The move to the cloud is the start of a journey—one that will enable the transformation of every aspect of an organization, from IT to product development, even accounting. But taking your existing infrastructure and just shifting it onto the cloud isn’t enough. You need to first evaluate strategies that optimize your cloud processes to increase the business value you’re getting from the AWS Cloud. As Stephen Covey wrote, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Migrating to the AWS Cloud has a lot of moving parts. Fortunately, there are many best practice frameworks like the Cloud Adoption Framework as well as agile accelerators like the Migration Acceleration Program that combine project delivery methodology with migration tools, training, and professional services delivered by certified AWS Partners to help organizations on their journey.
Stephen Orban, Head of Enterprise Strategy at AWS, identified “the 6 Rs” of migrating applications to the cloud, i.e., the migration strategies that are formulated during the Migration Portfolio Discovery and Planning process. According to Orban, an important part of this process is making the right decisions when it comes to choosing an appropriate strategy for individual application workloads.
Let’s examine some very concrete use cases where enterprises can recognize opportunities to positively impact their migration strategies:
Taking Advantage of the Opportunities
An appreciable percentage — as much as 50% — of the typical enterprise application portfolio falls into the “commodity” category, characterized by low rate of change, non-business critical, and standard availability. Another category is “table stakes”— another 30% of the portfolio — where the applications are mission critical, often with high availability / reliability requirements.
When customers are reluctant to re-platform “table stakes” applications, it can lead to missed opportunities. However, in some cases—with the appropriate preparations—it may make sense, especially if the application is a third-party ISV software platform that is at an inflection point from an architecture perspective.
For example, traditional SAP applications like ECC or BW landscapes can represent an opportunity to be transformed to SAP HANA via the AWS cloud migration strategy. This is not as radical a transformation as it might sound. While most SAP customers know they will need to make the leap to HANA, CAPEX and agility constraints may have held them back.
Another example is migrating appliances to native AWS services. Some customers may have invested in Teradata appliances for their data warehouse solution. But if your organization has outgrown the Teradata solution, the AWS Schema Conversion Tool can be used to migrate the data to Amazon Redshift, a fast, fully-managed, petabyte-scale data warehouse service that makes it simple and cost-effective to analyze all your data using your existing business intelligence tools. By migrating your data warehouse to Amazon Redshift, your organization can substantially improve query and data load performance, increase scalability, and save costs, to deliver additional value during the migration process.
Rather than a simple “lift and shift” of existing applications to AWS, a data center migration enables customers to explore additional options such as:
- Migrating to SaaS: This entails migrating to a SaaS equivalent before or during an AWS Migration. The series of actions involved in application discovery will also trigger a thought process that examines whether or not that application fits into the longer-term application portfolio vision. If it does, and can be converted to SaaS in a reasonable timeframe and budget, getting “SaaS-y” can reduce IT operations overhead, improve TCO, and increase end user satisfaction.
- Retiring old applications: Many organizations suffer under the weight of applications that are difficult to enhance and / or support. End-user experience can be enhanced by moving to a new solution that offers access on their mobile devices. Migrating old applications to AWS will not change the end users’ perception of the application experience, but seeking new alternatives will.
Data Center migration is an exercise in productivity when you need to deliver a set of outcomes. A simple cut, copy, and paste doesn’t work for cloud migration. It is vital to start off by evaluating best practice migration strategies. The migration patterns you decide to employ in your application portfolio will have a profound effect on the overall success of the migration programs and ensuring that you meet your commitments.