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Kelsey Hightower: Why modernizing at the infrastructure layer is half the problem – Fedr8

How Green Rain provides insights to the 6Rs of migration

Lifting-and-shifting virtual machines from on-premises to a cloud can treat the application as a fragile black-box.

To make this black-box operational in the cloud without adapting it means you have to change the environment — the cloud — to fit the black-box. This is great news for vendors like VMware because they specialise in “normalizing cloud” to look like the same everywhere.

However, it means your application is not adapting to exploit the cloud and you are likely missing out on big benefits. Look at Comic Relief who refactored their app to reduce monthly costs from $83,000 to just $5,000. That is not possible without opening the black-box and changing it.

The inimitable Kelsey Hightower of Google recently tweeted that migrations are lacking an application perspective:

The answer for businesses is to look at the code they own — not 3rd party products — and see if it’s cloud ready, or container ready and what their license exposure is.

The black-box challenge

Even if you know that you need to open that application black-box and adapt it: can you?

  • It cannot be assumed that the application is perfectly supported with in-house expertise in all technical aspects of the application.
  • It cannot be expected that the application documentation is complete and up to date. Expect missing, out of date and plain wrong documentation.
  • It’s not a given that you have the time or resources available to focus on reviewing the application.

Ideally what you need is a helping hand to get going with the application analysis. A new addition to your team that is an expert in analysing all modern application languages and knows about cloud, containers and licensing.

This new member of your team is called Green Rain.

Analyzing the application layer with Green Rain

Green Rain answers the “application layer” part of Kelsey’s tweet:

  • The application’s code is the source of truth: not just an interpretation in developer’s heads and the documentation.
  • By analyzing the code, Green Rain can identify technical dependencies that are risks and/or opportunities in the cloud.
  • A cloud expert takes the Green Rain application analysis to define the investment required at the application layer.

For example, the following screen shot shows some technical dependencies that Green Rain has discovered that requires application investment.

Bar chart showing the number of discovered technical dependencies by category

In the chart above, Green Rain is advising you to invest in the following to prepare the application for cloud readiness:

  1. Look at local DiskIO writes and consider cloud patterns to modify these to fit ephemeral and immutable virtual machines or containers.
  2. Make sure the email service is accessible from within the cloud, or migrate to a cloud mail service.
  3. Modify logging from local server to distributed cloud logging service.
  4. Consider moving from server-based self-managed database to cloud database service. Potential database migration.
  5. Consider moving from local server state management like sessions to distributed session management in the cloud to allow for autoscaling.

The key findings from Green Rain show you where the break-points are on the edge of your application.

That is, where Green Rain discovers your application is dependent on something that is commonly different in the cloud, it tells you so you can consider it and take action.

How to add Green Rain to your team

Green Rain is really easy to use. You can:

  • Use a Fedr8-hosted version
  • Get a virtual appliance to run on yours or your clients’ premises or cloud

All you need to do is contact us below and we’ll get you up and running in no time. You’ll get access to one of our cloud application experts to understand your situation, guide your analysis and help you build your unique application migration and remediation plan.

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