Once organizations have analyzed and reached a decision to undertake application migration, it is time to come up with a strategy for migration. In the planning strategy, an organization should analyze aspects such as a preferred migration environment, components of the system that will be transferred, the ease or difficult of transferring various components as well as how the application will be migrated.
The complexity and method of migrating applications varies from on system to another. Factors such as the existing architecture of the system and licensing arrangements determine where a certain system fits in the spectrum of complexity of migration. While service oriented architectures are less complex, monolithic mainframe architectures are harder to migrate.
Strategies for application migration to the cloud
There are 6 strategies that organizations can choose from to migrate to the cloud:
Also known as re-factoring or re-architecting. It involves discarding codes of the original application and redesigning architecture for the application. Rebuilding causes the application to lose its initial familiarity. On the other hand, it gives the developer and business the ability to add new features such as rebuilding monolithic mainframe architecture to a service-oriented architecture.
The challenge of rebuilding an application architecture to fit into a provider’s platform is the risk of lock-in. In case the provider’s terms become undesirable for the business, it will be forced to switch providers and loss some features that are built specifically for that platform.
It’s also known as lift and shift. As the name implies, re-hosting is literally lifting an application from its original environment to the cloud. While this is a quick option for migration, it poses the challenge of incompatibility and limited scalability.
It’s also known as lift-tinker and shift. Re-platforming is almost similar to re-hosting but a few elements of the application are optimized without changing its core architecture. Optimizing enhances compatibility and functionality of the application on the cloud.
Revising involves modifying the existing base code in its original environment then re-hosting the application on the cloud. The application is modified or extended to support the modernization requirements. One of the cons of this approach is that it is possible to modify the application but it fails to integrate on the new platform.
Also known as retiring, replacing is simply getting rid of the old application and adding a new one, usually from a service provider. This strategy applies in cases where the better part of the system has been rendered obsolete.
It’s moving from one service provider platform to another; for example, moving from CMS to Drupal or from an HR system to Workday.
It is worth noting that application migration works in a context. It affects business operations, not to mention employees. It should therefore be done in consultation with all the stakeholders. Consider factors such as scope of the migration project, budget and resources available as well as the complexity of migration before settling on a strategy. Organizations should consider hiring reputable application migration services to help in decision making and actualization of the migration strategy.