Cloud migration is the process of moving a company’s IT assets, such as services, applications and others, either partially or wholly into the cloud. Cloud migration is done for several reasons.
Firstly, it may be a business decision that moving to the cloud will be more cost-effective, provide customers with better performance or save time on maintenance tasks like patching and upgrading hardware.
Secondly, it may be an IT-based decision where moving to the cloud will make the IT infrastructure more resilient to emergencies or make IT operations easier to manage in some way.
Different levels of cloud migration services are offered by managed service providers (MSPs) when it comes to performing the migration itself. Cloud migration services help companies quickly and efficiently facilitate this process. Cloud migration can be very complicated, and leveraging the expertise of a company with experience in services like this makes the outcome more predictable. Before starting a cloud migration, you need a cloud migration strategy. If you are engaging with an MSP, they will work with you to agree on the migration approach, which has to be done before the migration can be performed, and it needs to account for each asset in the environment.
For companies considering a cloud migration, one of the first questions that should be asked is, “what are the benefits of cloud migration?”. Cloud migration has many potential benefits, but it needs to be assessed case-by-case to determine the benefits. The benefits of migrating to the cloud can include the following:
Cost reduction: When you factor in buying your own IT hardware, maintenance costs and other expenses, it may be cheaper to host your environment in the cloud.
Improved scalability: Cloud resources can automate scalability in response to user/customer demand.
Shorter build time: Building and launching an IT infrastructure in the cloud is typically much faster than building out your own local IT infrastructure.
Better performance for customers: Cloud resources can be launched in multiple geographic locations near end-users, reducing network latency and improving performance.
Equipment upgrades: Cloud service providers are responsible for maintaining hardware and software. You can access modern equipment patched and maintained regularly by transitioning to the cloud.
Improved Security and Compliance: Many cloud service providers like AWS and Azure have excellent built-in security and compliance capabilities.
Moving your infrastructure to a cloud environment can be complex, depending upon the age and type of applications and infrastructure configurations. Before starting, it is essential to have a migration plan that allows for business continuity in case there are unforeseen issues with the cloud migration. Here are some of the common challenges with cloud migrations:
Legacy Applications: Not every application is easy to move, so companies need to take inventory of legacy applications and decide what migration strategy they want to use.
IT dependencies: Identify dependencies between resources before migration to ensure they will be appropriately moved/rebuilt in the new environment. Otherwise, applications and services may not work correctly.
Cloud Management: It’s essential to have a plan for managing the new environment. In particular, ensuring you have the right expertise in-house.
Internal Support: It’s crucial to have buy-in from stakeholders across the organization to effectively perform a migration at scale.
How does the process work?
The cloud migration process can be long and complicated, but to help simplify it, here it is broken down into three cloud migration steps:
- Select a strategy, identify the scope and build the business case: In this phase, you need first to ask yourself what the potential benefits of this migration will be for your business. Once you’ve identified what you hope to achieve, you need to look at your current environment and identify the resources you want to move to the cloud.
Once that is done, you must select a strategy for migrating each resource. For example, some applications may be suitable to move as is, some may be irrelevant and need to be left in the local environment, and some may need to be modified to work optimally in the cloud.
- Assess Discovery and Scheduling: Next, focus on managing risk by anticipating your applications’ performance in the new environment. In the previous section, we discussed identifying your scope; this identifies what resources need to be moved. In this phase, you should focus on being very specific about what to move, where to move it and when it should be moved, taking into account all of the dependencies in your environment. Moving things in the wrong order or location can cause the application to work incorrectly and affect business operations.
- 3) Perform the cloud migration: Out of all the phases of cloud migration, the heavy lifting is done in this phase, moving all the assets to the cloud environment. Automated management and migration tools are crucial to executing it smoothly and quickly in this phase. Not only do automated tools increase speed, but they help to ensure quality, consistency and repeatability and reduce the possibility of things not working.
Businesses can use different cloud migration strategies to move assets from the local network to the cloud. Here are the most common cloud migration types:
Rehosting: Take the application as it is and move it to a cloud service provider. This type of migration strategy doesn’t require modifying the application.
Replatforming: In this migration strategy, you modify the legacy system/application to work effectively in the new environment. Replatforming may require minor application modifications but doesn’t rewrite its core architecture.
Refactoring: This approach requires the rewrite of one or more components of an application to take advantage of your cloud provider’s services. Refactoring requires more extensive modification than re-platforming.
Repurchasing/Replacing: In this migration strategy, the legacy application is replaced by a SaaS solution that provides the same or similar functionality.
Cloud consulting services from CG Technologies
The term digital transformation is not just for big companies. Every business needs to transform and re-imagine itself for the future. CG Technologies offers cloud migration consulting services, and we work with you to decide if migrating some or all of your IT infrastructure will be best for you and your business. We partner with you from the initial discovery phase through design to launch and rollout to support you as you grow. In addition to offering cloud migration consultation services, we also provide a full suite of cloud-based managed IT services. Contact us to discuss your cloud migration or IT support needs.