Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Janakiram MSV, John Katrick, David H Deans, Andreas Grabner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Agile Application Migration & Modernization By @AppZero_Inc | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

An Efficient Approach to Application Migration

Agile Application Migration & Modernization

The market transition from education and evaluation to remediation is marching along as the End of Support (EOS) nears for Windows Server 2003. The market has moved from being unaware of the challenge that EOS would pose for most IT organizations at the beginning of 2014 to POCs, trials, and evaluating how to get help with these projects by the end of 2014. You can get a sense of how the market has moved by reading the 2014 Windows Server 2003 End of Support Survey Results.

As a company that helps organizations migrate and modernize their application and support infrastructure, this transition resulted in significant growth for AppZero. Growth that included both a 750% increase in certified partners and > 500% increase in sales.  There is good reason to believe that many organizations have budgeted modernization projects and will begin ramping up efforts to move off of Windows Server 2003 this year.

In fact Spiceworks issued their annual IT budget survey which showed that customers were already allocating around 17% of their 2015 software budget to OS migration with Windows Server 2003 being the prime candidate.

Most people frame the process of application migration and modernization in the following four steps:

  1. Discover - Catalog the software and applications
  2. Assess - Categorize the applications
  3. Target - Identify destinations
  4. Migrate - Move the application from source to destination

This sequential process makes sense at 10,000 feet, has clear transitional steps and a well-defined end state.  As many organizations have adopted this migration process and moved from this high-level "white board" description into practice, detailed feedback has begun to emerge.  Many projects start with devoting lots of time to understanding the entire application portfolio. Then comes the interpretation of the inventory and an attempt to assess what to do with the portfolio. Next, the destination is scoped out and finally migration waves begin. The projects often resemble the old waterfall process of building and delivering software:

  1. Design the app
  2. Build the app
  3. Test the app
  4. Deploy the app

The premise of the waterfall process is that if you put enough time upfront into the requirements and design phases, then the downstream phases will be easier, faster and cheaper to execute. The time invested upfront is worth it to try and come up with the "Perfect Plan."  Experience shows that it would be nice to have a perfect set of requirements defined, but it takes so long that the business and market move on, making the requirements irrelevant. The process also does not incorporate important feedback and learnings surfaced towards the end of the process, which often materially changes the requirements and design. The outcome of the waterfall app creation process is an unsatisfied user and as a result, the slow waterfall process repeats itself again. This approach leads to long iteration cycles before feedback is incorporated into the resulting output (the app).

Windows Server 2003 Migration Waterfall
Instead of implementing the Windows Server 2003 migration process using a waterfall methodology where a lot of time is spent up front on the early phases in the process, organizations should adopt an agile migration approach.

An agile migration approach creates a cross functional team that takes a slice of the application portfolio and performs the migration process from beginning to end. Once a slice of the portfolio is completed the next slice is addressed while continuing to gather feedback and improve the migration lifecycle along the way.

Agile migration team skill set:
In most organizations, IT hardens and locks down the environment making migrating applications difficult and at odds with existing policies and security enforcement.  Migrations cut across the organization, involving many people across disciplines, which requires buy in and cooperation to smooth and expedite the process.  An agile migration team should consist of a cross disciplinary skill set that contains at least the following:

Skill/Background Title/Role
Build, Provision AD, Snapshot Server Administrator
Web / Middleware Application Server Developer
DB Server DBA
Migration AppZero architect

The agile migration team often has high-level goals such as:

  • Create best practices
  • Remove "whitespace" from process
  • Increase throughput
  • Reduce down time
  • Improve problem resolution
  • Lessen errors and side effects

Getting the first couple of migrations through the gauntlet with security acceptance and help from all stakeholders is often a big hurdle for large enterprises. An agile approach provides visibility to all the interested parties and surfaces sticking points that slow the process. Iterating migration waves or sprints, in agile terminology, will identify the bumps that can be removed, effectively increasing throughput.

Migration process implementation challenges
Certain challenges have emerged consistently covering a spectrum of concerns far beyond the migration process. These challenges can be sorted into the following categories:

  1. Size and scope of the problem:
    1. Number of applications and servers often are measured in thousands
    2. Complexity and coordination have many touch points
    3. Second order issues: support, down time, policy exceptions (most IT policies are designed to harden or freeze apps/data/configurations making them not movable)
    4. Costs grow quickly leading to more scrutiny and further delays
  1. Organizational:
    1. Lack of skills and knowledge about how to migrate applications
    2. Ownership of problem resolution delineation between IT and lines of business (app owners)
    3. Coordination and process touches many people across departments
    4. Application owner and knowledge is scarce or non-existent
    5. Change windows and application hand-off result in latency
    6. Maintenance driven change activities are difficult to get people excited about

Application centric categorization taxonomy
An application-centric approach would group like applications together by type of application, what the application built on, how the application is deployed and how critical the application is. Organizing the application portfolio this way will be helpful when determining waves or "sprint" for the migration team.

Grouping like applications reduces the upfront time required to assess applications in exhaustive detail.  .NET applications will have common characteristics from an assessment perspective including IIS, .NET version, message queues, and database connectivity. Use case creation can drastically accelerate migration planning and minimize time spent in the assessment phase.

Migrations can begin sooner in concert with ongoing assessment and planning activities. Performing simple migrations at the outset helps to shake out environmental challenges and UAT requirements in real-time to establish a much-needed baseline and predictive model. Applying the agile approach takes lessons learned and continues to apply them to evolve the migration strategy.

Summary
Many enterprises have significant numbers of applications running on Windows Server 2003 that need to be migrated to a supported Operating System (OS). Enterprises usually do not have an application modernization skillset in-house and have to grow this capability or seek help from a systems integrator.  An agile approach should be taken when tackling application life cycle and modernization projects.

AppZero can help your organization develop an agile migration process as well as modernize or up-level your applications onto the modern platform (OS) of your choice. We can connect you with SI's who will help if you don't have the in-house resources.  Contact us at [email protected] to get started.

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

@ThingsExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.