In migrating applications to the public cloud, IT teams are confronting two separate but related issues that add costs and complexity: refactoring and repatriation.
Refactoring is the process of rewriting code to make the application more cloud-ready, typically updating the overall application architecture, APIs and integrations with compute, storage and network resources. Refactoring helps legacy apps take on characteristics of cloud-native apps, making it more feasible for developers to use modern tools such as containers and microservices.
Repatriation is the process of pulling back applications that have been migrated to the cloud and returning them to the data center. The most common reasons for repatriation are concerns about operating costs, cloud-based workload performance, security and compliance, availability and changing business needs, according to TechTarget.
In many cases, IT and business teams are surprised by the cost of actually operating a major application in the public cloud. Per TechTarget: “An organization’s total monthly bill can sometimes result in sticker shock, especially for ones with erratic or unpredictable workloads. When compared against the cost of running such a workload in-house, the long-term cost of a major cloud deployment can become unattractive.”
Refactoring costs time and money. It also increases risk because IT teams must ensure that they are not impacting the external behavior of applications and workloads when they rewrite the code. IT teams can avoid refactoring completely by lifting and shifting applications from the data center to the cloud. This simplifies the migration process, reduces costs and accelerates the shift to the cloud.
By leveraging a cloud platform that tightly integrates on-premises infrastructure with cloud management software, IT teams can use pervasive automation to make the lift-and-shift migration as seamless as possible. In addition, by using VMware as a migration path, IT can take advantage of automation and intelligence to simplify the processes involved in adding cloud-native capabilities to legacy applications.
Repatriation is also something you want to avoid. It too is expensive and time consuming. First the organization goes through the expense of migrating an app to the cloud, sometimes involving refactoring, sometimes with a lift-and-shift model. Then it finds it is spending too much money in the cloud or dealing with other issues, so it has to go through the expense of migrating that application back to the data center.
The cost of repatriation will vary from application to application, workload to workload, company to company. But the costs can be significant. According to an article in The Register, one company saved almost $75 million in infrastructure costs over two years by moving apps to the data center from the cloud. Another company said it would reduce operational costs by 66%, while reducing downtime and increasing capacity by 25%.
Simplifying the migration path
The best way to avoid the costs and complexities of refactoring and repatriation is to do a thorough analysis of the applications and workloads before you begin any migration. Why are you considering the cloud? What are the application requirements? What are the business goals? What are the interdependencies between each app and workload? How much will the migration cost and, once it is completed, what will be the ongoing operational costs?
In doing this analysis, you may decide that the application is better served by remaining on premises, or incorporating public cloud services in a hybrid cloud model that involves a lift-and-shift migration. If the analysis determines that refactoring is necessary, it is still important to choose the right migration path so you can avoid repatriation in the future.
Taking the next step
Refactoring and repatriation are complex issues, and many cloud migrations suffer because the organization doesn’t have the experience, knowledge or resources to undertake the analysis required to make the best decision for the long term.
Cloud migration is crucial to digital transformation and the future of any organization. Therefore, it is one of those times when enlisting the expertise of your trusted partners can have a dramatic impact on your success.
Refactor? Repatriate? Lift-and-shift? If these are some of the questions your organization is confronting, it's time to visit Dell Technologies to find out how the combination of Dell EMC infrastructure and VMware software can simplify your cloud migrations.