When it’s time to migrate your business’s operations to the cloud, there are six “Rs” to consider: Retire, Retain, Rehost, Replatform, Repurchase and Rearchitect. Here’s what those terms mean, and why they should matter to you:
As you start considering a cloud migration, the first question to ask is simple: What’s being used, and what isn’t? There’s no point in migrating an unused application to the cloud, where it will continue not providing value.
A migration is a great opportunity to identify and decommission legacy tools that are hiding out in dusty corners of your data center, taking up resources and providing no meaningful value. Or, you may discover that you’re running multiple applications that duplicate capabilities and can retire one (or more) as part of the migration process.
Some applications, platforms or data may not make sense to migrate. Often, organizations that start planning a full migration to public cloud come to realize that they’re really looking at a hybrid cloud deployment, as there’s business value to retaining some of their existing architecture in-house.
This is often an issue of insufficient ROI to justify a complex and resource-intensive migration path for specific applications or systems, especially when there’s a large existing hardware investment or significant process management restructuring in play. Or, it can be a case of third-party application interaction, or other factors such as regulatory compliance.
When it comes to taking that first step into the cloud, what’s often the quickest and easiest first step is to “lift and shift” existing infrastructure, applications and data into a cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environment. Rehosting involves moving your entire environment, as unchanged as possible, onto a cloud-based infrastructure that acts just like your existing systems.
Rehosting is the fastest, cheapest and simplest way to migrate to the cloud. However, it’s also true that when you change as little as possible, you limit the potential benefits of a more robust cloud migration. Rehosted migrations are often significantly under-optimized for usage, retain inefficient processes and bring almost all their other existing pain points with them to their new homes. That’s why rehosting’s best viewed as a starting point for a cloud migration, not a complete strategy in and of itself.
Replatforming is essentially a more robust and involved version of rehosting, where components of existing applications are ported into cloud-native analogues. Some common examples of this optimization include transitioning a legacy database to a compatible cloud-native database service or moving from a virtual machine load balancer to a cloud-native load balancer.
Increasingly, cloud service providers offer a variety of useful tools to assist organizations in making common replatforming migrations, unlocking incremental value beyond a simple rehosting.
One way to migrate your existing applications to the cloud is to change the way you pay for them. Rather than doing the work yourselves to migrate an on-premise tool to the cloud, many – if not most – CRM systems, productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, ERP systems and other common applications can be migrated to the cloud by switching the manner in which your organization licenses the software to a service-based model.
The biggest challenge and the biggest potential benefit from cloud migration involves refactoring and rearchitecting your applications to be cloud-native. This means that everything from the code up is changed to take advantage of cloud capabilities and benefits, including core components and the application’s relationship with databases and infrastructure.
It’s admittedly rare for an application refactoring or rearchitecture to be the first step that an organization takes toward cloud migration; it’s much more common for the application already to have been rehosted or replatformed into a cloud environment. Regardless, a well-designed rearchitecture that makes an application truly cloud-native can provide massive ROI in the near term while providing a new landscape of opportunities and flexibility for the future.
Interested in learning what “Rs” of cloud migration make the most sense for your business? Contact our cloud migration experts to set up a discussion.