Over the last decade, cloud migration has been transforming the way enterprises approach their IT infrastructure. Enterprises have been very vigilant in taking a very cautious approach to the migration of applications to cloud. However, with the introduction of mass migration, the chances of adopting a cloud-only approach are becoming high. The mass cloud migration is spearheaded by the improved security and maturity of public cloud platforms, which are much more sophisticated than the standard set by private architectures.

The business landscape has been leveraging the advances in technology to migrate their systems and applications since the beginning. The fundamental process behind a cloud migration – understanding the know-how of the new platform, assessing gaps in the existing system, and migrate – hasn’t changed much over the last 10 years. However, for many organizations, the idea of mass migration to the public cloud sounds intimidating due to the sheer magnitude of change required. Just to clarify, a mass migration to cloud involves the movement of a significant portion of your company’s IT assets to the public cloud.

Few organizations are still skeptic about the agility of cloud-based applications. Although, the million-dollar question is – if you ‘lift and shift’ one application, why can’t organizations follow the same approach for their other applications as well? A unified strategy makes much more sense when you’re opting for a cloud-first approach.

Application Migration Strategies

Migrating your applications to cloud requires a systematic strategy derived by validating optimal ways to do so. Aspire’s migration strategy involves the 6 R’s to provide a useful framework for planning cloud migration:

  1. Retire – Identify applications that you can conclusively live without to save costs
  2. Retain – In some cases, you will be forced to persist with some aspects of your IT environment in order to run it in a hybrid fashion
  3. Rehost – Also known as ‘lift and shift’; redeploy your applications to a different hardware platform and change its infrastructure configuration
  4. Replatform – Move your applications to cloud with minor optimizations
  5. Repurchase – Migrating to a different product or license
  6. Refactor – Modify your applications to run them on a cloud provider’s infrastructure

In an ideal world, cloud mass migration is a strategy that can only be considered if organizations chalk out a meticulous roadmap supported by a business case. 

The Road to Mass Migration to Cloud

1. Evaluate your Opportunities

Look for business cases or an enticing event that will accelerate your migration to the cloud.

In an ideal world, your organization must be having some cloud migration experience under the belt and you must be able to leverage that experience to derive your business case. When the concept of cloud migration was in its infancy, organizations were performing cloud migrations on instincts. However, in this era, organizations need a clear roadmap to migrate their IT assets of higher magnitude, and henceforth, deciphering your business cases are a necessity.

Some of the common business cases are data center lease expiry, additional developer productivity, global expansion, upcoming M&A activity, and the drive for standardized architectures.

Despite not deriving a specific business case to migrate to cloud, organizations must realize it is paramount for them to provide deductive reasoning and set aggressive, yet achievable, goals when it comes to mass migration.

2. Portfolio Discovery and Planning

Depending on the IT assets in your environment, you must be able to answer the following questions:

  • What are the interdependencies?
  • What applications will you migrate first?
  • How will you migrate them?

This is the stage when organizations assess their configuration management databases, institutional knowledge, and deploy tools. These insights will help you establish the parameters to know, which applications should be migrated to cloud and, which applications should remain on premises.

The complexity of the migration process varies from one environment to another and will depend on the type of applications involved in the process. Rather than migrating big legacy mainframe architecture, a virtualized service-oriented architecture is a perfect candidate for migration. Our advice is always the same if your organization desperately needs “quick wins.” As you get into the cloud migration journey, your organization will be much more confident in choosing the right applications to migrate to cloud.

3. Designing, Migrating, and Validating Applications

As we shift the focus of cloud migration from the portfolio level to the individual applications level, each application is designed, migrated, and validated according to one of the 6 application migration strategies mentioned above.

We recommend you to take an approach that warrants continuous improvement in your cloud migration journey. As mentioned earlier, starting with the least complex application, your organization can learn how to migrate while getting acclimatized to the target platform, and progress toward building more complex application migrations.

If your organization has dedicated teams to perform one or more of the 6 migration strategies, chances are your team will learn from common patterns and accelerate the pace at which applications are migrated to the cloud. Establishing a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE) will guide your team on their migrations and what to expect as they progress.

Ultimately, make sure you have a strategy in place for testing and decommissioning your old systems. However, if you’re only going to decommission your old hardware, you don’t have to purchase or wait for new hardware, but you may have to run parallel environments while you migrate traffic, users, and content. To minimize the migration time, organizations must ensure each business owner is involved and ready to validate the migration in real-time, while measuring cost and performance.

4. Modern Operating Model

As a significant portion of your IT assets is migrated, the time is ripe for you to iterate on your new cloud platform, turn off old systems, and constantly progress with a modern operating model.

Are you ready for Mass Migration?

Mass migrations to cloud require an organization-wide effort and are mostly preferred by organizations that have some experience with cloud migrations. If you have a strong reason to initiate a mass migration without any existing cloud experience, you must decide on your business case.

If your organization does not want to hold the wooden spoon against your competitors, migrating to cloud is a necessity. You can also reap significant benefits by moving your applications to cloud such as scalability, agility, and reduced TCO. At Aspire, our team of cloud migration experts strongly urges you to jumpstart your cloud migration journey with best-in-class cloud infrastructures.

So, what’s holding you back? Signup for a free consultation with our experts to get a clearer idea of what a mass migration looks like, in practice.

 

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Sreyesh Sarma