The cloud migration tools category is as wide as any other in enterprise IT software. Here we provide an overview of the landscape, and when and how to apply each type of tool to achieve your goals. While the landscape can seem complicated, one thing is clear: There is no silver-bullet to cloud migration tools.
Breaking it Down
Broadly speaking, cloud migration tools generally belong in one or more of the following phases of a migration:
Within each phase, there are a few distinct approaches various vendors have taken and knowing when to apply each one is critical to aligning your project to your company’s objectives and goals.
In the early days of cloud, we migrators often used the same tooling as we were familiar with in our data center migration and consolidation days. This works fine as long as you are only “lifting and shifting” workloads to the cloud and mimic your data center design in the cloud.
For these types of infrastructure migration projects, the discovery phase calls for network based discovery tools, such as HP’s DDMi, BMC’s ADDM. Some DCIM, CMDB and IPAM solutions such as Device42 and LightMesh also offer infrastructure discovery through the network inspection, interrogation or server agents.
More recently, general purpose IT health-check and analysis tools such as Flexera (and formerly RISC Networks), or Device42 as well as application performance measurement tools like Dynatrace, have all pivoted into the cloud migration space. These have been joined by agent-based and appliance-based solutions provided by AWS Application Discovery Service and Azure Migrate, which offer low-cost/no-cost methods of discovering IP addresses, dependencies based on TCP traffic analysis and running process capture.
As customers have increasingly chosen to replatform and optimize their applications as they migrate, the need for more application-centric discovery techniques has become acute.
Discovery tools that analyze your DNS configurations, database configurations and application source code strike at the heart of what cloud-first teams need in order to be successful.
There are three flavors to assessment that we see in the market: infrastructure, application and business.
Infrastructure assessment tools tend to describe feature sets such as cost-optimization, right-sizing and cloud-provider-arbitrage. The products in this category tend to start out as migration use-case specific but grow into the ever growing list of cloud management platform (CMP) tools, that offer a single-pane-of-glass for managing IaaS workloads across the hyperscalers. Examples of tools in this category are Cloudamize, Densify and RightScale.
Application assessment tools allow you to take a more holistic view for you cloud migration and are generally utilized by non-IT operations groups. This category is ranges from source code analysis tools to application portfolio management tools. Tidal is an example of an application assessment solution, specifically for cloud migration, with automated 6R recommendations.
Business assessment tools are often provided by consulting firms, and embody their particular methodology for assessing an organization’s readiness for cloud. These tools can be delivered as spreadsheets, questionnaires or via face to face processes.
In cloud migration, depending on which transition type you are executing for a given application (see The 6 Rs of migration) you will find you need a different playbook.
In rehost migrations (AKA lift and shift), you will benefit from tools that allow you to create move groups or transition waves, which include the servers and applications that should migrate together. Tidal and Cloudscape are examples of tools which you can create move groups with.
For replatform, refactor and repurchase migrations, much of your work effort will be best managed in an agile methodology. Tools such as Trello and JIRA are well established solutions for teams practicing agile, see here for an example cloud migration project plan in Trello.
Finally, migration execution tools are how many of us get our data to the cloud. As with the above categories, many of the tools here have their background in infrastructure related endeavours.
Server backup, disaster recovery and VM replication tools once used in our data centers have all become cloud migration tools. Similarly, many have been acquired by the cloud providers and integrated with their internal migration practices.
However, independent tools like RiverMeadow stand out for their API driven approach, facilitating integrations with assessment and planning tools like Tidal Accelerator.
Like with the planning tools, for execution of refactor and replatform migrations, your tools of choice may be ones that your development teams are already comfortable with: github/gitlab/DevOps, Terraform & Ansible, with a sprinkling of rsync for good measure!
To discuss cloud migration tools with one of our experts, please reach out.