Cloud migrations are time-consuming endeavors, but automated discovery tools can significantly reduce the time requirements, therefore making them less expensive. The average cloud migration costs between $1,000 and $3,000 per server, although some complicated migrations may cost up to $15,000 per server. However, you’ll likely also pay consulting fees for your cloud specialists or architects, which can add up the longer the project goes on. By using automated delivery tools, you can reduce some of the initial costs, in both time and money.
How Automated Discovery Tools Simplify Cloud Migrations
Before a company can undertake a cloud migration, they need to know exactly what they have in their current system and what they need to migrate. While they could do this with a manual audit, it would be much easier for them to employ automated discovery tools. These systems identify every piece of hardware or software on the network and provide the migration team with a map of which assets are connected to which servers.
Miguel Escalante, Senior Cloud Engineer for Agile IT explains, “Most migrations fail due to incomplete data analysis during the discovery phase. Automation tools help us gather the information in a consistent and efficient manner so we can analyze the “whole picture” in a single view as opposed to individual elements in a piecemeal fashion.”
For IT environments that change often, the company can also have their automated discovery tools run periodic scans and update the maps accordingly. Cloud migrations take time, and it’s unrealistic to expect that your entire infrastructure will remain completely the same throughout the process.
Types of Automated Discovery Tools for Cloud Migrations
While you’ll most likely be using a single type of automated discovery tool during your cloud migration, it’s worth knowing what the other types are and how they can help your business. However, if you’re using a third-party cloud migration vendor, they’ll likely have their own discovery tools.
Migration-specific discovery and optimization tools
Migration-specific discovery and optimization tools are, as the name suggests, primarily geared towards cloud migrations. They help speed up the process by identifying any application dependencies in the system and helping the migration team determine which applications should be migrated first. For the most part, you’ll only need them as long as your cloud migration is ongoing, so licenses are provided for short terms.
Managed services providers (MSP) tools
If you’re a managed services provider (MSP) dealing in cloud migrations, you’re going to need a longer-term license for automated discovery tools than companies engaging in a (hopefully) one-time move. They’re typically much more expensive than those an end-user would purchase, but they’re also much more powerful and can help you support more than one client’s migration at once. Additionally, some vendors are now combining their automated discovery tools with cloud management platforms, allowing MSPs to provide helpful services even after the migration is complete.
Best Practices for Using Automated Discovery Tools
While using automated discovery tools, you can’t assume that they’ll handle everything for you. Although the tools make it easier for you to quantify the assets you currently have, you’ll need to do extra work to identify the people involved with each program. For example, you’ll need to identify application owners and architects, which teams currently use each application, and how important each application is to your business. You’ll need to plan the most around mission-critical applications, only migrating them when they’ll cause the least disruption in your day-to-day operations.
David Colebatch, Founder, CEO, and Chief Migration Hacker of Tidal Migrations says businesses should, “work backwards from what you need to support the goals and objectives of your cloud journey. For example, not all migrations require inventories of running processes on servers and complex network flow assessments. There’s simply too much noise and not enough signal in that dataset for most projects. In fact, the more transformative the migration, the more you need database and source code analysis to identify any issues your team should pay attention to.”
Escalante adds that usability should be the biggest concern for organizations when they choose automated discovery tools. “Who will be using the tool to run your discoveries? Make it as simple as possible,” he noted, adding that the data output from the tools should be easy to query and import into other systems to analyze further.
Choosing the Right Automated Discovery Tools
Choosing the right automated discovery tools for your business comes down to the features they include. If you’re a managed services provider, you’ll obviously need a more robust set of tools than an end user would. However, companies going through a migration themselves still need tools with the ability to map out their assets and any dependencies that exist within their legacy infrastructure.
If you’re not sure which tools to use, talk to businesses similar to yours and see if they have recommendations. They may have faced challenges in their cloud migration that they can help you avoid during yours.
Read next: Creating a Cloud Migration Checklist