Overview

As businesses continue to embrace digital transformation, moving to the cloud has become more critical than ever. Cloud migration can bring numerous advantages, including increased security, scalability, cost savings, and data accessibility. However, it can be challenging, and companies often need help with a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive migration. That’s where the cloud migration factory comes in, offering a seamless and efficient way to migrate to the cloud.

What is a cloud migration factory, and how is it different from all other approaches? Explain the difference.

The factory is a well-organized method to transform the organization’s infrastructure, applications, and data from on-prem to a cloud-based environment.

When we say cloud, it could be AWS, Azure, Google, or Oracle. The basic idea is to take a repeatable and efficient process to move applications running on-prem to the cloud in a well-organized manner. And while doing that, we will leverage standardized cloud automation, standardized processes, and practices and make it as efficient as possible. 

One of the common approaches is that when you give the application owners or the developers the option to use the cloud just the way they want, the challenge is that the developers will have to learn the skills and ensure that each application is managed efficiently. If there are 10 applications or 100 applications, this needs to be managed by 10 to 100 developers. And each developer will have a different perspective on how their application should work in the cloud. This will be challenging if each of them follows a different path. An enterprise should be organized, use a repeatable process, apply all the standards and best practices, compliance, and regulatory requirements, and let the developers follow the process. Enterprises can achieve all these with a cloud migration factory. Every application is getting more than a similar way of achieving the same security, performance, observability, and automation goals. 

Many enterprises make the mistake of allowing individual development or application teams to handle their cloud migration process. This approach is more inefficient and time-consuming, and prone to errors. According to Forbes, 80% of such migrations fail or fall behind schedule. The main reason behind these failures is the lack of a unified perspective among the teams involved. Each team looks at the cloud from its viewpoint, resulting in conflicts and issues that disrupt the migration process.

To avoid such failures and ensure successful cloud migration, our approach at the factory is different. We invest upfront in thorough planning, considering the enterprise requirements, application needs, and technological aspects. This holistic approach allows businesses to create a repeatable process that optimizes efficiency and guarantees a smooth transition.

By centralizing the planning and execution, we eliminate redundancies and inconsistencies that occur when different teams handle the cloud migration individually. The result is a carefully crafted plan that aligns with the company’s goals and seamlessly moves applications to the cloud.

What are the key advantages of adopting a cloud migration factory for cloud migrations?

Let’s cover one basic question: Why move to the cloud? We made a move because our objectives were clear: we wanted faster time-to-market, reduced ownership costs, increased agility to release new features, enhanced collaboration, improved security and reliability, and ultimately, better innovation. But here’s the challenge: how do we migrate hundreds of applications to the cloud while achieving all these goals? And what are the benefits?

  1. 10s to 100s of applications

    Many businesses run multiple applications, which can pose a challenge when moving operations to the cloud. A cloud migration factory can streamline the process by consolidating the applications into a single platform, allowing for efficiency and consistency in the migration process. The factory can also create a plan to ensure all applications are migrated, reducing the risk of errors and minimizing downtime.Cloud migration factories can handle many applications simultaneously. These factories can deliver seamless, predictable migrations with minimal downtime from tens to hundreds of applications.

  2. Efficiency and Consistency

    First and foremost, it is crucial to ensure the existence of an efficient process. Begin by assessing the various stacks or technologies utilized in your applications. Proceed to devise an automation mechanism that seamlessly operates across all of them. This will streamline operations and promote efficiency throughout your entire system.

  3. Scalable Process

    Enterprises can benefit from implementing a scalable process. This process allows for the seamless movement of multiple applications over a specified timeframe. Regardless of the team responsible for the migration, the outcome remains consistent. By adopting a repeatable and scalable approach, enterprises can leverage parallel teams to accelerate migration. This enables them to efficiently migrate a significant number of applications within a defined timeframe.

  4. Standardization

    The factory ensures uniformity throughout the process. Everything is consistent, from security checks and configurations to best practices and quality control. When transitioning to the cloud, observability remains consistent as well. This standardization improves time to market and reduces costs by leveraging a repeatable process. No need to reinvent the wheel.

  5.  Time to Market

    Companies are pressured to deliver services faster to keep up with the competition and customer demand. A cloud migration factory enables organizations to migrate applications quicker and ensure they are deployed quickly. This approach also simplifies migration, reducing the need for lengthy and complex assessments. As a result, businesses can focus on delivering their core services while the migration process occurs in the background.

  6. Cost Reduction

    One of the critical benefits of using a cloud migration factory is that it reduces costs. Using this approach reduces the need for staffing large teams of expensive experts to undertake the migration process. Instead, the migration factory leverages automation and standardized methods to reduce human intervention, minimize errors, and increase process efficiency. This approach also simplifies migrating and verifying data, reducing the risk of redundancies and data inconsistencies.

  7. Repeatable process

    A unified team is responsible for managing all tasks or multiple teams collectively overseeing these tasks in a well-defined and repeatable process. This repetition allows for scalability, where the throttle can be adjusted based on budget and goals to determine the desired number of parallel tracks. With this adaptable approach, you have greater control over resource allocation while maintaining operational efficiency.

Cloud Migration Factory Process- A high-level overview.

This provides a high-level overview of the essential functions within the factory. Below (Fig. 1) is a chart outlining the migration process. While the bottom section is specific to our platform and approach, a similar approach can be applied to any tool or cloud platform you prefer. It’s critical to establish a repeatable and scalable process. The top part represents the initial stage, which involves planning and gathering information at the factory. During this phase, we identify the applications to be migrated.

To maintain improved speed and performance, it is crucial to engage in application rationalization. When assessing your applications, let’s say you have a hundred; not all may qualify for the cloud. Some could be nearing their end of life and should be phased out, while others may not align with your new business ventures. Therefore, rationalization and prioritization are needed to identify what should be addressed in each quarter of your migration. This will help you develop a comprehensive project plan.

Simultaneously, creating a designated “landing zone” for these applications is essential. In cloud terminology, a landing zone refers to a virtual environment—an account provided by most cloud service providers—where your applications can be migrated. Establishing this landing zone requires diligent preparation, which entails implementing robust security measures and ensuring ownership. Each cloud provider offers best practices and documentation that you can follow for creating an optimal landing zone.

In our case, we utilize a set of templates to create a landing zone swiftly, expediting the process. While the planning, prioritization, and project plan have been established, the factory team is responsible for setting up the landing zone. This zone incorporates best practices, ensuring security and readiness for application deployment. Automation is a crucial feature to enable within the landing zone.

Cloud Migrations, CLOUDCONTROL

  Fig 1: Cloud Migration Factory Process

Observability

In terms of CI/CD, automating any post-migration deployment is crucial to sustaining improved speed and performance. Setting up an automated CI/CD process is essential. Additionally, ensuring sufficient cloud is vital in the cloud, minimizing the need for constant troubleshooting by the developers or operations team. Therefore, once the application is up and running, it’s vital to have a comprehensive observability setup. Numerous tools are available, so choose the one that best fits your needs and integrate it into your process. This way, your team can effortlessly access the observability to monitor its performance when the application is live. This planning phase also involves setting up a factory for each application. We conduct a thorough technical review for each application, creating a technical review document. Based on that, we follow a template-based approach to expedite application migration, which sets us apart. We pride ourselves on our ability to accelerate your application migration.

Templates for Application Stacks

We currently manage over 150 templates using our platform. Figure 2 below lists the most popular ones. The process begins with our engineers performing a technical review to choose the most suitable template. We then utilize our platform to create an automated pipeline that generates the necessary image and artifacts, deploying them to the cloud.

Once deployed, you can thoroughly test the application for proper functionality. If issues arise, we can iterate, make fixes, and repeat the testing process. You’re ready to go live once you’re satisfied with the performance.

Cloud Migrations, CLOUDCONTROL

    Fig 2: AppZ Stack

Factors to consider when picking an application.

There are certain factors to consider when considering rationalization and prioritization, which falls under the umbrella of planning. First and foremost, you need to assess whether the application is worth migrating to the cloud. If you plan to phase out or discontinue the application soon, moving it to the cloud may not be worth it. Remember that once it’s in the cloud, it will consume significant resources, resulting in higher costs that you’ll have to bear. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that this application truly justifies the decision to migrate it to the cloud.

Secondly, ensuring that all dependencies are correctly in place is crucial. For instance, if one application is being moved and relies on services from other applications, it is essential to move those dependent applications. There are multiple approaches to accomplishing this task efficiently.

One modern approach to enhance and optimize application performance is re-architecting them into simple microservices. This involves converting existing applications into more minor, specialized services and migrating them or their assets. Our platform supports both approaches, as customers successfully employ each method. If inefficiencies or desired changes are identified in your application, you may choose to modernize or rewrite it. However, that option is also available if you prefer to keep it unchanged and leverage its existing functionality.

When selecting applications from a technological perspective, there are a few challenges to consider. Take, for instance, the cloud. Most cloud providers offer efficient and popular options like Linux, making it an ideal choice for migration. If your application is Linux-based and developed within the last 10-15 years, it’s a great option to demonstrate the benefits. Windows applications are also a good fit, but some can pose challenges. For example, one particularly common obstacle is transitioning from the dotnet framework to the dotnet core. While dotnet core is cloud-friendly, the dotnet framework can be more complicated. Before moving to the cloud, evaluating the effort required to modernize and optimize such applications is essential.

When running dotnet framework code as is, there can be challenges. The performance may be less efficient, but it is still manageable. However, things become more complicated when dealing with legacy applications incompatible with the Intel platform provided by the cloud. These applications need to be refactored or rewritten, and we also offer that as a service.

When setting up your factory, it’s important to keep in mind any legacy applications that still need to run. During the planning phase, carefully assess these applications and their technology. Consider forming a team that can convert them into cloud-compatible workloads. These are some of the critical factors to consider.

What are the best strategies for successfully migrating legacy monolithic applications to the cloud?

Releasing an application to the cloud can be a challenging task. When we go live, it involves cutting over from the current application to the cloud. One effective method to ensure a smooth transition is to allocate sufficient time for thorough testing. Daily data replication can be done for simple applications to ensure the cloud version works well. Real-time synchronization may be required for specific live applications. In such cases, a synchronized replication mechanism must be implemented, especially when migrating a portion of an on-prem application to the cloud. We have expertise and templates for this process, successfully assisting other customers with their live application deployments. Both the current and cloud versions will remain functional during the real-time syncing, allowing us the flexibility to switch between them when needed.

However, when real-time syncing is not feasible, taking a snapshot of the data becomes necessary. When customers do not use the system during a maintenance window, we will perform the cutover. We have strategies to explore in such cases, which can be tailored based on the specific requirements of each situation.

What considerations should organizations consider when migrating sensitive or regulated data to the cloud? And how does the cloud migration factory address these concepts?

To safeguard sensitive data within an enterprise, perceiving every piece of information as potentially sensitive is essential. Regardless of the specific data classification, avoiding any data exposure is paramount. Adopting a standardized and repeatable process is the most effective approach. Establishing a secure perimeter is crucial to ensure the landing zone adheres to cloud and industry security guidelines.

Furthermore, it is advisable to implement robust monitoring protocols within the landing zone to detect any unwanted policy changes. While numerous techniques exist for achieving this, the key lies in establishing a secure landing zone while employing a standardized and repeatable process.

When transitioning to the cloud and managing the cloud infrastructure, avoiding using the same processes from on-premises operations is crucial. Cloud environments operate differently, with everything being software-defined. Unlike physical infrastructure, the cloud requires a focus on refined assets and security measures that go beyond physical perimeters.

Investing time and effort into establishing a well-designed landing zone is paramount to ensure a secure and efficient cloud deployment. Implementing robust security policies and alerting mechanisms is essential to maintaining policy integrity and promptly addressing unwanted changes.

Automating processes for the landing zone is of utmost importance. Once established, a thorough validation process should be in place to ensure policy adherence. By doing so, the integrity of all policies can be upheld.

What are the usual pricing models for a cloud migration factory? Is it based on workload or application? How does it operate?

There are various options available for accomplishing this task. The industry standard approach typically involves deploying a team of professionals. These professionals are responsible for assembling the infrastructure but rely on manual processes. In contrast, we distinguish ourselves by utilizing an automated process that uses a templates/tool-based approach. Our pricing is determined on an application basis. After assessing the pilot phase during the planning stage, we will provide precise cost estimates per application. We also consider sizing considerations, such as small, medium, and large, each with its corresponding price point.

Our approach is to migrate applications to a fixed-price model, with certain exceptions for applications that require modernization. These exceptions may involve rewriting or re-architecting. Challenging applications that fall outside of the established categories will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. With our pricing model, you can expect a fixed-price budget for your migration. While other partners or service providers may offer surprises, many tend to rely on a people-based approach, which can be mostly time and material.

Conclusion

Cloud migration can be complicated and time-consuming, especially for enterprise end-users. However, the Cloud Migration Factory makes the migration process more streamlined, automated, and secure. It reduces migration costs, speeds up the process, and provides a high-quality migration with minimal risk. Overall, the Cloud Migration Factory makes it easier for enterprise end-users to migrate their workloads to the cloud and reap the benefits of the cloud infrastructure.

About Cloud Control Solutions Inc.

Cloud Control Solutions Inc. is a boutique Cloud transformation company founded in 2019 in the USA. Focused on Cloud Migration, Modernization, and Management, the Company takes a Kubernetes-first approach, enabling them to deliver reliable solutions that are cost-optimized and efficient.

Our team of developers, stack builders, architects, and entrepreneurs is dedicated to designing and building next-generation cloud platforms, complete with low-touch SRE services, that help businesses realize the full potential of the cloud. By transitioning to the cloud seamlessly, organizations can achieve our objectives, and Cloud Control Solutions’ singular goal is to make this happen.

Cloud Control Solutions’ methodology has enabled clients to reach up to 5x faster cloud adoption speeds while reducing TCO by 40%. Pioneering low-touch cloud and Kubernetes solutions, Cloud Control is at the forefront of cloud transformation.