Transitional Data Services: Orchestrating Complex Migrations To Hybrid Cloud

Eric Kraieski, VP, Enterprise Applications When discussing cloud migrations, most people focus on the common use cases of new software deployments or moving a single virtual server from the data center to the cloud. These basic types of cloud deployments are well understood and supported by niche migration vendors and tools. However, for many IT organizations now pursuing massive cloud migrations for existing apps, they recognize that new approaches are required to successfully orchestrate, plan, and execute these large and complex migrations.

"While the technical considerations alone are daunting, there are additional factors to consider when planning complex application migrations to a hybrid cloud"

In large scale cloud migrations, organizations quickly realize that only a small portion of applications are truly cloud-ready, and careful planning and execution is required to assure success. For example, when multiple apps share infrastructure (i.e. servers, storage and database), they either must be moved together or some additional effort will be required to decouple and resolve these critical interdependencies. Additionally, integrated applications may have connectivity and latency requirements between them that need to be preserved once the migration is complete. And in many cases, there can be significant application rework necessary to become cloud “ready”. Consequently, you cannot move a workload until you identify and address all these interdependencies at the application level and ensure the end-state achieves the target objectives (ROI/payback, performance, and end-user functionality). And this is precisely the problem that TransitionManager from Transitional Data Services (TDS) addresses—the ability to accelerate and orchestrate complex migrations to hybrid environments.

“While the technical considerations alone are daunting, there are additional factors to consider when planning complex application migrations to a hybrid cloud that often blocks organizations from getting started,” Eric Kraieski, VP Enterprise Applications at TDS noted. “To increase project velocity, first, you need to combine the information in the various silo systems of record, complement this with new discovery and human knowledge to create actionable intelligence about your software deployments. You also need to foster cross-silo collaboration, while taking into account risk management issues such as compliance, resiliency, and information security (for example, PCI, HIPAA, and internal security controls).”

Perpetual Change in Hybrid IT

Most IT organizations realize their infrastructure and operations must become more agile and fluid to keep pace with the ever-changing business and technical requirements. Running applications in the cloud is certainly a popular option for IT to achieve this greater flexibility, provided it can meet the requirements of the application users. Ultimately, the end-state must also provide an acceptable ROI once all costs and risks are evaluated.

Hybrid Cloud (or more precisely, hybrid IT) is about taking an all-of-the-above approach to application hosting. Sometimes the optimum approach is to simply let the application remain in a conventional data center/colocation facility when appropriate factors are considered.

Using the orchestration power of TransitionManager recipes and runbooks virtually eliminate sequence and dependency errors during cloud migration

In other cases, re-hosting in a public or private cloud may be optimal. In other cases, full outsourced options may end up being the best option—which could include a migration to a SaaS alternative or leverage a managed services provider for infrastructure and facilities maintenance.

“Hybrid IT and perpetual change are the new normal,” said Kraieski. “In many cases, this is driven by IT to improve operational performance and efficiencies (for example, hardware refresh, facility consolidation, and cloud migration). Sometimes it is necessary to support new digital business initiatives, and it may be necessary to address the evolving demands of risk management, resiliency, and compliance. Regardless of the ultimate path, TDS recommends a comprehensive, application-centric approach to discovery, analysis, planning, and execution,” he concluded.

The TDS approach is centered on TransitionManager as the comprehensive orchestration framework—used to understand, analyze, plan, and ultimately accelerate the migration strategy. The TransitionManager software is used to analyze, plan, and execute these migrations and optional TDS professional services may be used to assist the end customer or migration partner with their overall project.

While niche migration tools are focused on straightforward migration challenges that can be automated—like moving virtual images to the cloud, automatically provisioning services or optimizing cloud deployment servers, these systems presume the tough decisions have already been answered. Questions that must first be answered include which applications should go to cloud, which cloud and for what benefit? And what will it cost? This is part of the analysis role of TransitionManager.

Mitigating Cross-Silo Complexity

According to Kraieski, there are four primary steps to any transition process: establishment of goals, environment discovery (and data normalization), analysis/planning, and execution. With clear goals and objectives, the discovery process can be streamlined and focused toward the highest impact areas.

The first step in any migration, transition or transformation is to develop a comprehensive, cross-silo view of the environment, consolidating information available from all sources. This may include ITSM systems, niche tools, existing databases and auto-discovery systems, and human intelligence. This information is normalized to be made consistent. These “IT facts” may be augmented with business requirements around performance, resiliency, and information security. TransitionManager allows businesses to visualize their cross-silo environment through a single system—the consolidated “Vault of Truth.”

TransitionManager’s Vault of Truth empowers users with the ability to recognize blind spots and factor out the risk. This Vault of Truth presents a consolidated map where the users can see the entire IT infrastructure along with the relationships between the various entities.
Before planning any project, Kraieski says, “It really helps when you can have a complete visual mapping of the environment where you can drill down into the various relationships from different perspectives to assist with the decision making and planning process.”

Once you select the appropriate migration method for each application (and groups of related applications), the real action begins with the execution of these migrations. With TransitionManager, a “runbook” is automatically generated based on reusable migration “recipes”— which are templated migration workflows to assure all steps are executed in the proper sequence. “Using the orchestration power of TransitionManager, recipes and runbooks virtually eliminate sequence and dependency errors during cloud migration,” says Kraieski.

In one recent project (with a top 3 global auto manufacturer), the challenge was to consolidate three distinct data centers into a single private cloud environment. With hundreds of applications running across several thousand servers, the client completed the project in 18 months from inception using TransitionManager and TDS professional services.

Another aspect of TransitionManager is in its flexibility to adapt to unique custom requirements of the organization or that which are required for the vertical market. TransitionManager can be extended to track additional information in customizable fields that may be required based on unique requirements or decision factors. For instance, in a hospital environment, TransitionManager can be used to account for HIPAA impact throughout the migration event. For an eCommerce or financial services company, TransitionManager can be used to account for PCI or personal data compliance requirements through the migration process. “The flexibility built into the TransitionManager allows it to be adaptable to hybrid IT environments across industry verticals and to account for organization specific needs,” highlights Kraieski.

Organically Developed by IT Migration Specialists

“TransitionManager was developed based on a decade of complex migration experience with some of the largest companies on the planet,” Kraieski says. “As consultants and practitioners, we found existing tools unsuitable to address the complexities of large scale enterprise application migrations—so we created TransitionManager to fill the void.”

TransitionManager is available as SaaS or can be deployed on the customer’s premise (or cloud). Customers can deploy TransitionManager to manage their own hybrid evolution or leverage TDS (or TDS partner) migration services as appropriate. As for integration, TDS can connect to existing systems and tools in the enterprise. “We have built a robust integration layer to interoperate with information source systems (like ITSMs and auto-discovery tools), and to automate downstream execution by integrating with the appropriate silo execution tools using TransitionManager recipes and tasks.”

With more than a decade of experience in complex IT migrations, combined with the orchestration power of TransitionManager, TDS is empowering the wave of mass hybrid cloud IT migrations.

Transitional Data Services

Westborough, MA

Eric Kraieski, VP, Enterprise Applications

Provides TransitionManager software and professional services to orchestrate the end-to-end process for hybrid IT transitions and mass cloud migrations

Transitional Data Services