How to successfully migrate legacy applications to the cloud

How to successfully migrate legacy applications to the cloud

Legacy or legacy systems such as mainframes are always a headache for CIOs. Modernizing with moving applications and data to the cloud seems like the solution, but it also comes with some challenges. You can find out which procedures you should definitely have on your screen in our guidebook.

As digitization continues, many companies are looking to move their applications and data to the cloud. The advantage of cloud migration, which began on a large scale only a few years ago, is not only the modernization of the application landscape, but also that organizations can free themselves from the expensive maintenance of their own data centers.

The greatest difficulty is often the migration of data and applications on sometimes ancient mainframe behemoths and other legacy systems. "The future of legacy applications is in the cloud. But the issue is not quite so trivial and requires a competent partner like us," say experts at the All for One Group, the leading IT and consulting group from the DACH region.

The quick way is not the best option

As analyst Bill Martorelli knows, getting rid of your own data center too quickly isn't always the best option. Previously, potential. Risks must be weighed up. That said, there's also no one silver bullet when dealing with legacy systems and moving applications and data to the cloud.

The company's own requirements would also have to be taken into account. Because some companies or departments may be primarily interested in reducing their costs. Others may already be thinking ahead and want to develop new products and services or business models based on the modernization of their legacy data in the course of digital transformation. While the major cloud providers are pushing to migrate as quickly as possible, that can also come with high costs and latency issues. So, as I said, there is no silver bullet for cloud migration. Forrester talks about four models of approach.

Four procedural models for cloud migration

1. Lift-and-shift refers to direct migration, in which infrastructure and applications are automatically moved from an on-premises hypervisor to the public cloud largely unchanged. Proponents of this approach see the public cloud as the ideal place to subsequently address optimizations. 2. Lift-and-extend is a slightly different approach, where applications are customized for the cloud provider's platform-as-a-service or PaaS level. Companies could continually expand their applications on this platform and fundamentally change them as needed. According to Forrester, large system integrators and some cloud specialists are already well prepared for such projects. In addition to PaaS functionalities, this often involves moving applications to a microservice architecture and establishing interoperability between different provider clouds, whereby container technologies are becoming increasingly important. 3. Hybrid Extension does not physically transfer applications, but "extends" them to the cloud. New functions are built in the public cloud, but most of the existing functions remain in one place, either on-premises, in a hosted private cloud or with a colocation provider. Higher latency between sites could prove to be a drawback. Forrester sees the major system integrators. Consultant company well positioned in this regard, however. 4. Full rebuild along the lines of "everything from scratch" with the redevelopment of applications can pay off with correspondingly high investments in certain cases, but should be limited to a smaller number of selected systems, according to Forrester. Homegrown applications with high value to the business could be made cloud-ready, scalable and decomposable into their constituent components. This is also accompanied by a performance gain and it is possible to transfer the applications to modern programming language.

Key to success

In many cases, however, it can also be worthwhile to trust managed services such as those from the All for One Group when migrating to the cloud. Furthermore, it is said that the key to success is to define sensible application clusters in order to remain efficient and not to forfeit any chance of economies of scale. With regard to the application portfolio, sorting into the following four clusters or groupings has proven to be effective.

– Retire (to retire or go out of business) means to retire obsolete applications that are no longer running or are meaningless. – Retain affects applications that continue to operate meaningfully in their current form. – Replace replaces applications that continue to make sense in terms of their functionality with existing other or new applications, preferably using standard solutions. – Rework (rebuild) transfers applications with meaningful functionality to a new platform so that they can then be deeply modernized.

According to Ballüder, there are three possible replacement and rework strategies.

1. Standard software is particularly promising when business processes can be easily transferred to the applications. 2. New development is particularly suitable for applications that are not freely available on the market or with highly specialized functionality. However, the approach is cost-intensive and time-consuming, and carries the greatest risk. In addition, in terms of defining the requirements, it also places a heavy burden on specialist departments. The new development makes sense if business models are to change fundamentally, for example in the transformation of classic insurance policies into an insurance-on-demand model. 3. Code transformation is based on tool-assisted transformation of applications to a modern platform such as Java or .Net. The logic and functionality of the application are largely preserved in the process. In addition, code conversion also enables re-hosting to a cheaper platform. Prevent them from unwanted write-offs in case the legacy applications are replaced.

As it is further stated, so far, action has been taken mainly where legacy applications can be replaced by standard software. But what runs on mainframe environments can usually only be modernized via new development or transformation of the applications, he said. The transformation usually delivered the better business case in the process. Also enable faster modernization towards a cloud-native architecture.

"A lot of legacy systems are so old that it's hard to read the data that's on them anymore. In the process, they can be of immeasurable value to businesses. With the EU General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR for short, and the stricter data retention guidelines that come with it, there has been a growing awareness to dig out this treasure trove of data and move it to a modern platform in the cloud. This is also reflected in increased customer inquiries about our consulting services and highly acclaimed managed cloud services, as well as partnering with leading cloud providers such as Microsoft Azure and AWS," say the all-for-one experts.

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