The value of cloud computing has become apparent to companies across all industries. Yet, only some enterprises that migrate their data to the cloud do so in one go. Many utilize an iterative process driven by both business and technical requirements to ensure seamless migration of all their information into this new technology.
Let’s have a closer look at the cloud migration strategy:
What is cloud migration strategy?
Cloud migration strategy is designed to move data, applications, and other digital assets from on-premise environments into cloud architectures. Not all aspects of your workload need to be transferred over to the cloud computing environment. Part of your migration strategy should identify those assets you plan on moving before prioritizing, which must be transferred first.
Why adopt a cloud migration strategy?
Adopting a cloud migration strategy enables organizations to plan, execute, and minimize disruption when moving from on-premises to cloud environments. An enterprise cloud migration strategy typically employs various strategies in tandem to address every application portfolio within its portfolio – whether this means discontinuing or replacing workloads, writing new ones from scratch, migrating as is or augmenting them with native cloud services, migrating workloads to specific clouds, etc.
Since every organization’s needs vary, an enterprise cloud migration strategy should be tailored precisely to their requirements and aimed at meeting specific business and technical outcomes. To do this effectively requires having an understanding of both their goals and application portfolio in order to establish the total cost of ownership (TCO) and return on investment (ROI) considerations of undertaking migration efforts.
Steps of a cloud migration strategy:
Your migration process may depend on the nature and size of your company, but regardless of which method is chosen for its execution, your cloud migration strategy should include these essential steps:
- Plan the migration: Before moving to the cloud, it is necessary to understand your current environment, why you want to migrate there, and what its requirements, such as server space requirements or security and cloud protocols.
- Establish your cloud environment: Determine whether you prefer using the public, hybrid, private, or multi-cloud. And plan to move your apps and data smoothly into it! Hopefully, your migration will go as smoothly as planned!
- Validate your migration: Your cloud migration won’t be successful just because the data has been transferred; for it to truly succeed, you need to analyze everything and verify that everything works as expected.
6 Rs of cloud migration:
Migrating to the cloud has become an essential step for businesses aiming to increase agility, scalability, and cost-efficiency in today’s digital environment. But cloud migration is an intricate journey with no single answer; every organization must consider its specific needs and constraints during this journey.
A useful framework that can assist your cloud migration efforts is the “6 Rs” approach – six distinct migration strategies such as:
1. Re-hosting: Re-hosting, commonly known as “lift and shift,” is an essential migration strategy. This approach ensures everything works just like before by replicating your on-premises environment into the cloud without making extensive architectural modifications. Re-host is ideal for organizations just beginning their cloud migration journey as it requires minimal modifications while remaining cost-effective.
2. Re-platform: It is similar to lift and shift but involves making necessary modifications to optimize applications for the cloud environment. This requires programming knowledge in order to integrate smoothly with cloud resources. Re-platforming can be especially helpful for organizations testing out cloud migration while remaining familiar with their existing applications.
3. Repurchase: It involves switching your environment over to new cloud-based products or services, such as SaaS apps. Repurchasing can involve upgrading from existing software applications or migrating licenses from on-premise servers to SaaS options. It is cost-effective, but training may be necessary for team members as they adapt to these tools; nonetheless, it provides a great method for transitioning from customized legacy environments.
4. Retain: It recognizes that cloud migration may not be right for your organization at this time due to regulatory compliance concerns or the complexity involved with migrating certain applications. A hybrid approach might be more suitable when this is the case: leaving some components on-premises while others migrate to the cloud.
5. Retire: This approach involves disabling applications or services no longer beneficial or relevant to your organization without migrating them to the cloud; simply turning them off may be sufficient in these instances.
6. Refactor: It is the most laborious strategy, as it involves restructuring existing apps to be cloud-compatible from the ground up. While time-consuming and costly, this approach ensures your applications can support future growth with evolving user needs.
Note: Not all organizations will utilize these six strategies when planning for cloud migration. Instead, consider them a guideline that helps determine the most suitable course of action based on your organization’s goals, existing technology stack, budget constraints, and timeline.
Benefits of cloud migration:
Enterprise organizations typically migrate their applications and workloads from on-premises data centers to cloud infrastructure for various reasons. Some are driven by an overall desire to take advantage of its limitless storage capacity; other initiatives have more specific aims in mind, such as creating more flexible working environments.
No matter their motivations for migrating to the cloud, most organizations aim to gain several key advantages by making this strategic shift:
- Increase accessibility: In today’s business landscape, enterprises operate in an increasingly cloud-first world. With the workforce often spread out over various locations – remote or non-office settings included – accessing critical applications and data is of utmost importance for employee efficiency regardless of physical location. Employing public cloud resources gives employees confidence that they can efficiently perform their duties regardless of physical location.
- Enhance performance and agility: Being able to run applications from anywhere can be immensely valuable; however, performance issues may limit this advantage. Migrating workloads to the cloud reduces the likelihood of performance issues occurring. Major cloud service providers (CSPs) maintain global cloud data centers to minimize latency for customers’ operations, ensuring seamless operations for them.
- Utilize elasticity and scalability: Enterprises often experience fluctuating resource demands that last for various durations. Leveraging the cloud’s elasticity and scalability enables organizations to address these fluctuations by expanding or contracting compute, memory, and storage resources dynamically to accommodate fluctuation as needed; this enables businesses to adapt quickly to evolving business requirements with unparalleled agility compared to what on-premise operations could ever offer.
- Cost-efficiency: On-premise infrastructure tends to be more costly when scaled up than similar cloud services; scaling down can even prove more costly. By making cloud usage part of their daily operations, companies can streamline budgeting processes and optimize long-term spending plans more easily.
- Support security and compliance: Major cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud offer an array of cloud-native security features that far outstrip those available on-premises. This enhanced infrastructure enables organizations to meet stringent compliance regulations when hosting workloads that fall under them; furthermore, multi-cloud deployment allows companies to assign specific clouds according to specific workload needs in terms of compliance regulations.
Challenges of a cloud migration strategy:
- End-state evaluation: Organizations should realistically assess their desired end state. This may involve selecting from among hybrid cloud migration strategies or multi-cloud approaches comprising multiple public cloud providers; each option comes with unique ramifications that must align with an organization’s goals and values.
- Clear intent and strategy: Many cloud migration projects fail due to a lack of intent and strategy. To ensure success, it’s essential that projects outline their exact requirements for migration before diving headfirst into cloud migration. Assess which workloads would benefit from migration while others should remain on-premises before diving in blindly.
- Legacy servers and applications: Migrating legacy servers and applications can be challenging, with some applications better suited to cloud migration than others. Organizations should make informed decisions regarding how they dispose of retired hardware or data center real estate as part of their migration plans.
Factors to emphasize in cloud migration strategy:
- Security: Security should always be of primary concern during cloud migration. Organizations should adopt a zero-trust model and implement stateless transactions wherever possible to safeguard workloads. Furthermore, both cloud providers and organizations bear equal responsibility in regard to aspects of security.
- Governance and compliance: Compliance requirements depend on geography and industry. Cloud providers can offer physically secure storage, but organizations must take the initiative to comply with regulations related to data retention, privacy, and any mandates from their industry-specific regulations. Therefore, establishing effective governance mechanisms is of utmost importance for meeting compliance obligations.
- Cost management: Cost management is integral to cloud migration. Organizations should ensure that any unnecessary accounts, workloads, and data are de-provisioned to save unnecessary expenses and minimize resource sprawl in their virtualization efforts.
Successful cloud migration begins with a well-considered strategy. Recognizing the six Rs of cloud migration can effectively assess which approach would be most suitable for your organization and mitigate potential hurdles associated with cloud computing while taking full advantage of its potential advantages. Each R offers its path toward cloud migration success, allowing your organization to thrive in today’s digital environment.
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