The growing popularity of cloud migration may be compared to a gold rush but, in reality, it is a complex endeavor that requires a down-to-earth, hands-on approach and long, thorough preparations. Irrespective of the cloud migration type, a detailed cloud migration checklist needs to be completed and hasty moves in this regard can make everything go wrong.
In turn, adopting the right cloud migration strategy can make migrating the on-premise infrastructure or workloads to the cloud quicker and more efficient. Anyway, the whole process can take up to 24 months in the case of more complex server setups and several months in more basic instances.
Of course, everything depends on what assets are to be migrated – and these can be, for example, data or data center migrations, as well as an application migration. Another type of cloud migration is cloud-to-cloud migration – when these apps or data are being moved from one cloud provider or one cloud platform to another.
How to embark on a smooth cloud migration journey, then? Migration is a process that is full of possible glitches, and one needs to tread carefully. The skillful coordination and cooperation across many teams and disciplines are just a starting point. What’s also vital? Let’s see.
Table of contents:
Cloud environment in brief
But before we move to the cloud migration process, it’s worth going back to basics. The fundamental aspects of a cloud environment include, for instance, private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud infrastructure, cloud services, cloud platforms, and cloud providers.
The cloud landscape is getting more and more vast and all-encompassing and also covers servers, networking, and storage, as well as many cloud-related services, such as SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), and PaaS (Platform as a Service), to name but a few major elements.
Cloud computing may definitely be referred to as the Holy Grail of the technological and corporate worlds alike, with 94% of businesses already using a cloud service to some extent. Inevitably, cloud technology is also one of the pillars of digital transformation, and the process of moving the workloads to the cloud only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cloud migration tools and strategy
Cloud migration, also known as cloud journey, is a data or applications transfer – from the on-premises model and data center to the cloud. These digital assets may also be moved to another cloud provider or platform – in the case the company had already kept apps or data in the cloud before. What can make the whole process smoother are the so-called cloud migration tools.
There are also various cloud migration strategies companies may adopt. For instance, within the AWS migration process Amazon Web Services offers to its clients, there are three phases: assessing, mobilizing, and migrating, and each one of them builds on the previous one.
Of course, AWS cloud migration is not the only option possible as there are other cloud migration companies in the market, including Deloitte, Accenture, Infosys, Capgemini, Cognizant, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Managed Cloud Services, to name but a few cloud migration services providers.
Successful cloud migration process – 5 steps
Successful data or application migration to the cloud should be performed in several phases. These steps may include:
1. Assessing the company’s performance and cloud readiness
Although cloud migration seems to be a go-to solution for many businesses nowadays, the truth is that it’s only proper in some instances. The company in question should already be tech-savvy to some extent, and ready for the giant technological leap in terms of the resources such as skills possessed, expenses evaluated, technologies mastered, time and infrastructure available, and the nature of the data or apps that are to be moved to the cloud.
Definitely, it’s better not to go to the cloud, or wait for it for some time, than get stuck in the process of getting there, and lose a lot of money, manpower, and other resources.
2. Choosing the right cloud migration strategy
There are several strategies for switching the company’s digital assets to the cloud. The most important ones include:
- re-hosting – the most common cloud migration method based on migrating applications to the cloud in the condition they are, also known as “lift and shift”
- re-platforming – moving applications to the infrastructure delivered by the cloud provider without significant changes
- repurchasing – replacing the legacy application (or application platform) with a SaaS solution
- refactoring – altering applications for better cloud environment support
- retiring – shutting down redundant applications or services during the migration process
Before performing the data migration, you should choose the strategy you want to follow. This decision should be based on the business goals or the perceived business value of moving your apps or data to the cloud (or to another cloud provider) you’d like to bring to your company.
3. Analyzing fundamentals and details that matter
Here, it should be decided which data, apps, or data centers are to be migrated, to which cloud provider, and what’s the proper timeline for it.
It’s good to remember that some apps are proper to be moved to the cloud, while others are not. According to Accenture, the first group covers applications „that have a variable load, are public facing with a global reach, or are planned for a near-term modernization”, while the second includes digital assets that are too hard or too risky to get migrated or the instances in which such an investment wouldn’t be profitable.
What’s vital, is creating a detailed plan (including a budget) and sticking to it. Meticulous research is needed in the very beginning so that nothing is left to chance, and no loose end can be traced. The urge to become more flexible, agile, and productive, and eventually save or earn money should not cause any hasty moves nor accelerate the whole process – it should be based on a thorough analysis and smart, precise execution.
4. Choosing a business partner and cloud providers
Migrating to the cloud is a complex process that requires vast experience, and profound knowledge but also cooperation between numerous specialists and entities, including cloud providers. There are many aspects of the future contract that should be taken into consideration, and the offers of the cloud providers ought to be analyzed carefully and compared meticulously as the conditions may differ greatly in important aspects like functionalities offered or billing rules. As a bad decision in this regard may have grave consequences, it’s crucial to ensure the assistance of credible advisors in choosing the right cloud provider.
5. The actual migration
Data or app migration can be made easier by another factor – the use of cloud migration tools. They can be called technology enablers which streamline the whole process for companies who want to migrate their assets to the cloud. Some of the available cloud migration tools include AppDynamics by Cisco, AWS Server and Application Migration Services, Azure Migrate, Google Cloud migration tools, CloudM, and UnifyCloud Cloud Atlas.
To make the switch to the cloud seamless, you shouldn’t just move your apps or systems there and rest assured. What needs to be on your checklist, is evaluating the cloud migration process. Such a cloud assessment comes immediately after the actual migration and takes under scrutiny areas such as cost, security, and efficiency. Making sure to remove redundant systems, training staff by cloud experts to prevent possible glitches in the future, and examining the application that has been moved (based on availability levels, response time, and error rates) are all in the mix here.
What’s absolutely crucial in the case of migrating data or other assets from the on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, is thorough migration planning. This step should never be disregarded if you want to get all the best of what the cloud migration has to offer – IT cost reduction, business results and efficiency improvement, flexibility and innovativeness increase, as well as becoming more flexible, client-oriented, better secured, and scalable.
What you shouldn’t disregard during the cloud migration process are, also, security concerns. Check out our other blog posts if you want to know more about:
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And if you're looking for a technology partner to migrate to the cloud, don't hesitate to contact us! We have plenty of experience in assisting our clients in successful cloud migration.