When Database Refactoring Is a Smart Decision
If you’re reading this post, my guess is you’ve made the decision to migrate your on-premises databases to the cloud, and now it’s a matter of choosing the right approach. This is where the conversation inevitably comes down to a “rehost vs. refactor” dilemma.
Quite often, rehosting wins the day. And it’s not hard to see why. Rehosting or “lift and shift” replicates existing databases in the public cloud with minimal to no change to the underlying code. There are several instances where we would recommend this approach and, ostensibly (to many), it’s the least risky, faster option of the two. No brainer, right?
Refactoring, on the other hand, tends to stir up concerns. This is where you move entirely off the on-premise database to an open-source platform in the public cloud. More often than not, companies choose against refactoring not because it’s the wrong approach—but because it’s a skill outside their areas of expertise. They’re simply not comfortable with it. Or, perhaps there is a lingering negative perception that no one takes the time to examine further. Without a full understanding, this option gets ruled out faster than you can say….well, cloud migration.
While refactoring has its challenges, it’s also the only migration method that will allow you to take full advantage of cloud-native features and other cost-savings benefits. So, before settling on a decision, it’s worth taking a moment to assess what you’re hoping to gain in the cloud.
From my perspective, there are three compelling reasons why refactoring may be the smarter choice—one that justifies going the extra mile to make happen:
You eliminate vendor lock-in.
There’s no way around it: Once you have a legacy database running on-premises, particularly if it’s tied to a core business process, there’s no easy way to get off of it. The move can consume significant time, resources and budget. Knowing this, legacy database vendors charge high annual licensing and support fees. Consider Oracle: in addition to exorbitant licensing fees, their annual support costs are, on average, 22% of the spend on licensing costs. And, the older your hardware and software get, the more expensive the support becomes.
But cloud computing is changing this dynamic. By refactoring your on-premises databases for an open-source public cloud alternative, such as MySQL or PostgreSQL, you can move offer your legacy database altogether and eliminate vendor lock-in.
If breaking free from the constraints imposed by your database provider is a goal, then refactoring should definitely be top of mind.
You can significantly lower costs.
Cost is a sticking point—and it should be. But it’s important to take a long view when weighing your options. There’s no doubt that refactoring will far exceed what you’ll initially spend on a “lift and shift” migration, but that’s only one component of the cost equation.
When you consider the savings gained by eliminating costly legacy vendor contracts and getting out of the data center game (hardware, labor, capacity planning, etc.)—it doesn’t take long for your year-over-year legacy infrastructure expenses to surpass the upfront cost of a refactoring project.
Additionally, the cloud enables you to move to an OpEx (operational expenditure) model built on monthly consumption-based pricing. In other words, you’ll only pay for the cloud infrastructure you use, when you use it. This gets you out of the CapEx (capital expenditure) model of paying for more infrastructure than you need because you’re trying to anticipate future capacity requirements.
You can accelerate innovation.
Upgrading on-premises infrastructure is labor-intensive and time-consuming—it can take weeks and months for upgrades to finish. Open-source databases, on the other hand, are designed for innovation—because so many people are adding features to them every day—and development cycles are much faster (typically every month vs. the 18-to-24-month cycle of a proprietary database). Additionally, cloud providers are continually improving their underlying infrastructure, so you’ll always be running on the latest and greatest systems without having to do any of the upgrades yourself.
By refactoring onto an open-source database in the public cloud, you can take full advantage of modern hardware and cloud-native features, such as enhanced performance, scalability, fast provisioning and dynamic disaster recovery. If your goal is to drive innovation, then refactoring is a key strategy for getting there in the cloud.
To learn more, check out our new eBook: 5 Database Refactoring Misconceptions…Busted! – which highlights five of the most common misconceptions about refactoring and the reality behind them, so you can determine whether this option is right for your business.
And, as always, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you’d like to find out how Navisite can help you with your cloud migration project.