The cloud is being adopted worldwide at a dizzying rate, with businesses of all sizes recognizing the cost-saving, flexibility and scalability benefits of migrating and running applications in the cloud. 67% of respondents to an F5 survey identified themselves as “cloud first,” with private, public and SaaS being the dominant cloud models.
Each cloud migration effort is unique and while there’s no single path, there are still several common considerations to ensure a smooth migration process.
When moving to the cloud, important decisions need to be made about enterprise applications in the context of the new cloud environment and the needs of the business.
Here are five questions IT teams need to answer to ensure a strong foundation for a cloud migration strategy:
Which apps should be migrated?
Apps should be analyzed and classified on whether it makes sense to migrate them; apps that are nearing end of life would most likely remain in-house until they expire, as an example.
Apps that will migrate to the cloud do so in two main ways. They can be re-architected into a cloud-native app; a method which is more common for resource-intensive apps to reduce latency and performance issues. Alternatively, apps can be moved through a “lift-and-shift” method, which simply replicates the app in the cloud with minimal adjustments.
Some migrations make use of a hybrid of these options, where key applications are lifted and shifted to the cloud while a re-architecture strategy is ongoing in the background, ensuring immediate app availability whilst also enabling long-term development.
How should the app be supported in the cloud?
Certain aspects of an app may need to be adapted for it to operate properly in the cloud. Storage, networking and base operating system image considerations are common when deciding how to migrate an app. A base operating image should also be standardized early on.
The cloud environment also needs to be adapted by lining it with more enterprise services for app optimisation, increased protection and better traffic management.
What impact will migration have on app security?
Regardless of how applications are migrated to the cloud, a decision will have to be made on whether the cloud vendor’s native security tools will be used or whether the business should leverage its own.
At the infrastructure level, the cloud is often more secure than private data centers. Additionally, managing security services is complex and error-prone, so relying on pre-configured, tested security services available from a cloud vendor may make more sense.
How can the people and processes for the apps be supported?
When applications are being migrated, the operations that support them also need to be considered, and it is important to understand support options before they are invoked.
Since much of the benefit of the cloud is increased agility, in many cases, teams will be leveraging new tools in newer, more automated workflows.
Creating a training plan as well as improving communication and documentation around new processes can help ensure for a smooth migration and operational efficiency once in the cloud.
What part can hybridisation play in app migration?
Not all parts of an application can or should migrate to the cloud. In some cases, it is better to run an app with one foot in the cloud and one foot in the data center. Even if the core data needs to stay put, compute services from various cloud providers can still be leveraged.
This hybrid approach gives the advantage of using cloud services without having to store the sensitive or regulated data off-site.
Once all these decisions have been considered, the end result should be a migration strategy that enables IT teams to support the technology, allowing the business to scale.