What Is Application Migration? Common Strategies & Best Practices

Application Migration

Changing the environment is impossible without accurate application migration. Companies often decided to switch to the new computing environment because of new technologies they started to use, new business goals, or even new development strategies. In some cases, the system can be outdated to new realities. This text introduces the basic principles of migration, discuss applications migration strategy and plan, and outline the standard tools for implementing this process.

Application migration is the process of transferring the software application from one environment to another. It can be moving from on-premise to cloud center, from public to private cloud platforms. This process can be complicated as many companies use custom software development or specific network architecture. The software migration needs to ensure the accurate transfer of data and its safety.

In some cases, you need to migrate an app between incompatible systems, even at an ideology level. For example, the testing ideology in the 1990s was not familiar with the agile technique, but in the 2000s, agile principles became fundamental for software developers. HPQC and Atlassian Jira, for example, have different ideologies, but quite often, companies need to migrate from one to another.

The main goal for developers in the IT migration is to save the datasets, make a system work correctly in the new environment, and help the business successfully achieve the goals with the new system.

MORE ON TOPIC: The Guide to Data Migration | Types, Tools, Approaches, Challenges, Phases and Comparisons

Different apps could use different ways of transferring to the clouds even if they were built in the same environment. It allows developers to implement distant strategies for every type of data migration. There are six of the most commonly used strategies for app migration.

Re-host. This strategy assumes transferring the app from an on-premise system to the cloud without any significant changes. In many cases, this strategy helps to move faster to achieving business goals and saving money by re-hosting operations. Many re-hostings can be realized automatically or manually. At the same time, migration without modification will not get all the benefits of cloud computing capabilities.
Re-platform. With this strategy, you can make minor changes to the applications before transferring them. In most cases, you can make some cloud optimization without changing the app architecture. There are common cases in healthcare when migrating from on-premise to AWS (a fully managed platform). During this migration process, they switched from Java application container to open source equivalent. This transformation allowed them to save millions of dollars in licensing costs.
Re-architect. It is the most expensive strategy, but at the same time, it can be the most favorable for the business. This strategy requires significant changes in the app architecture to make it perform better in cloud environments. It can be migration from monolithic to serverless architecture or restructuring the monolithic architecture.
Retire or replace. In many cases, the most efficient decision will be to delete or replace some applications. Some apps can be unused for a long time, and subscription-based decisions can replace expensive on-premises server needs.
Retain. You can assess all the apps you have and segmentation on what you use, not use, and are unsure. After this analysis, you need to focus on migration only the apps you need and use. This strategy requires saving only the critical business applications and not spending time transferring the app, which is unnecessary for organizational work.
Re-purchasing. This is a migration to a SaaS platform that is disposed outside of your system infrastructure. A third party usually runs this platform. It will save you time, as this third party will maintain or update the platform. With a re-purchasing strategy, you will also have a new version or upgrade solution for your system.
MORE ON TOPIC: How to develop a successful cloud migration strategy

After choosing the most appropriate strategy of IT migration, the developers start the transferring process in a specific plan. The application migration checklist consists of four main stages.

1. Application assessment The first step in application migration is to analyze the situation, evaluate the goal, and create a plan for achieving it. It would help if you also looked at all possible tools and instruments for migrating particular DevOps cases. In this stage, you also need to assess the purchasing, maintenance, and operational cost of hardware you want to use for the migration process.
2. Risk assessment and testing

Before starting application migration to the cloud, you can test the process on the migration model. Then, after transferring every element of the model, you can implement migration into real life. This step allows us to evaluate the risks, prevent possible problems, and document all the processes accurately. In this stage, you can make significant changes to the code or application architecture to ensure the correct migration process.
3. Migration Every migration process has its challenges, and it cannot be easy to transfer all the applications simultaneously. The best DevOps practices focus on grouping the app and moving them to the new environment by these groups. It will reduce the risks and allow you to have detailed documentation on every move.
4. Monitoring It is not enough to run an application migrate. After the migration is completed, you need to analyze the system to determine if it works correctly. DevOps’s task is to evaluate application performance, search for potential disruption, and review database security. It is the last step in the migration process, but one of the most important as it evaluates the whole sophisticated process.
MORE ON TOPIC: Data Migration Plan | How to be Successful When Migrating to a New Platform

Nowadays, there are many application migration services and tools for different goals, strategies, and solutions. Most of them are free but limited by using their cloud platform support. First, we will point out the most commonly used in the market.

Google migration services. Some stacks run the application migration to GoogleCloud Platform within minutes (for example, Google startup Velostrata). Most of the Google services are free, but you will be limited by supporting only Google Cloud.
Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon also offers free services for app migration, such as AWS Database Migration Service, AWS Server Migration Service, and AWS Migration Hub.
Microsoft Azure. This service can be used for assessment workloads and migration. Microsoft services are also free but do not support any other vendors.
Micro Focus PlateSpin Migration Factory. This tool has advanced data security options and provides highly scalable migration functions.
Turbonomic. This tool offers a complex hybrid platform for the automatization of migration.
Salesforce migration tool. This service is often used for extraction code source and metadata to simple file formats.
There are some exponential cases in Cprime practices that can be valuable to share with other DevOps practitioners. For example, an application migration from HPQC (HP Quality Center) to Jira was a challenging task for realization. The company wanted to migrate software not only to Jira in general but use a third-party X-ray plugin.

We designed the code by detecting the same processes in old and new systems and mapping one to another. First, we mapped the business process, then mapped entities, and finally mapped files inside commodities. With some technical issues in migration from the HPQC system, there can be some data losses, and our task was to make them not critical for the whole business process.

Furthermore, HPQC and Jira have different ideologies that make the migration process even more difficult. Also, in this project, we focused on data validation after migration by implementing a particular script.

The application migration was run on time, and the company is satisfied with the results. This case is one of the successful implementations of app migration and the representative case for our experience.

Application migration is a sophisticated and challenging process for organizations. Before deciding to switch the platform, they need to analyze its needs and goals in-depth. It is essential to choose the right and the most appropriate strategy for an app migration. In addition, the company needs to focus on data security, cost of operations, and time for migration.

At the same time, businesses need to understand that migration is not a fast process. It requires some time to complete implementation.

Moreover, the migration process is often an essential step in system modernization. In some cases, it is impossible to launch digital innovations in the company without migration to advanced systems.

Implementing app migration from step to the stem will ensure a successful app running on a new platform and data security for the product. The application migration best practices show that the most crucial step in this process is understanding the general business strategy and evaluating needs.