With hundreds of applications, workloads, and databases constantly changing in relation to how they serve your business, you will often execute cloud migration plans in phases, since each application may require a different approach. It is always the business outcomes that should dictate your application migration choices of the applications you will migrate along with how, where, and when.
It’s always the wrong teams, the wrong emphasis, rushed application assessments, poor cloud landing zone design, dependency bottlenecks, and hidden indirect costs that make migration costs go off the rails, according to Gartner. That’s why a detailed assessment of your applications portfolio and each application’s dependencies positions you to make some determinations on the appropriate cloud migration type. This blog lays out the different types of cloud migration commonly referred to as the six Rs, which include:
Your initial goal will be to find the applications that will benefit the most and be capable of migrating the fastest to the cloud. But these may be low risk rather than being high on the list of mission-critical applications that can bring the most business benefit from the cloud.
Your specific business outcomes that you have identified are what should drive your migration strategy. Every business’ goals for migration are different, but just some of the different business outcomes they seek may include:
- Faster internal operations, communications, and collaborations
- Better customer experiences and scalability on demand
- Meeting the access demands of a global remote workforce or user base
- Increased security and regulatory compliance for mission critical workloads
- Lowering hardware costs
- Better backup and recovery for greater resiliency
The type of cloud migration that you use for each application may not be immediately obvious. The best approach is to start with a basic understanding of each of the Six Rs and how they work.
Rehost or Lift-and-Shift Model
Rehosting or “lift and shift” may be the easiest migration approach, but it also produces the least business dividends. You’re merely lifting an application, the virtual machine, and the operating systems from its current hosting location to a public cloud environment without changes.
This means that you don’t take advantage of any cloud efficiencies, such as cloud native features like CI/CD automatization, monitoring systems, automated recovery and self-healing, containerized environments, or open-source compatible services.
This doesn’t mean it has no benefit, but when your goal is to use migration to see the stage for defined business outcomes there are better alternatives such as the LeapFrog type of approach that we at Techolution use. there are alternative migration approaches that will give you more flexibility and agility that can happen in 30 days or less like lift and shift. Lift and shift provides little value in terms of agility, scalability, and control of applications important to the business. That’s why we developed an alternative that gets you in the cloud in 30 days or less and sets you up for cloud native application business outcomes.
Applying the Leapfrog Approach to Migration, Re-platform, or Lift-and-Optimize
The leapfrog approach is all about starting with a vision and plan of what you want your applications to do and leapfrogging over the uncertainty of inherent challenges like technical debt. This approach is designed for a focus on the most mission critical apps that can benefit from a cloud native transformation. This narrows down the noise of hundreds of apps in contention to about 20 percent or less.
Techolution’s Leapfrog approach gets these apps into the cloud in 30 days or less while creating a cloud architecture that sets the stage for containerization and microservices. This is the best approach to reach defined business outcomes with these applications and set them up for innovative approaches to new services and lines of business. The whole point is to help you get the right apps into the right cloud environment in a way that sets them up for Cloud native architecture. At the same time you avoid replacing legacy technology that is either too costly to replace (mainframes) or incapable of taking advantage of a cloud-native app development environment.
This process sits between lift and shift and re-architecting, which is fully rebuilding the application from the code base up to be cloud native. It still involves some changes to the underlying codebase, which requires thorough retesting of application performance. Once tested in a special environment, they can migrate the application to the new cloud platform.
Re-platforming is often used to add new functionalities to an application and improve the application’s security. You can get other benefits from this approach, like setting you up for re-architecting down the road, which enables you to take advantage of containers and microservices.
Refactor, or Re-Architect
The refactor approach is about making the most of your applications in the cloud for the long term so that you can achieve specific business outcomes today and be poised to take advantage of innovative opportunities in the long term. This is where the benefits of cloud native comes into play since you are completely re-architecting your application’s logic to make the application cloud native.
Greater availability, reliability, and scalability are only a few of many benefits you can get from this approach. This can be a complex process where you’re setting up an environment and using greater resources, time, and talent to achieve the complex ends of cloud native.
That’s why the Leapfrog approach can give your business more control over what you do while still setting you up for achieving a cloud-native environment. For those 20 percent of mission critical applications, this can mean:
- Infinite control
- Increased scalability
- Improved security and more with containers, and microservices
Techolution has worked with countless companies across healthcare, banking, retail, and beyond. Those partners have had mission-critical applications housed within legacy technology like mainframe that are not compatible with unlocking cloud advantages. Our Leapfrog approach helps you move past this legacy and technical debt to a cloud-based container and microservices-based infrastructure without major infrastructure changes and legacy technology upgrade costs. Other important application migration candidates may be best suited for Repurchase or Drop-and-Shop.
Drop and Shop or Repurchase
If you’re a regular reader of our blogs about migration, you understand that platform as a service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) can weigh heavily in the decisions about application migration. You may be dealing with on prem applications with enormous licensing fees and maintenance costs. By shifting these applications to a SaaS version such as an on prem CRM to a cloud-based CRM, you open new efficiencies, lower maintenance costs, gain automatic updates, broader access and improved security.
Retain, or hybrid model
Every company has legacy infrastructure that brings a lot of technical debt. This means it’s too old and expensive to upgrade for compatibility but still has a mission-critical need. This approach creates a hybrid infrastructure where you host some workloads in the cloud, and some remain on-prem. The benefit is that this allows you to keep some stand-alone workloads and databases because of security issues or other constraints while migrating others to the cloud to meet specific criteria.
When the Techolution team performs an application portfolio assessment, we often find that most of the applications cannot benefit from migration but also have come to the end of their useful life. These applications, environments, and infrastructure components can shut down with no loss to productivity or end consumer value loss. The truth is that many of these applications can be decommissioned or archived and replaced by other services and components. This can substantially reduce costs, complexity, architecture management, storage, licensing, and backup in ways that make your infrastructure leaner.
Your organization’s application portfolio and business outcome needs are unique to you. That is what will guide how you use this introduction to migration types. But keep in mind that the Six Rs are merely one of several parts of the framework in developing a cloud migration strategy that fits your business and objectives.
By partnering with Techolution on migration strategy, development, and execution, you have a team that has deep experience in your industry and sector. Cloud migration is a long-term strategy that can be complex and requires expertise and experience that your team cannot spare with other core responsibility demands.
We bring a fractional approach to personnel, expertise, and guidance along with a cloud-agnostic approach across all aspects of the cloud and cloud migration to help you when you need it. Our focus is always on learning about your business, helping you develop clear business outcomes for migration, and providing the support you need to achieve proven success based on metrics. To learn more about how Techolution can help you make the most of the cloud in terms of business outcomes, click here.