Don’t Underestimate the Job of Moving Applications and Services to the Cloud

 In Cloud Migration and Planning

Most people dread the idea of moving. Anyone who has packed up a house knows first hand knows how exhausting the ordeal can be. It is not so much the task of moving the furniture and stuff that openly visible throughout your home. The tribulation lies in the job of boxing all of the stuff sitting in all of your cabinets, shelves in the basement storage area. Then there is that stuff in the attic you forgot about. The same is true when moving applications to the cloud.

There is always more than just the application to migrate. All the dependent services and resources must be accounted for as well.  Whether you are moving the family household across the country or a datacenter application to the cloud, you are essentially moving an iceberg. We know there is a whole lot more to an iceberg than what you see above the water. It’s what’s below the surface that can sink the ship. Conversely, the underlying dependencies and resources can disrupt a migration project.

It Starts with a Plan

Anyone can just grab boxes and start packing up a house with little rhyme or reason. This sporadic approach elongates the unpacking process, as congregated and related items aren’t boxed together. Items must be organized, boxes need labeling and some stuff, should honestly just be left behind.

Moving to the cloud brings significant benefits to an enterprise like operational agility, workload scalability, strategic focus and CAPEX savings. Completing the move requires planning and the fortitude to see the migration process to the end. You must define the goals you want to accomplish with migrating to the cloud. Then evaluate and choose which cloud service model meets these objectives the best. The typical choices are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).  Discerning which model works best further defines the scope of the migration process.

Determining Your Cloud Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Whether you host your critical business applications in a traditional datacenter or in the cloud, cost determination is never a simple process.  The TCO of hosting an application in an on-prem environment includes the initial capital investment for the required infrastructure. In addition, supplementary and hidden costs such as energy, cooling, maintenance and support costs also need to be factored in.  While the cloud appears to have a more straightforward cost structure, you need an accurate assessment of what type of resources your new hosting environment requires to accurately price the proposed solution. Some of these include:

  • Number of servers
  • Type of servers
  • Operating systems
  • CPU cores
  • Memory
  • Operating System
  • Storage type
  • Storage capacity
  • Bandwidth
  • Workload schedule

You need to conduct a discovery assessment of your infrastructure to capture a snapshot of the physical and virtual infrastructure components that make up your application-hosting environment. This provides network, compute and storage components details that the application environment relies on. Once obtained, there are automated TCO calculators to compute the estimated dollars and cents.  These figures vary based on the selected cloud service provider.

Going Beyond Affinity Grouping

Moving your applications to the cloud is a lot more involved than simply migrating a VM to another host within a virtual farm. Your on-prem datacenter and the cloud represent two dissimilar ecospheres. There is no guarantee that your applications will even operate in the cloud. This is why you need a detailed map of all targeted applications. Application dependency mapping maps out and lists all of the dependencies for each application from various perspectives. Although some choose to perform this process manually, manual collection is prone to errors, which greatly extends the discovery period. Automated mapping tools make it easy to update maps to reflect changes in dynamic environments. There are two things to keep in mind concerning service mapping:

  • It is more than just an inventory list. Mapping reveals how the collective assets (seen and unseen) connect to one another to support a service.
  • Affinity grouping is not the same as mapping. While affinity groups organize nodes and storage resources together in order to reduce latency, they do not include all resources and service or software dependencies.

Additional Factors

Once your application is migrated, rigorous testing is required to confirm a proof of concept. In most cases, supporting dual environments until the migration has proven completely successful is required. This requires tight synchronization between the on-prem and cloud environments.

Garnering the Help of an Outside Partner

While you most certainly have the internal talent and expertise to support a traditional datacenter, your organization may require knowledge to create a thorough cloud migration strategy. You probably do not have specialized automation tools in-house required to create and implement that strategy. This is where iQuate comes in. We specialize and excel in automated discovery and service mapping and have years of experience advising companies of all sizes to help accelerate their cloud migrations. No matter how complex your business service environment is, iQuate can provide you with the data and insights to plan your transformation.

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