Cloud Migration – The Complete Guide
Over the past few years, cloud computing has gone from being a good-to-have to a must-have digital tool for the success of online business endeavours. “Cloud migration” has become a hot topic in the digital business space, discussions on it soon following its implementation. Now, cloud computing is the key step to digital transformation. By migrating to the cloud environment, any data that businesses once had on-premises can be stored in massive data centres around the world. However, the cloud is not just a storage system. Instead, it can be referred to as an entire set of servers, software and databases, which can be accessed online. It is necessary to understand the different options available before choosing the most suitable one for your business. Here’s a complete guide on cloud migration for your business.
What is Cloud Migration?
In simple words, cloud migration refers to transferring your business’ data, processes and applications to a cloud computing environment. The task includes moving data from a legacy, on-premise setup to the public cloud. Cloud migration enables organisations to be independent of physical resources and outdated legacy infrastructure that hamper a business’ growth and flexibility. Data saved on the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, anytime.
The most common migration model entails moving data from a physical to a virtual server. However, cloud migration isn’t limited to just this model. When a business moves from one cloud platform to another, it is called cloud-to-cloud migration. Reverse cloud migration is another form of migration in which data is shifted from the cloud to a local data centre.
Benefits of moving your business to the cloud
1. Cost efficiency
Compared to physical legacy infrastructure, cloud management of data comes at a lesser cost. Numerous surveys note that using cloud technology reduces IT costs by 30-50 per cent. Cloud services work on a pay-as-you-go model, which means that instead of making an upfront investment, you pay for what you use monthly or annually, depending on the plan.
A salient feature of cloud computing is that you’ll be able to access your data from any part of the world as long as you have an internet connection. This characteristic property of cloud services is especially significant in the current situation when remote working is the only employment option for most. Work from home and BYOD policies are effortless with cloud computing. With the suitable mobility suite and cloud service provider, you’ll be able to boost communication, teamwork and productivity as well.
Cloud environment makes your business more agile and responsive. Fast responses to your business needs are yet another significant feature of cloud computing. By migrating to the cloud, you’ll be able to adopt the latest technologies without much hassle and stay ahead of the curve all the time.
The scalability of cloud computing makes it the best option for growing businesses. An on-premise workspace causes extra time, effort and money to find and accommodate the increasing demands of a steadily rising enterprise. On the other hand, cloud computing allows you to expand your resources and reduce them as you wish when you wish. It offers you the peace of mind that any new addition you need will have the required space.
Cloud computing is unparalleled when it comes to data security. Techniques such as threat detection and multi-factor authentication ensure your data is well-protected. Cloud migration guarantees less downtime and quicker disaster recovery. It will allow you to focus on your core business responsibilities.
The three cloud computing models
Now that we have covered the what and the why of the cloud migration process, let’s check what are your options if you’re planning to do it. There are three cloud service models- IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
- IaaS: Internet as a service (IaaS) provides you with an infrastructure complete with storage and server to build technologies on the cloud. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a popular IaaS tool.
- PaaS: Platform as a service (PaaS) gives its users a framework on which they can build and manage new applications. Google App Engine is a good example of PaaS.
- SaaS: Software as a service (SaaS) offers cloud-based applications which you use on a pay-per-use basis. Google Docs is an example of SaaS.
Cloud deployment models
How you deploy or start running your applications through the service models play a significant role in successful cloud migration. Choosing the most suitable deployment model for your business will give your business resilience, room for growth, a competitive edge and cost-optimisation. The most common deployment models are-
- Public cloud
Here the data can be created and stored on third-party servers. Owned by cloud service provider companies, you can choose hardware or software computing resource that is free of charge or a pay-per-use option online. Public cloud services are ideal for tasks such as application development, testing, file-sharing and more. While you benefit from hassle-free infrastructure management and high scalability, certain disadvantages of public cloud deployment models include compromised reliability as well as data security and privacy issues. Some of the popular public cloud deployment models are – Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine and IBM Cloud.
- Private cloud
Referred also as an internal or corporate model, a private cloud will be owned by one specific company. The firm hosts the server either externally or on the premises. Compared to public clouds, this deployment model is more expensive due to the capital costs involved, and the infrastructure can be customised based on the company’s requirements. Private clouds are ideal for businesses that focus more on customisation, security and privacy concerns.
- Community cloud
Though similar to the private deployment model, the set of users will be different here. Unlike being owned by a single company, several organisations with similar backgrounds share the resources and infrastructure of a community cloud. All the participating organisations share the costs, and this cloud model smoothes the progress of project development, management and implementation.
- Hybrid cloud
Businesses can consider this deployment model to scale up their IT infrastructure rapidly by mixing the best features of the public, private and community models. Supported by standardised or proprietary technology, these models together enable data and application portability.
When it comes to expense, public clouds are better than private clouds. However, private clouds offer more security and compliance support than public clouds. There are also companies that choose private clouds for more secure applications and public deployment models for rather basic odd jobs.
The 5 R’s of cloud migration strategies
Rehost, also known as lift-and-shift, is the process of moving your data and applications from on-premises to the cloud with no modifications. It guarantees minimal risks with reduced operating costs.
Replatforming, or the lift, tinker and shift method, is similar to rehosting with modifications to procure maximum benefits from the cloud infrastructure. It is a cost-effective strategy that offers you scalability and all the native functionalities of the cloud.
Refactoring is the migration process in which the applications are re-architected to suit the cloud environment. Since it requires altering application codes, refactoring is the most time-consuming and resource-intensive migration strategy. Despite these setbacks, refactoring is the model that will provide you with the highest RoI once the cloud is fully functional.
Rebuilding, as the name suggests, is the strategy that involves re-writing applications and building them from scratch. It is the best solution if the existing framework does not suit the business needs and the advancements offered by the cloud.
In this strategy, the redundant applications that hinder your business growth will be discarded. The outdated applications are replaced with newer cloud-native applications that will enhance your business experience as a whole and facilitate a productivity boost.
What are the stages of a cloud migration strategy?
Cloud migration requires strategic planning to be fruitful. It’s advisable to work with a trusted IT consultant or cloud provider to understand the weaknesses of the current solution, which the migration process can resolve.
The stages involved in a cloud migration strategy are:
- Understand the business requirements- Why migrate to the cloud? What are your goals? What strategy will suit your business best?
- Explore the cloud providers available in the market and choose the option that will be harmonious with your goals and budget.
- Create a detailed blueprint for the cloud infrastructure and finalise the migration deployment model.
- Communicate with the stakeholders and the employees so they can prepare for the transformation.
- Choose the most suitable migration tools with the help of service providers.
- Migrate data and applications under the guidance of the technical support team.
- Once the cloud migration is successful, observe the performance of the cloud environment. Check for security gaps and ensure smooth cloud management.
The significance of cloud managed services
Cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and Microsoft Azure offer cloud computing services- infrastructure, software or platform- on a pay-per-use model. Rather than building your own infrastructure, you can purchase the frameworks you desire and save time and effort.
Though cloud providers offer all the tools you require to complete the migration, it can still be a tedious, confusing process. Like most things that work on IT, anything can go wrong at any time – it is advisable to have technical expertise ready for your support. Cloud-managed service consultants can help you create effective cloud migration strategies, minimise downtime and ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.
Are you unsure if moving to the cloud is beneficial for your business? Does the process seem complex to you? Are you looking for help with cloud migration? Just click on Contact Us or email us at email@example.com, and we got your back. At Computing Australia, our team will work with your business at every step of cloud migration to ensure that your IT infrastructure works smooth and efficient.
Cloud computing: Cloud computing is the umbrella term for the processes that deliver on-demand computing services over the internet.
Cloud service provider: Cloud service providers offer on-demand cloud computing components on a pay-per-use model.
Cloud managed services: Managed cloud services refers to outsourcing the management of cloud-based services to enhance your business atmosphere.
RoI: Return on investment or return on costs is the measure of the efficiency of an investment.
Legacy infrastructure: In IT, it means hardware or software that is outdated but still in use. It may still perform the original functions but has no scope for improvements in tune with technological advancements.