Migration from a dedicated legacy platform to the cloud is a multi-step process that highlights all the applicable, real-life considerations in real-time. Specifically, ensuring that the customer’s availability requirements are met throughout the process and any configuration changes that are necessary to ensure the workload is optimized for the new platform are made. Although migration itself can be a complex exercise, it does not have to be overly-complicated, and it's not something customers have to feel they're all alone in doing. In reference to Forrester's Cloud App Migration Cost Model brief, questions like, “We’ve got a cloud-first strategy; now, how much will it cost to move our core applications to a public cloud?” lead to more inquiries about how a migration will impact the things that affect business the most — enterprise applications.

Defining Enterprise Apps

Enterprise applications are developed and deployed with the following elements in mind: complexity, scalability, distribution viability, component-based architecture versus service-oriented architecture (SOA), mission-critical functionality, and deployment capability on a variety of platforms across corporate networks, intranets, and the Internet. Enterprise applications are data-centric while remaining user-friendly and oftentimes, have to fall into compliance with stringent security, administration, and maintenance requirements.

A major component of the cloud migration strategy for customers and companies is identifying any modifications required to the applications prior to moving them to the cloud or hybrid cloud environment to ensure they will perform post-migration. A cost model analysis of cloud migration for enterprise applications presents the following considerations and questions:

  • Will the application 'win' on the cloud platform?

  • 'How' will these applications serve clients?

  • Will these applications retain customers post-migration?

  • What is the viable application development and delivery (AD&D) strategy managers and leaders can use to set realistic expectations in their specific markets?

Defining Application Development and Delivery for Migration

For industry professionals, application development and delivery (AD&D) can be quite demanding, as success for companies and firms rides on the ability to find new ways to connect with the market and the customers during and after a migration. Today's customers operate in a digital capacity and expect to be engaged through digital channels and methods.

As such, developing the right software to make development and delivery effective and worthwhile requires substantial research into functional and nonfunctional requirements. That research also extends into designing the public cloud landscape before implementing and executing on a migration strategy. A major cost of migrating an enterprise application is wrapped up in application development and delivery, which according to Forrester's Cloud App Migration Cost Model, 'accounts for more than half of the total migration cost'.

Setting-up for Future Savings

Such extensive AD&D practice and research with a dedicated migration team accomplishes two main goals. Firstly, it establishes the right migration strategy for the right company or customer base. Secondly, it paves the way for future cost savings, since the planning costs will lessen subsequent application-migration projects, per Forrester's findings. At CenturyLink, the Migration team's attention to detail not only simplifies the migration process, but also ensures its meticulousness in creating functional cloud environments is suitable for multiple future application-migration projects. The key takeaway is that developing the right model and strategy for a migration allows the migration manager and team to learn and plan for subsequent migrations.

Different Cost Models for Different Functionalities

Today's cloud migration landscape reinforces market trends that indicate that public clouds will be the preferred — if not dominant — application platform for customer-obsessed organizations. This evidence takes client inquiries about cloud strategies, visibility into cloud-adoption strategies, and the use of cloud-adoption specialists across all industry segments. Forrester's findings also cite a private survey acknowledging the fact that enterprises are branching out from a mobile app-heavy deployment strategy along with other systems-of-engagement projects towards systems of insight and systems of record in public clouds.

  • Systems of Engagement Applications: Applications centered on systems of engagement typically require and use large amounts of newly-developed code rather than moving and migrating existing code from the dedicated platform to the cloud platforms. Oftentimes, the speed and go-to market strategy is tied to the receptiveness of these specific enterprise applications, which accounts for the primary concern and management consideration over cost. Additionally, web and mobile applications developed in the cloud can result in incremental increases in revenue production, which justifies the upfront cost of in-cloud development because it can be less challenging than developing an application that requires 'cloud enablement' pre or post-migration.

  • Systems of Record Applications: Today's data cultivation encapsulated by the emerging and improving Internet of Things umbrella and its affected industries has highlighted the increasing demand for record-keeping and operations-level enterprise applications. These types of applications have triggered a new phase of cloud migration and adoption, as many are customized on the business-use and task-based silos. In essence, if a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution isn't a viable option, the migration of these applications to public clouds often requires substantial time for revisions, rebuilds, and a new migration and deployment strategy to maximize the major benefits of cloud migration — on-demand scaling, scalable cost-savings economics, global availability, and increased and improved security. The takeaway is that the migration of this type of enterprise application demands a more detailed and time-consuming assessment of cloud and on-premises infrastructure management and operational costs, as a partition of on-prem architecture and infrastructure is likely to remain in place, thus requiring continued maintenance and support during and post-migration.

Developing a Pro Forma Cost Model

To maximize the effectiveness of migrating an enterprise application, building the cost model complete with all the relevant considerations is imperative to quickly estimate associated costs of migrating custom-built enterprise applications to the public cloud. The following steps, derived from Forrester's Cloud App Migration Cost Model brief, should be included in the development of the cost model for migrating an enterprise application to the public cloud:

  • Include and execute on planning and project-execution sections: Segmentation within the cost model framework allows for contingency fund plan inclusion. Migration planning and design costs come first and should be considered Phase 1. This phase should include the actual business case for migration and the documentation of expectations, goals, and beliefs surrounding the migration exercise. In Phase 1, migration planning and design costs should account for configuration costs of complex application support architecture and the total implementation into a test environment pre-migration. Phase 2 is actual migration task costs, defined as those required to get the enterprise application from its current state to the target public cloud.

  • Distinguish labor costs from cloud services costs: According the Forrester's findings, public cloud services costs account for less than 10% of the total costs. Labor costs far exceed service and infrastructure costs, with the exception being overly-complex enterprise applications and large applications that require substantial cloud subscription costs. Labor costs include internal staffing, fees generated by contributing agencies, integration firms (legal, compliance), and other external parties.

  • Separate operational costs into a different model: The primary motivation for migration to a public count environment is the reduction of OpEx expenditures on a recurring basis. Many of these costs remain recurring, so it's important to build a separate cost model for the recurrence of funds spent. Estimating what these costs are is crucial and should align with the initial business case for migration. Considerations here include: provisioning, updating, and upkeep of on-premise environments and infrastructures and their management. Additionally, building in these hybrid costs allows for closer, more realistic estimations for the enterprise application migration. Overall, building out a separate cost model will help avoid yielding bad estimates.


Three Takeaways to Think Over

  • As stated above, the initial migration costs tend to be higher than the subsequent migration exercises. Front-loading the initial effort, dedicated time, and costs of designing and implementing a cohesive migration strategy to the public cloud environment for the initial migration project is not a repeated burden in the subsequent migration exercises. As such, concerted effort placed in the initial migrations of enterprise applications to effectively design, identify pain points, target security and network considerations, and document the most useful integrations enterprise application migration will pay future dividends.

  • Migration requires the creation and development of new code along with substantial revisions to existing code. Most enterprise applications require some sort of modification for a successful migration exercise. Anticipating these costs with staff and teams internally in the initial business case proposal can help identify dependencies early on and helps avoid hard-coded mistakes that require re-configuration and rebuilds down the road. Think of this as a build-lift-shift model of migration to a cloud platform.

  • Don't ignore cloud services that add value to the target cloud environment. It's not uncommon for migration to open new avenues of revenue production and new customer attraction and the retention of existing ones. Enterprise applications need to be built to allow for rebuilds, modifications, updates on-the-fly, and customization elements to take full advantage of the public cloud's scalability and on-demand service structure. The competitive landscape is adhering to a pay-as-you-go or pay-for-what-you-use model; enterprise application migration needs to account for this aspect of consumer behavior. Additionally, a good cloud application can integrate with cloud-native application services in the areas of analytics, proximal and distal database location (in relation to customer bases), file storage, backup, security, and much more.

Take a Test-Run with CenturyLink

Our Migration team simplifies migration for the customer by orchestrating the process and doing the heavy lifting. Migrating to a new cloud provider doesn’t have to be difficult. Let CenturyLink show you how smooth migration can be!

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