As more federal CIOs push their organizations into the cloud, many IT and business managers still struggle with the process to migrate legacy applications into that cloud. Over the past several years, Fusion PPT has led and provided technical expertise within these environments, moving over 650 legacy applications to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud. Based on that experience, we have learned a lot about what works and what fails when moving applications.
When thinking about migrating applications to the AWS Cloud, there are three phases to consider: Application Rationalization, Application Migration and Application Optimization.
Whether you are migrating a single application, or all of your applications, you need to deeply understand what makes-up each individual application. This includes the multiple components that comprise the application, the performance and monitoring requirements as well as dependencies that exist with other applications (that may or may not be migrated).
During this phase, we find that some legacy applications can present many challenges as they are migrated to the cloud, for varying reasons including the inability to leverage virtualized resources like memory, disk and storage or legacy licensing models that were not created for cloud environments. It’s during the Application Migration phase that you must determine what to do with these applications.
Traffic mapping appliances are very valuable during Application Rationalization as they present holistic pictures of data center applications to verify any data that may be connected from developers and architects. These appliances are also very helpful when looking at traffic patterns and usage of specific applications.
Application Rationalization is also a great time to consider if you still need all of the functions of the applications and can decommission applications based on overlapping functions from other applications or changing missions.
With a complete understanding of the application architecture, next examine the specific opportunities for the Application Migration. If possible, we recommend utilizing container technology to promote future interoperability and portability within cloud computing environments. CoreOS, Docker and Joyent are some options, but Docker is the most widely supported within AWS.
Over the years, AWS has made it easier to deploy applications within its environment and offers a service called CloudFormation to assist with this phase. CloudFormation simplifies the process of provisioning AWS resources as the resources are described in a template file. The CloudFormation service consumes this template and automatically provisions the needed resources. This eliminates the need to provision each individual AWS infrastructure service to support the application within AWS. Legacy applications not designed to run in the cloud environment are a bit trickier. Often, these applications require legacy infrastructure like Oracle, IBM Systems, VMware ESX hypervisors or others to run properly. In other cases, the applications are unable to leverage virtual memory and virtual storage. In both of instances, you may need to undergo a technology refresh to take advantages of the scale and performance available in the cloud environment.
Other elements for consideration during Application Migration include the security credentials required to access the application and integration into the enterprise key infrastructure.
The last phase is Application Optimization. Optimization focuses on ensuring that your cloud applications are working efficiently in AWS and configured to utilize the most cost-effective resources. AWS Trusted Advisor helps improve efficiency and cost savings by providing recommendations for reducing cost, improving system performance and reliability. When the application is architected, you choose reserved instances or on-demand, types of storage and network I/O profiles. Not choosing correctly can be costly.
The second area of Application Optimization centers on performance and scale for the users. Amazon EMR provides a managed Hadoop framework that makes it easy, fast, and cost-effective for you to distribute and process vast amounts of your data across EC2 instances. Knowing how to utilize these services can greatly improve user performance.
At Fusion PPT, we have used this detailed, three-phased approach to successfully migrate applications into the AWS cloud over the past several years. Our experience includes migrations across a wide range of mission-centric enterprise applications conducted by a team of skilled AWS certified staff that oversee each application migration project. If you would like to hear more about our application migration methodology or need support with application migration to the cloud environment, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org