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ISV to SaaS: Transitioning from legacy apps to software as a service

October 12, 2020

Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAP Advanced4 minute read

Dropping legacy apps and migrating to the cloud is a hot topic. This post is the first in a series of NetApp posts addressing the challenges and benefits of cloud migration.

Software as a service (SaaS) is a cloud computing model in which third-party providers host applications in the cloud and make them available to customers over the internet.

The SaaS model can be lucrative for ISVs: independent software vendors who traditionally sold their software products to corporate customers for on-premises use. By adding or switching to a SaaS model, ISVs save money and time with centralized customer management and distribution. They also retain more customers by making relatively painless upgrades.

But is SaaS as good a deal for users? It can be. A SaaS switchover should yield big customer benefits like scalability, management simplicity, and cost efficiencies.

But getting your on-premises workloads up and running in the new SaaS environment is not a walk in the park. How can you accomplish a safe and fast migration without slow transfers, data loss, noncompliance, high costs, or poor optimization?

The devil, as they say, is in the details. And the details start with the migration process.

Effective migration is the key

A successful migration project includes a detailed process for discovering premigration data and usage patterns, assessing resources and changes, running a proof-of-concept project with detailed reports, and undertaking a phased migration.

NetApp works closely with SaaS customers on AWS to help them realize fast and secure migration into a highly optimized cloud environment. Here is a breakdown of NetApp’s migration methodology.

1.   The discovery phase

  • Determine application users and usage details.
  • Discover network configurations and interdependencies, and integration with external systems. (Most SaaS environments can integrate through APIs.)
  • Define SLA requirements and clarify the recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).
  • Determine your side of the AWS shared responsibility model.
  • Identify industry compliance standards and regulations for moving data to the cloud.

2.   The assessment phase

  • Assess your migration team; identify necessary resources.
  • Evaluate communication between the cloud provider, your internal cloud team, and AWS consulting providers like NetApp.
  • Assess changes between on-premises software licensing and SaaS vendor licensing or monthly subscription charges.

3.   The proof-of-concept phase

  • Verify test workloads for performance and calculate performance/storage cost ratio.
  • Determine capacity for instance amounts and sizes.
  • Understand the storage services available to you from AWS and partners.
  • Understand security requirements for physical and digital systems.  

4.   The migration plan phase

  • Work the project plan with your detailed design, migration tools, assignments, rollbacks, and “what-if” procedures.
  • Include migration requirements such as how much data is involved, how fast it needs to transfer, and any synchronization with on-premises data repositories.
  • Take a phased approach in which you move each application and test it before going on to the next.
  • Choose your migration partner. NetApp users can replicate their on-premises data to Amazon using NetApp® SnapMirror® software and related tools.

Migration case in the real world

A media and entertainment (M&E) company produces print and digital publications and operates in 16 companies around the world.

They had successfully migrated many apps to AWS over 2 years and subscribed to a digital magazine publishing SaaS. However, they could not find an efficient SMB storage solution for their digital media’s group file shares. They needed the solution to provide 100MBps throughput, be under 5ms latency, produce space-efficient hourly backups, and offer file-level recovery.

Then they discovered NetApp Cloud Volumes Service for AWS. NetApp enabled them to meet their price/performance requirements for file data and digital production apps.

The company combined AWS File Gateway and NetApp Cloud Sync to migrate 500TB of cold data archives to Amazon S3, where they catalog, access, and monetize their deep archive of media resources. Cloud Sync’s parallel processes rapidly transferred the files, producing sustained transfer speeds of over 2.8Gbps.

The company also needed to migrate 100TB of active files onto a file services platform on AWS. Cloud Volumes Service enabled high-speed read/write performance (110MBps random read/write from the data center to AWS), extremely space-efficient NetApp Snapshot™ copies, and file-level restores. The company also cited Cloud Volumes Service’s full redundancy, dynamic scalability, API-driven performance options, and the fully managed service.

It's your move

When you make the move from on-premises ISVs to SaaS providers, turn to NetApp for advanced migration to your new SaaS environment. NetApp SnapMirror and Cloud Sync replication tools accelerate workload transfers to AWS, and NetApp enterprise-level storage management serves file services along with databases, DevOps, or any other enterprise workload.

When your data is in your SaaS environment on AWS, NetApp Cloud Volumes Service provides a fully managed storage environment with high-speed migration services, high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In Summary

Even when you replace legacy apps with cloud-based SaaS, migrating your data is a serious project. Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides robust file sharing services. For more insight into file shares with NetApp on AWS, watch this webcast: The Basics of Migrating to the Cloud with AWS and Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

For more on our files services on the AWS cloud blog series please visit our entries ISV to SaaS: Transitioning from legacy apps to software as a service, Why cloud migration matters from the top (of an organization) to the bottom, High availability in AWS: A fail-safe for cloud deployments, and Are your financial services workloads compliant when migrated to the cloud?

Also, you can read about Cloud Volumes Service and start a free trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Data Services