Cloud platform migration can present obstacles and challenges regarding stability, cost, security, and more. However, cloud migration also offers many benefits, making it a popular choice for companies seeking to modernize. Thus, a secure and efficient cloud migration is essential to mitigate risk.
Cloud migration is a broad term referring to the transfer of digital operations (including data, processes, and application to third party servers) to a cloud platform from another site. Most cloud migrations are considered a shift from legacy or on-premises infrastructures to cloud-based infrastructures, but they can also include shifting operations and data between clouds, which is known as cloud-to-cloud migration. Finally, organizations may also remove business operations from the cloud and back onto a local infrastructure, a process known as reverse cloud migration and/or cloud repatriation.
Cloud migration provides numerous benefits like enhanced performance and efficient upgrading to meet technological advances. The following lists the main four benefits of cloud migration.
Legacy structures often struggle to meet changing customer demands, but cloud migration allows enterprises flexibility with regards to scale. This means IT requirements can be scaled up or down depending on needs.
Cloud migration enables organizations to restructure their operations and infrastructure without facing the challenges of outdated technology. The increase control of processes allows businesses to innovate, grow, and still meet the needs of customers.
Leasing equipment and the use expensive physical locations incurs a high cost for organizations that cloud services can eliminate.
Additionally, IT departments will no longer have to spent time continuously maintaining and updating the platform, since these responsibilities fall on the cloud provider. Instead, IT departments can dedicate more time to data governance and network infrastructure.
Cloud migration is capable of mitigating security risk by reducing flaws often found in traditional network systems. However, IT security officers still need to maintain a strong security responsibility model. This includes ensuring that the IT department and the cloud provider both have no exploits as they move applications, containers, data, and workloads to the cloud.
Additionally, major cloud providers generally offer a variety of security packages and features to help organizations monitor important analytics.
Cloud migration also enables enterprise flexibility in multiple regards. First, since companies are no longer dependent on physical infrastructures, application development can be more efficient and innovative. This increased flexibility and efficiency enables organizations to expand alongside demands.
Additionally, cloud migration allows authorized access from any geographical location and/or device. This means that organization’s can source employees from around the world, expanding their network into new territories.
Monitoring the state of business applications on location can be extremely inefficient, but cloud providers send enterprises notification in the event of an issue. Consequently, teams can resolve the issue without delay, so operation do not cease as they do with physical equipment. Employees do not lose hours of working time, and problems are easily rectified.
Most providers have backup and logging functionality, which simplifies disaster recovery by quickly identifying and resolving issues without an on-site team.
Cloud Migration Strategies
There are four principal cloud migration strategies that can improve enterprise operations.
Rehost (Lift and Shift)
A rehosting strategy shifts an existing system onto a cloud platform. In selecting an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider, companies rebuild application architecture onto a new infrastructure.
Although rehosting is fast and efficient, it waives many of the benefits that accompany a cloud provider’s own applications. Ultimately, rehosting is the quickest method, but it is not conducive to optimization. Therefore, companies that have low cloud operation demands or run on multiple virtual machines will benefit the most from a rehosting strategy.
Refactoring allows business to reuse existing code and framework, but places them on a Platform as a Service (PaaS). This requires rebuilding a company’s workload to be “cloud-native”, which makes the process less efficient than rehosting, but allows optimization as the organization will be fully integrated for cloud services
Revising uses part of a pre-existent codebase and writing or expanding on it before moving to either an IaaS or PaaS. This allows organizations to take advantage of cloud-native services while also maintaining many of its applications.
The most notable drawback of revising is that it may perpetuate inherent issues with legacy architecture, like lack of compliance or lower security, without giving organization the main advantages of cloud-native applications.
Replacing does not make use of any pre-existing structures, but rather replaces an entire system and moves onto a SaaS platform. This is the most extreme cloud migration strategy, but it can be an attractive choice for organizations that have not updated operations for an extended period of time or have not invested very much into their current system.
Cloud Migration Deployment Methods
There are three main cloud migration deployment strategies
This method combines data centers across several environments. Hybrid deployment allows companies to store data centers on public clouds, private clouds, and physical locations. This requires highly cohesive communication between environments, but allows organizations to reap the benefits of cloud functionality.
Multicloud deployment uses multiple public cloud platforms, enabling organizations to use multiple applications from various cloud providers while still maintaining redundancy and backup capabilities.
Single Cloud Deployment
Single cloud deployment is a good option for small businesses who only rely on a single cloud provider. This is the easiest deployment method, but businesses will lose many other advantages.
Cloud Migration Process
Goals and Budget
Choosing a cloud migration strategy and a cloud deployment method requires an assessment of an enterprise’s goals and finances. Cloud migration requires engineering and a cloud infrastructure, so it can be expensive. Fortunately, the costs of migration are generally offset by the ROI.
A cloud migration strategy acts as a plan for the cloud migration process. It must include a realistic timeline, validation of benefits for the business application, flexibility for variables, and the operational maturity of the current cloud.
IT Asset Inventory
To begin cloud migration, a company must take a comprehensive inventory of its IT assets, which includes hardware, software, applications, structured and unstructured data, network systems, communication devices, current cloud services, and security and compliance procedures. Companies operating within financial or health sectors need to adhere to compliance regulations before moving operations to the cloud.
Before migrating to the cloud, companies must ensure their security posture is up-to-date and capable of keeping the application migration safe. This may include performing pentests, enhancing security visibility, and conducting company-wide security and compliance procedures. Deploying cloud firewalls to replace the network perimeter of the former on-site network is also recommended.
Challenges of Cloud Migration
Cloud migration is not without obstacles. Transferring large databases is time-consuming, and bottlenecking may occur when attempting to migrate massive databases over the internet. Cloud providers can offer physical data transfer services to mitigate the time expenditure.
Ensuring data transfer is incident-free and sustaining operations throughout the migration is also crucial. Cloud migration may not occur in one shot, and sometimes companies need to slowly move data over a long period before dismantling the on-premise system.
Cloud Migration Solutions
Cloud providers like Azure, AWS, and Google offer services to help businesses migrate applications to the cloud. However, companies often lack the technical skills to transition workloads seamlessly. This has led to a rise in cloud migration solution providers like The Delphix Data Platform.