Whether your organization will be moving everything to the cloud or not, most organizations are looking at what it means to migrate at least some of their applications or workloads. Interdependencies may force organizations to run in a hybrid configuration where some infrastructure is on-premises, but a majority of the workload is now running in the cloud. This is a new time for IT strategy, and this also means it changes our strategy for how we will prepare. With the right tools a pre-migration assessment of your application(s), or even the entire environment can be completed by your own IT team. This can be done to ensure that you are prepared to know exactly what we are getting into before we try to move any corporate information to a cloud platform. Let’s look at how Uila can help with your pre-migration assessment while planning your hybrid cloud migration.
Why do a Pre-Migration Assessment?
The journey to the cloud whether it is to Microsoft Azure, AWS and the Google Cloud Platform, should not ever come without planning. Cloud migrations do not come with an “easy button”, although sometimes the impression can be that it is super easy; typically, it’s not. Whether you are migrating to a SaaS application, virtualizing your servers or desktops to the cloud planning and assessment must occur for many reasons. Let’s take a look.
- Understanding business risk – This is similar to any major decision that you have likely faced throughout your technical career. Evaluation of the pros and cons to determine how the business will be impacted by this change is crucial to the project’s success. Understanding if there will be any user facing changes that need to be communicated, or any outages that will impact business functions will lead to the best decision making possible for your cloud migration project.
- Identify application dependencies – Keeping track of dependencies can be a challenge when documentation is not kept up-to-date, staff changes, or technical complexities are not easy to document. However not understanding application dependencies can have a negative impact on the outcome of an overall project. I recently experienced this scenario when a helpdesk system had a script configured to query an email server in a very unique way. After a migration all traditional email functionality was running as expected, but this unique configuration stopped working. Had the application dependency been identified in advance this unique function would not have had any interruption of service.
- Feasibility planning – Pre-migration assessments also determine if moving a certain application or workload to the cloud is feasible from all perspectives. For example, it’s important to determine the price/cost to move to the cloud, understand the current performance expectations, current system health, applications, and resource usage. Evaluating the on-premises environment as a whole can help determine if a cloud migration is a reasonable and feasible option for your enterprise.
- Performance baselining to understand if SLAs can be met once migrated – User experience is invaluable to all enterprises, and it will be important to be able to meet/exceed all existing SLAs once using a cloud solution. This can easily be done during a proof of concept (POC) or testing phase of the project. This point also can complement any research completed for feasibility planning. If the user experience cannot be maintained, this could be a deal breaker.
- Identification of key stakeholders – While there isn’t a tool that can support the identification of your key stakeholders for your cloud initiatives mentioning this point is extremely important. Knowing if you have internal or external individuals/teams that need to be involved in your migration strategy will only lend to the long-term success of any cloud-based initiatives you implore.
Now that we all these considerations brought the forefront it’s important to know that there are tools available that can help you gain many of these insights from a pre-migration assessment. As promised let’s take a look at some of the features that Uila can provide to ensure you get the data your need for your hybrid cloud migration.
Visibility into the State of Dependencies
Do you have visibility into your application dependencies? If not, then your team has some research to do? A manual analysis of this type of information could range from several hours or even weeks and months (based on your environment), and there could still be special cases that could inadvertently be overlooked and the question of human errors and poor record maintenance. How can you save time and understand your environment quickly? See figure 1 below. This is Uila’s Application Analysis of Dependent Services. Just with a quick glance it’s easy to visually see the server the application is running from, which protocols are being used, the database types at play, if the connection to the database is online, the DNS connection made, and the external gateway being used. Easy verification of whether a technical dependency is still available for a full evaluation of your technical debt, and also quickly know what may still need to be cleaned up.
Export a dependency mapping
Seeing the visual dependencies as shown in Figure 1 can really help the process of beginning to understand your dependencies, but sometimes more detail can help even further for the investigation of your dependencies. See Figure 2 below. This is an image of Uila’s dependency map exported to a .csv file format. Within this view, additional details become visible. Important details such as the source and destination names by DNS name and IP address, gateways passed through, and the network port being used. Especially helpful when researching your valid and invalid dependencies with greater depth for your pre-migration analysis.
Dependency Baselining for pre-migration assessment
Once the pre-migration assessment has been started it’s always valuable to have a baseline of dependencies. Once captured, and cleanup has occurred this can be run again and the differences can be evaluated. See Figure 3 below. Uila’s baselining feature captures the before and after in one simple view. They offer a time slider that allows the ability to see the differences over time. Any gray lines visible below show dependencies that existed during baseline timeframe, but don’t exist any longer today after cleanup processes. Any blue lines are new dependencies captured since the original analysis was completed. This type of baseline makes it simple to see where your application dependencies started and where they are today, and without a tool can be nearly impossible to evaluate.
For any cloud-based project a pre-migration assessment is necessary. Without one your team will only be guessing what is needed for your cloud or hybrid-cloud migration. This could lead to waste of business dollars through wasted time and the potential for business outages/unnecessary downtime. Having the right toolset implemented will ensure your cloud-migration success.
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