Faced with increasing demands, businesses are looking for ways to scale their infrastructure. However, scaling traditional, on-premises, IT infrastructure is costly. You have to buy and maintain new hardware, update your software and train your staff.
Before cloud computing, to keep with latest technological trends, companies had to invest a lot of capital and time in their IT infrastructure. Companies had to spend large quantities of money just to stay in the (technological) game.
With the advent of cloud computing most of these roadblocks have disappeared. Cloud infrastructure offers the ability to scale IT infrastructure up or down, depending on the company’s current needs.
Scalability, along with security and cost-effectiveness, is one of the greatest advantages cloud can offer. However, the cloud migration process can be painful without proper planning, execution, and testing. A survey found that only 27% of respondents were extremely satisfied with their overall cloud migration experience.
On a list of the most common cloud-related pain points, migration comes right after security.
What is cloud migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications and other business elements from an organization’s on-premises computers to the cloud - a virtual pool of on-demand, shared resources that offer compute, storage, and network services at scale.
If you’re a company with on-premises computing, you want to be able to grow without being dragged down by outdated and under-utilized resources. In modern business landscape, a business has to be agile and flexible, to be able to quickly adapt to the market’s demands. Cloud offers a way to do that. Cloud infrastructure offers many benefits, compared to the on-premises infrastructure.
Here are they in short:
- cost reduction
- disaster recovery
- conpetitive edge
Cloud migration steps
1. Plan and prepare for migration
Before you start the actual migration to the cloud, you have to prepare for it. The level of preparation details depends on your business, but there are some basic steps you should take.
First, you should be clear about the reasons why you’re moving to the cloud. The cloud offers many benefits, but you must be sure what exact benefits your organizations will get by moving your applications to the cloud.
It may be a good idea to assign a manager to plan and oversee the entire migration process. During a large migration project, organizations have to make many technical plans and decisions, and having a specialist is critical to the success of the project.
When you move an application from an on-premise data center to the cloud, there are two ways you can migrate your application—a shallow cloud integration or a deep cloud integration.
For a shallow cloud integration (sometimes called “lift-and-shift”), you move the on-premise application to the cloud, and make no—or limited—changes to the servers in the cloud for the purpose of running the application. Any application changes are just enough to get it to run in the new environment. You don’t use cloud-unique services. This model is also known as lift-and-shift because the application is lifted “as is” and moved, or shifted, to the cloud intact.
For a deep cloud integration, you modify your application during the migration process to take advantage of key cloud capabilities. This might be something simple like using auto scaling and dynamic load balancing, or it might be as sophisticated as utilizing serverless computing capabilities for portions of the application.
2. Choose your cloud environment
Before you start your cloud migration, you have to decide what kind of cloud model will you adopt. First you must choose whether you want to go single or multi-cloud.
A single cloud environment is accomplished by using a single cloud provider to serve any and all applications or services that the organization decides to migrate to the cloud. Single cloud environments can utilize either private or public clouds, using whichever one better serves their current and future needs.
They enable organizations to move workloads to the cloud as their needs grow, with the option to expand the number of virtualized servers if their need grows beyond a single cloud server’s limits. Often, organizations with a single cloud model are employing the cloud for a single service or application, such as email, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), or similar.
In a multi-cloud environment, an organization uses multiple different public cloud services, often from multiple different providers. The different clouds may be used for various tasks to achieve best-of-breed results or to reduce vendor lock-in. This reflects the growing acknowledgement that not all clouds are created equal -- Marketing and Sales, for instance, likely have different needs than Software Development or R&D, and different cloud solutions can meet those requirements more effectively.
Multiple clouds also give organizations added peace of mind by minimizing dependence on any one provider, often decreasing costs and increasing flexibility.
Based on a service that the cloud is offering, we are speaking of either:
- IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
- PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
- SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
- or, Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, Testing-as-a-service
3. Migrate applications and data & review
If you have planned your migration carefully, the actual migration process should go smoothly and quickly.
Depending on the size of your databases and applications, you will use different techniques for actually copying everything over. If you don’t have too much to migrate, you can just copy the data over your internet connection. This approach isn’t ideal for larger workloads. You might have very long transfer times or charges from the cloud provider. To deal with this, you could compress the data before sending it. Alternatively, you could ship your physical drives to the provider to reduce bandwidth costs.
It’s important to take of security during the migration. Any temporary storages for your data should be as secure as the end destination.
Cloud providers will most likely give you access to various cloud migration tools. Use them to help you with migration.
Even after you’ve finished migrating everything to the cloud, there are a few more things to consider. Most important is resource optimization. The cloud is optimized for dynamic resource allocation, and when you allocate resources (servers, for example) statically, you’re not taking advantage of the cloud’s strengths. As you move into the cloud, make sure your teams have a plan for distributing resources to your application.
Moving your business applications and data to the cloud can be a great strategic move that gives you a competitive edge by reducing IT costs, enabling application scalability and many other benefits.
The complexity of the cloud migration process depends mostly on the size and complexity of your business operations. In this article, we have covered the basic steps you should have in mind when migrating to the cloud.
If you have any questions about how to effectively adopt the cloud for your business, or how to optimize your cloud performance and reduce costs, contact us today to help you out with your performance and security needs.