Cloud Migration Strategies: 2. Relocate, aka 'rehosting on steroids'.
For organisations whose on-prem IT runs on VMware, relocation is basically rehosting, but specifically designed to enable you to create a virtual copy of your datacenter in the cloud.
In this post, we'll take a deeper dive into Relocating, including:
- Relocation explained;
- Drivers for relocation;
- Benefits of relocation;
- Risks of relocation;
- How to relocate.
The information in this blog post comes from our Migration eBook: What everyone needs to know about migrating applications to the cloud. You can get your copy here.
AWS added this “seventh R” to the framework when they announced VMware Cloud on AWS in 2017.
Relocation is another infrastructure-centric approach, but this time leverages the same set of vSphere building blocks to seamlessly create an identical virtual datacentre in VMware Cloud.
As with rehosting, software running on the migrated VMs remains blissfully unaware that anything has changed. In this case, however, existing ops tools and processes can also be retained, even if dependent on third-party products. This type of migration can usually be performed by a suitably skilled ops team, with no involvement from application developers.
Drivers for relocation
Relocation is chosen by organisations with a big investment in VMware tools and expertise, and a need to move to the cloud quickly. Common use-cases and drivers include:
Disaster recovery site: use VMware Cloud on AWS for disaster recovery, removing the need for a second on-prem datacentre.
- Exit the datacentre quickly: the speed of the relocate method means a suite of applications that can be moved quickly. This could solve scalability issues (e.g. lack of footprint or resources on-prem), or the need to renew datacentre contracts or do a hardware refresh.
Benefits of Relocation
Leverage existing VMware expertise and tools: less need to retrain; fewer AWS services to learn.
Speed of migration: by continuing to use VMware, there are very few changes required. It is even possible to utilise vMotion to migrate a VM from on-prem to AWS while it is running!
Risks of Relocation
Missing many benefits of cloud: this approach does not get the benefits of many of the cloud services - a lot of the operations and complexity still lie with the organisation, rather than with the cloud provider.
Cost: VMware licenses are expensive. It is harder to achieve cost savings—for example it is harder to scale up and down applications because the VMware environment runs on dedicated hosts.
Harder to modernise: to take full advantage of the cloud, modernisation will likely require moving beyond VMware to embrace native AWS services (e.g. EC2 for VMs, Fargate for containers, or Lambda for function-as-a-service). By moving applications to VMware Cloud as-is, this modernisation work has been averted in the short term. It is important to set the expectation that this future work should be properly planned.
How to Relocate
Relocation is often driven by the infrastructure team responsible for the existing VMware environment, with minimal involvement from the application teams. It can be applied to an entire suite of applications running in a given VMware environment.
In order to relocate, you must first:
- Understand the pricing, licensing, operations and shared responsibility model of the VMware Cloud on AWS. Also understand how VMware Cloud relates to other AWS services in your account, for example for networking and access control. Work closely with finance, governance, operations and security.
- Understand the requirements of the existing environment: for example the required capacity, VMware versions and networking.
- Understand the requirements of the applications running within the existing environment. What else do the applications need to connect to? Is disaster recovery purely within the VMware environment or does it involve external components? Will the operation team’s runbooks be impacted by the migration?
For the cutover, work with the application owners to determine the acceptable maintenance window.
Migration Strategies Blog Series
This is post 3 of our Migration Strategies blog series. We're posting new blogs daily, each exploring a different migration strategy in more depth.
You can get a head start by downloading a copy of our Migration eBook: "What everyone needs to know about migrating apps to the cloud", which explores each of these approaches in detail.
Working with a partner like Cloudsoft
For many firms, deep knowledge of cloud platforms is not a core competency central to their mission. For them, the sheer breadth of cloud services and the nuances of different migration approaches can be hard to untangle. In such cases, working with a cloud partner can de-risk the options and accelerate the firm’s cloud adoption strategy.
Cloudsoft partners with organisations at all stages of the cloud journey: lending crucial strategy advice through the assess and mobilise phases, guiding the selection of migration methods for different workloads, and assisting with the technical planning and implementation of the migration itself. Staffed with experienced application developers, we also frequently continue to work with customers post-migration, refactoring and modernising the migrated workloads.