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Cloud-Native Deployment for Complex Windows Apps

April 30, 2020

Topics: Advanced5 minute read

Simple lift-and-shift is the holy grail of migrating apps to the cloud, but how well does it work with Windows applications? It depends.

Lift-and-shift migration works well enough for simple apps. But complex Windows apps, especially legacy enterprise applications, are an entirely different story.

The issues include multiple dependencies, older architecture, outmoded security, and minimal automation. Older apps also sport dozens to hundreds of patches and upgrades done over the years, most of them undocumented.

This Frankenstein monster works well enough in the enterprise infrastructure where IT developed and nurtured it. But this is not the way cloud architecture works, and attempting to shoehorn in the legacy app spawns major scalability and security problems. The result? An expensive failure and frustrating rollback.

Don’t Dump Your Apps; Transform Them

Even Windows apps that do migrate more or less successfully may not be able to take advantage of cloud-native services. The cloud is about much more than simple cost considerations and scalability. It’s also about transformational cloud elements like automation, serverless technology, AI/ML and DevSecOps. A simple shift from an on-premises application server to a cloud environment won’t do the trick.

It’s not that AWS doesn’t provide Windows migration and deployment help; it does. New AWS offerings include EMP and MAP for Windows. AWS introduced EMP (End-of-Support Migration Program) in December 2019. The program combines technology and professional services to migrate Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2008R applications to modern AWS Windows Server platforms without refactoring.

MAP (Migration Acceleration Program) for Windows is due to be released in 2020. MAP combines support, tooling, training, and services credits for migrating Windows applications to AWS, and modernizes Windows workloads using cloud-native technologies.

And then there is AWS CloudFormation and AWS Partners Cascadeo and NetApp.

AWS offers Infrastructure as Code (IaC) in its CloudFormation service. CloudFormation lets customers define simple text-based templates to spin up complex cloud architectures. The process can shrink Windows deployments from months to weeks -- and in the right hands, from months to a day.

This is where Cascadeo fits in. The DevOps company’s CloudFormation framework helps to create highly automated cloud environments within a day, and to offer managed services at a low ongoing price. Cascadeo.io is the company’s software as a service (SaaS). Cascadeo inserts a virtual appliance into cloud environments, which securely streams information back to the SaaS platform over SSL. This data enables Cascadeo to achieve one-day deployments and low-priced, highly automated managed services.

Cascadeo Forges Partnership with NetApp Cloud Volumes Service

Cascadeo soon discovered that its enterprise customers shared a common pain point: migrating and running Windows apps on AWS. Few companies wanted to refactor, but many of them had a failed lift-and-shift in their rear view mirror. Existing dependencies and legacy Windows toolsets were common culprits.

Cascadeo went a long way to solve the problem. The company does not replace Windows tools, infrastructure or monitoring frameworks. Instead, the company streams operational data into the SaaS analytics backend and builds support on top of existing customer tools. If the Windows app lacks modern automation, Cascadeo provides it using open source Terraform.

However, managing files in the cloud was still a customer roadblock, so Cascadeo partnered with NetApp Cloud Volumes Service. NetApp is operationally responsible for high-performance cloud file storage while Cascadeo supports managed operations for infrastructure and application workloads.

Together the vendors provide transformational cloud elements to their customers including automation, serverless technology, AI/ML and DevSecOps.

  • Automation. NetApp Cloud Volumes Service + Cascadeo automatically creates a volume and connects it to a hardened, cloud-native Windows workload on AWS. CVS delivers the storage volumes as a Windows compute instance. Cascadeo automation enables a complete, production-ready Windows and NetApp implementation on AWS with live managed service support on the same day a client requests it.
  • Serverless technology. Cascadeo uses serverless AWS Lambda to run code without provisioning or managing servers. Customers pay only for the compute time they consume.
  • AI/ML. Cascadeo uses AWS AI and ML tools to expand its AIOps services. AIOps is the process of using AI technologies in IT operations to help manage rapid growth by automating and predicting issues before they occur.
  • DevSecOps. The term is an acronym that means Application Developers, Information Security, and Operations. DevSecOps is the practice of architecting and building automated cloud infrastructures using the same code-based security features throughout the entire pipeline. Instead of on-premises and cloud teams deploying separate security applications, the same security code protects an agile framework.

Cascadeo continues to evolve its integration with NetApp and AWS. Recently the company extended their platform to collect metrics and data from NetApp Cloud Volumes Service and AWS CloudWatch. The expanded analytics enable Cascadeo and NetApp to share deeper usage insights and help enterprises drive new value from their Windows cloud deployments.

Gain Greater Value from Cloud Deployments

Watch the video to learn how NetApp Cloud Volumes Service and Cascadeo can guide your cloud journey.

Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Data Services

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