No App is an Island: How to Assess Your Environment for a Move to the Cloud

When you’re migrating applications to the cloud, it’s important to understand that every workload you move will inevitably impact other moving parts. Even migrations between clouds can be difficult — it may take substantial tuning to ensure that multi-clouds and hybrid clouds play nicely together.

Given these challenges, it’s critical to conduct an assessment of your environment before undertaking a cloud migration. You need full visibility into what’s under the hood so you can address any gotchas before they derail your cloud plan.

Once a time-intensive, laborious process, mapping and profiling an application environment can now be done with a few simple tools. Still, your assessment process should be methodical and rigorous. Rackspace Professional Services experts recommend you start by laying a solid informational foundation. The first step is to gather important data about your current environment and requirements:

  • Map your business services and applications, including dependencies
  • Calculate your operational costs (hardware, software, labor, etc.) including hidden expenses like training, recruitment and facilities
  • Assemble security and compliance requirements
  • Identify your critical-to-quality metrics: current downtime, acceptable downtime and ability to observe and respond to downtime
  • Determine how much risk is acceptable
  • Identify individuals from your team who will be involved in the migration, including a project manager familiar with technical project delivery

Next, use application profiling to gather and organize information about your application environment:

  • Itemize and collect key information about your applications, such as application role, level of criticality and level of infrastructure automation
  • Where applicable, determine the workload categories you currently support (for example, your business may primarily run database-intensive, compute-intensive and UI-intensive workloads)
  • Determine your baseline current-state environment
  • Explore how end users use your applications
  • Make sure you understand your CTQ metrics

At Rackspace, our Professional Services team deploys product-native tools to conduct a comprehensive, data-focused discovery and analysis. We identify:

  • Which applications are best suited to migrate
  • Which platforms are most suitable for these applications
  • Which applications — internal- or external-facing — have significant traffic
  • Which applications should move first — and which should not move at all
  • Which applications can move to the cloud in pieces vs. in their entirety
  • The estimated effort and cost required to migrate

We also carefully analyze application-server dependencies and server impact to visually understand logical dependencies between applications and servers and understand the impact of a single server on an application or entire IT environment.

Keep in mind that every completed assessment should yield specific outcomes. A rigorous assessment will provide:

  • Application mapping and data volume data
  • A full understanding of your platform and application dependencies
  • A complete inventory of applications to be migrated

Migrations of any kind can be daunting. The best way to minimize downtime and protect your data is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your current environment, ideally leveraging expertise in cloud technology and a deep knowledge of migration best practices.

At Rackspace, our Professional Services team uses a detailed application questionnaire to understand all of the dependencies between the application and its environment. It uncovers all the relevant information as a foundation for a migration, from the code base to the architecture to the database, load balancers and networking requirements.

If you’re ready to migrate to the cloud and need an assessment of your application environment, Rackspace can help — we have years of migration experience and thousands of successful migrations under our belt.

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Deepen Shah is the North America practice lead for cloud services at Rackspace, where he has worked since 2013 when he came aboard as a senior technology strategist. He is currently based in the Greater New York Area.

4 COMMENTS

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