Application Passports – What are they?

What are application passports in our world?

We might only just be able to start dusting off our actual passports for that long awaited get-away. However application passports have still been hard at work this whole time!

Application passports form part of the discovery phase of our Cloud Application Analysis (CAA) engagement. They are a useful tool for the client to track and manage data about their applications whilst preparing for the migrations. They also prove useful to the client after the engagement is complete. Features of the CAA are:

  • Discovers and assesses applications in preparation for transformation.
  • Identifies services to be rehosted to cloud IaaS models.
  • Highlights services that can benefit from being refactored to PaaS.
  • Highlights opportunities to re-envision applications with SaaS products.
  • Identifies application dependencies to allow effective migration planning.

Building Blocks for Application Passports

We start by identifying the relevant details required for the analysis of the applications. Details added to the columns of a SharePoint List. Examples include; application name, server name, application lifecycle and licensing arrangements. The SharePoint List is a live application/database catalogue to populate the data as discovered. PowerApp created to provide a simple view of the clients applications. Which is also used to gather the application details. This is the application passport.

I recently created an application passport in a tabbed format, rather than the usual template of having all the data on one page. Creating tabs is useful when there is a big amount of data to show. If too much data is on one page, it can be tedious for the user to keep scrolling up and down to view the data. Tabs still use one form, to get the desired effect, change the ‘displaymode’ between enabled and disabled. Then change visibility settings to view selected data.

For example, I created separate tabs for General, Business, Technical and Migration sections of the data we were gathering. This meant that the client could look on each tab for the various data types, meaning they didn’t have to scroll through all the information.

Benefits of Application Passports

  • A simple front end view to allow application owners to populate missing data about applications.
  • Provides a real time register of clients applications.
  • Useful to client and risual during the discovery phase of the Cloud Application Analysis engagement.
  • Continues to be useful to client after engagement is complete.
  • Helps to adapt an agile approach to cloud transformation.

Analysing the data

Data is collected so analysis begins. This consists of Business analysis, along with Technical Analysis from one of our Enterprise Architects. During analysis we follow the 6Rs approach to describe the transformed state of applications. Options include:

  • Replace – with an equivalent SaaS application (e.g. Office 365).​
  • Rehost – move to IaaS (lift and shift – fast, minimal modification but can’t take advantage of cloud characteristics like auto-scaling).​
  • Refactor – decouple and move to PaaS (provides the lowest hosting and operational costs together with auto-scaling and high availability by default).​
  • Redesign (or re-architect) – redevelop into a cloud-aware solution (if a legacy application is providing good value but cannot be easily migrated modernise the application by rebuilding it in the cloud). This will involve creating a new architecture and adding more business value to the core application through the incorporation of additional cloud services.​
  • Remain – for those cases where the “do nothing” approach is appropriate. that can be made to the way that the application service is provided.​
  • Retire – for applications that have reached the end of their lifecycle and are no longer​

Finally, we develop a Power Bi report based on the data. This report analyses what the client has added to the application passports. It helps risual to decide the best way forward with the clients cloud transformation journey. The Power Bi report also allows the client to visually interrogate their data. This can become a future asset to the client, helping them to keep on top of their application lifecycles.

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