5 Ways to Migrate Applications to the Cloud

Cloud migration is a process that involves moving desktop applications and enterprise data to the cloud. The complexity of migrating existing applications varies, depending on the architecture and existing licensing arrangements and so the question of necessity arises.

Why Cloud?

While many technologies are out of date and unsupported with many others are going out of date as well. A good example for this is Delphi that is almost completely unsupported by today’s systems. It is also important to talk about the fact that many of the systems that are based on outdated technologies are impossible to use on phones and tablets, and huge costs of supporting outdated infrastructure make it a monetary gain. Migrating your app to cloud infrastructure will make the application more dynamic in case of tech support.

Legacy software poses huge risks to the desktop. The holes in the architecture are often plentiful, even created by new features and updates. Automated security testing, provided by a moving an application to cloud greatly improves security. Backup functionality is another system that is very useful, putting the restoration of the pre-saved state of the system one or two clicks away.

Another challenge is the outdated interface. We had experience with a partner, that had a project for a complete rewrite of an old desktop application that was very expensive to support and hard to navigate through. After a review by our team of UX specialists, only four buttons were required to maintain the same functionality. There are too many examples to count that are similar to this one.

Companies that are considering app migration into the cloud should think carefully about the strategy they implement. Gartner offered a good list that explains the steps companies may take to migrate to the cloud which we will cover in this article. These steps are called “Five R’s”: rehost on infrastructure as a service (IaaS), refactor for the platform as a service (PaaS), revise for IaaS or PaaS, rebuild on PaaS, or replace with software as a service (SaaS).

Rehost

Among application migration best practices there’s redeploying. Your software is rehosted to the new hardware and infrastructure is configured in order to fit new hardware. Rehosting one’s software to an IaaS like AWS, for example, without architecture reconstruction can provide a fast application migration to the cloud and saves many resources. However, the main advantage found in IaaS is realized through quick system migration, with no modifications done to architectures of the software. It also creates a big disadvantage in using the cloud as a whole, in particular using the infrastructure capabilities, such as scalability. We have talked about different IoT platforms in our blog and we recommend looking at it if you are thinking about choosing a platform.

Refactor

Running software on a cloud provider’s infrastructure is an important strategy to talk about in application migration to the cloud checklist. The primary advantage is mixing familiarity with innovation as “backward-compatible” PaaS means developers can reuse languages, frameworks, and containers that have already been purchased, leaving strategic code intact and usable. Missing capabilities, transitive risk, and framework are the usual things that are excluded in this system. At this early stage in the PaaS market, some of the capabilities developers depend on existing platforms may not exist in PaaS offerings.

Revise

This application migration methodology modifies or extends the existing code base to support legacy modernization requirements, then use rehost or refactor options for moving applications to the cloud. This option allows organizations to optimize the application to leverage the cloud characteristics of providers’ infrastructure. The downside is that starting a development project that may demand great investments to mobilize development mechanisms and resources. Depending on the scale of the revision, revise is the option likely to take the most time to deliver its capabilities.

Replace

Sometimes it is impossible to move applications into the cloud for the reasons of desktop apps architecture being non-applicable in the cloud. Discarding an existing application (or set of applications) and using commercial software delivered as a service. This option avoids investment in mobilizing a development team when requirements for a business function change quickly. Disadvantages can include inconsistent data semantics, database access issues, and vendor lock-in.

Check our Cloud Development experience

Rebuild

Rebuild the solution on PaaS, trash the code for the existing application and do a complete rewrite the application. Although a rewrite requires losing the existing code and frameworks, the advantage of using a cloud-native application is allowed for innovative features in the provider’s platform. They improve developer productivity, such as tools that allow application templates and data models to be customized, metadata-driven engines, and communities that supply pre-built components. However, lock-in is the primary disadvantage so if the provider demands a cost or performs a technical change that the consumer cannot accept, breaches service level agreements (SLAs), or fails, the consumer is forced to switch, potentially abandoning some or all of its application assets.

A Word on Microservices

If the system is divided into Client and Server parts, then the server’s code is broken into functional parts and then turned into microservices. Microservices are parts of the code that have their own SQL database and dedicated controls. They are deployed separately and have a very lightweight architecture.

New features are easily added. Because the deployment topology is transparent, it works like adding a Lego block to a line of other Lego blocks. After that, they are put into the cloud.

The client-side of the software is converted into a native or hybrid app and is connected to the cloud. The updates to the server’s code do not require work on the client-side if no new features are added. The small fix to the server-side will be unnoticed by the user. Also, if the web application is used for a client-side, then, even if the system will be completely rewritten, all users will be able to instantly use the system, without any updates on their side.

If your app is a software monolith, then the easiest way to deal cloud migration is a complete redesign and rewriting of the software. UX specialists usually deconstruct the app to analyze it, and after that, a development team reengineers the system. The building of cloud-based web applications from scratch is expensive but leads to great ROI if applied correctly.

Conclusion

Using cloud has saved many businesses a lot of time and resources. Migration, if done correctly, is a game-changer that can push your business to the next frontier.

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Eugene

A copywriter at SaM Solutions, Eugene is fond of writing about innovative technologies and solutions that improve living standards and add value to business operations.

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