing technologies but in spite of this momentum, financial models which are supposed to show the impact of such a transition are still not convincing enough. The costs for migration and the time taken for it are still quite uncertain and typically understated. A reason for this could be that businesses fail to recruit financial experts who are equipped to understand the technologies and processes needed for making a migration budget. There is no map that one can follow and companies are impulsive and unplanned when it comes to migrating to the cloud. The truth is cloud migration is anything but simple.

What are the costs involved in Cloud Migration?

During migration there are three types of costs which a business will be expected to deal with. To start with, there will be the existing infrastructure and application costs. This will include the direct and indirect expenses of deploying and maintaining on-site IT hardware. The direct costs relate to the hardware, software and their licenses, warranties, maintenance contracts, materials and spare parts, labor, storage etc. Indirect costs imply loss of revenues or productivity because of outages. Secondly, there are pricing calculators which help with understanding needs for virtual storage, servers etc and even include details like networking and labor costs. Here, most companies make most mistakes because they do not include the internal headcount needed for running the cloud infrastructure.

Finally, there is the cloud migration cost which includes costs of shifting the system and data to a cloud. This is performed either across the Internet or through physical devices like the Managed Amazon Cloud Service Snowball. You need to keep time aside for this transition and also decide whether to go for a “lift-and-shift” method or a complex refactoring method. According to Forrester reports in 2016, almost half of migration costs were due to labor and not because of platform or infrastructure. Besides, businesses often use migration software and use system integrators for the move and such costs have to be included.

When you are the CTO or Chief Technology Officer in an organization you have the task of deciding on the infrastructure which is best suited for your operations. However, these ideas may not align with those of the CFO’s. This is because the CTO may not have knowhow of the financial effects of such an important operations-related decision.  He is usually more concerned about benefits like workflow efficiencies or personal re-allocation etc. It is the CFO who has the final task of ensuring that the company’s decisions about financial matters are justified and correct. So, it is necessary to first convince the CFO about migration costs when you are pushing for such a major IT change.

Guidelines to Follow to Convince the CFO about Migration Costs:

– To start with, you must first understand your existing IT-related costs. So, you need to know the expenses which your business is currently undertaking for technology infrastructure and qualified personnel. When you know this amount, you can go to the CFO with a proposal for the cloud. You can then state the cost savings which the business will get to enjoy following such a move.

– You should also analyze all the possible cloud solutions and undertake research on these before approaching the CFO. This means you must make a case in favor of cloud migration before him, highlighting both intangible and tangible benefits like scalability, flexibility, cost savings etc. Perhaps the biggest benefit of choosing cloud migration is transition of Capex to Opex. So, businesses will not have to spend fortunes on costly hardware any more. Instead, costs will be broken down in the form of monthly fees. This feature will appeal to the CFO since he will appreciate a consistent budget and he can conveniently include these costs in the company’s overall budget.

– You should avoid having a tech talk with the CFO. Chances are high that your CFO will not be from a technical background. Therefore, explaining intrusion detection system, hypervisors, MPLS etc must not be feature in your proposal. You have to focus on operational advantages and roadblocks and how this change can help the business in general. If you get into the technicalities of cloud migration, you will end up confusing him.

So, your task will be to explain to the CFO how cloud migration costs are justified because this move will transfer company costs to Opex from Capex. This in turn will change monthly costs and annual costs, something that you must explain. You need to mention additional risks, if any, in case cloud transition happens. You need to show which risks can be eliminated when you invest less in individual hardware and outsource the hardware. You will finally need to explain how cloud migration will cut down your costs in the long term and offer more flexibility for business opportunities. CFOs will alwys be encouraged and driven by numbers. This is why you must come prepared with a lot of hard data. It is important to show him the differences in current costs and costs which it will have to bear after migration to the cloud.


Key Avoidable Mistakes while Migrating to Cloud

Cloud adoption is gaining traction with more and more organizations moving their workloads to cloud environment for greater agility and scalability. However, the speed of cloud migration appears to have been impacted with only one in five global enterprises migrating to cloud.

This can be attributed to a number of factors but the most notable is the ignorance about some vital mistakes while executing cloud migration. Thankfully, these mistakes can be avoided by acquiring ability to watch for some significant signals.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

If you are considering cloud migration strategy in response to a competitor’s activity, then think twice. Your business is not like any other business because there are many aspects that may not necessitate a cloud environment. The cloud migration strategy must be strongly debated by all relevant team members before arriving at a common consensus.

Migrating Sans Modification

The commonest way adopted by many enterprises while performing a cloud migration is to simply lift and move data as well as code to a public cloud platform analog. This is due to the fact that such approach can save time as well as efforts. This method of cloud migration, without modification of the code, defeats the basic purpose of the entire exercise of cloud shift.

The long terms objective of enhancing performance with reduced cloud expenditure can only be achieved by implementation of cloud native localization. If this approach is not adopted, then a mere lifting and shifting of workloads will force the company to backtrack in order to re-factor applications. Applications that are not cloud–native can be very expensive on long terms basis in addition to being far less efficient. In order to empower applications with cloud native attributes, you will have to adopt a cloud native approach. Failure to do so will result in performance issues with applications that are not cloud native.

Lack of Focus on Database Issues

Post migration, one must deal with issues surrounding database while adopting a lifting and shifting approach. In fact there is a huge amount of cost involved in shifting of databases to cloud which are actually designed for on-premise environment.

Inefficient databases will destroy the very purpose of cloud migration. Databases that are purpose driven and cloud native, result in remarkably superior services as well as enhancement of performance with much better cost efficiency.

It is suggested that one must look at possibility of adopting databases with cloud native characteristics in order to eliminate huge costs on running databases in a cloud environment. Actually, your organization’s specific requirements ought to drive the decisions in terms of database section and adoption. This calls for considering cloud native choices.

Failure to involve DevOps

Lack of cloud team’s integration with DevOps team can prove to be a significantly costly mistake. Primarily, such communication gap will cause a severe hiatus in terms of DevOps’ involvement as its tools and processes will face disconnection from cloud. Secondly, the mistake will prove to be very costly due to downfall in productivity. This is absolutely avoidable if one executes development of applications within cloud by integrating with DevOps team while performing testing and application deployment.

If there is a failure to integrate DevOps with cloud teams right from the word go, then you are only putting off an important step while migrating to cloud. Cloud is no place for anything that is suitable for on-premise platforms and therefore your lack of coupling DevOps and cloud teams together is totally unjustified.

Not Choosing the Right Partner

If your prospective cloud service provider is not offering written commitments in form of Service Level Agreement, then it is better to move away. An ideal cloud service provider is capable of providing service guarantees in black and white. Many CIOs make a common mistake of comparing cloud providers on the basis of costs.

If you have chosen the cheapest cloud service provider, then there is every possibility that the plans will be loaded with hidden charges which will play havoc with your IT budget.

Your cloud service provider must be capable of enabling remote management and control of your cloud resources. In doing so, the cloud provider should address all concerns about security of your digital assets. Reputed cloud service providers maintain a layer of isolation to safeguard security interests of every client.

Stringent security norms including two factor authentication, user specific credentials, and uncompromised attitude towards compliance must be the major highlights of your cloud service provider. All end users of cloud services in your company should receive in-depth training so that majority of technical issues can be resolved without making a frantic call to service provider at odd hours.

In conclusion

Cost saving, enhanced performance, and other compelling advantages of cloud migrations can be appreciated if these mistakes are avoided in the first place. It would be better to align your business needs with cloud benefits instead of joining the crowd in a race to cloud adoption.

Cloud Migration

Portfolio and Discovery as Drivers of Successful Cloud Migration

In the entire gamut of moves that are necessary for digital transformation of the organization, cloud adoption can perhaps be the most vital step to be taken. This is the most significant and complex move, which is full of challenges and roadblocks unless it is backed by prudent planning and a structured approach.

Importance of a planned cloud migration

In the absence of proper planning, the cloud adoption process can impact the organization in terms of incremental costs, and inordinate delays in addition to the failure of achieving much anticipated success at the end of the day.

The right and structured cloud migration must go through the five most important stages that must begin with a through a clear understanding of business planning and in-depth preparation for migration. The second step forms the very crux of cloud migration and is an extremely important aspect of a successful cloud adoption. It involves identification and planning of portfolio and delivers data to update every component that may be part of the process from beginning to the end.

The subsequent phases include migration of onsite applications to cloud and validation, followed by smooth running of cloud operations.

We will be focusing our attention on the second phase of a cloud migration process because unless the application or asset dependencies are clearly understood, one cannot plan migration to cloud with help of building a case for a business that is driven by data.

Clear understanding of portfolio discovery is an essential prerequisite to determine the best possible way to embrace the cloud. Portfolio discovery delivers the optimum efficiency without impacting seamless infrastructure operations at the level of applications.

Power of knowledge in cloud migration

The second phase of cloud adoption offers valuable insights about operating the application in the most optimized manner. This knowledge is essential for designing a flawless migration plan that addresses the business case by focusing on data assets.

The proposed migration plan can thus deliver the highest efficiency because it takes into account every application and portfolio.

Clear knowledge of application is required to develop a migration plan that focuses on priorities as far as applications are concerned. The second phase can be explained by understanding the processes of discovery and planning.

In the discovery part, dependencies and assets are mapped after precise discovery. In this process, one can also appreciate correlation of assets and dependencies in view of business services that are being supported. Planning provides opportunity to gather information in terms of costs so that a proper migration plan can be designed for a better performance at lower costs.

Great benefits of discovery

Many enterprises lack the ability of discovering the assets and capabilities from the contest of their businesses. It is not very difficult to list down almost every asset but majority of companies find it hard to associate these assets with reference to business services.

This can be further complicated due to the technological changes that are commonplace in modern digital infrastructures. In order to simplify the discovery process, one should gather comprehensive inventory of all resources including servers, storage, applications, software, and network components to name a few.

Dependencies must be mapped properly and documented thoroughly across the entire infrastructure of organization. This process should take into account load balancing, relationships between servers, hosts and edge networks, and complex deployments such as hybrid clouds.

The knowledge gathered by these processes is a valuable raw material to build a consistent and reliable framework to analyze and evaluate every single workload as well as application with respect to its feasibility for cloud migration.

You will be able to gain a more meaningful insight to help arrive at informed decisions and choices. The plethora of options to choose from can include retiring an application or device, re-hosting of a software, or using a PaaS service for building it again.

How to ensure a smoother cloud migration

A quick identification of applications that are the right candidates for cloud migration is necessary to avoid analysis of all applications irrespective of their cloud-worthiness. There are four major categories of applications including location specific, virtualized, cloud-friendly, and SaaS like applications that are built for cloud only.

Process of cloud migration must begin by bucketing of applications according to their individual characteristics and features.

It is hardly any wonder that some enterprises are moving all their digital assets and applications to cloud, obviously due to greater cost efficiency of cloud services. However, this may not be the right way to embrace cloud as there is always a lurking danger of failure.

Therefore a more prudent and practical solution would be to drive cloud adoption by selecting small projects and then going ahead by learning from the past experiences.

In summary

Cloud migration process should focus at reducing the time to value by maintaining a consistent pace of migration. Portfolio identification and its discovery can guarantee a successful migration.

How to Migrate your Data Center to Cloud IaaS

How to Migrate your Data Center to Cloud IaaS

Any journey must be backed by sound planning initiative and the journey of onsite data center resource to cloud IaaS is obviously no exception. Chief Information Officers are entrusted with the responsibility of migrating onsite IT infrastructure to cloud. They have to make in-depth analysis of the entire process even if a single application has to be shifted to cloud.

Vital aspects of cloud migration

There has to be a sound understanding between a cloud provider and users of cloud services in order to optimize resource consumption without impacting scalability and efficiency.

Recent surveys have confirmed that embracing the enterprise cloud is a vital force that is boosting transformation to digital technology adoption and is considered as a major growth driver. It is therefore hardly any wonder that sixty five percent of enterprises are about to shift their digital assets to cloud or remote data centers through colocation.

The speed of cloud adoption has been gaining amazing traction and at the end of current decade, sixty to seventy percent expenditure on software and technology related services will be directed at cloud computing.

Steps to successful migration

As mentioned earlier, the journey to data center migration should begin with planning that includes three stages. The entire operation should be planned with a view to maintain undisturbed performance of business operations and seamless data protection. Proper planning and careful execution of the plan can guarantee all advantages of cloud adoption including compliance, scalability, cost efficiency, and reduction in time to market.

Plan and designing stage- By understanding current workload and data requirements, you will be able to clearly demarcate cloud resources as independent billing accounts, DHCP blocks, and subnets. To begin with you can establish main features of your end users who are going to consume your offerings such as applications and IT solutions.

Interconnectivity within clouds- Usually the aspect of cloud interconnectivity is considered at later stages. However, it is possible to establish an affordable and efficient cloud infrastructure with excellent scalability if this attribute of cloud is considered in the beginning itself.

More and more enterprises are able to exploit wide ranging benefits of interconnectivity in a multi-cloud environment. Moreover, you can enhance the performance of cloud based applications by allowing close proximity of between users, applications, and data.

Setting up and categorization of networks as per their size should be performed by studying security aspects. This process should be executed by keeping in mind continuity of accessibility in a post-migration scenario. Applications can be broken down into categories to facilitate manageability.

Migration process

You need to consider the fact that many instances of cloud migration have not offered the expected benefits to enterprises in terms of agility and efficiency. These were found to lack in appropriate level of transformation thereby leading to cost intensive migration. In order to choose the right approach for migration, one must align specific needs of organization and objective of migration with the process.

Moving as it is – The approach is termed as ‘lift and shift’ by experts and involves moving of workloads without modification of application management tools to the destination cloud IaaS from current position. In such process the modification is not done unless required in exceptional cases. The straightforward process involves no utilization of cloud’s inherent features and offers hardly any value addition. The option is generally not adopted due to excessive costs.

Use of virtual automation- If you are planning to steer clear of operating your own data center and wish to adopt prompt adoption of innovative technology, then this could be the perfect approach for you. Modification of IT processes is an important highlight and pre-requisite if this process. This approach leverages cloud based features including automation to provide a greater scope for standardization. Sanitization of workloads is the process of making these more secure, cost-effective, and secure.

Transforming the DevOps way- Maximum use of cloud specific agile approach is the main attribute of transformation to cloud IaaS by leveraging DevOps based tools. If you are proposing to lay significant stress on infrastructure as code and automation, the advanced DevOps transformation can ensure technology renovation so that your enterprise is fully prepared to address needs of Mode 1 and Mode 2.

However, the approach does not support full transformation since it is found to be highly complex and disruptive proposition. However, if you looking forward to induce agility as well as DevOps throughout the enterprise IT infrastructure then this can be a perfect approach.

In conclusion

The three approaches to migrate existing data center infrastructure to cloud IaaS cover different use case scenarios. For a faster and flexible cloud deployment, CIOs can think of obviating server rebuilds by leveraging cloning and migration of VMs. Clear analysis of hybrid cloud infrastructures in terms of SLAs and compatibility of applications continues to be an important aspect of DC migration to cloud IaaS.

For Interesting Topic :

Cloud Migration: Is it a Boon or Bane for Enterprises?

Estimating The Cost Of Cloud-Migration With Pricing Calculators

‘Cloud migration’ is a popular catchphrase these days. No wonder that every second company is migrating its apps onto the cloud. Such enterprises are also aware that they have to undergo lots of number crunches and financial drooling to estimate the potential cost savings. But calculating the total cost of shifting every single VM to a public cloud can be a daunting task.
This is where the need for a genius sidekick calculator kicks in! Such an estimation tool accurately computes the whole outlay related to a cloud migration activity. The web is flooded with free Cloud calculators that hunt down upon all your VMs and creates an inventory instantly within any given network. After the VMs are located, one can select specific VMs for the movement and let the designated cloud calculator do the estimation. These costs can be compared with the assessment acquired from other cloud hosting server apps.
As and when the visualized environment changes, such cloud pricing calculators get dynamically changed to refine estimations reflecting on a current VM inventory. These tools are typical business applications which are selected to pilot cloud migration projects. Features in these apps are incorporated into many other tools and on-premise versions of the same app across different verticals. It is deployed in the provider’s data center and comprises of components which are installed through many servers. Certain web applications hosted on a Windows server computer are then shared with other apps and databases. These maintain a dedicated drive to store all scanned expense receipts.
It is quite evident now that organizations are increasingly adopting hybrid cloud solutions to avail the best of private and public clouds. As a result, they have to make a note of factors like cost, performance, utilization and sizing, during the migration. Thus, to get an accurate cost estimate, cost calculators are necessary. By adopting them, there is no need to manually import details of all VMs and resource consumption and map the subsequent details onto the pricing model of a cloud service provider.