As applications, architectures and business processes become more complex, understanding how all those moving parts are performing is absolutely critical. This blog post series is about application modernization, cloud migration and how observability can help organizations keep their products running optimally for their customers. In Part 1, we defined application modernization and explained how it became the lever for user experience. Part 2 discussed application modernization options and the CI/CD pipeline. In Part 3, we identify key steps in the process of migrating applications to the cloud.

Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud or multicloud—no matter which you use, there are numerous challenges when migrating your applications to the cloud. Despite that, the die is cast. Research from Synergy Research Group found that cloud infrastructure spending surpassed on-premises spending for the first time in 2020—and did so by a wide margin.

The research also shows that enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services continued to ramp up aggressively in 2020, growing by 35% to reach almost USD 130 billion. Meanwhile, enterprise spending on data center hardware and software dropped by 6% to under USD 90 billion.

That means there’s still a lot of application migration going on. Certainly, many are new applications, but many others could be existing applications that are being refactored or rehosted. All present challenges, but applications that are more entwined with heritage technologies present the biggest challenge.

Five important steps for a successful cloud migration

The five migration steps defined below comprise a list of best practices for achieving successful cloud migrations. Planning is a critical part of successful cloud migrations, and a failure to plan might well lead to an unplanned failure.

1. Define your business goals

  • Identify business goals for the migration.
  • Map business goals with IT capabilities and constraints, such as compliance.
  • Involve all stakeholders in the process.

2. Discover, catalog and select applications

  • Identify all applications in use.
  • Qualify applications for cloud readiness.
  • Baseline app performance and networks.
  • Map dependencies.

3. Specify the migration type

  • Retain: No migration.
  • Rehost: Rehost application in the cloud.
  • Replatform: Host the application in the cloud and make minor infrastructure changes.
  • Refactor: Recode parts of the app or deploy new application architecture.
  • Retire: Replace the app with another app.

4. Migrate, test and refine

  • Migrate the application workload.
  • Compare on-premises and cloud app behavior.
  • Test cloud implementation.
  • Observe and resolve problems and fine-tune.
  • Repeat as needed.

5. Observe

  • Drive performance optimization.
  • Keep MTTR under control.
  • Manage cloud performance and costs.

The migration steps list is as rigorous as possible without getting into specific issues for different environments. Your migration could require additional steps to be successful. Primarily, the list serves a migration framework upon which your migration can be built. In other words, there certainly can be more steps, but there shouldn’t be fewer.

Application migration and Instana

Application migration is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. It involves a range of activities, including assessing the existing infrastructure, selecting the right migration strategy, testing and validating the migrated applications, and monitoring their performance post-migration. With the right approach, organizations can successfully migrate their applications to modern platforms, enabling them to leverage the latest technologies and improve business agility.

One tool that can assist in the application migration process is IBM Instana®. Instana provides an application performance management (APM) solution that enables organizations to monitor their applications’ performance in real-time. With Instana, businesses can gain visibility into the health and performance of their applications, identify any issues that may arise during migration and ensure that the migrated applications continue to perform optimally after the migration is complete. By using Instana as part of their application migration strategy, organizations can minimize risk, reduce downtime, and ensure a seamless transition to modern platforms.

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