Cloud Application Development Guide

The cloud is changing the way applications are developed. And it is giving organizations the agility they need to be competitive. But what does this mean, exactly?

In this guide, you’ll find answers to that question and all the others you have about cloud computing. You’ll also get all the details on cloud-native. Plus, you’ll learn how you can successfully embrace the cloud and cloud-native development as part of your digital transformation.

Cloud Migration

“By 2024, the majority of legacy applications will receive some modernization investment, with cloud services used by 65% of the applications to extend functionality or replace inefficient code.”

IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2022 Predictions 

What Is Cloud Migration All About?

Cloud migration is the process of moving applications, services, databases, and other IT resources to the cloud. That move can happen from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, or from one cloud to another.

With the pressure to deliver innovative products and services at an all-time high, companies are being forced to cut the shackles from their outdated technology and processes and modernize their legacy systems. To reap the benefits from cloud applications, such as flexibility, resilience, agility, and open new opportunities for the business, organizations move parts or their entire IT resources to the cloud.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

The main reason organizations migrate to the cloud is to increase competitiveness and their ability to outflank their competitors. They’re able to do so by reaping the benefits cloud infrastructures offer, which we discussed in greater detail in the previous cloud computing and cloud-native sections:

  • Faster development and more frequent software release
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Ease of management
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • 24/7 availability
  • Security
  • Disaster recovery backup
  • Overall improved performance

Cloud Migration Models

Migrating to the cloud can be done through different approaches. These are also known as the “6 R’s” of cloud migration.

1. Rehosting

Also known as “lift and shift” where you grab your on-premises environment (or cloud if you’re moving between clouds) as it is and move it to the cloud without making any major change.

2. Replatforming

Similar to a “lift and shift” approach, but you make a few adjustments to your environment to better adapt to the cloud. Just like in a rehosting approach, you don’t change your app's architecture.

3. Repurchasing

You move your apps to a new cloud-based platform. It’s a less conservative approach when compared to rehosting and re-platforming because you lose your existing licensing and code, which means you need to retrain your developers to use the new platform.

4. Refactoring

You rebuild your existing applications. This approach is mostly used when an organization wants to add cloud capabilities to their apps, and they’re not available in their existing environment. It’s usually more expensive than the approaches already mentioned, but it is also more future-proof.

5. Retiring

After you access your app portfolio, and identify what needs to be moved to the cloud, there are a few apps that might no longer be useful. So you basically retire them and keep your house clean.

6. Retaining

Not every application should be migrated to the cloud. Maybe for security or compliance reasons, some apps make more sense to stay on-premises. In a retaining model, you create a hybrid infrastructure, where a few resources are in the cloud, and others stay on-premises.

Cloud Migration Challenges and Considerations

There are a few challenges organizations need to keep in mind for successful cloud migration:

Uncertain Cost

Before you get the ROI of cloud migration, the initial process can be quite expensive, especially if done without a proper plan in place. Those costs can come from training your dev team to use a new product, rewriting apps, investing in tools, and even unexpected results.

This is one of the reasons why it’s very important to have a well-defined plan before starting a migration strategy so that you can predict your investment.

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Skill Shortage and Training Needs

According to IDC, in 2021, there was a 10% skill shortage when considering today’s population of full-time developers, a percentage that is only expected to continue to rise. On the one hand, it’s hard to find trained developers with experience in cloud development. On the other, companies can’t really afford to dismiss their developers to focus on the migration while keeping the business running as usual.

Low-code platforms are good allies in a migration process as they allow you to augment your development resources. Consider evaluating them in the planning phase of your migration.

Legacy Apps’ Technical Debt

Legacy systems come with high technical debt and that can bring unexpected risks of breaking something in the process of moving to the cloud.

Although it’s impossible to completely avoid technical debt, there are ways to reduce it from the very beginning. You can take a look at Best Practices for Avoiding and Fixing Technical Debt to see how.

Downtime

While migrating to the cloud, there might be a need to take on-premises servers offline, which can affect customer experience.

It’s very important to have a proper backup and allocate resources in case of an outage.

Interoperability

Once you migrate to the cloud there might be a risk that the apps on the cloud don’t communicate properly with your on-prem environment.

To avoid this, you might have to adapt your processes to the processes of the cloud provider.