Migration considerations for the cloud


Enterprises are increasingly migrating their applications to public and private clouds. The main differentiator between public and private cloud migrations is in the availability of native migration tools and services that can accelerate migrations. For instance, AWS has a Database Migration Service that can migrate on premise databases to AWS managed data services. With private clouds, enterprises need to rely on third party tools and vendors for their migration needs. Regardless of your target cloud, there are two approaches to migrating applications to the cloud: server migration and application migration.

  • Server Migrations

Server migrations are essentially tool-based and involve the migration of whole servers (physical or virtual) to private and public clouds. The assumption is that the application(s) on the server will continue to work as-is after the migration. These migrations involve no code remediation and are therefore faster and cheaper with comparatively lower levels of risk. However, there is no scope for modernizing the applications or integrating the applications with platform native services for database, middleware, etc. (PaaS) during the migration. Typically, server migrations work well when the current versions of the application technology, application servers or runtimes will continue to work on the target platform.

  • Application Migrations

On the other hand, application migration is the preferred approach when some level of code remediation is required due to variations between the source and target environment. These variations may be due to differences in the operating system, application servers, or runtimes. Application-based migration is also preferred in scenarios where the customer requires integration with native services to maximize benefits from the public cloud and minimize the TCO of their public cloud applications. Because they require some level of remediation to the code, application migrations are not as fast as server migrations. The migration risk and cost are on the higher side and depend on the degree of remediation and automation used. Application migrations are commonly used in scenarios involving UNIX to Linux migrations, Windows/Linux upgrades, application server (JBoss etc.) upgrades and runtime (.Net, Java etc.) upgrades.

  • Containers

Another emerging approach to migrations is called containerization. The idea is to decompose an application or server into discrete components like application servers, web servers, data services etc. and then package each component separately as a container (micro-VM). The containers are then shipped to the customer’s trusted container registry for deployment. Containers offer the highest level of workload portability and the highest level of system resource utilization. The effort to containerize a workload is higher than the server migration approach, but lesser or equal to that of application migrations.

Modernization versus Migration

Once the applications have been migrated to the cloud, using either server migration or application migration, the next logical step would be to modernize these applications to cloud-native. This would enable the applications to fully exploit the advantages of a cloud computing delivery model that automates and integrates cloud services pertaining to DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, and containers. The modernization exercise requires an assessment of the application to determine if the application needs to be re-architected to newer frameworks and patterns. For applications on legacy technologies, the modernization to cloud-native could also involve a technology conversion

Cloud Migration Partners

Many companies decide to use third parties to facilitate cloud migrations. Certified migration partners bring the necessary expertise for clients looking to migrate large portfolios of applications and servers. DXC has an experienced team in its Cloud Platforms and ITO (CPI) offering that specializes in server migrations. Similarly, the DXC Application Services team specializes in application advisory, containerization, migration, modernization, integration and management services, including an offering designed specifically for Public Cloud Migrations to Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.

Mudasser Zaheer headshotMudasser Zaheer (Maz) is passionate about digital transformations. He is currently responsible for Public Cloud Application services at DXC Technology. His previous roles include Chief Evangelist, Digital Transformation Officer and Chief Product officer for companies like HP Enterprise.


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  1. […] all of the benefits that native-cloud has to offer, you will need to choose one of a number of migration methods. The bad news is that very often there will be no immediate clear-cut answer to how your migration […]

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