Enterprise Application Migration Technologies – Finding the Right Fit

Posted on

August 5, 2016


Edward (Allen) Shortnacy

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Vmware blog


When looking at the adoption of public or hybrid cloud, one of the primary considerations must be how to migrate existing workloads to the target platform. Choosing the right migration tool(s) will prove critical in the coaching of customers, mainly their IT and application owners, to address this challenge. There are many VMware vCloud® Air™ Network architectures that can provide workload mobility where capabilities, like hybrid cloud networking enabled by VMware NSX®, and other solutions, such as VMware Site Recovery Manager™, might be in place. Enterprise migration technologies however, span a much broader scope than that of moving applications hosted on physical or virtual infrastructure to a cloud architecture. Specifically, these tools address the enterprise architecture features required to discover, plan, and execute migration, while allowing for scheduling and systems level dependencies.

VMware offers tools that address many of these needs and some have been described in the VMware vCloud Architecture Toolkit™ for Service Providers (vCAT-SP) blog and white paper.  As stated in the vCAT-SP documentation for migration, offerings will not meet all requirements for migrating workloads to the cloud, and the purpose of this series of blogs is to allow VMware Technology Partners to discuss their solutions and advocate for why they might be the best choice in many situations. Many standard forms of analysis will apply to the evaluation of enterprise migration technologies, including common items such as pricing, support, or strategic direction. This series of blogs will focus on the more technical aspects, such as ease of deployment/usage, versatility, reliability, scalability, and security. The blog entries will also cover optimal use cases addressed by the partner solutions, often with customer references.

The first blog in this series is with VMware Technology Partner ATADATA. In particular, their enterprise migration solution focusing on their ATAvision and ATAmotion products. The combination of these two offerings fits into the “Discover & Assess, Job Scheduling, Workload Migration, Application Verification” lifecycle described in the blog and vCAT-SP documentation referenced above. The first three letters of the ATADATA name are an acronym for “any to any” and their deployment model, shown in the following figure, indicates their abstraction from the underlying physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructures that are part of an enterprise migration. This capability enables their technology to not only support many platforms (see ATADATA supported platforms), but to provide a consistent abstraction of underlying details for migrating between sources and targets of any supported type.


The deployment of the ATAmotion is as simple as establishing the central management console and preparing network/firewall communication between source systems and target cloud infrastructure, where individual copy processes will rendezvous with auto-provisioned machines on the target platform of choice. In addition, the ATAmotion management console (see migration demos at the bottom of this link) is simplified by being geared toward the administrator who understands the source environment and by providing configurable “connectors” that abstract particulars like VMware vCloud Director® APIs and networks.

atadata_architecture_diagrams_v7_FINAL vCloud.jpg
atadata_architecture_diagrams_v7_FINAL vCloud.jpg


The ATADATA architecture also facilitates another important feature, illustrated as “Direct Encrypted Data Transfer from Source to Target” below the bottom green line of the previous figure. This means that data is not staged when migrated between source and target machines, allowing ATAmotion to scale to very large transfers of source data. In addition, ATADATA’s support for a wide variety of operating systems (OS types) allow for the greatest compatibility with existing source operating systems to be migrated as well as capabilities to upgrade versions of Windows within the migration (ATAtransform).

Because of the scalability of ATAmotion with its proprietary multi-threaded copy engine, even when the migration data path is encrypted, you can bulk migrate groups of machines based on discovered dependencies. This bulk migration happens as a single wave due to integration across ATADATA modules.


But what about discovery of those existing source application environments? Perhaps more importantly, how can you uncover the dependencies of the application services running in those operating system instances? That’s where ATAvision comes in. The following figure shows some of the features of ATAvision, including the ability to build a repository of application affinity and dependency maps which is accomplished without agents, but with encrypted stored administrative credentials (sudo for Linux and local administrator for Windows).



By combining the broadest support for sources and targets, discovery of application layer components and their interactions, and simplified deployment and management, service providers can focus on what matters—adding value for their customers. Migration to the cloud presents a tremendous opportunity for enterprise architecture transformation to control of not only architectures but operations as well. By leveraging ATADATA’s integrated solution for handling the myriad tasks involved in migrating enterprise applications to the cloud can eliminate much of the opacity that might exist between enterprise IT and application owners. By consolidating this outlook across these aspects and concerns, service providers and solution delivery partners are able to not only de-risk the migration to cloud but leave customers in a place with more control and streamlined operational models to take full advantage of paradigms like hybrid cloud.

Example Use Case

In complex enterprise application migration scenarios, it is now possible to take an existing application topology, SAP HANA as an example, and inject best practices from the vendor.  SAP HANA Software Defined Network Requirementscan be leveraged in the creation of the target cloud environment that will support the enterprise application. By aligning items like firewall rulesets and providing API extensibility for integrating orchestration of the target VMware SDDC including VMware NSX, additional value can be added in the form of prescribed security controls aligned to best practices and regulations in the target cloud environment.

After an extensive vetting process, ATAmotion was recently selected by a VMware based service provider as the migration platform of choice to onboard SAP HANA for Fortune 200 clients. The challenges that the ATAmotion offering was able to meet included: ability to scale to large datasets over the wire, bulk workload migration, extensive Linux distribution support, and enterprise focus for enterprise business applications such as SAP HANA.


As previously stated, VMware has many native migration tools and utilities available and we encourage you to utilize these products for the appropriate use cases. However, enterprise scale cloud migration might require the adoption of third-party technologies that have been purpose built for the requisite tasks. Based on the points made above, ATADATA has a robust and versatile offering for most, if not all, scenarios likely to be encountered during enterprise workload migrations.

By carefully selecting migration tools capable of addressing the most complex of enterprise application requirements, VMware vCloud Air Network as well as other partners and customers can rest assured that there is ample opportunity to add value to customer environments forging relationships that maximize the value of migration to the cloud.

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