By: Diana “Di” Lezcano, Cloud Administrator
The cloud is a nebulous concept, literally. Moving “to the cloud” is not as straightforward as moving a data center from Chicago to Sacramento. In that scenario, you have physical control of both locations and can assume or ensure that they use the same power outlets, Ethernet connections, roadways, loading docks… even that the door sizes are standard. Moving to the cloud is dramatically different. A journey begins with a single step. Throughout your migration to the cloud, you will have to make many decisions, but the first and perhaps most important decision is what architecture you will use. Gartner identifies five ways to migrate applications to the cloud. These concepts are categorized as Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, or Replace. Each concept has its advantages and disadvantages, so your business and technical needs will drive the decision-making process.
Rehosting is perhaps the most straightforward migration. Rehosting is essentially replicating your internal data center and hosting it in the cloud as a Virtual Machine. This is usually the quickest way to migrate to the cloud, although you may not immediately notice all of the cost and performance benefits of a true “Cloud First” architecture. This process works best if the application is essentially independent of the hardware it runs on. JHC helps organizations like Riveron Corp rehost their applications quickly and efficiently in the cloud: http://www.jhctechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Riveron-Corp.pdf
If your application is already web-based, you can refactor your database, web site, and identity management or authentication device to use similar servers from your cloud provider. It also may be possible to refactor without any coding changes, other than the URLs. This method will provide greater immediate benefits than rehosting, but will lengthen the migration process. JHC has assisted groups like TNTP refactor their applications to realize the benefits of cloud-native application design: http://www.jhctechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/TNTP_CaseStudy_021017.pdf
Moving to the cloud could be the ideal opportunity to rebuild or rewrite your existing applications. However, it will be time consuming and expensive, regarding programmer hours. This method will allow the user to immediately experience the cloud benefits of scalability and cost proficiency. JHC helps organizations like GenomeNext rebuild their on-premise applications in the cloud or assess their born-in-the-cloud solution and introduce design elements to increase efficiency while decreasing operational overhead: http://www.jhctechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/GenomeNext_CaseStudy-DevOps.pdf
If you are currently running legacy applications, they will have to be revised in order to run in the cloud. Most modern code currently works in the cloud. Code may not need to be rewritten, but the applications may need to be reconfigured and app data modified to work in the cloud. This method is a bit easier and faster than refactoring but more difficult and time-consuming than rebuilding. JHC assists groups like AHC, Inc. revise legacy platforms to take advantage of the benefits of new solutions and executes a smooth transition to ensure that there is minimal interruption to business processes: http://www.jhctechnology.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/AHC-inc.pdf.
Replacing applications could be ideal but not necessarily the best option. You can replace custom applications with off-the-shelf alternatives. This can be done almost overnight. The downside to this method is that you are not maintaining the license for the product, you don’t own the data, and are you able to use single sign-on (SSO) for authentication.
Migrating to the cloud can take a lot of planning and can be time-consuming. JHC works with the Cloud Management Platform called CloudCheckr. With CloudCheckr you can constantly Right Size and secure your infrastructure to meet your changing needs, make recommendations and even take actions through automation to keep your cloud-optimized and safe, throughout your migration and ongoing operation.