Migrating Your Applications to Azure: Which Approach Works Best For You?

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Migrating to the cloud is no longer just an option – it has become imperative for businesses embarking on a digital transformation journey. Those moving to the cloud can gain the ability to scale their IT infrastructure, enjoy greater IT agility and cost-effectiveness to remain competitive in today’s market.
 
However, migrating to the cloud can be a daunting and complex undertaking for many. For those who wish to migrate their applications to a public cloud such as Microsoft Azure, there are many ways they can do so and take full advantage of what the cloud can offer.
 
In 2010, Gartner defined the five main approaches to migrating applications to the cloud, commonly known as the 5 R’s of cloud migration. Today, cloud computing is close to reaching maturity and there are now many variations of the “R’s”. Here are a few that you should know about as you embark on your journey to Azure:

  • Rehost: If you need an application in the cloud, you can just move it. This approach is called rehosting or the ‘lift and shift’. It is one of the easiest ways to migrate your applications to the cloud as it does not require you to make changes in code or architecture. However, this approach does not allow you to fully take advantage of the cloud as it does not run cloud-native components.

  • Replace: The cloud now offers a wide range of services and one of them is an alternative to your on-premises software. If a particular application cannot be migrated in the cloud, you can always just replace it with a cloud-native one. Many business workloads now have their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) substitute. The Azure Marketplace itself contains thousands of open-source and enterprise SaaS solutions for you to choose from, ranging from solutions in categories such as security, compliance, machine-learning, AI and IoT. With this approach, you will not have to worry about migrating an application as you can just opt for something that is designed for the cloud environment.

  • Rearchitect: This is possibly the most complex approach in cloud migration but it may be one that is necessary for businesses that are modernising their legacy applications. In this approach, an application is re-architected to fit in the cloud – this may mean working from the ground up by minor refactoring or even a complete application rewrite. Often, organisations choose this approach mainly because their legacy applications are too old to be just migrated as is and hence, need to be rewritten in cloud-native languages.

  • Retain on-premises: In some cases, your applications do not need to be migrated to the cloud and there are various factors for this. If an application is still running in its best state on-premises and if you find in your analysis that it does not gain any major cost or operational benefits from the cloud, you can just retain it. There are also applications you have to leave on-premises due to compliance or regulatory requirements, meaning your data should remain within your premises. It can also be due to restrictions in the technology that makes migrating to the cloud is virtually impossible.

  • Retire: There are also applications that you should not retain on-premises and even migrate to the cloud, as they are now obsolete. For this, the most effective way is just to retire the applications, since they do not meet your objectives and are not serving a greater purpose for your business.

The question now is – what approach should you take when migrating your applications to the cloud? The answer relies on what your team have found out in the initial process before migration, which should consist of assessment, planning and preparation. According to Gartner, “All alternatives require architects to understand application migration from multiple perspectives and criteria, such as IT staff skills, existing investments and application architecture”.

To help guarantee successful long-term migration, you should look to partner with a provider that can give you migration services to help you plan and completely manage the process using expertise and tools developed over numerous migration projects with customers.

Rackspace Technology works as a business partner, offering end-to-end solutions, along with assessment and readiness offerings. They can get you started in migrating to Azure, whether you are looking to spur innovation and agility, lower costs or build operational efficiencies. 
 
With hundreds of Microsoft-certified experts to help you architect, deploy and manage a customised Azure cloud, Rackspace Technology can help in maximising performance, reliability, uptime and cost-effectiveness. They’ll also work as a set of helping hands in using custom tools such as their Azure Control Panel and Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates that simplify operations and help ensure adherence to best practices on the cloud.

With Rackspace Technology, you can develop a Microsoft Azure cloud environment that helps you build new revenue streams, increase efficiency and deliver incredible experiences.

To find out more about how Rackspace Technology can ensure your migration to Azure a success, click here

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