As IT departments modernize, application migration is a key concern. There are many questions, and few straight answers.Can the apps be moved?
What environment will work best?
Are the apps dependent on any legacy software or infrastructure?
What complications might come up during the application migration?
Is modernization worth the effort involved in moving the apps?
This document aims to answer many of those questions in a straightforward way, making it easier to reach a decision about what’s best for any business.
Application Migration Definition: Application migration involves moving apps from one environment to another. For example, from local servers to the cloud, from one cloud to another, or from a local server to an off-site server.
It’s better to consider moving apps as part of a comprehensive modernization plan. This begins with a full assessment of an organization’s infrastructure and software, so that opportunities can be identified and potential pitfalls are caught before making any changes. Modernization is an investment- one with a potentially big payout if handled properly, and that begins with planning out all hardware, software, and data needs before a single change is made. If individual apps are moved without this roadmap, as the case may be if a single app stops being supported or becomes cost-prohibitive to run, it’s possible that the move may prevent later modernization efforts or may increase the total cost of modernization.
They type of app being moved will largely determine what kind of environment will work best. For example, some apps can only be used if hosted on the creator’s own servers, while others may be more mobile. In these cases, an off-site server, either self-managed or managed by a third-party may work if the organization is trying to relieve itself of some the work associated with managing infrastructure. Running apps on a local self-managed server is also an option.
Interoperability: As noted earlier, moving apps should only be done as part of a comprehensive plan to modernize. This helps ensure all planned components work well together- both during and after the migration.
Portability: When apps are bundled with their hosting, moving them is often not a viable option, as developers lock the app in place and outside developers cannot access the back end. In other cases, the apps are dependent upon other processes and moving them is problematic. Potential solutions to these issues include purchasing new apps, purchasing middleware, or software designed to bridge the gaps, or having developers reengineer and rehost apps by breaking them out of their shells so codes can be accessed.
Continuity: Reducing the impact moving apps has on business operations is a key concern. This can generally be minimized by handling migrations at off-peak times and by moving apps one at a time or piece.
Data Loss: Even if an app readily moves from one environment to another, the data doesn’t always move with it or it can become corrupted along the way. For this reason, it’s important to have application migration experts on board before starting, thus reducing or eliminating the risk of lost data.
Security/ Privacy: Particularly when moving from a self-hosted environment, in which the company is responsible for managing security and privacy aspects, to third-part hosting or software as a service, keeping data secure and private is of concern. Those handling the transition will need to ensure that the new environment is compliant with all regulatory guidelines and is safe for the type of data that will be used with the app. Although this is a concern when apps are stored on-site and managed by an in-house team, the group is generally more aware of the organization’s needs as well as regulatory policies and best practices.
When the concerns mentioned above are addressed and the transition occurs as part of a comprehensive plan, there are many benefits to migrating apps.
Performance: Overall performance can be improved, allowing an organization to better meet the needs of end users and customers.
Security: Environments can be tailored to the needs of the organization and protective measures can be added.
Scalability: Companies can take advantage of extra space if needed. This is amplified with cloud solutions, as moving between levels is generally a seamless process.
Resources: Allocation of resources can be set up to address the needs of the IT department and the company as a whole.
Simplification: Complex infrastructure can be condensed and apps more easily monitored.
Agility: The IT department is poised to react quickly, and even more proactively.
Cost: Although there are upfront costs associated with application migration, improved efficiency and agility will offset the costs over time and generally result in a costs savings when it comes to maintaining an app portfolio.