We have read about comprehensive comparison between the cloud service models and compared the cloud platforms AWS vs. Azure in our previous blogs. Let’s talk about the cloud migration process and types of cloud migration. A cloud migration strategy is the strategy made by the company to move data and applications from on-premises architecture to the Cloud. You can not expect all workloads to benefit from running on cloud-based infrastructure, so it is essential to ensure the most efficient way to organize and migrate applications before going live. A systematic, documented strategy is highly important.
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Types of Cloud Migration Strategies: How to choose the right strategy
There are four primary types of cloud migration strategies, based on the way different businesses want to use the cloud to fulfil their objectives. The most essential part of any cloud migration is ensuring the migration gets your company where it needs to be.
The four types of cloud migration strategies are:
- Lift and Shift or Rehost
- Shift to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Application refactoring
Let’s study about them in detail and know which strategy is perfect for your business.
Strategy 1 – Lift and Shift or Rehost
Lift and Shift is the fastest method of migration with the least disruptions and upfront cost. This strategy provides the same software in the cloud used by the company in the data center. It only requires the involvement of the infrastructure and security teams.
This strategy’s only drawback is that cloud migration can’t take full advantage of the speed and versatility the cloud can provide. As mentioned above, it provides the same software, so it only has shifted involved. It just moves the code to a new location – the shifted version of the application doesn’t usually have better performance than the original. It’s also unlikely to lead to long-term savings. It just moves the code to a new location. The shifted version of the application doesn’t usually have better performance than the original. It’s also unlikely to lead to long-term savings.
The lift and shift strategy is suitable for businesses looking to get out of the data center and stop managing hardware—companies with a consistent peak schedule and easy, expectable market changes. Tax companies are an excellent example of the latter since tax rules change every year, and new regulations are released a year in advance, giving the companies plenty of time to prepare. The construction company, food company are some of the other examples of this kind of strategy.
Who should adapt this strategy?
- Businesses more concerned about cost and time to migrate can choose this approach.
- Businesses who want to reduce on-premises infrastructure costs instantly.
- Businesses choosing to move to the cloud and having some applications that just need to keep running without disruption or modification
- Businesses that are already on cloud and facing a cloud disaster (e.g. corrupted database) .
Strategy 2 – Shift to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Shifting to SaaS means offshoring one or more applications to a cloud services company with expertise in managing those applications. Companies only change the application they want to. Thus this is done on an application by application basis. Shifting to SaaS frees employees. This strategy also requires fewer licenses for business tools. However, it’s vital to pick the right service when using the method.
The primary drawback this strategy faces is that customizing it can lead to problems. Shifting applications directly related to your industry can lead to the loss of customizations that give your business a competitive edge. Shifting to SaaS should only be used for routine functions.
Companies that want to stop devoting time and resources to applications outside their core business should think about shifting to SaaS. Email is an excellent example of a routine business function that can be moved to SaaS.
Who should adapt this strategy?
- Businesses who want to focus on anticipated revenue.
- Businesses who focus on short sale lifecycle
- Businesses who don’t need to customize your solution for each client
Strategy 3 – Application Refactoring or Rearchitect
With refactoring, companies can copy their legacy applications whole and intact onto a cloud platform. It is a low-risk strategy since legacy applications can run in parallel while new applications are constructed, with the instant advantage of agility and speed to market.
Refactoring is about prioritization; it provides lots of opportunities to save over time and cost. For instance, switching from Oracle WebLogic to cloud-native JBoss can cut costs. Refactoring isn’t just about cutting costs. It allows you to make changes to your enterprise rapidly; hence, you can keep up with your customers.
Since this strategy moves a selected group of your applications to the cloud, picking the right platform for the applications is extremely important. Look for a tool that addresses speed to change and can fulfill all of your needs, not just some of them. It’s also vital that you refactor your applications in the right order. This approach focuses on the applications that benefit the most from a cloud platform.
Refactoring usually requires outside help. There is no awkward learning curve. IT staff learns by doing. At every point in the process, there is someone trained to handle difficulties on-site. Rather than building the solution in a silo, as most consultancies do, you can partner with the company doing the upgrade and training by introducing their development team to the project as domain experts. When introducing the new technology, rotate through everyone who needs training. Slowly, over time, you can dial back how many consultants they have helped until the IT staff learns by doing.
Who should adapt this strategy?
- When there is a strong business need for adding features and performance to the application and that is not possible within the existing
- When an organization is looking to scale their existing application.
- When restructuring of the code is required to take a full advantage of cloud capability.
- When an organization is looking to boost agility or improve business continuity, factor strategy is a better
- When an organization is willing to move to a service-oriented architecture (SOA), it can use this approach.
Strategy 4 – Replatforming or Lift, Tinker and Shift
Replatforming is for companies looking to adopt benefits of the cloud, enterprise-wide. It Develops Applications in the Cloud.
These companies want their core competencies to be accessible, flexible, powerful, durable, expandable, and available. Replatforming is the most challenging option to implement as it requires the most forethought for the future and comes with the most upfront cost. But it’s the only option that lets you utilize the full strength and flexibility of the cloud. Replatforming is replacing the application at the code level to make it cloud-native. However, for those looking to get into containers or microservice architectures, this is the way to go.
When considering Replatforming, you need to focus on how fast your company can change and how fast it needs to change to keep up with customers and the market. By making applications truly cloud-native, customers can be updated, and those updates are pushed out at the cloud’s speed. This strategy boosts speed. Replatformed applications can also be more modular and more comfortable to maintain and save development time.
Unlike refactored applications, refactored platforms can work across multiple cloud providers. Replatforming is an ideal strategy for those looking to develop mobile applications.
Who should adapt this strategy?
- Businesses that are sure that minor changes won’t affect the application functions.
- Organizations looking to leverage more cloud benefits other than just moving the application to the cloud.
- If the on-premise infrastructure is complex and hinders scalability and performance, replatform is a good
- Organizations willing to automate tasks which are essentials to operations, but are not the business priorities.
3 Step Checklist for successful cloud migration
1. Preplan and prepare for migration
Before you begin with the process of cloud migration, you have to be prepared for it. Planning and preparation always add advantage. The amount of planning and preparations required differ depending on your business. But there are some necessary steps you should take.
Firstly, you should always have a reason behind the move. You should know why you decided about migrating. Cloud services offer a lot of benefits. But, you must ensure what exact benefits your business will get if you make this move.
Try assigning a manager to overlook the entire process. The manager will handle all the planning and preparations. During a big migration project, organizations have to make many technical plans and decisions, and having an expert is critical to the success of the project.
The process of cloud migration involves two ways to migrate applications—a shallow cloud integration or a deep cloud integration.
For a shallow cloud integration, you move the on-premise application to the cloud, and make no—or limited—changes in the cloud server to run the application without any disruption. You don’t use cloud-unique services. Shallow cloud is often referred to in lift-and-shift strategy because the application is lifted “as is” and moved, or shifted, to the cloud.
For a deep cloud integration, you modify your application during the migration process to take advantage of using cloud-unique services. This integration can vary from something simple like using auto-scaling and dynamic load balancing, to a complex one like utilizing serverless computing capabilities for some part of the application.
2. Choose your cloud environment
Before you start with cloud migration, ensure whether you want to choose a single cloud model or multi-cloud model.
A single cloud environment is achieved by using a single cloud provider to serve applications or services that the organization decides to migrate. Single cloud environments allow the business to utilize either private or public clouds; you can choose whichever one better serves your current and future needs.
Single cloud environment enables businesses to move workloads to the cloud as per the growth of their needs, with the variation to expand the number of virtualized servers if their need grows beyond a single cloud server’s limits. Often, businesses 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, mostly from multiple different providers. Various clouds may be used for different tasks to acquire the best results or to reduce vendor lock-in. Thus, this reflects the growing acknowledgement that not all clouds are equal. The need for different businesses can vary, For instance, Marketing and Sales, have different needs than Software Development, and different cloud solutions can meet those requirements more efficiently.
Multiple Cloud environments provides businesses with an advantage of minimizing dependence on any one provider leading to decrease in costs and increase in flexibility. Based on a service that the cloud is offering, either of these:
- 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 your pre planning and preparation were on point, the actual migration process should go smoothly and quickly.
Depending on the size of your databases and applications, you will utilize different techniques for actually copying everything over. If you don’t have too much to migrate, you can copy the data over your internet connection. This approach isn’t ideal for businesses with smaller workloads but not for larger workloads. You might face issues related to long transfer times or charges from the cloud provider. To resolve them, you could compress the data before sending it. On the other hand, you could ship your physical drives to the provider to reduce bandwidth costs.
It’s essential to take care of security during the migration. Any temporary storages for your data should be as secure as the end destination.
Once you are done with cloud migration, you still have some essential things to consider. Resource optimization being the most important. The cloud is optimized for dynamic resource allocation, and when you allocate resources (servers, for example) statically, you’re not taking all the benefits of the cloud’s strengths. As you move into the cloud, make sure your teams have a plan for distributing resources to your application.
The complexity of the cloud migration process depends mostly on the size and complexity of your business operations. Though here we have spoken about the three necessary steps that you should follow
Advantages of Cloud Migration
It helps to maintain flexibility as per requirements leading to money-saving for the unused data and gives a chance to increase or decrease resources aligned with your business needs. Flexibility provides ease in future IT infrastructure and resource allocation coupled with a reduced workload. Shifting bandwidth demands and storages is possible. Testing and deploying applications is easy.
Cost-effectiveness makes cloud migration a popular strategy. Rackspace analyzes that 88% of companies save money when running services in the Cloud. The local server requires ongoing maintenance and support costs that add to the annual budget. You have to pay for on-site staff to manage your systems or purchase highly-priced strategies and equipment for leveraging resources.
3. Remote collaboration
The cloud environment allows companies to access remotely. Their other services, documents, and databases can be accessed from anywhere using collaboration and communication tools, software, and apps.
4. Better work-life balance
Cloud migration enabled the workers to choose to work from home. It allows you to maintain an excellent work-life balance. Many services are independent of platform and operating systems that can be performed on mobile, tablet, and laptops.
Integrating with other systems consistently and cost-effectively is possible in the cloud environment.
6. Better storage
A lot of Cloud migrating solution providers offer high-security data storage at a minimum cost. It is easy to enlarge and condense the storage based on your requirements in cloud computing. Business with seasonal or periodic data storage needs opts for cloud migration because of this benefit.
7. Disaster recovery
It is easy to recover the data using cloud-based backup and recovery solutions. For smaller businesses, cloud-based solutions are ideal and real.
8. Automation of tasks
Automatic updating and API are accessible in the cloud environment. It enables the automation of repetitive tasks.
It enables secure connection access to the data on the cloud when the person is one movement. Such controlled environmental and security is possible even in uncontrolled situations. PaaS cloud services in service providers like us, it is commonly available. IP whitelisting feature that is regardless of device, is also a benefit.
Security issues like hacking, data theft, unauthorized access, intrusions, and identity theft are kept locked away in cloud computing environments. It provides greater security under these conditions.
11. Faster setup
It is easy and fast to set up data and applications in the Cloud. It is even possible to set up remotely; all you need is just an internet connection.
12. Less maintenance
No maintenance is required since the cloud provider looks after the Cloud’s hardware, software, and networks.
Cloud services help you to make a quick decision. Frees up time and reduces the effort that is spent on the infrastructure of the system.
14. Zero risk failure
Every cloud service provider gives 99% uptime, and there is no risk of failure. It automatically takes up workloads. It also ensures easy and constant performance under cloud disaster.
15. Maximum uptime
Choose a service provider with maximum uptime. Cloud deployment is suitable for web-based, customer-facing applications and requires multiple users who are from different parts of the world.
Enterprise-class technology that is cost-effective, Pay-as-you-go service, and cloud business applications make you a globally available business.
Challenges Faced In Cloud Migration
The first step in cloud migration is identifying the challenges while working with the selected cloud provider to navigate these challenges to generate a flourishing cloud environment for the business. For every platform- Public, Private, or Hybrid, make sure you ask the right questions to the service provider and understand the risks to your business. Once you are done with this go ahead with the decision of choosing the right cloud migration strategy
During the migration to the public Cloud, a common issue faced by most of the companies is the disconnection between what they have on-premises and how the service they are going to buy will be used. In the last few years, most cloud service providers have tried to create “connectors of sort” to make experiences more parallel. The critical problem is the underlying constructs are entirely different, including complex ramifications in how you use infrastructure and how you control your hybrid infrastructure’s public and private portion.
2. Lack of expertise
With the rapid advancement in cloud technologies, more companies are migrating to the Cloud. However, they find it hard to stay up to date with the tools, leading to the need for expertise.
3. Segmented usage
Most businesses do not have an adequate cloud adoption strategy in place during their cloud migration. Instead, ad-hoc approaches are tanked up and pushed by various components. One among them is the cloud adoption speed. The swayed expiration of data center equipment is one reason which often led to irregular cloud migration. Further, there are also individual development teams using the public Cloud for specific applications and particular projects. These bootstrap environments have promoted maturation issues, including:
- ad hoc security configurations
- Isolated cloud projects with limited shared standards
- Absence of cross-team shared resources and learnings
Nobody is okay with compromises, especially when you are availing services from a third party. Companies expect complete data accessibility anytime from anywhere. The challenge most Businesses face is they can access data only via the internet connection. So, lousy internet connection means disruptive cloud services and higher data accessibility risks.
5. Bandwidth Cost
Though businesses can save money on hardware, they have to pay more for the bandwidth. However, this does not cost much for smaller applications, but data-intensive applications require more bandwidth, thus costing high.
Decide your goals before you choose your cloud migration strategy. Each of the four key strategies comes with its share of pros and cons. Finding the method that matches your organization’s objectives ,requirements and needs is the first step to a successful migration.
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