As you are moving through your application migration checklist, the choice between lift-and-shift and a re-architecture is not always clear. But it’s safe to say that lift-and-shift will almost always be the most cost-effective approach from both a time and cost perspective. There are different lift-and-shift solutions for migrating Windows applications to the cloud. Products in this field can be divided into the following categories.
Application Migration Checklist: What's right for you?
Application virtualization includea products such as App-V, ThinApp, Cameyo Offline allow packaging applications into a standalone container which can be executed directly on Windows machines, without requiring installation. While convenient for on-premise application delivery, these solutions are not useful when it comes to cloud migration, since they are based on local execution.
Terminal servers solutions such as Remote Desktop, RemoteApp, Citrix allow executing applications on a Windows server and letting users remotely access them. These products are robust and feature-rich. However, they were designed for large companies and require heavy infrastructure and expertise. Also, they were created for LAN application delivery, long before the era of cloud. Therefore, they are tightly coupled into the concept of Windows, user profiles, Active Directory, local hard-disks and network shares. Keep in mind that such servers require as much IT maintenance as a workstation. In this case, be prepared to have IT maintain and troubleshoot the user accounts on these servers. Leveraging such products for a cloud-based architecture can be tedious & costly, and unfriendly to end users. It is interesting to note that Microsoft no longer offers Azure RemoteApp (their version of cloud-based Remote Desktop for application migration), probably for these very reasons.
Cloud app delivery is the latest in the field of lift-and-shift application migration, this type of technology was created precisely for application cloud migration. They can stream applications directly to the end-user’s HTML5 browser without any pre-installed agent. They integrate directly with Internet-friendly authentication (email / SAML) and cloud storage. Products in this category are based on a stateless operating system (no dependency on Windows user profiles), which eliminates the need to maintain server and user profiles, as is the case for Terminal servers. Also, their stateless architecture allows leveraging elasticity and scalability, resulting in a much lower cost. Virtual servers are added / removed dynamically according to usage volume, which is the main cost component for this kind of solutions.
Have you tried one or more of the solutions above? If so, let us know how your migration went.
We hope you enjoyed our four part series on migrating applications to the cloud. We are planning several more series. The next on will focus on building out an application migration checklist. If you missed one or more of the articles in this series, please click the links below to view them: