AWS MIGRATIONS

Almost always when we talk to companies, the number one reason they choose to move to the cloud is the agility and speed that they can move with. With cloud computing, you are able to spin up thousands of servers in minutes as opposed to the 10 to 18 weeks it typically takes to spin up servers being used on-premises. The AWS Cloud provides more than 90 services – everything from computing, storage, and databases to continuous integration, data analytics, and artificial intelligence – at your fingertips. This means you can go from idea to implementation in seconds rather than months.

There are a lot of reasons why customers are migrating to the cloud. Some are migrating to the cloud to increase the productivity of their workforce. We also see a lot of companies with a data center consolidation or rationalization projects migrating to the cloud, especially those that are preparing for an acquisition, divestiture, or have otherwise experienced infrastructure sprawl over the years. Additionally, there are companies that are looking to completely re-imagine their business using modern technology as part of a larger digital transformation program. And of course, organizations are always looking for ways to improve the bottom line by reducing their costs.

There are a lot of reasons why customers are migrating to the cloud. Some are migrating to the cloud to increase the productivity of their workforce. We also see a lot of companies with a data center consolidation or rationalization projects migrating to the cloud, especially those that are preparing for an acquisition, divestiture, or have otherwise experienced infrastructure sprawl over the years. Additionally, there are companies that are looking to completely re-imagine their business using modern technology as part of a larger digital transformation program. And of course, organizations are always looking for ways to improve the bottom line by reducing their costs.

Business Drivers

AWS has millions of active customers every month and every imaginable vertical business segment in the enterprise is using AWS in a meaningful way. In financial services, it’s Capital One, Intuit, FINRA, and Barclays. In healthcare, we have Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, and Bristol Myers Squibb. In oil and gas, there is Shell, BP, and Hess. In manufacturing, we have customers such as GE, Philips, and Schneider Electric. There is also Netflix, Samsung, Adobe, and Autodesk in technology.

Every organization will have its own unique reasons and constraints, but we have seen common drivers that customers consistently apply when migrating to the cloud:

Operational Costs

Key components of operational costs are the unit price of infrastructure, the ability to match supply and demand, finding a pathway to optionality, employing an elastic cost base, and transparency.

Workforce Productivity

Typically, productivity is increased by two key factors: not having to wait for infrastructure, and having access to the breadth and depth of AWS with over 90 services at your disposal that you would otherwise have to build and maintain. In fact, it is common for us to see workforce productivity improvements of 30-50% following a large migration.

Cost Avoidance

Eliminating the need for hardware refresh programs and constant maintenance programs are the key contributors to cost avoidance. We are finding that customers have no interest in the cost and effort required to execute a big refresh cycle or data center renewal.

Operational Resilience

This may seem obvious, but reducing your organization’s risk profile will also reduce the cost of risk mitigation. With 16 Regions comprising 42 Availability Zones (AZs), AWS has a global footprint to improve uptime, thereby reducing your risk-related costs.

Business Agility

Migrating to the AWS Cloud helps increase your overall operational agility. This lets you react to market conditions more quickly through activities such as expanding into new markets, selling lines of your business, and acquiring available assets that offer a competitive advantage.

Cloud Stages of Adoption

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A customer’s journey to the cloud typically involves these four phases:

PROJECT

In the project phase, you are running projects to get familiar and experience benefits from the cloud.

FOUNDATION

After experiencing the benefits of cloud, you then build the foundation to scale your cloud adoption. This includes creating a landing zone (a pre-configured, secure, multi-account AWS environment), Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE), operations model, as well as assuring security and compliance readiness.

MIGRATION

In this stage, you migrate existing applications including mission-critical applications or entire data centers to the cloud as you scale your adoption across a growing portion of your IT portfolio.

The Migration Process

There may be some cases where you contemplate large legacy migrations in isolation, however, we are finding that migrations are usually part of a larger enterprise transformation effort. The patterns we have seen around migrating to the cloud commonly follow a 5-phase approach:

Phase 1: Migration Preparation and Business Planning

Here you determine the right objectives and begin to get an idea of the types of benefits you will see. It starts with some foundational experience and developing a preliminary business case for migration. This requires taking your objectives into account, along with the age and architecture of your existing applications, and their constraints. We have partners such as RISC Networks, Atadata, Cloudamize, TSOLogic, and Apptio that have experience in this area.

Phase 2: Portfolio Discovery and Planning

Next, you need to understand your IT portfolio, the dependencies between applications, and begin to consider what types of migration strategies you will need to employ to meet your business case objectives. With the portfolio discovery and migration approach, you are in a good position to build a full business case. If you need help with understanding your IT portfolio, you can work with partners such as RISC Networks, Cloudamize, and Atadata as well as use AWS Application Discovery Service.

Phase 3 & Phase 4: Designing, Migrating, and Validating Application

Here the focus moves from the portfolio level to the individual application level and you design, migrate, and validate each application. Each application is designed, migrated, and validated according to one of the six common application strategies (“The 6 R’s”). Once you have some foundational experience from migrating a few apps and a plan in place that the organization can get behind – it’s time to accelerate the migration and achieve scale. Partners such as Cloudendure, CloudVelox, Atadata, Racemi, and Attuinity can help you here as well as AWS Server Migration Service (SMS) and AWS Database Migration Service (DMS).

Phase 5: Operate

As applications are migrated, you iterate on your new foundation, turn off old systems, and constantly iterate toward a modern operating model. Your operating model becomes an evergreen set of people, process, and technology that constantly improves as you migrate more applications. We have partners such as AppDynamics, NewRelic, and Dynatrace that can help you continue to iterate on your operating model as you move more to the cloud.

Six Common Application Migration Strategies

Organizations usually begin to think about how they will migrate an application during Phase 2 of the migration process. This is when you determine what is in your environment and the migration strategy for each application. The six approaches detailed below are common migration strategies employed and build upon “The 5 R’s” that Gartner outlined in 2011.

You should gain a thorough understanding of which migration strategy will be best suited for certain portions of your portfolio. It is also important to consider that while one of the six strategies may be best for migrating certain applications in a given portfolio, another strategy might work better for moving different applications in the same portfolio.

1. Rehost (“lift and shift”)

In a large legacy migration scenario where the organization is looking to quickly implement its migration and scale to meet a business case, we find that the majority of applications are rehosted. Most rehosting can be automated with tools such as AWS SMS although you may prefer to do this manually as you learn how to apply your legacy systems to the cloud.

You may also find that applications are easier to re-architect once they are already running in the cloud. This happens partly because your organization will have developed better skills to do so and partly because the hard part – migrating the application, data, and traffic – has already been accomplished.

2. Replatform (“lift, tinker and shift”)

This entails making a few cloud optimizations in order to achieve some tangible benefit without changing the core architecture of the application. For example, you may be looking to reduce the amount of time you spend managing database instances by migrating to a managed relational database service such as Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), or migrating your application to a fully managed platform like AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

3. Repurchase (“drop and shop”)

This is a decision to move to a different product and likely means your organization is willing to change the existing licensing model you have been using. For workloads that can easily be upgraded to newer versions, this strategy might allow a feature set upgrade and smoother implementation.

4. Refactor / Re-architect

Typically, this is driven by a strong business need to add features, scale, or performance that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in the application’s existing environment. If your organization is looking to boost agility or improve business continuity by moving to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) this strategy may be worth pursuing – even though it is often the most expensive solution.

5. Retire

Identifying IT assets that are no longer useful and can be turned off will help boost your business case and direct your attention towards maintaining the resources that are widely used.

6. Retain

You may want to retain portions of your IT portfolio because there are some applications that you are not ready to migrate and feel more comfortable keeping them on-premises, or you are not ready to prioritize an application that was recently upgraded and then make changes to it again.