Even when it’s a “lift-and-shift” of your legacy apps
Changing environments in order to change behavior is widely studied as an effective approach, as intuitive as it seems. It makes sense then that changing the environment of your business IT operation from an on-premises datacenter to the cloud can serve as the catalyst for improving and correcting processes and technologies, or “behaviors”, that no longer serve your business or users.
Even in a “lift-and-shift” cloud migration, which is the most common approach we see here at Skytap, customers who are looking to avoid application refactoring and a change in hardware can still benefit from being mindful about identifying and replacing some “bad practices” on premises with modern cloud-native tools. I hate to even call them “bad practices”, because oftentimes these are solutions that still work, and were the best option available at the time of implementation…but you must consider if there are better options available now. Here are the four most common things I have seen customers identify in their lift-and-shift cloud migration, and the easy swap they made using Azure and Skytap services.
Bad Practice #1: Not Considering Disaster Recovery or High Availability
With the accessibility and availability of resources in the cloud today, there is no excuse to run production workloads without a disaster recovery plan! Customers can use Azure Backup and Availability Zones for x86 workloads, and Azure Blob storage provides built-in resiliency and redundancy for even its lowest price tier of storage. Skytap has a feature called “live clone” that allows you to take a snapshot of one or multiple running instances at a time and save those or copy them to another region for a simple Disaster Recovery option. Alternatively, Skytap has partnerships with replication solution providers like Precisely and even has an integration with Assure MIMIX for real-time replication of IBM i workloads in the cloud.
Bad Practice #2: Not Thinking Through Connectivity and Routing
I recently worked with a customer who completed a simple “lift-and-shift” migration to the cloud. Once it started connectivity testing, however, it realized that some users and developers were still using hard coded IP addresses in their applications and connections. It took advantage of its move to Azure to not only correct its bad networking practices, but it also switched from more manual processes and the management of its own DNS server to Azure Traffic Manager.
Bad Practice #3: Oversizing Cloud Infrastructure
This one is especially applicable to my IBM Power customers (running AS/400, IBM i and AIX). In the past, on-premises hardware had to be sized for “future growth.” These environments were often oversized out of extreme caution, with customers paying to run much more than they actually needed. When we move customers to the cloud, we are sure to take a look at these environments and consider the utilization of their current hardware, as well as any optimization as they move from older hardware to newer hardware in the cloud. One of the best aspects of the cloud is that you can run just as much as you need, and increase or decrease compute resources and storage on-demand.
Bad Practice #4: Siloed Groups within IT
A cloud migration is a group effort. I often see IBM administrators, application teams, security teams, and network administrators collaborating for possibly the first time, or on their first extended project together during a migration to the cloud. This gives everyone a better understanding of their IT environment as a whole, and opens up even more conversations and opportunities to improve practices within the organization. (For example, no more hard-coding for on-premises latency or IP addresses!) The key is NOT to revert back to these silos post migration. Think of the cloud migration as the gateway to the permanent removal of IT silos and ensure it continues to benefit team members and the organization.
What are some of the bad IT practices you see within your organization that you would like to correct? Chances are you’re not alone in these practices, and there’s a simpler solution than you would expect that’s available in the cloud today.