If your portfolio has more than 200 applications, you are definitely considering the cloud for a number of compelling reasons. However, the two most important reasons for building a cloud strategy should be to increase revenue and lower costs. If your business case for moving to a cloud platform does not meet either of these goals, you will need to refine your approach to cloud.
Applications enable business processes, and CIO’s must introduce new technologies that either reduce delivery costs or enable innovations that drive revenue. Application libraries have grown considerably with the adoption of virtualization. Now, we are witnessing even greater virtualization at the infrastructure and platform layers. Make no bones about it – PaaS/IaaS is here and software defined platforms enable faster, lower cost solutions overon-premise and company owned assets.
The Hard Questions
Migrating enterprise applications to the cloud is not a turnkey proposition. Despite the hype and promotion, the process requires significant skill, experience, and understanding of the cloud platform’s capabilities.
Hard Question #1: “How will migrating applications to the cloud benefit my organization?”
Immediately, we drop into a conversation in our heads about TCO – hardware depreciation, software licensing, FTEs, and a world of costs around operating a data center. Those are the balance sheet numbers. Most CIOs can perform these justifications in their sleep.
- Poor maintainability – a change in one module leads to a ripple of changes in other modules
- Poor performance – RMI is often executed over the network, and the less network performance or reliability, the worse the application performs
- Poor scalability – applications built with RMI are often stateful and require the application to maintain a knowledge of all the RMI endpoints
While poor maintainability can be a problem in any project, poor performance and scalability deserve special consideration in the cloud. Unlike a data center environment, cloud networking is often less predictable and reliable, due to the constant flux of machines, applications, and virtual networks. Therefore, RMI that may have performed well in the data center, on dedicated machines or carefully controlled virtual infrastructure, is now a weak point in the system. Scalability is also an issue with tightly coupled applications running in the cloud. Since most cloud architectures are built to allow automatic deployment and scaling, it’s much more complicated to maintain the “state” knowledge necessary to handle RMI correctly.
However, when it comes to leveraging cloud platforms that drive shareholder value – increasing revenues and lowering costs – the process becomes much more complex.
Consider these questions:
- What will rapid scalability bring to my organization?
- How will a dramatically shortened development cycle increase revenue?
- What benefits will we gain by focusing on our core competencies?
With so much at stake, just how do we start the process? First, we must understand where we are before we can decide where we are going.
Application Profiling – Uncovering Application DNA
Not all applications are candidates for the leap to the cloud. One major challenge facing CIO’s is: “What apps are good candidates to migrate, which apps need work, and just how much effort is involved to move them?” Without a clear understanding of your inventory’s cloud readiness, you have little hope for success. Therefore, application profiling is essential to any cloud migration strategy.
Hard Question #2: “How do I know which applications will give me the highest ROI?”
THREE R’S – RANKING, READINESS, AND REMEDIATION
There are three fundamental areas of application profiling – ranking, readiness, and remediation. All three areas are critical to understanding your effort – and more importantly your benefits.
1. Ranking – What is the nature of the application to the organization? Armed with an
application ranking roster, you are able to build a strategy whereby business unit impact is critical. SLA characteristics such as RTO/RPO and uptime percentage are combined with business projections to help drive application rankings.
2. Readiness – Application readiness is the evaluation of an application’s feasibility to make the trip to the cloud. There are two categories of applications: in-house (your staff manages the code) and third party products (a vendor supports the code).
In the first category, our objective is to determine what code level issues exist that may derail the migration to the cloud. The nature of IT and development is transitory and often the developers who wrote the code may no longer be working for the organization. It is not uncommon for developers to hardcode passwords, user names, network paths, database connections, and security keys in code – all of which could potentially be disastrous. Discovering these obstacles is critical and using the right tools could mean success or failure.
For third party applications, our objective is to determine the readiness of the vendor’s code for the cloud. Often there are issues of licensing, interoperability, performance, and security that need to be addressed. Some vendors simply will not support a cloud-based implementation of their product. Others require application delivery models such as Citrix. Even though 78% of all enterprises run Windows 2003 servers with third party applications, most cloud platforms do not support Windows 2003 and require your team to migrate the applications to Windows 2008 or 2012. Thus, understanding your third party application readiness is critical for success.
3. Remediation – What tasks and resources are needed to address application issues? Depending on the cloud platform, remediation recommendations can range greatly and figure into the total migration strategy. Remediation categories include:
- General: Applying best practices for creating cloud-native applications.
- Availability: Addressing potential stability issues in cloud platforms.
- Performance: Improving application performance and reducing overprovisioning.
- Quality: Improving overall code quality and adherence to standards.
- Scalability: Enhancing elasticity and reducing bottlenecks in the cloud.
- Security: Implementing secure coding practices and strong cryptography.
- Standardization: Enforcing platform standards and identifying third-party dependencies.
At a high level, each category includes a number of rules—many of which are general (applicable across cloud platforms), while others are specific to the target cloud platform.
Hard Question #3: “What tools or services are available to help me build a cloud strategy and application migration plan?
Oil & Gas Industry – An Application Roadmap
Using the three R’s – Ranking, Readiness, and Remediation – you are prepared to answer the hard questions about your organization’s cloud strategy. When a business unit leader asks you about the organization’s cloud strategy you understand why you are moving to the cloud, which applications to move and how long it will take, and what you need to do to get there.
Cloud Technology Partners has the tools and resources to uncover your application’s DNA. Our experience in the Oil and Gas industry offers unique and practical guidance that enterprises count on to get the job done.
Get the Right Services & Tools
Learn more about Cloud Technology Partner’s Application Readiness process and our unique services and software that dramatically reduce the cost of building your Application Migration Strategy. Our solutions enable you to rapidly migrate applications, starting with quick-wins and business cases for moving to the cloud.
Migration at Scale
We have experience, proven methodologies and tools to drive cloud migration at scale. We’ll help you identify, classify and efficiently migrate groups of applications with common workloads.
Migration of Complex, Mission-Critical Applications
Migrating complex applications involves both technical and business modernization. We understand how to modernize applications and design and implement cloud based solutions to meet your challenges.
Innovative software and tools to help you successfully migrate applications to the cloud.
Application Decision Framework maps application portfolios to determine the optimal target platform.
- Determines cloud fit for application portfolios and dynamically gathers detailed application information.
- Discovers application migration quick-wins for maximum value moving to the cloud.
- Combines data upload from CMDB and interviews with business and technical application owners.
PaaSLane analyzes application code to ensure cloud readiness and accelerate migration.
- Finds and fixes issues preventing your applications from running in the cloud.
- Optimizes your applications for rapidly-evolving cloud platforms.
- Prepares legacy applications for a streamlined and secure cloud migration.