DevOps and cloud migration—these two popular trends in the world of modern software are more closely related than you may realize. In fact, at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, Bina Khimani, global head of infrastructure segments for Amazon Web Services, made a key connection between the two: In many cases, the tools engineers use to support their DevOps methodologies are also essential tools for successful cloud migration.
Her presentation—Customer Insights: Are DevOps Transformation and Workload Migrations Always Better Together?—featured a number of real-world case studies linking the two approaches, including the story of how Dunkin’ Brands relied on New Relic during its digital transformation. You can watch the entire session at the end of this post, but for obvious reasons I was particularly interested in how DevOps tools can also help drive successful cloud migrations.
“DevOps and the cloud really go hand in hand,” Bina explained. Creating agile processes in a DevOps transformation, she said, makes it also the perfect time to get infrastructure that is equally agile, to move to the public cloud. “DevOps transformation—a segue to cloud migration” was the title of one of her slides.
Successful cloud migration typically means changing your business processes and adopting new tools, and so it only makes sense that DevOps tools—products like Puppet, Chef, Jira, PagerDuty and, yes, New Relic—are also migration tools. DevOps tools like New Relic are absolutely essential for managing a cloud migration, Bina said: “You’re going to need it … to monitor the workload performance before, during, and after migration.”
New Relic as a cloud migration tool
New Relic is “a beautiful migration tool,” she said, because it provides all data needed to see how the migration is progressing. “How was the application or service performing before migration and after migration?”
For example, she said, when we put that picture together, “the customer says, ‘Aha! I had this set of applications, which we migrated from on-premise to cloud. Now the application users are saying that this is not working well. Everybody’s blaming me because after the migration the applications’ performance went down.’” When something goes wrong, we might see some finger pointing, Bina noted.
“But New Relic’s migration dashboard clearly could call out that, ‘Hey, it was working like this before migration, during migration, and after migration,’” Bina said. “Now we can say, ‘Yes, actually after migration performance was reduced, so let’s go and find the root cause and fix it.’ Or, ‘No, actually it got better after migration. The problem is somewhere else, let’s go identify that root cause.’”
“That’s when New Relic started playing a key role,” Bina told the audience. “It was always a great monitoring tool, but now it became a migration tool!”
Bina used the story of Dunkin’ Brands to explain how New Relic can be essential to a cloud migration. This famous brand took its legacy workloads and migrated them to the cloud, and New Relic helped them “identify the bottlenecks and the issues, and do the root cause analysis and bring it to the point where customers are seeing the value throughout the migration.”
As Bina reminded the audience, Devops transformation is a segue to cloud migration—but not everyone fully understands the connection. For example, she said, the ISVs that help many companies migrate to the cloud are not always aware that DevOps tools are useful in migration.
(The Dunkin’ case study also popped up in another AWS re:Invent partner session by AWS’ Kalpan Raval and Andy Furner: Are Migration Tools a Puzzle or Perfect Lego Blocks? In fact, that session also told the stories of how New Relic helped Scripps Networks and REI with their cloud migrations. You can watch the video of that presentation here.)
Bina closed with a number of key takeaways, mostly aimed at AWS partners. But she made two points of interest to a wide range of companies.
First, she reiterated that DevOps Tools are required in cloud migration, so when it comes to tools, “think of DevOps as an essential part of cloud migration.” With that in mind, she noted that DevOps transformation projects can often grow into cloud migration projects—and the best part is the tools will already be in place.
Photo by Fredric Paul for New Relic.