Legacy Application Virtualization: Tips for Moving to the Cloud.
Nowadays, it would be extremely difficult to find any businesses that haven’t deployed at least some server virtualization in their on-premises data centers or to a Cloud service provider. The benefits are clear: eliminated capital expenditure on hardware, increased manageability in a highly centralized environment, the ability to scale environments up and down on-demand, and predictable, subscription-style operating costs. With server virtualization already deployed in many cases, businesses have turned their attention to legacy application virtualization. Yet, complex business-critical applications, with all of their moving parts and interdependencies, are inherently much more difficult to virtualize, especially when trying to do it on-premises. The fact is, however, that businesses will need to hire highly technical and expensive virtualization engineers to get the job done. In the long run, those costs can outweigh the cost savings that legacy application virtualization — in theory — can provide. This is why they are turning to Cloud service providers to host their virtualized apps.
Even though the concept and benefits seem simple enough, legacy application virtualization is hard. Cloud service providers that have specialized expertise in application virtualization platforms like Citrix XenApp, for instance, can relieve in-house IT teams of the deployment and management burdens, but migrating critical business applications to the Cloud presents a whole new challenge. In other words, getting to the Cloud requires careful planning, as well as execution. Here are some points to consider when deciding the right path for moving critical, legacy business applications to the Cloud.
In this process, IT must work together with heads of business to outline exactly what cost savings they intend to achieve in the Cloud. By performing a detailed analysis, businesses can determine just how much money they can save on things like CapEx on hardware to support the applications, staffing expenses, application availability, and energy costs. With objectives already defined, businesses will be better prepared to negotiate service-level agreements (SLAs) with whichever Cloud provider they choose.
Applications that have traditionally been deployed on dedicated, on-premise infrastructure may perform differently in a highly virtualized Cloud environment. When moving those to the Cloud, proper tests must be conducted to ensure that enough resources (compute, storage, memory, network) will be available to handle the needs of application workloads at any given time. In other words, businesses must work together with the Cloud service provider to execute a test environment before moving applications into production in the Cloud.
Not all applications are created equal, and some handle more sensitive business data that, if compromised, could be detrimental to the business as a whole. When working with a Cloud service provider, businesses need to come to the table with a detailed set of requirements in regards to security and regulatory compliance. Features to look for include: policy-based access and authentication, physical security, data protection and isolation in a shared infrastructure setting, and proactive performance monitoring, among others. A Cloud service company must be able to provide an SLA that meets the unique requirements of each customer.
The rise of mobility and the rapid proliferation of devices have fundamentally changed the way businesses operate in a Cloudy, hyper-connected world. Before legacy application virtualization to the Cloud takes place, businesses must have a complete understanding of how their employees are currently accessing applications and where they are doing so on the network. The Cloud service provider should be able to securely deliver critical, virtualized business applications to multiple devices and to remote locations to accommodate the unique needs of each customer. To put it another way, before migrating legacy applications to the Cloud, the business must have a clear bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy in place.
There’s no question that more and more businesses are moving not only their infrastructure, but their applications to the Cloud. In fact, IDC predicts that the workspace-as-a-service (WaaS) market will grow to $1.7bn by 2018, up from $282m in 2013. While the benefits of migrating legacy applications to the Cloud are quite clear, it’s not a simple task getting there. Doing it in-house requires up front CapEx investments, extensive technical expertise, as well as ongoing OpEx costs. By choosing a Cloud service provider like Umbee, with extensive expertise in legacy application hosting, a full staff of certified Citrix engineers, and the infrastructure required to support even the most complex of applications, companies can finally get there.
Want more? Read the five tips in our Legacy Application to Cloud Migration Checklist, or for more personalized information on how we can help move your business-critical applications to the Cloud, contact the Cloud experts at Umbee today.