Migrating to the cloud must be at the forefront of enterprise strategies today.
Many businesses are already reaping the benefits of cloud computing, particularly in the B2B space.
According to IDG, 73% of organizations have at least one application or a portion of their infrastructure running on the cloud, with the cloud industry itself expected to hit a staggering $411 billion valuation by 2020.
Current and estimated projections of the cloud industry by Gartner (image source)
However, migrating to the cloud is not an easy task for enterprises. The sheer amount of workloads that organizations have to move poses a series of challenges, both technical and functional.
To start with, businesses have to ensure their imminent cloud infrastructure meets all operational needs while keeping security tight and spending low. Since enterprises don’t have an unlimited budget, they have to find a sweet spot between functionality and cost when implementing cloud solutions.
These challenges highlight the importance of having a well-planned cloud migration strategy. Without one, enterprises risk facing costly consequences to their IT infrastructure and financial health.
What is a cloud migration strategy?
Cloud migration is the act of moving enterprise data, infrastructure, and applications to the cloud. This transition can happen from on-premises servers to the cloud or from one cloud platform to another, e.g. moving from AWS to Azure.
A cloud migration strategy is typically comprised of three phases:
In the planning phase, businesses determine the goals of their cloud infrastructure as well as for deciding on the type of platform to be used, i.e. will they be using a public or private cloud or a mixture of both (hybrid cloud)?
The following questions should be answered in the planning stage:
- What types of data, applications, and workloads are to be moved to the cloud?
- What resources should be moved first and last?
- Is the data backup strategy defined?
- What should be done to the central infrastructure while the migration is happening?
After planning, it’s time to execute the migration strategy. During this phase, businesses must reduce downtime and disruption as much as possible while also aiming to spend minimal time migrating.
The maintenance stage usually involves syncing changes made to data during the migration process to keep the new cloud infrastructure updated. Compliance checks are also done to meet regulations (e.g., HIPAA and GDPR) as well as ensuring there are no security vulnerabilities in the system.
The Different Types of Migration Strategies
lift-and-shift migration (also known as rehosting) moves the entire infrastructure from one environment to another, essentially acting as a carbon copy, hence the name.
Rehosting is an excellent migration strategy for enterprises with limited expertise or capacity in cloud computing. Businesses don’t have to tweak their current infrastructure in lift-and-shift strategies, making it the easiest, fastest, and most cost-effective way to leverage the cloud in operations.
However, moving to the cloud is not guaranteed to be a good move if the existing infrastructure is already inefficient and bloated. Doing so merely moves the problems from one platform to another without any net benefits.
Businesses gain more benefits from the cloud if they use re-platforming instead, a variant of the rehosting strategy. In re-platforming, organizations make changes to their infrastructure before migrating.
For example, an organization may use a new cloud-powered database and content delivery network when migrating to the cloud to fit its cloud strategy better.
This creates opportunities to optimize and improve the efficiency of the soon-to-be-implemented cloud architecture, which generates a more significant ROI for enterprises.
Repurchasing—which involves switching from legacy systems to cloud-based providers (SaaS) —is also related to this strategy.
An excellent example of repurchasing is when your company decides to move and process all financial data with the help of a cloud-based accounting SaaS instead of using locally-hosted software. Repurchasing also includes moving from one SaaS to another, e.g., migrating from QuickBooks to Zoho.
Refactoring is the most time-consuming and expensive migration strategy (in terms of initial cost) as it involves rehauling the entire infrastructure at the code level.
Instead of just changing platforms and applications, your company will completely revamp the code, architecture, dependencies of your IT backbone to gain the maximum benefits possible from migrating to the cloud.
Where a traditional IT infrastructure is monolithic in nature, refactoring introduces cloud-based concepts like microservices, containers, and serverless builds to further improve performance and cost-efficiency.
For example, a company may refactor its local database to be split up in multiple containers via Kubernetes instead. This makes database configuration significantly easier while enabling the company to scale their database in clusters to meet demand more flexibly.
Despite the high technical requirements, refactoring generates the most significant ROI, and benefits for organizations as businesses pay a lot less in terms of cloud spend compared to every other migration strategy.
The advantages of using a cloud migration strategy
Scaling services efficiently
With a cloud migration strategy, businesses will find it a lot easier to scale applications and workloads compared to “blind” cloud implementations.
Especially with refactoring and re-platforming, enterprises can scale their services, knowing that they have a framework in place to avoid wasting resources and money—two of the most common cloud challenges faced by businesses today.
Cutting down on setup costs and cloud spend
Moving to the cloud is only costly if businesses do not have a proper migration strategy in place to mitigate migration errors. Overprovisioning and idle resources cost businesses a concerning $14 billion per year, according to a study by Gartner.
By following the strategies laid out above, enterprises significantly cut down on setup costs and cloud spend as they only spend money on the resources and capacity they need to accommodate their workloads.
Securing cloud environments
Security and compliance are two crucial factors for enterprises to be aware of when they migrate to the cloud.
Thankfully, cloud migration strategies already include best practices that secure cloud environments and comply with national and state regulations. Of course, businesses should also keep their ecosystem updated and run security audits frequently to further protect their cloud infrastructure.
How does Panoptics make the cloud migration process significantly easier for enterprises?
It’s clear that having an accurate overview of the entire IT infrastructure is crucial in executing successful cloud migration strategies.
With Panoptics, enterprises have an intuitive, complete view of their applications architecture as well as the ability to observe every dependency between applications and database assets in detail.
No matter which cloud migration strategy your company decides to undertake, Panoptics gives you the control and analytics you need—from classifying asset complexities to identifying security vulnerabilities—to make migrating to the cloud better, quicker, and more cost-effective.
Ready to execute a successful cloud migration strategy?
Try Panoptics for free today to see how we can help your business plan and execute effective cloud migration strategies.
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