Cloud Migration Strategy
Cloud Migration Strategy
When replacing legacy infrastructure by moving to the cloud, having a cloud computing migration strategy is the key to the organization’s success.
What is a cloud migration strategy? It is a vision and high-level plan for moving to the cloud, combining cloud migration methods with the most appropriate cloud deployment strategies. The migration strategy defines the types of cloud deployment methods to be utilized. It also defines how applications and their data will be migrated to the cloud and the measures that will be used to secure the migration.
A cloud computing migration strategy can vary depending on the organization’s goal. An organization moving to externally hosted solutions will need to develop a public migration strategy, combining direction on the selection of providers to architectural and security standards, while implementing a private cloud strategy is more concerned with designing and implementing cloud architecture. A public cloud migration strategy needs to incorporate data privacy and security needs into the migration strategy.
Cloud migration methods will dictate some of this strategy as solutions will vary depending on the method or methods selected.
Another factor of the migration strategy is determining the security measures needed during the migration, along with who owns the responsibility for each, the provider or customer. Security is a serious consideration and should take into account data privacy compliance needs. The provider’s data centre location may need to be in the same country as customer or employee data, depending on data privacy regulations within that country.
Cloud Migration Strategy – Types
Cloud migration methods have become rather robust since the advent of cloud technologies and public cloud environments, leading to the 6 R’s of cloud migration or cloud migration methods best practices. These can be defined as follows:
Moving an application without making any substantive changes, also considered “lift and shift.”
Making small architectural changes to take advantage of cloud capabilities while migrating to the cloud is called re-platforming.
A broader overhaul is performed during cloud migration, particularly when moving from legacy infrastructure to the cloud.
Migration from enterprise licensing and internal hosting to a SaaS solution.
Retiring applications due to discovered redundancies, migrating users to alternative products.
A decision not to move an application to cloud at the present time.
The variety in cloud migration methods available is what makes developing a computing migration strategy so complex. Each one of them has uses in carrying forth the strategy:
Re-hosting is simply a cloud platform lift and shift and provides a quick and dirty means of changes providers or a fast public cloud migration strategy for organizations that already have implemented a private cloud and are looking to outsource it as is to a public cloud provider. With re-hosting, there is no improvement, simply fast migration.
Choosing to re-platform as part of a public cloud migration strategy enables the organization to make incremental improvements while migrating to a different cloud environment. This strategy enables them to assess the differences in technology and use those they don’t currently employ. Re-platform cloud migration enables the organization to implement the small changes that enable the application to run more effectively without sacrificing too much speed to implementation.
An approach that includes re-factoring cloud is a total overhaul of the environment, including a new architectural design. Organizations generally re-factor cloud environments when their current operational platform for a critical application is not delivering the stability and availability needed by the business. As a cloud migration method, re-factoring cloud is an ambitious undertaking that takes engineering skill and sufficient planning time.
When organizations make use of commonly available applications, re-purchase or migrating the applications from internally owned and operated to a SaaS provider is a simple and easy way to reduce operational costs and enable staff to focus on more proprietary applications.
Retiring and retaining applications represent the management of applications that will not be part of the cloud computing migration strategy. In the case of retirement, public migration strategy planning may result in the organization discovering application redundancies. Rather than migrating more than one application that serves a business need, the less-used applications will be retired. Similarly, planning may reveal applications that are too complex to move easily or which may not have a sufficient user base to bother. These would be retained as is until a future time when they might be retired or migrated.
Pros and Cons of Cloud Migration Benefits
Cloud technology brings with it the immediate ability to scale an application up or down depending on demand, making it extremely attractive to organizations. Business-critical applications that have cycles of peak demand no longer need to be configured to meet the needs of the peak period as they can automatically scale when needed.
Security is also frequently better in public cloud data centres than in most internally operated data centres due to the providers’ need to ensure their customer’s data and applications can be operated safely. They also can leverage their scale and 24×7 staff to ensure the appropriate vulnerability responses are taken quickly and that any activity that could indicate a breach attempt is quickly addressed. However, the security needs of each application should be part of the cloud computing migration strategy. If applications are currently not secured appropriately, adding additional layers of security can be part of the work done in re-factoring or re-platforming the application.
Advantages like these will help drive the decisions made when developing the cloud computing migration strategy. One thing is certain: a well-planned migration will reduce the overall time it takes to complete the project and lower the risk of business interruption while deployment is taking place.
There are many factors about cloud migration methods to consider when developing the migration strategy, including the benefits and disadvantages to each of the strategies mentioned. For example, while re-factoring cloud might be a great strategy for a business-critical application that is still operating on legacy infrastructure, it does take time to develop the new architectural design and plan the migration. For many services running on a private cloud, cloud re-platforming may be a better choice as it saves time while gaining some efficiencies.
At the high level, the cloud computing migration strategy can take advantage of the most basic pros and cons of cloud migration, selecting the appropriate migration strategy for each:
- Enhanced security
- Cost-effective operations
- Business continuity
- Initial costs of the project
- Implementation complexity
- Risk of unavailability
Given the scale of many migrations, a public cloud migration strategy must include balancing the workload of the individuals involved as well as potential impact to the business, which is why the appropriate cloud computing migration strategy for each and every application must be considered. There are benefits to a well-planned cloud computing migration strategy that leverages various cloud migration methods and advantages to a plan that includes the public cloud:
- Moving commonly available commercial applications to SaaS can be done quickly and easily, particularly if done as a simple re-purchasing and re-hosting, with little custom configuration.
- Grouping applications for cloud re-platforming based on their current architecture and migrating them together can be managed quickly and efficiently due to their similarities.
- Completing the design for applications to be re-factored and configuring the environment can be done while the first two efforts are underway, then completed one at a time when the team is ready.
There are also specific pros and cons to each of the cloud migration methods that can be selected. For example:
Re-hosting or an “everything at once” lift and shift strategy enables a rapid deployment while gaining some cloud benefits, but an approach that moves everything at once can have more potential impact on users, particularly if downtime is needed to accomplish the move due to the amount of data being moved. In spite of this, it is a good method for smaller organizations, with a lower number of applications and less data.
Re-platforming and re-factoring can be done in a phased approach or all in one approach. If applications using similar architecture are migrated together, deployment speed is a benefit, but again the move may take longer and require more downtime than a phased approach of doing one application at a time.
All the considerations mentioned here should be taken into account when building a cloud migration strategy. Planning is essential to success.
Once an organization has defined and documented its requirements and design for its cloud migration, developing a cloud migration strategy will help with engaging the right partner and executing the migration. One aspect of this that is important to consider is that the right partner can help with much of the planning. Documenting requirements and conducting partner selection early in the process can help you leverage the skills your partner brings to the table for migration planning. CG Technologies has over twenty years of experience and expertise in migration planning and can be your partner in developing your cloud migration strategy. Contact us to learn more.