App Cloud Readiness Assessment Checklist for Smooth Migration

Sigma Software

App migration to cloud services yields many benefits including reduced cost, agility, high scalability, efficiency improvements, and for the most part, better system performance.

Cloud computing today seems to be the future for most applications. Gartner projects that by 2022, 90% of organizations will be adopting cloud services, generating a total value of $278.3 billion.

Nevertheless, the cloud isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Each organization relies on a unique infrastructure with its set of applications, systems, and platforms to drive its operations. Thus, it is important to verify that your applications are ready for the cloud migration process first.

Cloud readiness to migration

 

This guide will help you evaluate your cloud readiness and determine the areas that should be reviewed. The success of the cloud transition, like any other business transformation, requires changes in three main areas: technology, processes, and people. Let’s dig deeper into the aspects that may need to be adjusted by an organization to successfully adopt to using the cloud.  

Cloud Readiness Assessment from a Technology Perspective

In order to evaluate your readiness for a transition to the cloud from a technology viewpoint, you’d need to check your current technology stack, applications characteristics, architecture, and data.

Migration to the cloud may be challenging and require a lot of skill and effort for applications that:

  • are built on unique hardware, that is not represented in the cloud, and cannot be virtualized (e.g. specific IoT apps, cryptocurrency cold wallet, etc.);
  • have strict security requirements (e.g. aircraft flight control systems, military software, government voting systems, etc.);
  • are built on outdated technologies (e.g. apps based on old programming languages like COBOL, ALGOL, etc.);
  • imply sensitive data processing and storage (e.g. banking and medical apps).

 

Everything else can be migrated to the cloud and it’s rather a matter of defining the best-fit cloud infrastructure that would address your business needs in full. Applications requiring more solid security characteristics can be hosted in a private cloud (in full or partially), others would perfectly fit onto a public cloud. Some businesses can choose a multi-cloud solution for disaster recovery and avoiding vendor lock-in. Cloud technologies provide for a lot of possible solutions to diverse business needs and limitations, however, making your app more cloud-friendly would definitely help you get the most out of migration to Cloud.

Let's take a closer look at the technical aspects that need to be checked during the application cloud readiness assessment.

Application Cloud Readiness in Terms of Architecture

One of the most important things to figure out before cloud adoption is how the whole application is built. First of all, your application should be able to operate inside a virtualized environment in the most efficient way. To figure out if your architecture is ready for this, take into account:

  • Application architecture type. If it is built on a monolithic architecture, it makes sense to consider the conversion to microservices approach applying virtual machines or containers. This may be time-consuming and expensive, however it will provide many benefits besides moving to the cloud, for example making your solution more flexible and easier to customize and maintain.
  • App complexity in terms of LOC (line of code), number of servers, and infrastructure elements. Each component increases the cost of migration and makes the process more time-consuming. If there are a lot of lines of code (100.000+), servers and infrastructure elements, it may be reasonable to check what can be cut and optimized.
  • Size of storage and backups (magnitude of it: 1GB, 1TB, 1PB, hot, cold). Storage size will also affect your cloud expenditure. Make sure that only what you need is in your storage, otherwise you will have to pay for old junk that does not provide value.
  • Requirements for latency and your network specifics. Cloud-hosted applications should have the same or better performance than on-premises deployments. If adequate network bandwidth is not available for the application to perform, it will lead to latency and a bad user experience. You should think thoroughly about these network limitations and assess the current application performance to determine areas for enhancements.
  • Requirements for high availability and redundancy (zero-downtime deployment, maintenance window, SLA requirements). For example, if you need to achieve zero-downtime deployment, you need to be ready to invest more time and money at the initial migration stage.

 

Security requirements

One of the important steps of your application migration readiness strategy is to assess the current security mechanisms and the degree of protection that should be applied to different categories of data your app handles. You need to thoroughly investigate country and industry-specific standards your app needs to comply with, those may impose specific hardware, software, and organizational requirements for the application infrastructure and it may happen that during cloud migration, the application becomes incompatible with these standards.

Therefore, we definitely recommend that you make sure your cloud provider is compatible with your industry and country-specific requirements related to security compliance, GDPR readiness, the disaster recovery process, firewalls, etc.  If your data requires a high level of security, you will need to look for a provider with appropriate certifications. For example, if your business is in the healthcare sector you should choose a more niche cloud provider that can enforce HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements.

The most popular cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure Google Cloud, deliver advanced threat protection for workloads in the cloud. For example, the AWS cloud provides a GovCloud option for applications that demand advanced security and special requirements for data handling.

Depth of legacy and technical debt

A crucial element of application assessment for cloud migration is to check your depth of legacy and evaluate technical debt. If the code was written a long time ago and has not been updated for quite a while, but it works fine and is a good match for your needs, there is no problem with the app becoming legacy. However, as soon as you want to move to the cloud, problems may arise. 

Even if a legacy app still works, it may become unstable because of compatibility issues with current operating systems, and IT infrastructure. In this case, the best option is to check with your in-house experts or cloud migration service providers if your legacy application can be migrated to the cloud or the code should be rewritten before migration.

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The accumulation of technical debt is another factor that negatively affects the organization's ability to apply new technologies. Technical debt is the consequence of dealing with challenging requirements when you choose short-term solutions that can be adverse for your business in the long run. For instance, introducing an overnight solution that is difficult to integrate with other systems or does not support horizontal scaling by design can have a big influence on the possibility of future updates and transformation initiatives such as cloud migration.

So, make sure that before cloud adoption, you create a technical debt reduction plan, because migration may become a multiplier that substantially increases your technical debt.

Cloud Readiness Assessment from a Process Perspective

Cloud technologies adoption will eventually affect your development and maintenance processes, so it makes sense to make sure those are also cloud-friendly in terms of automation, development methodology, and testing. 

Development approach

Agility is one of the benefits of cloud infrastructure. However, your development processes also need to be agile to unlock this benefit. If your project can not be decomposed into smaller sub-projects and provides little possibility to make changes, review and test quickly, it can be difficult to fully leverage the cloud service’s advantages.

We highly recommend using an agile approach if you decide to move to the cloud. Agile is defined by an iterative approach to project management. This methodology will give your project room to grow and change, enable continuous integration, and respond quickly to any issues that may affect cloud adoption.

Automation

Automation also provides agility to your projects, saves costs, and allows you to react to changes faster. Today automation is an essential part of any development process, and cloud migration is not an exception.

We recommend applying CI/CD (continuous integration and continuous delivery), and continuous deployment to automate phases of software delivery. With the help of these practices you can release new features, improvements, and fixes with greater speed and correctness, accelerating your journey to the cloud.

Cloud Readiness Assessment - Automation

 

You can migrate your app to the cloud, even if you’re not embracing automation in your workload. However, it will take much more time and effort. On the other hand, leveraging the automation approach lowers costs, minimizes business disruptions, increases productivity, and keeps your critical applications operating optimally during the migration.

Testing

Testing is an integral part of the app development and maintenance life-cycle. It is also essential for the success of your cloud migration strategy as it helps to ensure that the migrated application is consistent with all hardware and software that your application currently supports.

Thorough testing will safeguard your applications effective performance in the cloud environment and provide a superior user experience. With the proven test automation strategy in place, you can safeguard smooth migration, avoid database glitches and crash issues, cut costs and shorten app release cycles.

Cloud Readiness Assessment from a People Perspective

Transition to the cloud requires an evaluation of the potential of your team as well as experts capable of supporting both the migration to the Cloud and further operations. 

Your current technology staff will stand at the forefront of cloud adoption and you definitely need to have a closer look at your team assessing their skills and proficiency in the following areas:

  • previous experience in the application migration and administration of apps in the cloud
  • knowledge of tools and technologies required during and after migration
  • adoption of the processes essential for a smooth transition to the cloud (agile, testing, CI/CD, etc.).

 

This assessment allows you to determine what skill and resource gaps you have. You can fill these gaps in different ways: hire a specialist with the necessary skills for your team, set up some cloud training for your in-house team, outsource migration turn-key or involve cloud consultants. If you decide to extend your team with outsourced consultants, check out our article on what to consider before hiring a dedicated software development team.

Budget expectations

Last but not least it is important to set your budget expectations before cloud adoption. Costs need to be constantly monitored, so it is important to first calculate the TCO (total cost of ownership) both for migration and further operations in the Cloud to meet your budget restrictions.

Cloud Migration Budget

 

The cloud migration costs depend on the size of the initially allocated resources. In addition to the size, your system can consume additional computing power, disk space, and network traffic. This is charged separately. Some of the aspects to consider when calculating the TCO are:

  • Internal hardware and operational expenses (internal infrastructure and software, power and cooling costs, etc.)
  • License costs 
  • Infrastructure overhead and management requirements (maintenance, automation, training, etc.)

 

It takes less time for a company to simply migrate its applications in the cloud with minor changes. However, this approach may entail substantial investment into app refinement and optimization after the migration. If your readiness evaluation has unveiled the need for improvement and changes to the current app and processes, preparations and the migration itself will take longer but will provide more cloud functionality in the end.

Once you have accomplished the migration process, it is quite important to leverage cloud cost control strategies to keep monthly spending in order, track potential budget overruns and the potential to optimize them. For more on the topic of cloud costs, check out How to control cloud infrastructure costs.

Application migration to cloud with Sigma Software

As you see, there are many ways to check and fine-tune your application for migration.

Our team of experienced cloud migration specialists can help you conduct the most accurate cloud migration assessment, implement necessary adjustments and thoroughly plan the migration before you push the start button.

The Sigma Software Cloud Team has already helped establish efficient cloud infrastructure on 100+ projects helping our Clients cut costs, maintain operations, perform support and reporting, increase efficiency, and promote innovation.

Ready to go? Contact us today for assistance with your app migration to the cloud.

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