Enterprises worldwide are competing to develop the most innovative and reliable applications to meet growing customer needs and decrease time to market.
In order to meet growing consumer expectations, organizations must ensure that business-critical workloads are operating in the most optimal IT environment. This often means migrating to the cloud to improve agility, lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and accelerate innovation using cloud-native development and automation technology.
Despite the benefits the cloud can bring, many enterprises can face challenges during the migration process. From infrastructure incompatibilities to moving workloads without disrupting tightly bound networks of dependent applications, successful cloud migration requires careful planning.
In this guide, we’ll explore the historical shifts driving cloud migration, the migration challenges enterprises face, and how an effective hybrid-cloud infrastructure can eliminate many of these obstacles.
Applications are a necessity for the modern organization. For a business to provide quality products and services, it needs reliable and user-friendly applications supporting its day-to-day operations.
Knowing this, how can enterprises put themselves in the best possible position to innovate and meet customer expectations? How can they optimize their resources to make application development, implementation and use as effective and efficient as possible, without sacrificing their security or reliability?
To answer these questions, we first need to understand how applications came to revolutionize the way we interact with businesses, organizations and one another.
The Evolution of Applications
Applications execute a function, perform a task or range of tasks, and often require user interactivity to do so. An application can be self-contained or designed around a group of programs which consist of a set of operations that runs the application for an end-user.1
Now many retail transactions take place between a self-checkout kiosk or even an application on a customers’ mobile device.
Applications have evolved to a point where they can now provide customers with a service experience on par with or superior to interacting with a human. This was a major turning point for enterprises worldwide.
Consider self-checkout retail stores. Previously, shopping was an interaction between a customer and a store clerk, but now many retail transactions take place between a self-checkout kiosk or even an application on a customers’ mobile device.2
Today, with the digital transformation occurring across all industries, organizations are increasingly empowered to take care of more of the operational aspects of running a business on their own. As a result, the nature and span of applications have had to evolve to keep up.
The primary benefit of applications to customers is one of convenience. They allow users to abstract physical limitations to complete all kinds of tasks.
Rather than having to shop at stores located all over a city or region, consumers now have access to a universe of goods and services directly from their mobile devices. Why leave home? There’s an app for that.
It’s not just customers who benefit from the changing nature of applications. Organizations are also taking advantage of reduced overhead and improved agility and scale. They no longer have to lease physical locations, freeing capital for growth and allowing them to change tack more quickly. They’re also able to achieve far greater results with a fraction of the manpower.
Finally, applications give organizations a window into the lives of their customers – providing helpful data which can be used to develop improved products and services based on peoples’ wants and needs.
The New Frontier
Any company that doesn’t embrace the changing nature of applications will lag behind as competitors move in to fill the space.
The status quo of an industry can now be disrupted by an innovative startup, or a division of a company which uses applications to provide superior customer experience at scale – as we’ve seen with Uber, Airbnb, Netflix and Spotify.
Having recognized the value of applications, businesses are drawn to maximize their efficiency and profitability – matching each application to the environment that provides the best resources and support for it individually.
Often this means migrating applications from their original homes, within in-house or co-located data centers, to the cloud.
The Benefits of Cloud Migration
The overarching benefit of migrating to the public cloud is the transition from an in-house, capital expenditure model (CapEx) to an outsourced operational expenditure model (OpEx).
In the past, businesses made large capital expenditure investments in the form of physical data centers, placing these in offices or co-location facilities to support compute, storage and networking needs of their applications.
Rather than rely on in-house data centers, enterprises are now able to leverage the public cloud as an operational, subscription-based service. The cloud allows them to take advantage of economies of scale, outsource a range of operations, and connect to a global network of servers with access to innovative new development services.3
This approach has revolutionized IT and business in a number of ways:
Last century, the average lifespan for a company was more than 50 years. Today most S&P 500 companies survive just over 20, with predictions that the lifespan will shrink to just 12 years by 2027.4
Companies need to be able to quickly change tactics, adapt to new environments and develop new ways of thinking to remain relevant. Those that lay down more permanent structures and processes find their investments quickly become obsolete, leaving them lost, confused and unable to keep up.
That’s why today, investing in capital expenditure is considered a risky strategy. It’s always possible for a new technological advancement to make an enterprise’s fixed asset investment redundant overnight.
An OpEx model reduces this investment risk by allowing enterprises to pay for resources as they go, meaning they won’t lose everything if their situation changes.
Companies often fail to look beyond the upfront investment costs of a physical data center to the costs that will accrue over the years. These costs, for ongoing support, maintenance, power, cooling and staffing, can be significant. According to Deloitte, business and professional service companies spend 62% of their annual IT budget on internal maintenance.5
The cloud can eliminate these financial pressures due to economies of scale. Public cloud providers are able to reduce their maintenance, upkeep, power, cooling and staffing costs per server unit, compared to a data center run by a private organization.
These savings can then be passed on to the enterprise, providing a more cost-effective supply of storage, compute and connectivity for their applications.
Over time, increased load and decreased efficiency take their toll on data centers, just as they do with any machine. Traditionally, an enterprise would have to refresh their infrastructure – a costly, time-consuming and ongoing process of keeping data center software and hardware up to scratch.
Today, enterprises can instead migrate applications to the cloud at the end of a hardware refresh cycle. In the cloud, hardware and software updates are completed by the cloud provider, saving money, time and ensuring applications are always supported by the most up-to-date infrastructure.
Organizations often have to predict how much infrastructure they will use in the future to accurately allot budget and resource requirements. If they invest too little, the business risks providing a slow and unreliable service to customers. Thus, the trend has become to purchase too much – with businesses collectively wasting $62 billion on unused data center capacity every year.6
When migrating to the cloud, organizations can take advantage of a flexible pricing model, only paying for the computing resources being used by the applications they have living in the cloud at any given time.
If their product or service takes off, they can simply purchase additional capacity to meet customer demand. If demand subsides, they can then scale their usage down to minimize
Learn more about flexible capacity in the cloud in our Enterprise Guide to Scaling on Demand.
There is a lot of capital tied up in redundant data centers, maintenance and upkeep, and unused capacity. When organizations move to the cloud, they can eliminate the costs associated with managing on-premises infrastructure while only paying for the capacity they need, which presents a significant opportunity for cost saving.
These funds could instead be used for revenue-generating activities like new product development or marketing, that could make all the difference to a company striving to stay ahead in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.
In addition to the cost-saving benefits, the public cloud promises another key advantage that is very appealing to organizations: savings in time.
By moving workloads from on-premises to the cloud, enterprises outsource a number of their most time-consuming IT management and maintenance activities. This frees IT teams to focus on revenue-generating activities, like developing features, fixes and new innovations to improve customer experience and gain an edge over competitors.
By migrating applications to the cloud, enterprises gain access to an expansive world of development and management services. This brings benefits from improving application deployment efficiency, to leveraging cloud provider technology, to developing new features.
For example, AI and Machine Learning platforms and businessspecific development tools can be used to modernize existing applications and develop next-gen applications to differentiate themselves from their competition.
The Hybrid Advantage
More enterprises are realizing the benefits of moving workloads to the cloud. Currently, 65% of enterprises run at least some business-critical workloads in the cloud7, and by 2030, it’s predicted 90% of all applications will live in the cloud.
However, relying solely on the public cloud for all workloads isn’t the ideal solution for some enterprises. It’s sometimes cheaper to maintain applications with specific dependencies on-premises and many enterprises require specific workloads remain in-house to adhere to compliance and data sovereignty regulations.
The ideal infrastructure for the majority of enterprises is one that includes both environments.
The decision of whether or not to migrate is a strategic one and must be made case-by-case depending on the cost and complexity of migrating an application or data center, and the benefits achieved once in the cloud.
The ideal infrastructure for the majority of enterprises is one that includes both environments – providing the stability and familiarity of on-premises, while jointly leveraging public cloud services and scalability. This is the hybrid cloud.
Hybrid cloud migration can provide enterprises with significant cost savings, with recent research by the Taneja group showing it’s typically 34% less expensive than public cloud refactoring.8
In the next section, we will explore the challenges enterprises face when migrating to the cloud, and how a seamless hybrid cloud infrastructure can help overcome them.
The modern enterprise is under incredible pressure to maintain growth and innovation at an exponential rate.
As a result, many have rushed to adopt technologies like cloud computing without fully understanding or planning for the challenges they will face along the way.
According to McKinsey, “moving applications and data to public-cloud platforms involves working through a formidable set of technology, security, operational, and financial issues”.9
The data reflect these difficulties. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 41% of respondents cited their migration efforts as “mixed, problematic, or non-existent” – only 1 in 10 viewed the journey as “successful”.10
Below, we outline the most common pain points enterprises face when migrating, and the approaches they should take to overcome them:
Faced by as many as 60% of enterprises, infrastructure incompatibility is one of the most commonly cited cloud migration challenges.11
Known as ‘lift-and-shift’, many organizations expect they’ll be able to move applications built on-premises directly to their cloud environment. However, this strategy is unrealistically simple.
Different environments have different operating systems, and different requirements for the applications they house. Often this approach leads to performance issues, or in worst-case scenarios the application doesn’t work in the new environment at all.
The so-called lift-and-shift method of migrating legacy applications ‘as is’ to the cloud often doesn’t work, because public cloud providers require applications to run in their specific environments.
KURT SCHERER AND BOB BLACK
Kurt Scherer Senior Manager and Bob Black, Principal, Cloud Infrastructure and Engineering, Deloitte Consulting LLP.12
Many cloud solutions require significant investment of time, money and IT resources to ensure applications are compatible across environments. Instead, organizations would benefit from an out-of-the-box service, providing a single, consistent infrastructure across a seamless hybrid environment, removing the compatibility problem.
Lack of Support for Security Policies
In the early phases of cloud adoption, many organizations were paralyzed by the security implications of moving workloads to the cloud. One of the ‘three P’s of cloud adoption’, VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger, referred to this stage as ‘Cloud Paranoia’.
Watch VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and CloudHealth CEO Tom Axbey discuss the three phases of enterprise cloud adoption: Cloud Paranoia, Cloud Pollyanna and Cloud Pragmatism:
While there are a number of clear hybrid cloud benefits, achieving these is more complex than simply running public and on-premises environments at the same time.
Each provider brings its own unique security policies, and these may not align with the policies an organization has established on-premises. This can make migrating challenging, as the security architecture on-premises may not agree with what is running in the cloud.
Visibility is fundamental to maintaining consistent security when migrating workloads. By gaining full visibility of their policies from onpremises to the cloud, organizations are able to view and amend inconsistencies. According to Gartner, those enterprises that do implement appropriate visibility and control tools will experience one-third fewer security failures in the coming years.14
Infrastructure, operations and applications form the three key layers organizations must consider when migrating – and dependencies between these layers can cause a range of complications if left unresolved.
For example, migrating an application that relies on operational management by an on-premises system can cause serious performance issues if not planned properly.
Currently, 42% of enterprises moving critical applications to the cloud experience latency between on and off-premises applications following their migration.15 In extreme cases, applications fail to work entirely and have to be brought back to the data center – an expensive and time-consuming operation.
42% of enterprises moving critical applications to the cloud experience latency.
Application dependency challenges:
To avoid dependency issues, enterprises need to visualize how applications interact with their operating systems, infrastructures, and one another across all environments.
Ideally, the goal is to minimize compatibility challenges, providing consistency between environments to remove complications caused by dependencies between infrastructure layers, and allowing interdependent applications to transfer data seamlessly once migrated.
According to Tom Nolle of CIMI Corporation, it’s all about mapping apps appropriately:
Finally, enterprises require the ability to migrate applications in bulk, allowing them to move interdependent applications in concert with zero downtime.
Cost of Refactoring
and Rewriting Applications
89% of organizations face challenges associated with cost when migrating to the cloud.17 A lift-and-shift migration often doesn’t work and can put application performance at risk. To make on-premises applications work properly in the new environment, organizations often have to modify the code.
One method is refactoring, applying a series of small behaviorpreserving transformations to the code that modifies the application over time to make it suitable for the new environment. However, many engineers experienced in on-premises environments aren’t proficient with refactoring for the cloud, leaving organizations unable to utilize their in-house talent.
The other commonly used method is to rewrite the code entirely. Each of these methods involve significant investments in time and money on the part of the organization, and this compounds with the number of applications that need modification. In fact, 2 in every 5 businesses state application rewriting as their top migration cost.18
Refactoring and rewriting challenges:
Ideally, enterprises require an infrastructure that allows their existing applications to be migrated without modification. With consistent infrastructure and operations from on-premises to the cloud, enterprises would be able to move existing applications without any need for refactoring or rewriting – with the destination environment already set up to support the migrating
Lack of Strategic Planning
Organizations that do not have a high-level cloud strategy driven by their business strategy will significantly increase their risk of failure and wasted investment.
Vice President and Gartner Fellow
The decision of whether or not to migrate to the cloud is a complex one, depending on the value of the application, the impact it will have on the business, the cost and complexity of migrating and the benefits achieved once in the cloud. Despite this, Gartner estimates that less than one-third of enterprises have a documented cloud strategy.19
With the pressure to innovate, it’s not surprising that many enterprises rush to migrate without taking the time to look before they leap. The result is that many of these attempts backfire, causing projects to stall or requiring applications to be moved back to their original on-premises environments.
Strategic planning challenges:
Developing a comprehensive migration strategy is the best assurance an organization has to ensure their migration will be successful. Businesses should consider everything from desired business outcomes, to investment priorities, deployment models, service providers, talent sourcing and cloud policies.
Many elements of a sound migration strategy depend on organizational structure and culture. Those migrating to the cloud can also put themselves in the best possible position by choosing an experienced cloud provider and using best-in-class tools to comprehensively map their application data flows and estimate ongoing costs of network egress.
Learn more about how to develop an effective cloud migration strategy in our one page guide, 5 Simple Steps to Cloud Migration.
With the boom in cloud migration, difficulty finding experienced infrastructure and operations staff will cause business disruptions for as many as 75% of organizations.20
Attempting to manage the complexities of cloud migration without the right teams in place can also open organizations up to additional costs and risks.
Skills shortage challenges:
The ideal solution eliminates the need for upskilling or hiring new staff to complete a migration. It is preferential for all organizations to leverage their existing tools and skillsets, allowing their IT team to lend their expertise to the migration process in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
VMware has developed a portfolio of services that addresses the cloud migration challenges many organizations are facing. With VMware Cloud, enterprises can merge their on-premises environment with the cloud while removing compatibility and consistency challenges.
Consistent operations across environments ensures established policies and practices for security, automation and governance are preserved, protecting data and applications while minimizing the operational requirements for IT. What’s more, the entire cloud solution is built on the most proven and broadly deployed infrastructure portfolio in the world.
VMware Cloud enables consistent infrastructure and consistent operations, employing the same VMware tools and skillsets organizations already use on-premises, in the cloud – allowing them to migrate quickly, simply and with zero downtime.
This approach provides a best-in-class solution to a range of use cases:
Migrate in a way that’s simple fast and familiar, from assessing workloads and identifying potential savings, to seamlessly migrating applications from the data center to the cloud and back.
Rapid and large-scale migration of applications and entire data centers with minimal to no downtime and no disruption to mission critical applications.
Achieve seamless portability between public clouds, while retaining application integrity.
VMware Cloud Foundation
VMware Cloud Foundation provides organizations with the simplest path to the hybrid cloud by bringing together VMware’s vSphere, vSAN and NSX into a natively integrated stack, connecting on- and offpremises data centers with consistent infrastructure and operations.
With integrated cloud infrastructure and cloud management services, VMware Cloud Foundation makes it easy to deploy and run a hybrid cloud, increasing admin productivity and reducing overall TCO.
VMware Cloud Foundation provides a complete set of software-defined services for compute, storage, networking and security, and cloud management to run enterprise applications – traditional or containerized – in private or public environments. VMware Cloud Foundation simplifies the path to the hybrid cloud by delivering a single integrated solution that is easy to operate with built-in automated lifecycle management.
VMware Cloud Foundation is based on VMware’s market-leading technologies: vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and vRealize Suite, delivering enterprise-ready services for both traditional and containerized applications.
VMware Cloud Foundation is built on VMware’s leading hyper-converged architecture (vSAN), with all-flash performance and enterprise-class storage services including deduplication, compression and erasure coding. vSAN delivers elastic storage and drastically simplifies storage management.
VMware Cloud Foundation delivers end-to-end security for all applications by providing micro-segmentation, distributed firewalls, and VPN (NSX), VM, hypervisor, and vMotion encryption (vSphere), and data at rest, cluster, and storage encryption (vSAN).
VMware Cloud Foundation delivers self-driving operations (vRealize Operations, vRealize Log Insight) from applications to infrastructure to help organizations plan, manage and scale their SDDC. Users can perform application-aware monitoring and troubleshooting along with automated and proactive workload management, balancing and remediation.
VMware Cloud Foundation automatically deploys all of the building blocks of the Software-Defined Data Center – compute, storage, networking and cloud management – as ready-to-run Workload Domain.
VMware Cloud Foundation simplifies and automates patching and upgrading of the full private cloud stack with workload domain-level lifecycle management.
VMware Cloud on AWS
VMware Cloud on AWS bridges the gap between on-premises and the cloud, offering an integrated hybrid cloud that extends on-premises vSphere environments to a VMware SDDC running on AWS elastic infrastructure. This allows users to quickly and confidently migrate applications, or entire data centers, to AWS – the world’s largest public cloud.
By providing consistent infrastructure and operations, VMware Cloud on AWS allows organizations to migrate applications easily, using familiar VMware technologies.
VMware Cloud on AWS provides a single inventory view of both on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS resources using vCenter Server technology. Organizations can also reduce operational overhead by leveraging existing skills, tools, processes and familiar VMware technologies to move their applications to the public cloud.
Customers no longer have to worry about applications with significant customization or complex dependencies on existing infrastructures, or the cost and effort associated with refactoring or rewriting applications.
Using VMware Cloud on AWS is made even easier by the broad range of third-party technology solution providers validated to work with the service.
With VMware Cloud on AWS, enterprises are able to leverage predictable, high-performance compute, storage and networking – delivered by vSphere, vSAN and NSX – running on Amazon EC2 elastic, bare-metal infrastructure.
In addition to a range of capabilities that ensure application uptime, prevent the lateral spread of threats and secure data, the service enables automatic scaling and load balancing of environments with Elastic DRS.
Uptime is ensured throughout the application, with built-in capabilities VMware HCX, vSphere HA, DRS, auto host remediation, and Stretched Clusters for zero-RPO infrastructure availability.
VMware Cloud on AWS brings the broad, diverse and rich innovations of AWS natively to the enterprise applications running on VMware's compute, storage and network virtualization platforms.
This allows organizations to easily and rapidly add new innovations to their enterprise applications by integrating AWS infrastructure and platform capabilities. Users can extend the life and value of existing applications through integration with native cloud services and unique innovations accessible through public and private cloud environments.
With a comprehensive support service, users can leverage a single point of contact for all their support issues. The service also updates automatically, allowing users to focus on applications while VMware and its partners take care of infrastructure patches and upgrades.
Additionally, VMware Cloud on AWS provides a unified support experience with intelligent search, chat support, service request management, service health and community help.
Using this service, organizations are able to align costs to their business needs with flexible consumption options and investment protection. They are able to consume on-demand hourly or take advantage of one-year and three-year reserved models for deeper discounts.
VMware Cloud on AWS also includes rapid provisioning, enabling users to spin up entire VMware SDDC environments in two hours and add or remove hosts in minutes or let Elastic DRS do the job automatically, based on optimal utilization.
VMware Cloud on AWS is native, so for a vSphere administrator all the skills that he or she has developed over the last year or the last decade, immediately transfer right to AWS, because the interface is the same. It's smooth, quick and easy – exactly what we want.
Lead Architect vSphere Platform, Cerner
VMware HCX enables organizations to move applications seamlessly between environments at scale, accelerating workload migration by as much as 10x and reducing downtime by 90%.
Organizations can leverage the service to maintain business continuity while migrating and lower TCO by conducting large-scale migrations across a seamless hybrid cloud infrastructure.
VMware HCX enables organizations to transform their data center with secure, seamless application mobility between vSphere 5.0+ on-premises environments and the cloud, without upgrading their vSphere version. Enable zero-downtime ‘live’ migrations and scheduled, low-downtime, large-scale migrations. Multiple VM migration models (including vMotion, live, warm, cold) make it easy.
VMware HCX enables seamless and secure cloud on-boarding with secure proxy for vMotion; secure network extension; and high-throughput, WAN-optimized, load-balanced multisite bi-directional interconnects.
In the event of a disaster, organizations can use VMware HCX to recover their networking layer, while maintaining their traffic routes, allowing for high-speed disaster recovery with low downtime. Organizations can also use HCX to avoid anticipated disasters, migrating SDDCs from disaster zones to safe locations when disaster warnings are received.
Organizations can protect workloads by replicating data to a VMware Cloud Provider, enabling partial or full-site recovery. If disaster recovery is invoked, there is no reconfiguration of IPs, reducing complexity and allowing for faster recovery.
Since moving to VMware Cloud, I'm worrying less about operational uptime. There is a certainty, an assurance that everything works. Also, we feel we’re at the forefront of technology. There are additional features coming online every month.
Technical Services Manager, Stagecoach
Partnering with one of the more than 4,600 VMware Cloud Providers worldwide helps organizations drive their digital transformation with cloud services based on trusted VMware technology, designed to reduce the complexity of migration.
VMware Cloud Providers enable organizations to run, manage, connect and secure their entire application portfolio on any cloud, to any device. Migrating to the cloud with a VMware Cloud Provider holds a number of benefits for organizations.
Enterprises benefit from agility, efficiency, and savings of a public cloud that leverages their on-premises technology and investments to unlock enterprise-grade networking, security, and availability – enabling unparalleled compatibility.
Organizations are able to streamline cloud management and ensure security for their corporate IP with cloud providers that maintain the specific standards and compliance certifications required across a range of industries.
With a network of cloud providers located across more than 100 countries, organizations can easily keep data and applications local for simplified adherence to national data security and privacy regulations.
Organizations can count on their cloud provider as a trusted advisor to extend their IT to the cloud, enabling them to focus on business. With over 4,000 providers to choose from, enterprises are sure to find the specialized services to meet their unique business needs.
Network Insight is one of the key products in the VMware Cloud portfolio, not only simplifying cloud migration, but also enhancing network and security capabilities.
Deployed on-premises or accessed as a service, enterprises can use Network Insight to map and analyze traffic flows, plan security and troubleshoot network issues across all virtual, physical and public cloud environments.
With the ability to troubleshoot security for SDDC, native AWS and hybrid applications, Network Insight allows organizations to reduce risk by securing their application infrastructure and determining dependencies before migrating.
Organizations are able to reduce the mean time to resolution for application connectivity issues, optimize application performance by eliminating network bottlenecks and audit network and security changes over time.
Network Insight enables organizations to scale across multiple NSX managers, boost uptime by proactively detecting misconfiguration errors and ensure compliance for NSX.
Organizations on the cloud-migration journey are on a perpetual quest for the “fountain of youth” according to General Manager of AWS, Stephan Orban, with cloud-first strategies allowing companies of all ages to continue to compete in a rapidly evolving marketplace.21
As the world becomes increasingly variable and complex, organizations need to reduce the complexity and effort involved in their processes. An organization won’t stand a chance innovating against lean startups if it is stuck trying to overcome compatibility challenges or navigate application dependencies without the right tools.
The solution to achieving this simplicity is to implement a seamless, hybrid cloud environment. With familiar, integrated tools and systems, enterprises can migrate single applications or entire data centers to the cloud, providing the time and resources to focus on what’s important – developing innovative, useful new products.
Migrating to the cloud doesn’t have to be difficult. Organizations that choose to leverage seamless hybrid infrastructure get all the benefits of the cloud, without the interoperability, dependency and cost challenges that cause so many to flounder and stall.
Try our hands-on lab today to experience how a VMware Cloud on AWS Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) environment works by practicing basic tasks.
Or experiment with the features, capabilities and flexibility of VMware Cloud on AWS with our low-cost starter configuration. Migrate the simple, fast and familiar way, using the VMware tools and skillsets you already know.