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Finding Your Cloud Migration Path
Friday, March 19, 2021

Before a global pandemic mandated a worldwide shift to remote work, IT leaders already knew cloud migration was inevitable. Now, it is a priority. In 2020, 59% of tech buyers reported their organizations would be at least mostly in the cloud within 18 months. But before joining the race toward cloud migration, it’s important to take a step back and evaluate your options.

In a digital-driven business landscape, working from a cloud-based environment is a necessity. On-premise to cloud migration allows organizations to build a bridge to modern IT infrastructure and establish a future-proofed computing foundation. Delivering advantages like enhanced scalability, reduced IT spend and increased flexibility, cloud migration and operating in the cloud is often the logical step forward — but that doesn’t mean all companies should take the same approach.

This stage of your transformation can include on-premise to cloud migration or cloud-to-cloud migration. With different types of migration, three unique pathways (lift and optimize, replatform, refactor) and your own organizational needs to consider, cloud migration is far from a one-size-fits-all process. As you plan your cloud transformation and evaluate options, we’ve broken down the first two — and perhaps most critical — steps of the process.

Step One: Preparing for Application Migration to Cloud

Every successful on-premise to cloud migration begins with a thorough assessment and planning phase. This early work can set you up for a smooth migration by accounting for legacy applications that should stay on premises, assessing the resources needed for an effective transfer, and developing tracking, governance and billing strategies.  For moves to the cloud, Ensono has a proven four-step process called the Cloud Transform Framework. “Cloud Activate” is the kick-off of the assessment phase.

Your move to cloud may be driven by anything from a CEO mandate to rapid company expansion to a need for increased business agility. This phase helps you define your objectives and approach, laying the groundwork for an Azure or AWS migration. As you plot your move with a managed cloud provider, your organization also gains a comprehensive understanding of what the cloud can offer.

Activation begins with a preview of cloud features and capabilities from the provider overseeing your application migration to cloud, along with an assessment of your unique business drivers and cloud capacity. This step also includes a total cost of ownership (TCO) assessment and an evaluation of your IT landscape, pinpointing which applications can be quickly moved to the cloud. After your provider designs and documents the target cloud architecture and you have approved it, deployment is next up.

To prepare for a full-scale Azure or AWS migration , managed cloud providers like Ensono start with automating and scripting templated deployments to the target environment. This establishes a landing zone that incorporates best practices and sets you off on the right foot. The activation phase concludes with deploying a pilot application in the cloud. This allows your provider to verify its functionality and performance in preparation for the next phases of the application migration to cloud. Not all applications are a good fit for running on the cloud –  a thorough activation process helps you make informed decisions and provides an increased probability of success.

Step Two: Navigating the Cloud Migration Process

Your cloud migration journey should align to your organizational goals, budget and other resources. For instance, the cloud migration process for an organization simply aiming for cost savings will look vastly different from that of one looking for a full-scale digital transformation. Once you’ve nailed down your objectives, there are three main paths to migration to consider:

  1. Lift and Optimize
    Also known as rehosting, this process is the simplest and fastest way to move applications to the cloud. Lifting and optimizing is largely automatted through tooling and is ideal for the simpler applications in your ecosystem. As the name implies, applications are “lifted” from your existing environment and moved to the cloud without any significant changes to their architecture, data flow or associated processes. Rehosting less complex and or essential applications is an easy way to leverage some benefits of the cloud without a lengthy and more complicated cloud migration process, like replatforming or refactoring.

    While its automated approach makes “lift and optimize” the least involved strategy, it also presents some limits. Without rearchitecting or modifying applications for their new environment, you miss out on some key benefits of the cloud. Moving applications as-is from on-premise infrastructure hampers the cloud’s potential. Without significant application changes, you miss out on the cloud’s ability to help you scale, distribute workloads, and create cost savings.

    In addition, rehosting without considering the impact on associated processes and access to data can present organizational challenges. Still, this approach enables you to quickly capitalize on the cloud and modernize some core business applications without large risks or computing disruptions. 

  2. Replatform
    For more complex apps, replatforming may be the ideal cloud migration process. This is a consultant-led approach with dedicated engineers and project management, and it represents a middle ground between rehosting and refactoring. While it involves less significant application changes than refactoring, replatforming requires a certain level of modification to help you more fully take advantage of the cloud. For instance, you might alter the way a program interacts with data to leverage automation or enhance scalability. Here is a video that provides a primer on replatforming.

    Replatforming is a relatively cost-efficient approach to cloud migration that offers the potential to start small and grow. However, this also means that small application changes can quickly turn into large-scale refactoring — eating up more IT resources, time and budget. While you benefit more from the agility and flexibility of the cloud than a simple “lift and optimize” strategy, replatforming requires a larger investment in development to maximize the impact of migration.

  3. Refactor
    To refactor requires a more thorough migration approach. Refactoring involves altering code and restructuring applications to take full advantage of your cloud environment. An Azure or AWS migration that involves refactoring should be undertaken by a managed cloud provider, or those with the knowledge and experience to handle this complex process. This approach offers the most benefits and power to accelerate your business operations — but also requires the most time and resources. Higher complexity demands careful testing and more thorough consultancy, planning and support.  

    Refactoring has the potential for significant ROI, giving your organization long-term cost savings and helping you succeed in a digital landscape. However, it is not an overnight initiative, requiring in-depth IT expertise and involving higher risk for your applications. This cloud migration option also takes the most time to create value, making it more of a long-term investment than a quick remedy.

With the right combination of strategic planning, engineer support, and DevOps and consultancy assistance, your migration to the cloud can be smooth and timely. Particularly with refactoring and replatforming, the complexity of the cloud migration process can quickly get out of hand for inexperienced IT professionals. A reliable migration partner is key to fulfilling your cloud goals within your intended time frame.

Partnering With Ensono for Cloud Migration Solutions

Once you’ve laid out your goals and created objectives to work toward, you should ask: Does your organization possess the knowledge, experience and processes to maximize the cloud’s potential? If not, working with a managed service provider that offers time-tested cloud migration services can be a transformative factor for your cloud journey.

Ensono’s cloud migration services allow your organization to realize the promise of cloud transformation. We use a thorough discovery process to gain an in-depth understanding of your environment, and build cloud migration solutions around your distinct needs and goals. Our Cloud Transform Framework ensures a successful migration for applications and workloads that can benefit from the cloud, without disrupting uptime or legacy applications.

The cloud is continuously evolving. You shouldn’t have to manage the complexities of migration or cloud transformation alone. With years of digital transformation experience and a long list of successful migrations on our resume, we’re here to simplify your move to a faster, future-facing IT environment.

Wondering what migration would look like for your organization? Contact Ensono to learn about our cloud migration services.

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