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Costs and Benefits of .NET Application Migration to the Cloudv2.0

A Guide to Cloud-Based Modernization of .NET Applications

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Digital Transformation: Driven by the Need for Modernization?
  3. Options and Benefits for Application Modernization
  4. Comparing PaaS Offerings For Migration
  5. Field Test Findings, Migration Benefits and TCO Analysis
  6. Conclusion
  7. Appendix

1. Executive Summary

Thousands of legacy applications written using development frameworks such as ASP.NET are still being used by organizations, often running in on-premises environments. At the same time, many organizations have been moving to cloud computing as part of their digital transformation strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated these digital transformation initiatives and increased cloud adoption as organizations have had to evolve business models to survive. They have augmented and transformed their existing applications to modern, cloud-based platforms to increase customer engagement, streamline operations, support a remote workforce, and lower costs.

Ripping and replacing applications is no longer feasible, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify for organizations struggling to cope with shrinking budgets. Technology decision makers need to decide what to do with these legacy applications. Three main choices are available: maintain the status quo and do nothing; migrate and modernize the applications to a modern, cloud-based environment; or rewrite and replace them. While the third option might appear to be the optimal solution at first glance, the overheads in terms of the effort, time, and cost required to rewrite what could amount to thousands of applications may not always be the best approach.

To help technology decision makers understand some of the dynamics behind modernizing applications, we conducted a field test to assess the benefits and costs of application migration. This is a repeat of a test that we ran last year, as we wanted to ensure that migrating legacy applications was still a feasible option. The field test walks through a migration scenario and evaluates its costs, performance, and benefits. The results were similar to the previous test, and they reinforced the following:

  • Significant cost savings can be achieved by migrating applications to the cloud from on-premises infrastructures.
  • Traditional .NET applications can benefit from such migration without refactoring underlying code.
  • The Microsoft Azure solution offered a potential total cost of ownership (TCO) savings of up to 54% over running on-premises and 35% over running on AWS.
  • Streamlined operations, simplified administration, and proximity to advanced cloud services are additional benefits.
  • Built-in tools for Visual Studio and MSSQL Manager provide ease of use for database and application migrations.

For an exercise of this nature, it is critical to use legacy applications for the migration to the cloud, as this is a scenario that many organizations find themselves in, with the need to balance the application’s requirements against the potential advantages of the cloud.

The field study looked specifically at .NET applications, which allowed different approaches to migration to be assessed, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each. We discovered that moving to Microsoft Azure has a measurable TCO advantage over Amazon Web Services—with cost savings of 35% when applying Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB) licensing—and that Azure offers additional benefits in terms of ease of migration. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. Three-Year Total Estimated Operating Cost

We concluded that any cloud migration frees up considerable time and resources to work on more strategic tasks that drive value to the business rather than maintaining resource-heavy applications. As a result, we can say that modernization may be viewed as an imperative element of a forward-thinking application strategy. The best starting point is to evaluate existing applications and determine the best migration strategy for each, based on priority.