Examining a Successful Camunda 7 to Camunda 8 Migration

Learn from the experience of one organization that recently migrated from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8, including why they did it and how they prepared.
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As you examine your own processes or begin planning your next process orchestration initiative, you may find yourself considering a partial or full migration to Camunda 8. Camunda has many customers who are moving from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8, each with their own set of reasons or compelling events driving this migration.

Let’s review one such customer and learn more about their experience, lessons learned, and recommendations for others embarking on this journey.

The need for modernization and digital transformation

A disruptive startup in Germany provides motor insurance to its clients. Acting originally as a spinoff from a larger company, its purpose was to simplify insurance by providing a digital and intelligent process to minimize the paperwork and confusion often associated with insurance. Founded in 2018, the company has approximately 60 employees and in 2023, about 100,000 customers.

Camunda adoption journey

This insurance company had little to no automation around claims or contract processing, and it was determined that both business units could benefit from process orchestration and automation to drive superior customer experiences.

By providing quicker turnaround for claims processing, the insurance provider could optimize their customer service while processing higher volumes promptly and efficiently. This realization motivated them to select Camunda for the implementation of this vision.

They originally started by implementing a process around contract termination and document management that handles email communications and attachments with Camunda. After the completion of this project, they decided to address the claims management process for automobile claims with Camunda as well.

The push to move to Camunda 8

As a disruptive startup, the company wanted to focus its engineering efforts on pure innovation instead of supporting and maintaining infrastructure. The cloud-native Camunda 8 solution provides a scalable and event-driven architecture combined with SaaS, eliminating the overhead of IT infrastructure management.

This company implemented Camunda 7 in mid-2022 using Docker containers in AWS Cloud, so they were no novice when it came to the cloud. Moreover, the company was aware that Camunda was actively developing new features for Camunda 8 and it was the future of Camunda when they purchased Camunda 7, so they were excited about completing the migration and aligning with Camunda’s vision for the future.

Since the company was already taking advantage of external task clients with Camunda 7 as well as Elasticsearch, SaaS was a strong reason to consider Camunda 8, as they liked the idea of not hosting the software themselves.

Most importantly, making this migration would send a strong message to their parent company about further innovation and process improvements while positioning them with the right technology for the future.  

Approach to migration

One of the most challenging parts of migrating any system is where to start. Camunda adheres to a specific methodology when doing migrations. It is important to find the right project to be successful and move forward with your migration.

Migration preparation

This company reviewed all existing processes as a team. The selected process was not overly complex but included similarities with their other processes. This meant they selected a process with existing service tasks and gateways, as these constructs were likely to be found in other processes as well. In addition, they elected to implement a brand new process in Camunda 8 so they could gain knowledge and become more familiar with Camunda 8 as a platform.

Before embarking on the migration, the entire team took BPMN training with Camunda Consulting. They also had some standard training content available to them in Camunda Academy that was customized around their existing claims process. Using the Camunda 8 SaaS deployment has eliminated the need for some of these original skills.

Migration decisions

They made a conscious choice to avoid any in-flight processes to minimize the complexity of the migration effort. They did have one long-running process that they addressed procedurally and by allowing these processes to wait so no inflight process migration was required.

In addition, both versions were run simultaneously. Processes were migrated in their entirety including any subprocesses. Running both Camunda 7 and Camunda 8 allowed processes that originally started in Camunda 7 during the migration to finish using that version; however, all newly migrated processes start in Camunda 8. For a while, one process actually used both versions at the same time, but it worked well and was eventually migrated completely over to Camunda 8.

The process data and process history were not migrated, since the required data for the processes were stored in back-office applications so they remained the one source of truth. Not having to migrate this information simplified the migration process as well.

Time and effort

This particular customer had just under twenty (20) processes to migrate and started their migration in mid-2023. They targeted completion of all processes by November 2023, and they completed the migration with a relatively small team of approximately 25 individuals.

The actual migration was quite straightforward. They had to change some dependencies, update external tasks, execute search and replace in the code for certain changes, and migrate tests. The migration of their tests took the most time. The code base for their solutions under Camunda 7 had under 10,000 lines of code, which was manageable for the size of their team.

They did take advantage of the BPMN diagram converter to migrate the diagrams from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8. However, they did not use any other of the migration tools provided as they felt they had the expertise in-house to perform the migration.  

Improvements made during the migration

With any migration effort, it is always important to take the time to see if improvements can be made to processes being migrated.

In this client’s case, they were already working with external task clients as well as a few Java delegates in their process models. With their migration, they reduced the number of Java delegates and employed several listeners. They also removed some service tasks that had previously shown some inefficiencies in the way they were implemented in Camunda 7.

Challenges encountered

They did find that it was a bit more challenging to run Camunda 8 locally. They started out using Docker compose files for their local installation but then settled in with kind as an alternative. They found it was easier to deploy locally with kind than with compose files. 

The new normal with Camunda 8

Both claims and contract termination are processed with Camunda 8 at this time.

This company has noticed process improvements related to the time it takes certain processes to run. They are also very pleased with Operate and the insight it provides into error handling and correction.

They are currently using Optimize to gather information to determine where automation is helping and where they could improve and streamline additional processes. Their immediate approach is to review the speed of completion for certain processes and then automate certain areas of the process with service workers to improve performance.

Savings after the migration

This startup has had more time to improve processes and create efficiencies since the migration to Camunda 8. When running Camunda 7, they utilized Postgres and installed Camunda in AWS. With Camunda 8, they have eliminated the need for time-consuming database upgrades and this is a big savings.

More than the costs, however, is the ability to deploy these individuals previously required for infrastructure support of their Camunda 7 implementation to develop new features and improve existing processes. This has not only made the employees with DevOps experience happier but has allowed them to look at other processes that can be addressed with automation.

These savings in overhead were significant. Before the migration, at least two (2) days a month were spent managing their Camunda 7 infrastructure. This has been eliminated with the migration to Camunda 8, providing a total savings of five (5) FTE work weeks each year.

What’s next?

This company is looking forward to reviewing and using Connectors in the future. They have immediate needs around email notifications and initiating a process with an email. In addition, they currently have a process that moves documents to Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). They would like to investigate the use of Connectors to access these documents from S3. Finally, they would like to add new processes or opportunities around the back office related to contracts.

Recommendations for migrating

When we asked if they had any advice for other companies making this translation, they had a few.

  • Try to take advantage of the automatic migration tool.
  • Start new processes in Camunda 8 and migrate processes already started to Camunda 7 over time.
  • Be sure that your client version matches your Zeebe cluster version.
  • Read the documentation and gain as much upfront knowledge as possible.
  • Write tests to confirm the success of your migration. Make sure they are good tests.
  • If you use the external task client, it will help in the migration. This way there is no need to migrate from Java delegates.

Suggestions for others looking at process orchestration

They noted that one of the biggest benefits of process orchestration is that processes are always documented. With the emphasis on process governance, it’s critical to maintain thorough process documentation.

Take advantage of standards-based tools, like BPMN, and review the documentation to learn more about it.

Learn more about migrating

Camunda has quite a bit of information related to migrating from Camunda 7 to Camunda 8. We encourage you to read these blogs and review our website to gather more information so you can start your migration today.

Start the discussion at forum.camunda.io

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