Cloud Acceleration

Case Study: Bringing ease and speed to application-centric cloud migration – DevOpsGroup 


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About DevOpsGroup 

DevOpsGroup is part of Sourced, an Amdocs company. They specialise in DevOps, Agile and cloud migrations, and are an AWS (Amazon Web Services) Advanced Consulting Partner and Microsoft Gold Partner. Their clients range from large financial services to disruptive scale-ups.  

DevOpsGroup build and maintain critical cloud platforms and pipelines for developer-built applications, following Agile and DevOps principles and practices and help customers to unlock cost savings and tangible benefits from the cloud. 

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The Challenge 

On a recent customer project being delivered as part of AWS’s Migration Acceleration Programme, DevOpsGroup discovered the many benefits of working with AppScore’s cloud migration platform. The AppScore platform makes application-centric migration planning much faster, easier, and more effective.  

DevOpsGroup needed to take an application-centric cloud migration approach rather than the traditional model of lifting and shifting the whole estate.  

Using this model of cloud migration, which focuses on the needs and requirements of individual applications, enables each workload to be assessed and a desired migration or modernisation outcome to be identified. 

By doing this, the most effective route to the cloud can be determined on an application-by-application basis. This may take the shape of a refactor or re-platform of an application depending on the new environment or be as simple as a lift-and-shift or retiring the application and replacing it with something else.  

Gathering and processing the data required by these steps can be complex and time-consuming, resulting in the over-spend and over-run of a cloud migration project. For this reason, DevOpsGroup chose the AppScore platform.  

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How DevOpsGroup used AppScore 

  1. Importing data into AppScore 

In support of the assessment, information had to be uploaded for applications. Since their customer was migrating to AWS, DevOpsGroup were able to benefit from AppScore’s ability to import data directly via the AWS Migration Hub API. This is much quicker and reduces the errors that a manual process such as using spreadsheets often causes.  

  1. Signposting

When the data had been imported, DevOpsGroup introduced AppScore’s signposting procedure to the customer team. There are five questions which establish key information such as how to achieve cloud-native status and priorities for optimisation to get to the cloud, answering these questions produces a 6Rs recommendation for the application. 

AppScore Signposting

By inviting the customer's teams into the platform and enabling application owners to answer the questions, DevOpsGroup were able to save time and ensure their customer’s team became familiar with the AppScore platform. 

DevOpsGroup found this process of customer-centric data capture incredibly useful when planning migrations into the cloud. It enables them to understand the logic and direction of the people maintaining the workloads and therefore makes it easier to engage the customer and understand what information is required from them. This all helps to bring greater focus into delivering workload outcomes, which ultimately help accelerate migration.  

  1. Scoring

In AppScore, 25 standard scoring questions were applied to each of the customer’s applications, along with five bespoke questions. AppScore’s extensible scoring model allows users to add questions to capture and score any information they wish. The answers allow apps to be grouped according to key characteristics, such as whether they contain sensitive or secret information, have compliance requirements, DR needs and so on. As shown in the image, this enables an application-centric view of the estate to be created.  

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Workshops were held with the customers for the first set of applications so that they were able to explain the scoring process to them. They then liaised with the customer’s Project Manager who assigned the relevant members of the team to insert the remaining data. 

The dynamic nature of the AppScore platform means decision-makers can quickly see how their overall migration plan is affected by changes in priorities. It is also possible to have the algorithm reflect customer preferences in priorities. For example, if the priority of the project were speed to the cloud, there may be more inclined to a lift-and-shift migration. If modernisation is more of a key priority, re-factoring or re-architecting applications may be more suitable.  

The information provided by the customer meant that they were prepared for discovery meetings on workloads. They were also able to conduct research before the workshops which meant relevant and specific design requirements could be discussed with their customer from the start. This meant the overall process of migrating to the cloud was further accelerated. 

Further benefits of the AppScore Platform 

The AppScore platform is designed to support the modernisation of workloads to ensure better success in the cloud. One feature which DevOpsGroup highlighted as greatly beneficial is the ‘technical debt timeline’

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This uses a RAG scheme to indicate at what point in time issues may be encountered if an application isn’t suitably modernised. In a cloud migration project, where time to the cloud is a key priority, this feature empowers stakeholders to make decisions about what applications should be a priority now to refactor or re-platform, and which can wait until a later date. 

AppScore also provides an application dependency mapping visualisation that makes it easy to understand the connectivity between applications and impacts on migration to the cloud. 

This additional information means that the overall migration process runs a lot smoother, and enables cloud solution architects to make better, more informed decisions. Ideally, a successful cloud migration should be completed with minimal technical debt, so understanding how you can support workloads in the future can help with both short and long-term planning.  

The result 

DevOpGroup’s AWS MAP Assess phase work was enriched and accelerated through the use of the AppScore platform. It allowed them to clearly demonstrate the outcomes of various different methods of cloud migration for individual applications to their customer. Decision-makers had a clear view of any cost and time implications that were attached to any of the options DevOpsGroup recommended to them. Any consequences to different routes taken were also quickly visualised, meaning that they could make well-informed decisions on the best direction to take.  

Ensuring everything is running securely and smoothly when embracing the cloud at scale requires preparation and specialist implementation. Organisations, particularly those in heavily regulated industries need to approach cloud adoption with an appropriate level of caution. However, not moving to the cloud has myriad risks, such as falling behind competitors or the inflated cost of running ageing applications on-premises. 

DevOpsGroup found that the AppScore platform allowed their project to be delivered in a methodical but Agile manner. It achieved a balance between depth and breadth of planning, enabling smarter estimates that engendered better trust and transparency with their customer.

Overall, AppScore provided a strong foundation for a seamless and successful cloud adoption.  

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“The AppScore platform enabled us to devise an application-centric migration to AWS much more quickly and easily than with a manual approach. It integrates really well with the AWS MAP Assess phase, and we’re planning to use it to support Azure migrations in the near future.”

Colin Barker, Cloud Solutions Architect, DevOpsGroup, AWS APN Ambassador and AWS Certification SME