Cloud migration. Transition strategies

More and more organizations are choosing cloud solutions over on-premises environments. According to 2022 data, 93% of technology leaders say their organizations primarily rely on cloud solutions in various forms, compared to 83% two years ago and 48% say their infrastructure is mostly hybrid, compared to 40% two years ago. At the same time, the number of respondents who indicated that their organizations mainly use on-premises environments has halved to 7%.

Cloud migration is the process of moving applications, data, and services from local infrastructures or one’s provider cloud to remote servers of other providers. Instead of maintaining their server parks and infrastructures, companies can take advantage of the cloud platforms' power.

There are several reasons why companies are migrating to the cloud. Firstly, high flexibility and scalability for quick adaptation to shifting business needs, changing workloads, and user requirements. Companies only need to rent resources in the cloud and manage without large investments in infrastructure.

Secondly, increasing the level of data and application security and improving protection against cyber-attacks and information leaks. Cloud providers usually have advanced information security mechanisms, including encryption, multi-level authentication systems, and security monitoring.

Thirdly, high availability and fault tolerance. The distributed architecture of cloud platforms and data backup prevents information loss in case of failures or emergencies. Companies can keep their Apps and services running even when unexpected problems occur.

Planning

Successful migration requires careful planning and evaluation to minimize risks and achieve your goals. Consider the key steps in planning your cloud migration:

  1. Assessment of the existing IT infrastructure – the study of servers, data storage, applications, and network resources. The result of the assessment will help you to understand which components should be migrated to the cloud, as well as determine the requirements and restrictions associated with the migration.
  2. Determining the scope of the migration project: establishing the amount of data and applications for transferring to the cloud, and identifying dependencies and relationships between them. For example, if you have a database, you need to determine which applications and services depend on that database for proper planning of their migration.
  3. Defining business requirements and goals will help you navigate your choice of cloud platform and determine the necessary measures to improve performance, increase availability and reliability, reduce costs, and achieve greater flexibility.
  4. Assessing risks and developing a strategy to manage these risks: possible data loss, security issues, or improper resource planning.
  5. Determine budget and timeline: estimate the required resources and set a realistic period for completing the migration project. The budget may include the cost of cloud services, staff training, and external consulting services.

Choosing a cloud provider

Interestingly, choosing a cloud service provider usually was the IT department's responsibility. With the advent of new technologies, more and more interest groups are included in this process. Today this decision turns out to be a strategic one. So now, employees from various departments are involved in it. According to statistics, the average organization includes about four groups in choosing a cloud provider. Key groups with authority in this process include IT leadership (50%), IT security professionals (47%), IT infrastructure and management (47%), and non-IT top management (44%).

Providers in the market

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) are the three leading cloud providers in the core market.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a broad infrastructure with multiple regions and Availability Zones. Offers plenty of services, including computing power, data storage, databases, analytics, machine learning, and more. Widely used in various industries and has a large user community.

Microsoft Azure provides cloud services and solutions integrated with existing Microsoft products. It has a global presence and a variety of services for developing, deploying, and managing applications for organizations using Microsoft technologies. It offers many integrated services, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and data analytics.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is a cloud platform focused on scalability, performance, and data analytics. It has a global data center network and multiple tools for developing and managing cloud applications. It is suitable for using Google tools.

At the same time, small players specializing in narrow market segments often show higher efficiency than leading companies do. They focus on developing and maintaining a small number of specific and unique features, and are very often the best at it, bringing their expertise to the top. Users prefer them because they provide stability and focus on a few important features, while long-term and grand development plans may be less important.

The advantages of working with SIM-Networks include technical expertise in hosting and cloud solutions, highly reliable infrastructure, a personalized approach to clients, and flexible tariff that allow you to select accurately the necessary resources for the successful development of your business.

Cloud migration is the process of transferring programs, data, and services from local infrastructures or the provider's cloud to remote servers of other cloud providers.

Criteria of choice

The first thing a business thinks about when choosing a provider is money. It is important to pay attention to the complexity of services to avoid extra spending later. Some providers attract customers with low package prices. However, the lower the price tag, the less services are included in it. As a result, cheap packages are not suitable if you need to store large amounts of data due to disk space limitations. In addition, do not provide optimal storage performance. In addition, they may offer you access to a cheap cloud server but do not indicate that other users will also use its resources at the same time as you. A high-performance server cannot be cheap.

For the choice of a cloud provider to be a conscious and effective decision, one should take into account not only the cost but also several factors:

  • Reliability and availability. Learn about the guaranteed availability of the provider's services and their approaches to ensuring data security and backing up information.
  • Scalability and flexibility. Consider scaling the resources and services you get, and the flexibility to customize your infrastructure to meet your organization's needs.
  • Prices and payment model. Study the provider's tariffs, considering both the cost of using the infrastructure and additional services such as data storage, inter-regional traffic, and data processing.
  • Support and service. Investigate the quality and availability of technical support provided by the provider, as well as the availability of documentation, training materials, and a user community that can help you if you have questions or problems.
  • Compatibility and integration. Check out whether it is easy to integrate the provided cloud services with your existing systems and applications.
  • Innovation. Consider what new technologies and capabilities the provider is offering, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and block chain.
  • Security policy. Review the provider's security policy, data encryption practices, compliance with security standards, and certifications such as ISO 27001.
  • Data location. If you need to comply with specific legal or regulatory requirements, please note the territorial jurisdiction of the provider and the ability to store data in the relevant geographic regions.
  • Future needs. Consider whether the provider you choose will be able to meet these needs over time.

Preparing for migration

Before migrating, analyze existing applications and data to determine their compatibility with the cloud environment. Then evaluate hardware and software requirements, operating system support, network architecture, and other factors. These processes will help you determine what can be ported directly and what needs additional work or optimization.

Applications and data can have dependencies and relationships with other components in the local infrastructure. It is important to identify these dependencies and consider them when planning your migration. For example, if your application depends on a particular database version, you need to ensure that it is available and compatible with the cloud.

The analysis may reveal compatibility issues such as version conflicts, incompatible data formats, or the need to adapt applications to new requirements. To solve these problems, develop a plan of action that includes updating applications, transcoding data, or using mediate layers to ensure compatibility.

The actual savings directly depends on how effective your migration strategy is.

Cloud Migration Strategies

You should understand that migration alone could not change the structure of workloads or reduce costs. What's more, hosting costs can be higher than what a company is used to paying for on-premises infrastructure support. The actual savings directly depend on how effective the migration strategy you choose is.

Rehosting (Lift-and-Shift). This strategy is without the need to make significant changes to the architecture or code. It provides a fast and relatively easy migration path because it requires minimal application redesign. Nevertheless, it may not take full advantage of the cloud infrastructure and result in optimal performance.

Replatforming – applications are transferred to the cloud with some changes: the transition to managed databases or the use of cloud services for scaling and automatic configuration of resources. This strategy improves performance and efficiency while maintaining existing functionality.

Refactoring involves optimizing application for the cloud. Applications are rewritten or rebuilt to get all the benefits from cloud provider specific features and services. Such a process may require substantial effort and time but allows you to achieve optimal performance and scalability.

Rearchitecting – rebuilding an app from scratch using cloud services and architectural principles can be a lengthy and costly process that requires significant resources and expertise.

A hybrid approach involves a combination of different migration strategies depending on the requirements and characteristics of each application. This tactic allows organizations to be more flexible in their migration approach and optimize costs and benefits.

Each migration strategy has its benefits and suits different scenarios. Which strategy you choose depends on your business requirements, timeline, budget, available resources, and application complexity. It is important to carefully evaluate each case and select the most appropriate migration strategy to ensure a successful transition to the cloud.

How to implement a migration

To ensure the safety and efficiency of the migration process, careful planning, organization, and implementation of several required steps are necessary.

  1. Building of a specialized team, including IT experts, security specialists, system administrators, and other necessary proficients. Each team member should have clearly defined responsibilities and a clear understanding of the goals and project timeframe.
  2. Development of a detailed migration plan that defines the sequence of steps and their period. The plan should take into account all aspects of the migration, including transferring applications, data, setting up networks and infrastructure, and ensuring security. It is important to identify the dependencies between the various stages and provide fallbacks to minimize risks.
  3. Infrastructure preparation – analysis of the current system, its configuration, and possible limitations. You should also make sure that the infrastructure of the new system is ready to receive and process data. If necessary, upgrade hardware and software.
  4. Migration itself begins with the apps and data transfer to a new infrastructure. Follow carefully the developed plan, take into account dependencies and control the process. It is important to establish effective communication with the migration team and ensure its continuity to resolve issues that arise.
  5. Testing migrated applications and data to identify potential migration-related errors and issues and resolve them promptly. Testing should be comprehensive and include functional, load, security, and compatibility testing.
Cloud Server

Cloud server

Learn more about the highly available public SIM-Cloud

Learn more

Cloud economy

Moving data to the cloud is a great way to avoid complete platform obsolescence, move beyond the local data center, or change your software licensing strategy. Currently, only companies subject to strict security regulations and standards can afford to invest significant resources in complex on-premises systems. For other companies, the cloud mainly provides advantages: flexibility and manageability, reliability, scalability, cost optimization, etc.

The cloud has enormous value potential, but only for businesses that understand and are willing to adapt to the new realities of the cloud economy.

Some companies are trying to move to the cloud, but they still have a habitual mindset associated with outdated methods of on-premises computing. Changing this mindset is proving difficult because their economic and financial models are based on decades of traditional IT ownership practices, rather than a new concept of using cloud services.

We strongly recommend that you take into account the new realities of the cloud economy to avoid devastating mistakes when planning your migration:

1. Don't mix Day 1 and Year 1 economics

Planned benefits in the short term are inferior to those that can be obtained in the first year: quick time to market, and access to advanced features and innovations. However, this requires more time, such as patching applications, building the foundation, and automating. If a company has a clear understanding of first-year economics, it can develop a business case that focuses on the real value of cloud services and develop a migration plan for using them.

2. Better "incremental cost" of operating expenses than "average cost" of capital expenses

The idea is to pay only for the capacity you need, rather than wasting money on unused resources. Companies should develop a dynamic, cost-driven approach to the cloud economy that continually optimizes costs by selecting cloud services that best meet current workload requirements.

3. Avoid predictions based on old experience

As organizations move from capital spending in traditional IT to operational spending in cloud computing, history becomes a less reliable tool for predicting the future. A key element of better forecasting and budgeting for the cloud is a close relationship with business priorities. To make correct predictions, organizations should establish economic parameters for key applications, such as the cost of computing per customer. This approach requires a change in thinking toward the consumption model.

Remember, building a solid cloud foundation is not a "cost of doing business." This important investment will bring significant returns in terms of speed and value.

Was this article helpful?

Tags:

#cloud

Did you like the article?

Cookie consent

By clicking «I agree», you consent to our website's use of cookies to give you the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. However, you may visit «Manage сookies» to provide controlled consent. Learn more

Cookies settings

functional

Necessary cookies are crucial for the basic functions of the website and the website will not work in its intended way without them.

Analytics

Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website.

Advertisement

Advertisement cookies are used to provide visitors with relevant ads and marketing campaigns.