For businesses looking to operate in a future-ready environment, the cloud has become the new normal. So much so that, it’s not a question of ‘if’ anymore, not even ‘when’, but how soon. The need to revamp applications and the desire to expand operations for future scalability are just some of the most common reasons for moving to the cloud today.
- Enhanced business workflows
- Advanced security
- Proper cost optimizations
- Scalability of resources
- Flexibility of operations
- Access to innovative solutions
- Uninterrupted business continuity anytime, anywhere
But, Migration to Cloud is Not Without Challenges
According to an IDC report, customers that migrate to AWS can experience 51% reduced costs of operations, 62% increased IT staff productivity, and 94% reductions in downtime.
However, cloud migrations need to be planned and implemented meticulously for achieving the desired ROIs. This calls for considerable expertise and strategic edge.
In 2011, Gartner had outlined the 5 Rs for optimal cloud migration strategy: Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, and Replace. While these are still relevant, they have been advanced further for fool-proof strategic migration on AWS. The 6 Rs model of AWS migration includes: Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase, Refactor, Retire and Retain.
Navigating the 6 Rs of Migrating Applications to AWS
At the outset, there is a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA); this precedes the 6 Rs of AWS Cloud Migration strategy. It involves evaluating the financial, technological, and operational challenges of the business or enterprise planning its migration. The evaluation is on the basis of this analysis that an inventory is prepared to determine which elements of the existing technology stack or applications, workloads need action on for further transformation.
And that is where we start with the first and second Rs of the AWS Cloud migration strategy, that is, Retire and Retain:
Retire: This involves identifying all the assets and services that can be turned off so the business can focus on services that are widely used and of more immediate value. If there are some processes and applications running in the data center which are no longer in use, they must be retired to clean up the system to make it leaner and more efficient. In other words, these applications will be turned off as they are unnecessarily burdening the server. This is indeed a worthwhile approach to review your applications and discover opportunities to eliminate the redundancies and speed-breakers.
Retain: The other category of action on applications at this stage is Retain. You might want to retain some part of your applications and processes for the reason that you have upgraded them very recently and/or you are happy with the application’s performance and its service contract. Or, most importantly, they could be crucial mission-critical assets for your business that needs no tinkering.
Once it has been determined which applications will be migrated, the other 4 Rs of AWS migration are meant to shape how to go about it. Let us take you through them briefly:
Rehost: Rehosting applications, also known as ‘lift and shift’, means transferring the existing servers running the applications to the Cloud and using AWS as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The lift-and-shift is a very common strategy and the simplest one, for organizations starting out on their migration journey or intending to complete it in a short span of time. What’s more, it does not cause any major disruption in existing workflows.
Re-platform: Also called “lift, tinker, and shift”, this is required when you want to tweak your applications before moving them to the cloud, without changing their core architecture. Re-platforming provides the opportunity to optimize the existing components. This may include updating or replacing a licensed service with an open source one.
Refactoring or Re-architecting: In some instances, you might want to change the core code to improve a service, application and handle sudden burst of activities or traffic. This calls for Refactoring or Re-architecting. In this approach, you can redesign the application to take full advantage of the IaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS) technologies. It brings in a complete modernization of the application, adding features, enhancing performance and improving scalability, that could not be achieved in the pre-existing environment.
Repurchasing: Sometimes referred to as “drop and shop”, this simply means repurposing or repurchasing existing applications or moving to another vendor or product. At this juncture, an enterprise can transfer its software license from an on-premises server to AWS, or replace its current application completely with SaaS options available on AWS. This is the stage when they can upgrade their processes with something more modern to future-proof operations.
How to decide which application migration strategy to choose on AWS?
The decision always depends on the business specifics of your current application and you can also adopt a staggered approach. For example, if you have a good lot of critical business applications, you could start with migrating the priority ones and migrate the more advanced and complex applications as you gain more confidence.
Indeed, making the right decision involves a keen understanding how your new environment will operate once you get your data to the cloud and what the specific benefits of using an AWS Cloud environment are for your business.
As a premier AWS partner, Cloud4C has supported hundreds of businesses migrate their mission-critical infrastructure to AWS. We can help you navigate the 6 Rs of AWS migration with minimal disruptions and near-zero downtime. Scale, but responsibly, with us. For information on how to transform your organization by AWS migration, you can explore here on our AWS Migration services.