The Fundamentals of Migrating to the Cloud

The Fundamentals of Migrating to the Cloud

Many organizations are considering or have already begun migrating their workloads to the cloud. Studies show that a majority (80%) of organizations across the globe have adopted the cloud and are operating a hybrid model to cater to the recent technological ecosystem changes in 2022.

In 2019, there were 3% companies that had no plans for cloud migration, but that changed with COVID-19. Now, because of the countless benefits and the general flexibility that comes with the cloud almost every organization has a dedicated plan for migrating to the cloud.

Here is a graph to show the different cloud migration strategies organizations are looking to adopt across the globe and how it has changed from 2017 to 2022.

The cloud offers many benefits, such as increased agility, scalability, and cost savings. But migrating to the cloud can also be a complex process. This article will provide an overview of the key considerations for migrating to the cloud, including planning, execution, and post-migration.

The Fundamentals of Migrating to the Cloud – An Overview

When planning a cloud migration, it is important to first assess your current workloads and determine which are a good fit for the cloud. Not all workloads are suitable for migration, so it is important to carefully consider each one.

Once you have identified which workloads can be migrated, you will need to determine the most efficient way to migrate them. This will involve assessing your current infrastructure and determining how it can be adapted for use in the cloud.

You will also need to consider the data that needs to be migrated and how it can be securely transferred.

Executing a cloud migration can be a complex process, so it is important to have a well-defined plan in place. This plan should detail the steps that need to be taken, as well as who will be responsible for each step.

It is also important to have a backup plan in place in case of any unexpected issues. Once the migration is underway, it is important to monitor its progress and make sure that everything is going according to plan. After the migration is complete, there are a few things that need to be done to ensure a successful transition to the cloud. Three very important steps include:

  • Updating your applications and systems for use in the cloud. This may require changes to your code or configuration.
  • Ensuring that your data is secure in the cloud and that you have appropriate access control measures in place.
  • Monitoring your cloud environment on an ongoing basis to ensure that it is running smoothly.

What Does it Mean to Migrate to the Cloud?

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, and other business elements from an on-premises environment to a cloud computing platform. The major benefits of cloud migration include improved scalability, reduced costs, increased agility, and better disaster recovery.

In order to ensure a successful cloud migration, it is important to carefully plan and execute the migration process. This includes identifying which workloads and data should be migrated, assessing the risks involved, and selecting the right cloud platform. It is also important to have a good understanding of the differences between on-premises and cloud computing in order to make the most of the cloud platform.

There are two common approaches for cloud migration.

  1. The most common approach is to lift and shift, which involves simply moving the existing on-premises workloads and data to the cloud platform. This can be a quick and easy way to migrate, but it may not take full advantage of the cloud platform’s capabilities.
  2. The second approach is to refactor the workloads and data for the cloud. This involves redesigning the workloads and data to be more suitable for a cloud environment. This can take more time and effort, but it can improve performance and reduce costs.

The concept of cloud migration began with the advent of virtualization. Virtualization allows multiple virtual machines (VMs) to be run on a single physical server. This enables organizations to consolidate their servers and reduce their overall IT infrastructure costs.

Cloud migration takes virtualization one step further by moving VMs off of physical servers and into the cloud. The cloud is a network of remote servers that are accessed over the internet. Cloud providers offer various services, such as storage, networking, and computing power, which can be rented on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

There are many benefits to migrating workloads to the cloud. The main benefit is that it can help organizations to reduce their IT infrastructure costs, allows for better collaboration, and ensures better security.

Research suggests that the top driver for organizations shifting to a cloud-based IT infrastructure in the US is the security, data protection, and compliance benefits that the cloud offers[1] , followed by data modernization and cost reduction.

Here is an overview of the benefits of cloud migration that managers seek.

Source: Statista

Let’s take a closer look at these benefits.

Reduced IT Infrastructure Costs

One of the biggest benefits of migrating to the cloud is that it can reduce your IT infrastructure costs. Cloud providers typically charge on a pay-as-you-go basis, which can be much cheaper than buying and maintaining your own physical servers.

Furthermore, the cloud enables organizations to quickly provision new resources and scale their operations up or down as needed. This can save you money by avoiding the need to overprovision for peak demand.

Increased Agility

The cloud enables organizations to quickly provision new resources and scale their operations up or down as needed. This can be a big advantage in today’s fast-paced business environment. This means that the cloud enables organizations to be more flexible in how they use their resources, risks, and opportunities.

For example, you can easily provision new resources for a project and then release them when the project is finished. This can save you time and money by avoiding the need to purchase and maintain extra capacity.

Improved Disaster Recovery

In the event of a disaster, you can quickly spin up new resources in the cloud and keep your business running. The cloud helps here by enabling your organization to quickly provision new resources in the event of a disaster.

This can help you avoid downtime and keep your business running smoothly. It is important to note that the cloud makes it easy to replicate data and applications across multiple locations and therefore create better, more reliable backups.

This can protect your data from being lost or corrupted if one location is damaged or destroyed.

Access to New Capabilities

The cloud offers organizations access to a wide range of new capabilities, such as big data and machine learning. Migrating to the cloud can also give you access to new capabilities based on the cloud host you choose and the nature of your business.

For example, many cloud providers offer machine learning and artificial intelligence services. These services can help you automate tasks, improve decision making, and gain insights into your data. As the cloud enables organizations to easily connect to other systems and applications, it can help you create new workflows and business processes.

Better Flexibility

The cloud enables organizations to be more flexible in how they use IT resources. For example, you can easily provision new resources for a project and then release them when the project is finished.

The cloud basically enables your organization(s) to easily change its resource allocation by addressing basic needs on its own and giving you a better overview of what you have. The business intelligence (BI) elements within can allow for better decisions in the short, medium, and long run.

This can help you avoid overprovisioning or underutilizing your resources. The cloud further makes it easy to scale your operations up or down as needed. This can help you save money by only paying for the resources you use, when you use them.

Location Independence

The cloud enables organizations to store and run their applications and data in any location. This can be a big advantage if you need to comply with data sovereignty regulations. This way, migrating to the cloud can also offer improved location independence.

The cloud enables organizations to access data and applications from any internet-connected device. The cloud also makes it easy to replicate data and applications across multiple locations, hence helping you protect your data from being lost or corrupted if one location is damaged or destroyed.

Improved Security

Cloud providers invest heavily in security and offer a wide range of security features. This can give organizations peace of mind that their data is safe and secure.

Migrating to the cloud can also improve your organization’s cybersecurity and physical security environment. Cloud providers invest heavily in security and offer a wide range of security features. This can give you peace of mind that your data is safe and secure.

In addition, the cloud enables organizations to easily share data and applications with their partners and customers. This can lead to improved collaboration and better business outcomes.

Increased Collaboration

The cloud enables organizations to easily share data and applications with their partners and customers. This can lead to improved collaboration and better business outcomes and improves compliance while doing so.

Increased Productivity

The cloud can lead to increased productivity for organizations by enabling employees to work from anywhere and freeing up IT resources.

For example, employees can access data and applications from any internet-connected device. This can be a major benefit for organizations with employees who work remotely or travel frequently. In addition, the cloud enables organizations to offer self-service access to data and applications.

This can reduce the need for IT support and free up resources that can be used for other purposes.

Key Considerations for Migrating to the Cloud

When planning a cloud migration, there are a number of key considerations that need to be taken into account.

  1. Current IT infrastructure: You will need to assess your existing servers, storage, and networking infrastructure to determine how it can be adapted for use in the cloud. For example, you may need to purchase new hardware or reconfigure your network for cloud connectivity.
  2. Data to be migrated: You will need to identify which data needs to be migrated and how it can be securely transferred to the cloud. It is important to ensure that all sensitive data is encrypted before it is sent over the internet.
  3. Applications that will be running in the cloud. You will need to update your applications for use in a cloud environment or choose new applications that are designed for the cloud. For example, you may need to purchase new licenses for software that can be run on a cloud platform.
  4. Organization’s security posture. When migrating to the cloud, you will need to ensure that your data is secure and that you have appropriate access control measures in place. You should also consider how you will monitor and respond to security incidents in the cloud.
  5. Post-migration operations. After migrating to the cloud, you will need to monitor your environment and make sure that everything is running smoothly. You may also need to perform regular backups of your data in case of an unforeseen disaster.

Steps for Cloud Migration

Migrating to the cloud has a relatively straightforward procedure, but unfortunately there is a lot of room for error therein if you are not careful. Here is an overview of the steps for cloud migration. 

Plan Your Migration

This involves assessing your current IT infrastructure and applications, as well as identifying which data needs to be migrated. You will also need to choose a cloud provider and determine how you will connect to the cloud.

When choosing the right cloud provider, you need to consider a number of factors, such as price, features, and support. It is important to select a provider that can meet your organization’s specific needs. Other considerations for the right cloud migration company include:

  • Make sure that the company can offer a free trial or migration test so that you can see how the process works and whether it will be suitable for your needs.
  • Look for a provider that offers a wide range of services, such as storage, networking, and security. This will give you more flexibility when migrating to the cloud. A prime example of this is Amazon’s AWS migration services.
  • Choose a provider that has a good reputation and is well-established. This will give you peace of mind that your data is in safe hands.
  • Look for a provider that offers 24/7 support in case you have any problems with your migration.

Migrate Your Data

This involves transferring your data from your on-premises environment to the cloud. You will need to ensure that all sensitive data is encrypted before it is sent over the internet.

Some considerations for data migration include:

  • Ensure that you have enough bandwidth to transfer your data quickly and efficiently.
  • Test your data migration process before you begin the actual migration. This will help you avoid any potential problems.
  • Monitor your data migration carefully so that you can identify any issues as soon as possible.
  • Perform regular backups of your data in case something goes wrong during the migration process.
  • Make sure that your data is accessible and usable in the cloud. This may involve updating your applications for use in a cloud environment.

Execute Your Migration Plan

This includes transferring your data to the cloud and configuring your applications for use in the cloud. When executing your migration plan, you need to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that there is minimal disruption to your business.

Some considerations to make include:

  • Ensure that you have enough storage capacity in the cloud to accommodate your data and applications.
  • Test your applications to make sure that they are compatible with the cloud platform.
  • Make sure that your data is encrypted before it is transferred to the cloud.
  • And again, monitor your migration carefully so that there are no errors during the execution.

Monitor The Cloud Environment

This involves monitoring your applications and infrastructure to make sure that everything is running smoothly. You will also need to perform regular backups of your data in case of an unforeseen disaster.

Some considerations when monitoring your environment include;

  • Test that your applications are compatible with the cloud platform.
  • Run benchmarks to ensure smooth operations.
  • Perform regular backups of your data to protect against any unforeseen disasters.
  • Ensure data accessibility, usability, and integrity.
  • Run regular cybersecurity tests.
  • Set up access control features and limitations.
  • Update your applications, data, and the cloud environment itself.

Some examples of great cloud hosts to use are:

  1. AWS (Amazon Web Services): AWS is a comprehensive, easy-to-use, and affordable cloud computing platform. It offers a wide range of services, such as storage, networking, and security. AWS is also well-established and has a good reputation.
    • AWS offers a wide range of tools to help organizations migrate to the cloud. These include the AWS Migration Hub, which helps you track your migration process, and the AWS Database Migration Service, which helps you migrate your databases to the cloud, and more.
  2. Google Cloud Platform: Google Cloud Platform offers several types of cloud strategies that you can implement, and is considered a great host for organizations that rely on other applications by Google (because of the nativity of the platform).
    • Google Cloud tools to help organizations migrate to the cloud include the Google Cloud Storage Transfer Service, which helps you transfer data within the cloud in a manageable manner and the Google Cloud Datastore Migration Tool, which helps you migrate entire databases along with their meta information to the cloud, and more.
  3. Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure is considered to be one of the most secure cloud hosts out there with peak compatibility for Android and Windows-based applications as well. The platform is considered to be a great full-stack cloud operating system with a very broad range of features (albeit not as versatile as AWS).
  4. IBM Cloud: IBM Cloud favors hybrid cloud computing service and features a number of services within as well. Its primary selling point is the speed and computing power that the cloud offers, be it a private, public, or multi-cloud environment.

What are the Challenges of Migrating to the Cloud?

While there are many benefits to migrating to the cloud, there are also some challenges that need to be considered. Navigating these challenges is key to ensure that your cloud migration ventures are successful. These include:

  • Security: When you move data and applications to the cloud, you need to make sure that they are secure. This can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with cloud security best practices.
  • Compliance: Some organizations have strict compliance requirements, such as those in the healthcare or financial industries. Migrating to the cloud can be a challenge if you need to meet these requirements.
  • Cost: Although migrating to the cloud can save you money in the long run, there may be some upfront costs associated with migration.
  • Vendor Lock-In: When you choose a cloud provider, you may be locked into that provider’s platform. This can make it difficult to switch providers if you are not happy with the service or if the price goes up.
  • Loss of Control: When you migrate to the cloud, you are giving up some control over your data and applications. This can be a challenge for organizations that are used to having complete control over their IT infrastructure.
  • Change Management: Migrating to the cloud can require significant changes to your organization’s IT infrastructure and processes. This can be a challenge, especially if you don’t have experience with cloud computing.

Key Cloud Migration Strategies

There are four primary cloud migration strategies that you can adopt, based on the infrastructure you are looking for. These include:

Public Cloud Migration

Public cloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from on-premises to a public cloud provider, such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud. This strategy can offer a number of benefits, including increased flexibility and scalability.

The public cloud offers a number of advantages over on-premises systems, such as;

  • Public clouds are designed to be highly scalable. This means that you can easily add or remove resources as your needs change.
  • More cost-effective than on-premises systems. This is because you only pay for the resources you use.
  • Increased flexibility. This means that you can easily change your IT resources as your needs change.

Private Cloud Migration

Private cloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from on-premises to a private cloud. You should consider this strategy if you are looking for increased security and compliance without worrying about the costs.

The private cloud offers a number of advantages, such as:

  • More secure than public clouds. This is because private clouds offer increased control over who has access to your data and applications.
  • Improved compliance. This is because private clouds can be configured to meet specific regulatory requirements.
  • Better privacy and access control features.

Hybrid Cloud Migration

Hybrid cloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from on-premises to a hybrid cloud environment, i.e., the cloud plus on-premise solution. This strategy can offer a number of benefits, including increased flexibility and scalability.

  • Hybrid clouds are designed to be highly scalable, allowing you to easily add or remove resources as your needs change.
  • Hybrid clouds are typically more cost-effective than on-premises systems or complete cloud solutions.
  • They offer more control to you and better protection against uncertainties.

Multicloud Migration

Multicloud migration is the process of moving data and applications from one cloud environment to another completely on its part. The most prominent benefit therein is the portability you get and access to more features across different cloud hosts.

  • Multiclouds are designed to be highly scalable and versatile, thanks to the numerous clouds you use and their base features.
  • There is a risk of overlapping costs or features if you do not choose the new cloud properly and hence introduce inefficiencies. However, chosen correctly, the decision can be a very cost-effective one.
  • Multicloud migration strategy blends the features, applications, and services of two or more clouds into a single solution.

Conclusion

Migrating to the cloud can offer a number of benefits, including increased flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. However, it’s important to choose the right migration strategy for your business. As the world evolved, the cloud is now the new way of doing business.

Organizations need to adapt to the transformed ecosystem and cloud migration is the perfect technique to do so.

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