Application migration involves moving an application program from one environment to another. For example, an organization may migrate from an on-premises server to a cloud provider environment, or from one cloud environment to a different environment.
The application migration process can be complex as there are typically conflicting differences between the original and target environments. In addition, some applications such as Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure, are designed to operate on the platform in which they were developed.
For an application migration to be successful, gaps in technologies must be bridged. Organizations must also consider which migration strategy to execute, and if the move is viable based on factors including budget and timeline. Learn when organizations may need application migration and what the process entails.
What Is Application Migration?
Application migration strategies address the processes and procedures necessary to migrate an application and its data with minimal downtime and disruptions. There are several common types of application migrations, including:
- One cloud environment to another
- One data center to another
- A public cloud to a private cloud or hybrid cloud
- An on-premises data center to a cloud provider such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform
During the application migration process, a series of processes occur that move a software application from an existing computing environment to a new environment. To ensure a satisfactory result, it is important to choose an application migration approach that is able to support necessary technical requirements, security needs and cost constraints.
Stages Of An Application Migration Plan
There are four primary stages of an application migration plan. These stages include the following:
Stage 1: Identify And Assess Processes
The first stage in an application migration plan involves performing a comprehensive analysis of the application. Identify and assess all processes and categorize them based on whether or not they are critical to the organization. When considering if each application has value, consider how it impacts the business, the importance of its data, application development and maintenance costs and its overall size and complexity.
Stage 2: Total Cost Of Ownership (TCO) Assessment
Calculating the cost of application migration can be a difficult challenge. Performing a total cost of ownership assessment can help organizations determine if it is financially responsible to complete a migration based on purchase, maintenance, hardware and operational costs. Businesses that move to the cloud can expect to receive recurring bills from their cloud provider. Other expenses may include costs associated with testing and employee training.
Stage 3: Risk Identification And Project Timeline
The third stage in developing an application migration plan involves identifying potential risks and complications that could arise during the move. Organizations must also develop a practical timeline in which they can realistically complete the application migration while remaining in compliance.
Stage 4: Completing A Legacy Application Migration
The final step in creating an application migration plan is the execution of a legacy application to the cloud or other target environment. It can be more complex and problematic to move older applications, meaning the timeline could be extended further than ideal. If not patched correctly, a legacy application migration could even pose certain security concerns.
Reasons To Migrate Applications To The Cloud
Today, the cloud is used for a wide range of purposes, such as web hosting, email hosting, content management, application hosting, disaster recovery and backup, security and monitoring and data management and achieving. Migrating applications to the cloud can provide organizations with a wide range of benefits.
Security is one of the top concerns for businesses considering moving their data online. However, cloud technology has proven to be highly secure and incomparable to traditional on-premise infrastructures. Cloud system security is governed by experienced cloud service providers that strive to meet the highest level of data protection standards possible. When businesses take the necessary steps to create strong passwords and firewalls, paired with their cloud technology, they can be confident that their data is protected.
Organizations are faced with fluctuating demands and the application environment that they choose must be able to keep the pace. Cloud computing offers businesses the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. Organizations are not required to make any permanent changes to their infrastructure, saving them time and money. Businesses can also enjoy a higher level of performance with cloud service which can increase their bottom line.
Reliability is another benefit that businesses will encounter when migrating to the cloud. Cloud services provide businesses with reliability and minimal downtime compared to traditional on-premise systems. Cloud vendors are responsible for keeping their systems available around-the-clock, even when regular maintenance is being completed. Cloud vendors also take into account complications such as timeouts, overflow and network failure prior to implementing any type of solution.
Organizations may explore application migration when considering upgrading their backup, storage or network capabilities. Cloud services allow businesses to easily increase the capability of their hosting service based on the amount of traffic they receive. When using public clouds, businesses can even dedicate specific servers to manage their key applications.
One of the biggest benefits of application migration is the ability for company leaders to place greater focus on their core business. The average IT department may not be fully equipped to resolve specialized software issues associated with on-premises systems. When a business chooses to migrate to the cloud, they have the support of experienced cloud vendors who are highly qualified to provide solutions and ongoing support. The amount of time spent managing IT is significantly reduced with the cloud, giving business leaders more time to grow their organization.
Communication is a common issue experienced by many businesses. Cloud service providers have developed applications for both mobile devices and tablets that allow users to access cloud solutions on any device and from any location with an internet connection. This technology also allows employees to seamlessly communicate and collaborate with one another using real-time synchronization of information and files.
Migrating to the cloud can help reduce IT infrastructure costs, saving businesses a substantial amount of money in the long term. The flexibility of cloud services also allows businesses to easily adjust their capacity needs while eliminating rigid on-premises assets and unnecessary hardware.
Common Approaches To Application Migration
Different types of applications have unique approaches to the migration process. When planning application migration, organizations should keep the following approaches in mind:
This is a ‘lift and shift’ strategy that is commonly used by businesses that wish to move an application to the cloud from an on-premise server without having to make any significant changes. This approach is typically quick compared to other migration techniques and can significantly reduce migration costs. However, the long-term expenses of running applications on the cloud can sometimes be higher.
Also referred to as ‘re-architect,’ this approach involves introducing substantial changes to an application to ensure that it performs or scales better in a cloud environment. This approach may also require some re-coding of the application to utilize certain cloud-native functionalities, such as the modernization of stored data to advanced NoSQL from basic SQL.
The replatform approach involves making some minor changes to an application to ensure maximum benefits from moving to the cloud. For example, this may mean modernizing the application to make it more compatible with the cloud-managed database.
More uncommonly used is the replace approach. Some organizations may choose to replace an application when the original application offers limited value, when there are duplicate capabilities in the environment or when a replacement is determined to be more cost-effective.
Basic Application Migration Steps
Application migration can be a confusing process, especially for businesses that have little to no experience with the cloud. The following steps can help get organizations started with the move:
1. Gather A Team Of Leaders
Request a talented employee from each department within the organization to partake in the application migration process. These key members should work alongside an internal team of IT experts to manage each phase of the migration. Technical tasks can also be outsourced to an experienced software development company.
2. Inform Stakeholders About The Plan
Next, business leaders will need to gain approval from stakeholders. Put in place a comprehensive plan that identifies the established budget, timeline and project objectives and share this with all stakeholders. Continue to keep stakeholders in the loop as the project progresses.
3. Assess The Application
Existing applications should be fully evaluated and categorized based on certain factors, such as how updated the application is, whether the app was developed in-house or by a software development team and if the app requires rewriting. It can also be helpful to separate business applications from technical apps. Once the applications have been grouped, it is time to decide on a target cloud environment.
Call The Software Development Experts at Orases
There are many reasons why modern organizations choose to conduct application migration, from sales customer relationship management (CRM) software taking too long to load, resulting in wasted time and productivity, or perhaps employees struggling to pull data when they need it most, negatively impacting customer service quality. Regardless of the reason, the process of application migration can bring businesses countless benefits.
For assistance with application migration, contact the IT experts at Orases. Orases is a reputable Maryland custom software development company dedicated to building modern solutions that give businesses a competitive edge. For more information or to speak with a professional about application migration, contact a custom software expert online at Orases today.