Understanding Your Cloud Migration Options 

Microsoft has a neat way of setting out the options for migrating your workloads or applications to the cloud. There are five migration choices, each memorably beginning with an R: rehost, refactor, revise, rebuild or replace

Where migration isn't a viable option, Microsoft suggests retiring those applications or retaining them on-premise. Peter Wilson, our Head of Technology Consulting Services, describes all seven options here, alongside the pros and cons to help you make the right choices. 

At IT Lab, we believe there's an eighth R - which stands for reset. Catch our blog here: Are You Thinking About the Cloud in the Right Way?

what is A Rehost CLOUD MIGRATION model?

A lift and shift approach: move your applications straight to the cloud.

THE PROS OF A REHOST CLOUD MIGRATION model 

  • Speed of migration; but you may pay for this later, see cons below.  
  • Supports testing: if anything goes wrong in your new cloud environment, your familiarity with your systems allows you to trace the source of the problem more efficiently.   

the cons OF A REHOST CLOUD MIGRATION model 

  • Potentially high risk, plus increased costs.
  • Disruption to business services is conceivable. Unless your organisation understands the risks and is willing to tolerate them, the reputation of your IT function could be harmed.
  • The potential for early poor user-experiences, which may prejudice future engagement. 
  • Unless your IT team or managed services provider optimises your new environment soon, you’ll probably waste money on storage and computing power you don’t need. Moreover, until your house is in order, you’ll miss out on efficiency and productivity gains.
  • Requires a Plan B; if any of your workloads malfunction in the cloud, you need contingencies. For example, run your legacy systems in parallel for a time, revise your disaster recovery planning and consider increasing the frequency of your backups. 

What is A Refactor CLOUD MIGRATION model?

Shift and retrospectively refit your apps. Move them to the cloud, then tune them to function efficiently in their new environment.

THE PROS OF A REFACTOR CLOUD MIGRATION model

  • As Rehost

THE CONS OF A REFACTOR CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL

  • As Rehost

WHAT IS a REVISE cloud migration MODEL?

Before migrating your applications, modify and adapt them as necessary to ensure they function as they should once they’re in the cloud.

THE PROS OF A REVISE CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL

  • Avoids the perils of the rehost and refactor migration models.
  • The cloud migration process is less fraught for your IT team.
  • A planned, pre-tested approach results in better user-experiences and reassures your stakeholders.

THE CONS OF A REVISE CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL

  • Not all your applications may be suitable for their new environment. You could burn time trying to identify a workable solution when the better option is to replace or rebuild them.

WHAT IS A REBUILD CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL?

Rearchitect your apps before migration, so they’re wholly cloud compatible.

THE PROS OF A REBUILD CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL 

  • Where you’ve invested time and money in developing custom apps, you'll continue to realise a return on your investment.
  • For the jewels in your IT estate, this is a good option when keeping your intellectual property and USPs is crucial.
  • Presents the opportunity to engage with your users afresh and make your custom apps even better.

THE CONS OF A REBUILD CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL

  • Rearchitecting your apps demands time, expense and expertise. For apps that are ten a penny, weigh the effort required to rebuild them vs gain.

WHAT IS a REPLACE CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL?

Say goodbye to your legacy apps and replace them with software delivered as a service (SaaS). 

THE PROS OF A REPLACE CLOUD MIGRATION MODEL 

  • SaaS apps are cloud-native, so compatibility is not a consideration.
  • In a highly competitive marketplace, providers spend vast amounts regularly updating and improving their apps.
  • Allows you to shop around and find the apps that best meet the needs of your business. And if you see something better, switching to another app is relatively straightforward.
  • Application updates, improvements and security are taken care of for you.
  • Replacing your apps avoids the burden of the migration options listed above.  

THE CONS OF a REPLACE cloud migration model

  • Employee engagement; your users may be emotionally attached to your systems, having depended on them for years. Unless you collaborate with your user-base and manage change thoughtfully, you could encounter resistance.
  • There may be life in your custom-built apps, and you’ll lose future ROI.
  • You’ll have limited to no say in future features of the app you choose, or you may not like the changes the provider implements. That said, you can vote with your feet.

RETIRING your apps OR RETAINING them on-premise 

Following an audit of your IT estate, you may find some of your apps are no longer used and can be retired. 

Alternatively, there's an argument for keeping them on-premise because: 

  • They’re unsuitable for the cloud and too valuable to let go.
  • Recent investment doesn’t justify disrupting the status-quo; you want to continue squeezing ROI from them. 

THE PROS OF RETIRING your apps OR RETAINING them on-premise  

  • This option enables a phased approach to modernising your workplace. Adopt a hybrid cloud model by migrating what you can now, and retaining elements of your legacy estate where it makes sense.
  • Allows you to consolidate your IT estate by identifying apps that can do the same or a better job, and transferring your workloads to them.
  • A staged transition to the cloud minimises disruption for your users. It also avoids stretching your IT team too thinly or diverting too many resources at once.
  • Quick wins in the cloud can support buy-in for your wholesale move further down the line.

THE CONS OF RETIRING YOUR APPS OR RETAINING THEM ON-PREMISE

  • Operationally, more complex to manage, e.g. visibility of your estate. Demands a broader IT skillset. We can manage your hybrid cloud for you. 
  • A hybrid model could introduce more silos and pose challenges around data integration, which may have a knock-on effect on reporting and analytics.
  • Clunky for your users, who may have to use multiple logins to access what they need.
  • Takes longer to realise the benefits of the cloud.

Would you welcome some strategic and technical guidance on your journey to the cloud?  Click the button below to book a free Cloud Viability Assessment or explore our managed cloud services here

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Written by Pete Wilson