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Application rationalization key to cloud migration success

Application rationalization is the most important factor in migrating of a legacy applications to the cloud, said John Hale, chief of cloud services for the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), at the DISA Cloud Symposium in Baltimore May 16.

During his presentation, Migrating Applications to the Cloud, Hale said a thorough analysis of applications targeted for cloud migration must be completed to provide a full understanding of costs associated with migrating to the cloud and to gain an understanding of how migration affects the mission and the people.

Application rationalization also provides leadership with insight on how migration impacts manpower requirements.

“It’s no secret the DOD is looking to streamline organizational requirements, and when we look at streamlining services, it can also impact the ‘human factor,’” Hale said. “Manpower cuts can happen because of migration, that’s all part of cost savings, so leaders can be facing tough decisions.”

Hale said the migration - actually moving the legacy programs to the cloud - is the easiest part of the equation, and he cautioned end users to do their homework beforehand, then document lessons learned.

There are many factors to migration, and Hale stressed there’s no ‘one-size fits all’ solution for every organization.

“Legacy to cloud doesn’t always mean success, and it doesn’t always bring cost savings,” Hale said. “What I’ve seen, if thorough application rationalization isn’t practiced, legacy systems that are designed poorly and operate poorly will do the same thing in the cloud, they’ll just do it a little faster.”

Hale described several cloud scenarios for attendees, and said users can chose between  infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, or software as a service solutions. After application rationalization, users need to decide whether they need the cloud provider to do some heavy lifting, or if the organization has specific software customization needs, he said.

“As an example, software as a service is great for an organization that doesn’t have legacy systems and can easily transition to an ‘out of the box’ solution,” Hale said. “Software as a service is like an ‘easy button,’ and this model is really picking up traction in the DOD. All three options have their right place,” he said. “You, as mission partners, have to look at your individual applications and decide which model is best for you.”

Although there are challenges when migrating to the cloud, Hale said the cloud’s real-time elasticity, management portal, the fact that it’s scalable, and its utility billing model make it an attractive option.

“At the end of the day, it’s about providing warfighting capability to our mission partners,” Hale said. “Through data center consolidation and moving applications to the cloud, we’re going to ultimately increase the security posture of the Department of Defense, we’re going to lower the total cost of ownership from an information technology perspective, and provide more agile solutions for the warfighter.”

Briefing slides and resources from the DISA Cloud Symposium are available on





*Posted Friday, May 21, 2018