The Five Key Application Migration Steps

The Five Key Application Migration Steps

As applications, architectures, and business processes become more complex, understanding how all those moving parts are performing is absolutely critical. This blog post series is about Application Modernization and cloud migration, and how observability can help organizations can keep their products running optimally for their customers. In part one  we defined Application Modernization and explained how it became the lever for user experience. Part two discussed Application Modernization Options and the CI/CD Pipeline. In part three, we identify key steps in the process of migrating applications to the cloud.

Read the eBook: Observability Needs for Application ModernizationPublic cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud or multi-cloud. No matter which you use, it presents numerous challenges when migrating your applications to the cloud. Despite that, the die is cast. Research from Synergy Research Group found that cloud infrastructure spending surpassed on-premise spending for the first time in 2020 — and did so by a wide margin.

The research also shows that enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services continued to ramp up aggressively in 2020, growing by 35% to reach almost $130 billion. Meanwhile enterprise spending on data center hardware and software dropped by 6% to under $90 billion.

That mean there’s still a lot of application migration going on. Certainly, many are new applications, but many others could also be existing applications that are being refactored or rehosted. All present challenges, but applications that are more entwined with legacy technologies present the biggest challenge.

Five Important Steps for a Successful Cloud Migration

The five migration steps defined below comprise a list of best practices for achieving successful cloud migrations. Planning is a critical part of successful cloud migrations. A failure to plan might very well lead to an unplanned failure.

1. Define your business goals

  • Identify business goals for the migration
  • Map business goals with IT capabilities & constraints, such as compliance
  • Involve all stakeholders in the process
Define your business goals

Discover, catalog and select applications

2. Discover, catalog and select applications

  • Identify all applications in use
  • Qualify applications for cloud readiness
  • Baseline app performance & networks
  • Map dependencies

3. Specify the migration type

  • Retain – no migration
  • Re-host – re-host application in cloud
  • Re-platform – host application in cloud & make minor infrastructure changes
  • Refactor – recode parts of the app and/or deploy new application architecture
  • Retire – replace app with another app
Specify the migration type

Migrate, test and refine

4. Migrate, test, and refine

  • Migrate the application workload
  • Compare on premise & cloud app behavior
  • Test cloud implementation
  • Observe & resolve problems & fine-tune
  • Repeat as needed

5. Observe

  • Drive performance optimization
  • Keep MTTR under control
  • Manage cloud performance & costs

This migration steps list is as rigorous as possible without getting into specific issues that specific for different environments. Your migration could require additional steps for a successful migration. Primarily the list serves a migration framework upon which your migration can be built. In other words, there certainly can be more steps, but there certainly shouldn’t be fewer.

Application and Cloud Security

Ensure a cloud security layer where sensitive data will be exchanged or stored. Secure the cloud application and any gateways to eliminate vulnerabilities. It’s important to have a threat detection and hunting for taking quick action if a breach occurs.

To learn more, read our eBook, Observability Needs for Application Modernization. In my next post, I’ll discuss how Enterprise Observability can help make an Application Migration faster and more efficient with less risk.

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Instana, an IBM company, provides an Enterprise Observability Platform with automated application monitoring capabilities to businesses operating complex, modern, cloud-native applications no matter where they reside – on-premises or in public and private clouds, including mobile devices or IBM Z.

Control hybrid modern applications with Instana’s AI-powered discovery of deep contextual dependencies inside hybrid applications. Instana also gives visibility into development pipelines to help enable closed-loop DevOps automation.

This provides actionable feedback needed for clients as they to optimize application performance, enable innovation and mitigate risk, helping Dev+Ops add value and efficiency to software delivery pipelines while meeting their service and business level objectives.

For further information, please visit