Click here to close now.

Welcome!

SOA & WOA Authors: Pat Romanski, Max Katz, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, David Sprott

Related Topics: SOA & WOA, Cloud Expo

SOA & WOA: Article

Cloud Application Migration

What are the real challenges that make organizations take a cautious, wait-and-watch approach to cloud adoption?

The business value of a cloud model does not require any special emphasis to enterprises. The Infrastructure elasticity promises to offer the desired flexibility that allows businesses to penetrate new and emerging markets without the risk of a significant capital expenditure. The free cash flow made available will allow businesses to increase spending on R&D or other strategic initiatives. For small and medium businesses, Cloud Computing offers an ecosystem that allows them to co-exist, if not compete, with large businesses. For large businesses, it's a natural progression of how IT could better optimize its data centers and deliver more value for the business.

What are the real challenges that make organizations take a cautious, wait-and-watch approach to cloud adoption? The reasons are many. For one, concerns with regard to security and regulatory compliance overshadow other potential means through which one could benefit from cloud. It's necessary to uncover such possibilities for businesses to evaluate the potential of cloud computing. Put another way, we will explore the questions most business leaders ponder over - Is ‘cloud computing' the logical next step for me to successfully execute business strategy? If so, what should be my cloud strategy? Which applications are best suited to run on cloud? These are the questions we will discuss, attempt to answer, and where required, make suitable recommendations.

Is Cloud Computing Right for My Organization?
The challenges with migrating applications to a cloud infrastructure are plenty and range from security, to SLA management, to regulations, to fear of vendor lock-in, to lack of any standards. However, just as it doesn't make sense to move everything to the cloud, it would be unwise not to leverage cloud when an opportunity to benefit from it exists. Adoption models differ across businesses and industry verticals and are largely influenced by their business models, infrastructureand information system assets.

For businesses that rely on maintaining an active social community, where the community drives the growth of its storage and computing infrastructure needs, and where the exposure risk of having the content in public infrastructure is relatively low, a public cloud would be a natural choice. For such businesses that tend to have high volatility in workload, a public cloud frees the business from worrying about IT operational issues and allows them to explore opportunities for increasing their business footprint in newer geographies without risking a huge investment.

Organizations that are risk averse and have concerns with security and compliance regulations would be inclined to explore a private cloud option in the near term. A private cloud infrastructure will enable their workforce to adapt and evaluate the real potential of cloud computing in a closed environment. For large enterprises that have invested heavily in data centers, it's a logical next step.

For ISVs offering their products through traditional license sales, leveraging a cloud platform and offering products through a SaaS model will mean substantial cost optimization and economies of scale that will benefit both ISVs and consumers of their products. It provides ISVs with opportunities to support new customers, to create point solutions for SMBs that were unable to deploy, and manage and maintain their own IT infrastructure for a critical application.

Nevertheless, an assessment of potential applications, their affinity toward different cloud options and business value projections will help you make informed decisions.

Assessment
Application Portfolio Assessment is a critical exercise, but can easily spiral out of control and fail if its objectives are not well understood or defined. An assessment to determine an application's readiness for the cloud should evaluate the cloud readiness of key applications in the portfolio by rationalizing the portfolio using a multi-dimensional analysis of cloud application characteristics and provide clear recommendations on a suitable migration option - private or public - and migration paths - IaaS, SaaS or PaaS. Further, cost analysis should help assess impact on TCO/ROI and aid in building a business case.

A business's interest in the cloud weighs heavily on the core values it promises to offer - elasticitydeliveredon-demand, and at a cost far less than what a dedicated infrastructure would require. Any cloud assessment would fall short if it fails to factor it. Figure 1 highlights few critical dimensions we recommend upon which the assessment should be done.

Figure 1: Assessment Criteria

Following are indicative guidelines that should be applied to the assessment outcome to determine an application's cloud readiness:

  1. A positive business outlook for the application will mean better growth prospects for the application, leading to increased workload, criticality and dynamism in the future, thus increasing its cloud affinity.
  2. A measure of elasticity along three key parameters - workload, storage, and utilization - will yield a more definitive result on an application's cloud affinity. Elasticity of storage and utilization can be derived from existing monitoring infrastructures. An historical log analysis will help characterize application workloads and thus help in arriving at a more meaningful insight on an application's workload pattern.
  3. Any negative impact on governance, risk and compliance will have a ‘veto' effect on an application's eligibility for hosting on the cloud.
  4. Finally, technical feasibility of moving an application to a cloud infrastructure, the impact of any architectural change on the application, and the impact on quality of services will require careful consideration. A positive impact on architectural change, such as SaaS enablement of a product, may result in portfolio rationalization, thus boosting the application's case for moving to the cloud.

Applying a weighted scoring model along the above dimensions should yield a fair and just insight on your organization's cloud readiness, and determine if there is value in moving to the cloud.

Much of an enterprise's infrastructure could be serviced by a single internal private cloud comprised of multiple physical data centers. While a public cloud will play a significant role in delivering conventional enterprise compute needs, the private cloud is expected to remain a critical part of the IT infrastructure for the foreseeable future. Key differentiating applications may never move completely out of the enterprise because of their mission-critical or business-sensitive nature.

Some of the above-mentioned criterias like robust security requirements, mission critical applications, and stringent SLA requirements, compliance requirements, dependencies of the workload on large data set will help in any decision pertaining to migrating an application to a private or public cloud.

Cost Analysis
The business case for cloud application migration is never complete without taking the target cloud platform into consideration. The migration and overhead costs vary widely based on the target cloud platform and thus will skew the estimated cost savings. Cost analysis helps decide whether to go ahead with moving a particular application to the cloud or not from a TCO/ROI perspective.

Cost should include capital expenditure, operational expenditure, and overhead costs involved with migration. Table 1 provides an indicative summary of cost elements that needs to be factored.

Table 1: Cost Considerations

Applications hosted on a dedicated infrastructure should be considered potential candidates for migration to the cloud. Computing differential cost savings for such applications against current workloads should be relatively straightforward. For applications on a shared infrastructure, individual application workload characteristics may have to be determined before arriving at differential cost savings.

Migration Strategy
Defining a migration strategy involves understanding the various migration options available, establishing business priorities, and evolving a strategy that offers a fine balance between costs and meeting business priorities. Fundamentally, enterprises have the two following options with a cloud infrastructure - private or public. Against these, they have the following migration paths to consider - IaaS, SaaS or PaaS. The choice is driven by priorities such as elasticity, business model, go-to-market strategy and constrained by factors such as technical feasibility, security, migration costs, etc. It's not uncommon for a large enterprise to leverage a hybrid approach in any of the above migration options and paths.

While working with a portfolio of applications, a single all-encompassing migration strategy would not help. Ideally, the migration strategy should be evolved on a per application basis after a thorough evaluation of the applications under consideration. Issues arising out of the migration of hardware infrastructure and architecture should be uncovered and dealt with as part of the implementation strategy.

Migration Paths
Migrating applications to the cloud to benefit from its elastic infrastructure services is a quick, cost-effective, and tactical approach to reap the benefits of the cloud. It offers a natural entry point to exploit the value of the cloud platform without any significant overhead costs. The migration will be straightforward, usually a simple re-hosting exercise, with minimal or no impact on application code. This minimizes any risks with migration while still keeping the costs low. However, it must be said that while this offers a cost-effective approach, it does not offer the cost advantage (while delivering services) against competitors who have true multi-tenant capabilities. Migrating applications to cloud vendors like Amazon EC2 or Rackspace fall under this category.

Migrating applications to SaaS architecture and hosting it on a shared services model gives true multi-tenant cost advantage to an enterprise. It helps rationalize a portfolio by removing redundant applications offerings similar services across geographies or lines of business in favor of a single multi-tenant application shared across all its users. However, enabling SaaS architecture on an existing application could be a daunting task as most of the existing applications are designed to be single tenant. The main principle that lay the foundation for this model is in maintaining a single code base of applications for all its tenants and allowing pluggable mechanisms to address tenant-specific extensions. Thus, a convincing ROI is essential to move directly toward a SaaS approach.

Vendors like Google App Engine, Microsoft Azure offer a cloud platform stack that allows businesses to leverage end-to-end cloud services. Although these vendors provide an overall platform to build and deploy cloud-based applications, they put a lot of constraint on the technology to be used on each of the application layers. Due to these technical constraints, existing applications may need significant changes to support the technology stack of the vendor. These factors practically limit the volume of application workload that can be moved to a PaaS model. In general, a PaaS model is considered most suitable when there is scope for ‘greenfield' development. With existing application assets, PaaS may still be a suitable option when considering a ‘rip-and-replace' strategy.

Table 2 provides high-level guidelines can be considered while selecting a suitable cloud migration path.

Planning and Implementation
When considering migrating an application to the cloud, a common pitfall is to focus on only technical or implementation concerns while overlooking other stakeholder and operations concerns. In reality, they are as important as the technical concerns and must be dealt with and rightly addressed. Thus, during migration planning, understand challenges that must be dealt with, categorize them as enterprise, operational and implementation related, and finally, prioritize and deal with them individually (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Migration Planning

At the enterprise level, managing the interests of the various stakeholders involved would be the top priority. Other departments that depend on the information system being migrated will have to make appropriate measures to ensure their day-to-day operations are not hindered. Stakeholders could even be external to the organization such as vendors to whom the operations are outsourced. A suitable migration strategy needs to be put in place to handle such scenarios. The enterprise architecture group or entities with a similar function would play a pivotal role in uncovering such scenarios and highlight potential cost implications to senior management in the interest of the enterprise at large.

At the operational level, IT will need to extend its view to include cloud as an extension of their on-premise infrastructure to deliver better services to business. When setting up a private cloud infrastructure within the enterprise, this would mean providing an alternative service delivery model - offering virtualized infrastructure, and associated management infrastructure to support metering, billing and SLA management for its enterprise applications. Similarly, when migrating to a public cloud, assessing impact on existing service level contracts and renegotiating AMC and service levels should be of priority. In either case, mitigate risks by involving all relevant stakeholders during the migration planning phase. If your applications are outsourced and maintained by an external service provider, involving them early in the process would help make the transition smoother.

At the implementation level, challenges will primarily be around the handling of the movement of voluminous data, establishing failover mechanisms and secure communication channels, validation and verification of migration, to name a few. If you depend on external service providers for implementation, the evaluation criteria for selecting a suitable partner must be put in place. When selecting a partner solution provider, consider the size and resource focus of the organization you are considering. Choose a partner that has already achieved success for an organization similar to yours.

The next step is to do a pilot exercise with a handful of key applications to uncover the adoption risks. It is important to do the first migration right and therefore form a baseline approach to evolve for further application migration to the cloud. Create milestones and proof points that let you evaluate early on whether you are on the right track. Ensure that the individuals assigned to the implementation work have the appropriate skill set and experience.

Tools, accelerators and solution enablers greatly help in any implementation to de-risk and optimize delivery. Table 3 summarize few tools and accelerators that may aid in cloud migration.

Conclusion
In this update, we covered the key activities involved with migrating an application to the cloud. We provided broad analysis dimensions that will help organizations identify a suitable application workload, and transform the existing application workload to the cloud platform. Organizations intending to adopt the cloud computing model would benefit from the suggestions and guidelines covered. The recommendations shared here should be treated as only prescriptive, and may vary based on the industry segment and nature of the assets.

We recognize that every organization has its own unique challenges to face and circumstances to deal with. While cloud offers a compelling value proposition, it is also a highly disruptive change and, thus, businesses must be aware of the workforce dynamics within the organization, and take all its key stakeholders into confidence before making the decision.

More Stories By Ashok Kumar Arumugam

Ashok Kumar Arumugam is a Senior Technology Architect with Software Engineering and Technology Labs at Infosys. He has over 9 years of IT experience in product development, enterprise application design and migration. His areas of interest include application migration management, performance engineering and management, and cloud migration.

More Stories By Chetan Kothari

Chetan Kothari works as a Principal Architect at the Java Enterprise Center of Excellence at Infosys Technologies, a Global leader in IT & Business Consulting Services. He has over 12 years experience with expertise in J2EE application framework development, defining, architecting and implementing large-scale, mission-critical, IT Solutions across a range of industries.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
Docker is an excellent platform for organizations interested in running microservices. It offers portability and consistency between development and production environments, quick provisioning times, and a simple way to isolate services. In his session at DevOps Summit at 16th Cloud Expo, Shannon Williams, co-founder of Rancher Labs, will walk through these and other benefits of using Docker to run microservices, and provide an overview of RancherOS, a minimalist distribution of Linux designed expressly to run Docker. He will also discuss Rancher, an orchestration and service discovery platf...
PubNub on Monday has announced that it is partnering with IBM to bring its sophisticated real-time data streaming and messaging capabilities to Bluemix, IBM’s cloud development platform. “Today’s app and connected devices require an always-on connection, but building a secure, scalable solution from the ground up is time consuming, resource intensive, and error-prone,” said Todd Greene, CEO of PubNub. “PubNub enables web, mobile and IoT developers building apps on IBM Bluemix to quickly add scalable realtime functionality with minimal effort and cost.”
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Every innovation or invention was originally a daydream. You like to imagine a “what-if” scenario. And with all the attention being paid to the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) you don’t have to stretch the imagination too much to see how this may impact commercial and homeowners insurance. We’re beyond the point of accepting this as a leap of faith. The groundwork is laid. Now it’s just a matter of time. We can thank the inventors of smart thermostats for developing a practical business application that everyone can relate to. Gone are the salad days of smart home apps, the early chalkb...
CommVault has announced that top industry technology visionaries have joined its leadership team. The addition of leaders from companies such as Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Cisco, PwC and EMC signals the continuation of CommVault Next, the company's business transformation for sales, go-to-market strategies, pricing and packaging and technology innovation. The company also announced that it had realigned its structure to create business units to more directly match how customers evaluate, deploy, operate, and purchase technology.
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
When it comes to the Internet of Things, hooking up will get you only so far. If you want customers to commit, you need to go beyond simply connecting products. You need to use the devices themselves to transform how you engage with every customer and how you manage the entire product lifecycle. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, will show how “product relationship management” can help you leverage your connected devices and the data they generate about customer usage and product performance to deliver extremely compelling and reliabl...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing data centers to become radically decentralized and atomized within a new paradigm known as “fog computing.” To support IoT applications, such as connected cars and smart grids, data centers' core functions will be decentralized out to the network's edges and endpoints (aka “fogs”). As this trend takes hold, Big Data analytics platforms will focus on high-volume log analysis (aka “logs”) and rely heavily on cognitive-computing algorithms (aka “cogs”) to make sense of it all.
With several hundred implementations of IoT-enabled solutions in the past 12 months alone, this session will focus on experience over the art of the possible. Many can only imagine the most advanced telematics platform ever deployed, supporting millions of customers, producing tens of thousands events or GBs per trip, and hundreds of TBs per month. With the ability to support a billion sensor events per second, over 30PB of warm data for analytics, and hundreds of PBs for an data analytics archive, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Kaskade, Vice President and General Manager, Big Data & Ana...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Workspace-as-a-Service (WaaS) market will grow to $6.4B by 2018. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Seth Bostock, CEO of IndependenceIT, will begin by walking the audience through the evolution of Workspace as-a-Service, where it is now vs. where it going. To look beyond the desktop we must understand exactly what WaaS is, who the users are, and where it is going in the future. IT departments, ISVs and service providers must look to workflow and automation capabilities to adapt to growing demand and the rapidly changing workspace model.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Hadoop as a Service (as offered by handful of niche vendors now) is a cloud computing solution that makes medium and large-scale data processing accessible, easy, fast and inexpensive. In his session at Big Data Expo, Kumar Ramamurthy, Vice President and Chief Technologist, EIM & Big Data, at Virtusa, will discuss how this is achieved by eliminating the operational challenges of running Hadoop, so one can focus on business growth. The fragmented Hadoop distribution world and various PaaS solutions that provide a Hadoop flavor either make choices for customers very flexible in the name of opti...
The true value of the Internet of Things (IoT) lies not just in the data, but through the services that protect the data, perform the analysis and present findings in a usable way. With many IoT elements rooted in traditional IT components, Big Data and IoT isn’t just a play for enterprise. In fact, the IoT presents SMBs with the prospect of launching entirely new activities and exploring innovative areas. CompTIA research identifies several areas where IoT is expected to have the greatest impact.
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...