Companies must make the decision to modernize their IT systems as they outgrow their current infrastructure or software platforms. Migration from legacy applications to an updated system, in particular, a cloud-based service, can boost performance and give businesses a competitive edge.
Legacy applications generally refer to on-premises applications or software programs that become outdated or obsolete over time. They may include customer relationship management (CRM) applications, sales applications, QuickBooks or a variety of industry-specific applications.
Business leaders are always on the lookout for new ways to operate and accelerate innovation. With more companies looking at an increase in digital demand and ongoing scalability issues, there is a growing interest in cloud migration. Learn more about how legacy application migration works, why businesses are migrating traditional applications to the cloud and the key steps in the legacy application migration process.
What Is A Legacy Application?
A legacy application is the software application that a company has had in place and which uses technology that is older than the current standard or has become obsolete. Companies commonly invest time and money into applications over the course of their business and expect these applications to serve them for many years.
These legacy applications are database management systems operating on minicomputers or mainframes. Most companies will discover that their legacy applications no longer provide sufficient value.
Legacy applications often play a critical role in a business’s operations and may account for a large portion of the software team’s budget. While legacy applications may be necessary to continue normal business operations, they usually present a series of challenges.
Poor code quality or inadequate application architecture can make it difficult to make essential changes to the legacy application. In addition, a lack of proper documentation can make the codebase challenging to understand. Some businesses may also encounter a lack of automated testing that can result in regression problems.
Continuing to use an outdated or obsolete legacy application can create a variety of issues for businesses. Legacy systems are more likely to encounter errors, bugs and other critical issues. The system’s documentation can become incomplete or outdated over time, leading to a loss of documentation.
A legacy application can also lead to decreased business continuity, skyrocketing IT maintenance costs and less overall reliability. New employees may also not know how to operate outdated legacy applications.
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving applications, data or other business elements to a cloud environment. Enterprises can perform a wide range of cloud migrations, such as the transfer of applications from a local, on-premises data center to a public cloud.
Cloud migrations can also entail moving applications from one cloud provider or platform to another, known as cloud-to-cloud migration. The third type of cloud migration is referred to as reverse cloud migration or ‘cloud exit.’ This occurs when applications are moved off the cloud and back to a local data center.
The primary goal of cloud migration is to host applications in the most efficient IT environment possible, based on various factors such as performance, cost and security. Transitioning to a cloud environment requires a solid strategy that helps ensure that the migration occurs smoothly and with minimal downtime or disruption to normal business operations.
It is important to remember that not every application should leave a business data center. Some applications that are deemed business-critical, require low latency, have high throughput or have strict geographic requirements do not always require migration.
Why Should Businesses Migrate Their Legacy Applications To The Cloud?
Many companies choose to migrate their legacy applications to the cloud for a wide range of reasons. The complexity of this process is dependent on many factors, such as the number of resources supported in the project. Public cloud hosts including Microsoft, AWS, IBM and Google offer high-speed fiber-optic connections to allow businesses to operate at remarkable scale and speed. These cloud hosts have also increased the number of web development, programming and mobile application support resources available for use.
Here is a look at some of the top benefits that companies may experience by migrating their legacy applications to the cloud:
When properly executed, a migration to the cloud can be even more secure than traditional network systems. The cloud consists of networks, systems and applications that must be properly configured and maintained via a “shared responsibility” model. Most cloud providers have built-in security features, such as periodic updates, security analytics and cross-enterprise visibility that help block cyber threats.
Making the switch to the cloud enables businesses to scale their operations up or down based on their unique business plan and IT requirements. Most enterprises find that some IT solutions become obsolete after a certain amount of time, making it difficult to keep up with customer demands. Cloud migration makes it easier for organizations to alter their workloads and infrastructure to accommodate their growing needs.
Business leaders are always looking for ways to lower costs, and moving to the cloud is an excellent way to reduce operational expenses. With the cloud, businesses only pay for what they use. There is no need to maintain costly data centers, and a significant amount can be saved on energy costs.
Cloud migration enables organizations to seamlessly connect their systems for improved efficiency across all services. It is common for an increased load to take its toll on a business over time. With a traditional data center, businesses would be forced to perform periodic infrastructure refreshes to keep software and hardware updated; today, companies have the option to migrate their applications to the cloud at the end of a refresh cycle.
When data is stored on the cloud, users can gain access to this information anywhere, anytime. This flexibility promotes accelerated growth and allows members of the organization to monitor business-critical applications and machines in real-time. Backups allow businesses to quickly rebound when incidents do occur, such as unexpected outages.
What Steps Are Involved In Legacy Application Migration?
The transition to the cloud requires extensive preparation. Business leaders must establish a timeline, budget and anticipated results. How long it takes for legacy applications to migrate to the cloud is dependent on several factors, such as the size of the application and the strategies used to complete the transfer.
Here are the basic steps involved in a legacy application migration:
1. Define The Goals Of The Migration
Before starting the legacy application migration process, it is important to gain a clear understanding of the applications used by the company. Audit all digital assets to identify the scope. Create a list of software that is currently in use and determine what applications no longer provide value to the business.
Also, consider what applications have the potential to bring value to the company in the cloud. Organizations sometimes use multiple apps on different servers with various networking equipment. There is a risk that moving one application could affect this dependency and impact other apps.
2. Identify Criteria For A Successful Migration
Companies commonly use key performance indicators (KPIs) as a way to measure success. KPIs can also be used for legacy application migrations to gain a better understanding of what areas are working and where failures occur. Some common KPIs to measure both before and after the application migration include availability, scalability and maintenance costs. Also, consider if the operational load on system maintenance will be affected and if end-users will be able to access the system or product faster.
3. Select A Reputable Cloud Provider
One of the biggest decisions a business will have to make before migrating to the cloud is choosing a cloud model and provider. There are several options for cloud models, including private, public and hybrid. Compare different cloud providers to determine which best meets the needs and budget of the organization. Some of the most popular cloud providers include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform.
4. Leverage The Right Automation Tools
Companies have access to a variety of automation tools designed to streamline the legacy application migration process. When companies can migrate faster and more effectively, they can cut costs and reduce risks. Many leading cloud providers offer automation tools, such as Azure Migrate, AWS Server Migration Service and Migrate for Compute Engine. Replacing manual work with the right code can optimize the entire process.
5. Choose A Migration And Backup System
There are several common migration strategies, known as the 6 R’s. These include rehost, replatform, refactor, repurchase, retire or retain. The strategy chosen will depend on what application the business is trying to modernize and whether changes need to be made to the application code for a successful migration.
Problems can occur unexpectedly; therefore, it is important to prepare a backup system. Most cloud vendors offer reliable backup solutions for safe and convenient backups. Educate staff on how to work with cloud applications to avoid accidental data losses. Leading cloud providers have automated data backups to ensure that important information is not lost.
Contact Orases To Get Started
The cloud provides growing businesses with an on-demand, self-service environment that promotes innovation and reinvention. Companies that are ready to move from outdated or obsolete legacy applications are now turning to the cloud to save money and experience its many other advantages.
Legacy application migration is critical for achieving updated and real-time efficiency and performance. However, the process requires careful planning, analysis and execution to ensure that the cloud solution is compatible with business requirements. For more information about how a legacy application migration works, or to speak with an experienced Maryland custom software development company, contact Orases online today.