In 2020, 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud. According to some estimates, by the end of 2022, that number should reach a staggering 94%.
This mass cloud adoption is because these enterprises report improving security and cost savings. And there is no reason IT-based services should not consider this approach.
In this guide, we will define the obligatory steps for a successful cloud migration strategy, discuss different types of cloud data migrations and look into compelling reasons why you should consider this approach.
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What is a Cloud Migration Strategy?
A cloud migration strategy is a plan a business organization develops to move all of its infrastructure's resources - such as data, services, and applications - to the cloud server.
Cloud migration is migrating all digital resources from on-premise deployments or another cloud to the cloud. Cloud use has been on the rise since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic hit, as businesses reported even more cloud usage than usual, and most companies now have at least one cloud component in their architecture.
The first step toward moving is to develop a solid cloud migration strategy.
6 Types of Data Migration to the Cloud
Before we get to the actual step-by-step strategy, there are several main types of cloud migration types you should decide between.
Also known as the "lift and shift" approach, rehost entails copying the existing infrastructure directly to the cloud.
This technique is the best fit for smaller firms with simple workloads still figuring out their long-term objectives for services and scalability. It's also perfect for businesses whose infrastructure is highly reliant on virtual computers.
The issue with rehosting is that it evades the numerous benefits of adopting cloud-native technology, particularly its flexibility. As a migration strategy, cloud hosting requires the least time to implement. However, it may be costly in the long term, mainly if the organization was mostly bare metal, to begin with.
Rehost is advisable if you are:
- New to the cloud tech
- Migrating a large enterprise
- Migrating with a strict deadline
As parts of legacy architecture (such as in-house customer relationship management (CRM)) may become complex and expensive, scaling up can become impractical.
Moving your tech features entirely to an existing cloud solution, such as Salesforce's cloud-based CRM system, makes sense in such circumstances. The Repurchase technique may prove cost-effective if the old system has become genuinely unmanageable.
This strategy's issue is that employees and end users may need to be educated to use a new third-party system, which costs time and resources.
Use Repurchase in case:
- You are replacing software for standard functions like finance, accounting, CRM, HRM, ERP, email and so on
- Your legacy app is not compatible with the cloud
The refactoring cloud migration technique effectively involves rewriting the entire infrastructure from the ground up.
Enterprises who want to take advantage of everything the cloud offers - such as serverless computing and auto-scaling – often opt for this cloud migration type. This technique also makes sense when programmers and leaders re-architect existing code and frameworks.
Refactoring enables the company to reap the full benefits of the cloud. Needless to say, rewriting an entire system from the ground up takes time and money. Refactoring is the most expensive technique, but it will pay off handsomely in the long term.
Using refactor is beneficial of:
- There is a significant business drive to add more scalability, speed and performance
- An on-premise app is not compatible with cloud
Replatforming is sometimes referred to as the 'move and improve' technique. It entails making minimum adjustments to prepare for the cloud move, including provisions to facilitate scalability.
This strategy suits enterprises that have already decided to scale up their solutions and wish to try out cloud performance. However, the issue with re-platforming is that it sometimes fails to take advantage of all of the cloud's capabilities.
Use Replatform if you wish to:
- Migrate on a tight schedule
- Use the benefits of the cloud without refactoring the app
- Migrate complex on-premises app with minor tweaks for cloud benefits
Large organizations often uncover infrastructure components that have become obsolete or will become insignificant when migrated to the cloud.
These modules are not just a needless expense; they may also be a security risk. In these cases, retiring these components is better than moving them to the cloud. Retiring the proper modules saves money while also increasing cybersecurity.
Use Retire if:
- An app is redundant or obsolete
- A legacy app is not compatible with the cloud
Sometimes one or more existing infrastructure elements are incompatible with market cloud platforms. This generally manifests as data that cannot be moved for regulatory reasons or architecture that was only recently built with additional capital.
In such circumstances, retaining these components on-premises makes economic and operational sense.
Organizations are rarely able to keep their whole infrastructure on-premise. They typically migrate to a hybrid cloud environment. An organization does not have to use only one cloud migration technique. Most firms use these tactics to migrate successfully to the cloud.
Use Retain if:
- A legacy app is incompatible with the cloud
- You decide to revisit an app at a later stage
- You adopt a hybrid cloud model during migration
8 Essential Steps for a Successful Cloud Migration Strategy
Once you have decided on a type of cloud migration, you can begin the actual process by closely following the below steps.
Step #1: Know Your IT Portfolio and Its Assets
The portfolio discovery and planning process allows you to delve deeper into the existing environment by analyzing each asset in terms of cost, performance, size, complexity, and internal dependencies.
You can use this evaluation to create a business case and key performance indicators (KPIs) for each asset to monitor its performance during and after migration.
You can also use automated discovery methods, such as AWS Discovery Service, to easily obtain information about on-premise data centers and applications.
Step #2: Make a Plan
Keep business goals and technological issues in mind when establishing your migration strategy. A step-by-step plan organized around each of the six types of cloud migrations mentioned previously can go a long way. You have to start small with the least crucial tasks and work your way up.
Step #3: Choose the Best Cloud Migration Partner
When choosing a cloud migration partner, pick a cloud consulting partner with a diversified portfolio and managerial expertise in addition to technical expertise. Your cloud supplier must understand all the aspects of your cloud migration, including cost, tools, compliance, security, governance, and cloud-skill requirements.
Step #4: Prepare Your Staff and Existing IT Infrastructure
Training is essential for allowing employees to better adapt to new ways of doing things and facilitating a smoother transition to cloud-based systems. You can improve clarity and openness by defining roles, responsibilities, and reporting and management standards.
It is also critical to prepare the existing IT infrastructure by optimizing the network connection, organizing resources, managing access, and building compliance, governance, and security system.
Step #5: Use Automated Tools and Managed Services
Identifying repeating patterns is one of the most efficient strategies to transfer to the cloud. Automation speeds up the process, frees employees' time to focus on other essential activities, and decreases downtime.
Step #6: Track and Monitor the Migration Process
It's time to use the KPIs you specified at the beginning by measuring and monitoring the process. These measurements enable the identification and correction of performance issues during the migration.
Timely response to any issues that may arise is crucial for cloud migration success.
Step #7: Test and Measure Your Migration
The cloud migration process does not end with the move itself. It is only completed when you test all the services and apps on the new cloud and retire all the components from the previous arrangement.
Step #8: Think Long-Term
After testing, you should use the KPIs developed during the goal-setting phase to assess short and long-term success.
Also, keep up with the latest developments. As previously said, some businesses migrate to the cloud to make their infrastructure more future-proof. This is because cloud providers are constantly introducing new services. It is the organization's responsibility to stay current on new features and upgrade when a need arises.
Why You Should Migrate Your Data to the Cloud
While reasons for migrating IT components to the cloud differ from company to company, there are several notable advantages to doing so that all organizations can enjoy.
Make Your Business Future-Proof
Technology advances at a breakneck pace. What appears to be cutting-edge gear and software today could become obsolete anytime.
Legacy infrastructure cannot use the most recent market technology, leaving businesses behind their competition.
Cloud computing fosters innovation, which distinguishes a company from its competitors and sets it up for the future. This is where the cloud comes into play. Cloud companies that offer infrastructure as a service (IaaS) are continuously upgrading to the most recent technologies. Instead of spending large amounts of money to determine whether new gear works, a company may simply test it on the cloud.
Cut Down Expenses
Cloud computing is a pay-as-you-go service. This means that you can deactivate a server, preventing resource waste whenever a server is no longer needed. It comes as no surprise that maintaining in-house servers is expensive.
Migrating to the cloud does require some initial investment. These include costs for IaaS services, relocating resources, and training workers for cloud-related usage and administration.
Furthermore, until the migration is finished and tested, both the on-premise and new cloud setups must operate in tandem to maintain business continuity. You may require a hybrid configuration in some instances.
Ensure Security and Compliance
When transferring data over the internet, you must address security precautions such as encryption. You need to use physical security and digital locks if the data is transported via a physical hard disk. Sensitive client data is kept in a separate location.
Aside from fundamental security, you should also consider regulatory compliance. Global, national, and regional privacy regulations differ. Your company should consider each of these factors while selecting a cloud provider and during the migration.
Enterprises might keep critical data on-premises while moving the rest to the cloud to reduce security and compliance risks. Some businesses choose cloud providers with adjustable server locations, which ensure that a server is geographically closer and accurately housed.
Cloud Migration Strategy Takeaways
Migrating an organization’s entire IT infrastructure and software development can be a daunting and intimidating feat. That is why it is vital to prepare and take all the necessary precautions before beginning the procedure.
These pre-strategy steps should begin by carefully evaluating your business needs and one of six possible types of cloud migration:
Then, you can move on to the implementation of the actual cloud migration strategy steps, which consist of:
- Account for your IT portfolio
- Plan ahead
- Choose a cloud migration partner
- Educate your staff
- Use automation
- Track your progress
- Test your migration
- Stay on top of trends