Cloud Migration: A Short Story on Transforming the Engineering Applications Landscape
The global cloud computing market is expected to reach $623 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 18%. As the use cases emerge and start defining industry standards, are you prepared for the next era of computing?
I quite understand that it could be difficult to make up your mind. And hence, here’s a story from one of our cloud migration transformation programs, sharing our experience and learnings from this transformation to DevOps and migration to Azure cloud. While it would be impossible to cover all the intricate details of the journey in this blog, I am sure that by the end, you would have formed an opinion on the impact of focused cloud migration initiatives for ensuring your business success.
Our story begins with the organization’s business decision to move from monolithic applications to SOA-oriented architecture. This was followed by Agile transformation and CICD implementation to deploy applications to the private cloud. For years, the organization had been known to swear by the on-premise infrastructure, managing their over 100 applications across legacy systems and databases spread across disparate centers.
They now had to make a choice on how improve their capabilities in the areas most critical to business growth, including how to improve time to market for new products and features and reduce the total cost of ownership in terms of Infrastructure setup and maintenance. The question was simple: how can an enterprise future-proof itself while delivering the highest value to its customers in the quickest possible way?
Understanding the Journey Roadmap
The IT transformation journey was set up based on the factory-based approach to support teams to rapidly move their IT applications to strategically identified Cloud. This was not a “one-size-fits-all” approach. There were three main components that applied to the teams going through their own transformation journey, each a ‘wave.’ Every wave contained several teams going through transformation and azure migration at a given time. These transformation components included:
Our story is about the mission to future-proof the IT Landscape by adopting the cloud platform transformation to public and private cloud.
As part of the cloud migration planning, the enterprise selected Microsoft Azure for its preferred cloud platform. Considering the number of applications and complexity, we spent a considerable amount of time on planning and strategizing the application migration strategy. It was not a simple Lift and Shift which would eventually increase the IaaS maintenance and cost of ownership.
However, migration of the current private cloud platform to Azure/SaaS does take time, especially when we had to factor in the migration of a portion of the backlog to a life-cycled private cloud platform. Again, some apps simply could be migrated to the public cloud due to technical or regulatory reasons.
The focus, therefore, was on those applications which deliver the most value from the public cloud and the rest were to make private cloud their new home.
Figure1: The Transformation Roadmap
While we were planning on how the application landscape would move to the cloud, it was also necessary to decide on the strategy that had to be adopted for this migration. The IT landscape was spread across legacy applications, third party applications, and SaaS.
The migration team therefore adopted stringent analysis and planning on application movement. Most of the blocks owned applications and depending on the type of these applications, some followed the “lift and shift”, simply moving the data and application onto a cloud server. Others followed a “Re-platform” and “Re-factor” method where applications were tinkered or rearchitected to make use of the features available on the Azure platform.
Azure solution architects from the team helped each leap journey team to design the Azure solution diagram for application planned for migration.
Figure 2: Migration Strategy
These changes helped unlock greater opportunities. They also gave rise to new challenges for business leaders and IT departments struggling to keep pace to derive effective transformation and collaboration. Some of the common challenges we faced during the transformation included:
- The need for a cloud migration strategy: There is no one-size-fit-all solution for cloud migration, especially when there is wide variety of choices along the way. The choices start from whether we opt for private, public or hybrid and cloud models.
- A seamless transition to hybrid cloud: The gradual transformation of the IT landscape to the cloud without affecting the regular operation brings greater complexity in handling hybrid models. Project teams need to architect their applications with on-prem and cloud handling with various endpoints, resulting in often unseen challenges.
- Ensuring robust cloud migration governance: Interdependencies between heterogeneous applications and new architectures need robust governance as well as an enhanced skillset in the workforce.
- Increased demand on technical skillsets: Yet another challenge was to find the right talent with the right skillset. Cloud migration brings a lot of change and disruption with significant demand for new systems, processes, and even leadership. Naturally, it puts a lot of pressure on the demand and supply of cloud migration experts and necessary cloud related skillsets. You can imagine why McAfee found that the skills gap in cybersecurity is responsible for slowing cloud migration for 40% of IT professionals.
The Journey Continues
Moving to the cloud is not only a challenge but rather an opportunity to make existing business processes more agile and innovative. We partnered with the customer organization from the very start for ensuring their continued success. Right from the contractual agreement, modification in the need of the talents and training talents to need of the Azure platform knowledge, our team has led the migration of applications from On-prem to the Cloud platform.
The program is long running. But we are confident that it brings abundant experience, knowledge, and skillset to all levels of stakeholders as we continue to redefine the applications landscape. We have already started observing the shift in the maturity level of the team in terms of skill level, way of working, process control, and governance within the team. It is a continuous journey and journey towards the new age of IT estate.