Cloud migration or cloud computing is the process of moving data, applications or other business elements into a cloud computing environment.
There are several types of cloud migrations that a company can perform. A common model is to transfer data and applications from an on-premises data center to the public cloud.
However, a cloud migration can also involve moving data and applications from one cloud platform or provider to another; This model is known as cloud-to-cloud migration.
A third type of migration is a reverse cloud migration, cloud repatriation, or cloud egress, where data or applications are moved out of the cloud and back to an on-premises data center.
What are the advantages of migrating to cloud computing?
The overall goals or benefits of a cloud migration are essentially the same as the reasons for using the cloud itself: to host applications and data in the most effective IT environment possible, based on factors such as cost, performance, and security.
Many organizations migrate on-premises applications and data from their on-premises data to public cloud infrastructure to take advantage of benefits such as increased elasticity, self-service provisioning, redundancy, and a flexible pay-per-use model.
Types of Cloud Migration Strategies
Moving workloads to the cloud requires a well-thought-out strategy that includes a complex mix of management and technology challenges, as well as realignment of staff and resources. There are choices in the type of migration to perform, as well as the type of data to move. It’s important to consider a cloud migration checklist before taking action.
Every company has a different reason for moving a workload to the cloud, and the goals for each organization vary.
The first step is to identify the application or workload you want to move to the cloud.
Then find out how much data needs to be moved, how quickly the work needs to get done, and how to migrate that data. Take inventory of data and applications, and look for dependencies and how those will be replicated in the cloud or possibly rearchived to accommodate myriad cloud service options.
Remember that not all applications must leave the company’s Data Center. Among those that should stay are applications that are business critical, have high throughput, require low latency, or have stringent geographic requirements.
Finally, consider your costs.
An organization may have steep investments in hardware infrastructure and software licensing. If so, weigh whether or not it’s worth migrating the workload. After a cloud migration, the IT team will focus on data performance, usage, and stability, so make sure you budget for tools that support these functions .
Cloud migration deployment templates
Enterprises today have more than one cloud landscape to choose from:
- The public cloud allows many users to access computing resources through the Internet or dedicated connections.
- A private cloud holds data within the data center and uses a proprietary architecture.
- The hybrid cloud model mixes public and private cloud models and transfers data between the two.
- In a multi-cloud scenario, a company uses IAAS options from more than one public cloud provider.
As you consider where the application should live, consider what will work when it is migrated. Make sure there is adequate bandwidth for the best application performance. Also, determine whether an application’s dependencies can complicate a migration.
Review what’s on the application stack that will make the move. On-premises applications can contain a lot of unused resources, and it’s wasteful to pay to migrate and support these non-essentials. Stale data is another concern with cloud migration. Without good reason, it’s probably unwise to move historical data to the cloud, which typically incurs costs for recovery.
When examining the application, it may be wise to reconsider its strategic architecture to configure it for what could potentially be a longer life. A handful of platforms support hybrid and multi-cloud environments, including the following:
- Microsoft Azure Stack
- Google Cloud Anthos Anthos
- AWS Outposts;
- VMware Cloud on AWS; and
- A container-based PaaS like Cloud Foundry or Red Hat OpenShift
How to migrate to Cloud Computing?
The cloud migration steps or processes that a company follows will vary based on factors such as the type of migration they want to perform and the specific resources they want to move. That said, common elements of a cloud migration strategy include the following:
1. Assessment of performance and security requirements;
2. Selection of a cloud provider;
3. Calculation of costs; and
4. Any reorganization deemed necessary.
At the same time, be prepared to solve several common challenges during a cloud migration:
- Data and application portability;
- Data integrity and security; and
- Business continuity.
Without proper planning, a migration could degrade workload performance and lead to higher IT costs – negating some of the key benefits of cloud computing .
Depending on the migration details, a company may choose to move an application directly from on-premises servers to its new cloud hosting environment without any modifications; This model is sometimes referred to as a lift-and-shift migration. This is essentially a one-to-one move primarily done as a short-term fix to save on infrastructure costs.
In other cases, it may be more beneficial to change an application’s code or architecture. This process is known as refactoring an application or survey. This can be done in advance of a cloud migration or retroactively once it is clear that an elevator and displacement slows down an application’s performance.
IT management must consider whether refactoring an application makes financial sense. Calculate Cost, Performance and Safety when you analyze your ROI. An application will likely require at least some refactoring if the transformation is minimal or comprehensive.
Companies have several options when it comes to moving data from an on-premises data center to the public cloud. The type of data migration a company chooses depends on the amount and type of data it wants to move, as well as how quickly it needs to complete the migration.
One way to migrate data and applications to the cloud is via the public internet or a private/dedicated network connection. If you choose this method, be sure to calculate and provide the required bandwidth. For significant volumes of data, your internet connection can be laterally unrealistic, so be sure to plan accordingly to avoid long downtime during cloud migration.
Another option is an offline transfer, in which an organization uploads its on-premises data to a device and then physically sends that device to a public cloud provider, who then uploads the data to the cloud.
In some cases, it may make more sense to simply use a truck to transfer large volumes of data. Major providers – Microsoft, AWS, Google and IBM – all offer services for sending data offline. Physical sending cannot eliminate the need for additional synchronization, but it can cut the time and expense of moving data.
Test Cloud Migration Before Execution
Before the workload moves to production, it must be tested and optimized to provide acceptable performance. It is also important to test for fault conditions as well as redundant systems. You shouldn’t try to test every possible application function, but you do need to establish a solid understanding of various aspects of application performance before and after it goes to the cloud.
Form a cloud migration test strategy to confirm an application’s baseline performance before and after the move – including application start times and response times – in addition to establishing adequate security and access, and tight integrations. -successful with other services.
Cloud migration security
There are special considerations for the new security realities during a cloud migration. Migrating data or applications over a network potentially opens up vectors for various types of attacks – stealing credentials and VM snapshots, installing malware, or a “threshing” persistent denial attack that forces repeated migrations and consumes system resources.
First, understand your cloud provider’s shared responsibility model, which outlines the areas for which you and the provider are responsible. For users, this typically means everything above the underlying infrastructure, including data, access, and governance. You will also need to establish rules and structures around governance, access management and monitoring.
Changing IT staff roles. Once the cloud migration is complete, the team will shift its focus to data performance, usage, and stability. There is some reduction in general hardware support. However, cloud workloads must be managed, so consider adding some cloud management training classes for the team.
Best practices to ensure a successful cloud migration
There are many reasons why an organization chooses to move an application or workload to the cloud, and each project will be unique depending on resource allocations, integrations with other services, and many other factors. Here are some general guidelines for a cloud migration that will streamline the process and improve changes for success:
Get organizational support. The transition is much smoother when all stakeholders are on board and know their roles, from administration to technical professionals to end users.
Define cloud roles and ownership. Determine right in advance who is responsible for managing various aspects of the cloud workload. Is it a shared environment? How is identity confirmed and access granted or limited? This includes proper documentation of settings and processes.
Choose the right cloud services. Cloud providers have a vast menu of services to choose from. Be clear with which your workload will spread out, or you risk running extraneous services – some of which can be interdependent and become problematic to manage.
Understand security risks. Cloud environments can be susceptible to shenanigans from Internet attacks. Misconfigurations are arguably a bigger problem given the complexity of cloud environments.
Calculate cloud costs. The cloud payment payment model may seem attractive and simpler to organizations used for large infrastructure investments. But it’s a double-edged sword: pay close attention to service and usage selections, or you’ll get a shock at the end of the month.
Design a long-term cloud roadmap. If a cloud migration is successful, organizations will likely look to replicate that success for other workloads. Identify the following criteria, from project timelines to different deployment options such as a hybrid cloud configuration.
What are the challenges of migrating to the cloud?
A solid strategy does not completely eliminate all obstacles and potential problems with a cloud migration. Sometimes leaders find that their apps don’t work in the cloud as well as they did on premises. They need to determine the reasons for the failure of the cloud migration; It could be low latency, security concerns, or perhaps compliance challenges. Often, the cloud application costs more than anticipated or does not work as well as originally anticipated.
There’s another reality to recognize: not every application is a good fit for the cloud. Managers should examine their on-premises applications when making their initial choice on which to move to a cloud environment.
An often overlooked aspect of a cloud migration plan is having a solid cloud egress strategy, where applications and data have left the cloud and are returned to their original state on premises or to a private cloud. IT managers must consider where the data will be, how to manage the technical transition, and how to resolve any business or legal issues that may arise.
Be sure to test the application before and after repatriation, as well as with the initial migration. If the application was changed to accommodate cloud-specific benefits such as horizontal scaling, those benefits would be lost when the application goes back to on-premises.
Many cloud migrations that fail are only temporarily reversed. They can be re-evaluated, possibly reenacted instead of lift-and-shift replenishment, and then sent back to the cloud with a higher probability of success. Consider changes made prior to when you moved the application to the cloud. Moving the app back to its original platform may be an option.
Another common mistake made by cloud administrators is configuring the wrong instance type. You need to select the right amount of CPU and memory resources as well as enough network connectivity for your chosen storage streaming and applications.
Don’t underestimate proper staff training. Managing applications in the cloud is different from working with on-premises data centers and routine virtualized resources, and thus requires a different set of IT and management skills. In particular, data security requires a different approach in the cloud than on premises.
Staff training needs to be a priority. Consider employee skill sets and ensure that everyone is properly trained on how to control and manage the relevant services. If the team cannot be trained prior to a cloud migration, it makes sense to hire an experienced AWS partner to manage the project.
How much does cloud migration cost?
It is important to consider several elements in the costs of migrating to the cloud.
1. Migration costs
The cost of migrating to the cloud can be high initially. It will usually cost in time and investment between 1% and 5% of a company’s gross sales in the first 1 to 6 months, depending on the size of the company. Smaller companies will have lower costs, larger companies will have higher costs.
2. Training costs
Taking between 1 and 6 months, the training can also cost up to 5% of the company’s gross revenue. Greater investments here can reduce problems in the medium and long term, increasing the effectiveness and chances of success of migration.
3. Cloud costs
The packages for the cloud can be customized according to the needs of your company. Here, the values are very varied, depending a lot on the nature of your business.
A business that relies on data, such as video and audio production, may require a greater amount of files in the cloud. Consider an average cost of 10% or more for companies’ gross sales.
Cloud migration tools and services
Workload management changes significantly when an application moves to the cloud. Companies should calculate the cost of a cloud setup before a migration to avoid unexpected surprises. The team needs to change their management processes to work in the cloud as well, as they do. This can be achieved by any number of services and tools.
The major cloud service providers – AWS, Microsoft and Google – offer various cloud migration services as well as free migration tiers.
Cloud cost calculators and estimation tools help companies determine the cost of a cloud configuration before the team makes the migration. Cloud optimization tools can offer recommendations for a given cloud environment in areas such as cost, performance, and security.
There are a few automation options for lift and move migrations, but the most important is to understand application performance and resource requirements before the move. Migration of composite applications that rely on databases can be partially automated, but users will have to manually fix any database migration issues that may arise.