Cloud Migration: Why, When, and Where To
Migrate to the cloud to cut operational costs and enhance app productivity.
The cloud applications market has increased from $30 billion in 2013 to reach almost $140 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $166 billion in 2024. These figures indicate that more and more companies are migrating to the cloud. These companies are realizing that third-party infrastructure offers significant advantages with powerful tools, easy scalability, and faster response to market changes. If you want to join their ranks but don’t know where to start, we are more than happy to help. Here, we review cloud migration services, describe the cloud migration process, and suggest where to hire a team for effective migration.
How to be sure you are ready to migrate to the cloud
Many companies execute cloud migration, but it does not mean this solution is suitable for everyone. Before deciding on such a step, you need to conduct a business analysis, estimate current costs, and calculate the benefits of using the third-party infrastructure. Some questions that organizations should answer before deciding on migration are:
- Is your business expected to grow, and does it need quick scalability?
- Does your app have specific functionality and require advanced development tools?
- Do you need fast development and deployment through access to IT instruments on-demand?
- Do you intend to reduce the cost of maintaining internal infrastructure?
- Do you want to secure your app using ready services and tools?
If you answered “yes” to all five questions, then your project needs cloud migration. So, what’s the next step? Start browsing cloud migration providers and get ready to take advantage of moving to an external IT environment with the following:
For all that, cloud migration is a complex process. So, before implementing it, understand the challenges you may face:
Insufficient knowledge of source data. When you migrate a database to the cloud, you should ensure there are no duplicates, missing information, misspellings, or corrupted data. Otherwise, you may face problems configuring it on a different system.
A possibility of downtime. When migrating databases to the cloud, companies often experience downtime if their data is incorrectly backed up or not backed up at all. To avoid this, you need to create a backup copy of the application and perform migration during low-load hours.
Security concerns. Moving to the cloud means hosting critical assets on third-party servers. This is one of the top reasons not to migrate to the cloud for many companies. To eliminate security concerns, carefully approach the choice of a service provider. Consider cloud migration to Azure or AWS as they are leading providers of cloud services.
Lack of relevant expertise. Moving to third-party infrastructure must be carried out according to a clear cloud migration checklist. Companies that rarely deal with this task may miss crucial details or spend too much time investigating the question. In this case, cloud migration outsourcing seems to be an optimum solution that allows fast and easy data transfer implemented by experienced cloud migration engineers.
Significant initial costs. In the long run, application migration to the cloud will save you a lot of money. But at the initial stage, you will bear operational costs associated with:
- buying a license
- paying for server space
- purchasing cloud tools
- hiring a cloud migration team
- training of specialists in charge
Choosing cloud migration strategy
Cloud migration does not necessarily mean transferring all the app functions to the facilities of a third-party provider. Organizations often want to combine local and external resources to maximize business effects and maintain control over critical information. Given this, it is crucial to choose the right cloud migration strategy, which, according to AWS, falls under the seven Rs listed below.
Retire. Before the migration, you should audit your application and retire its obsolete parts. Migrating only up-to-date data will cut associated costs and make your app run faster in a new environment.
Retain. You may want to retain some resources on-premises while moving the rest of the app to the cloud. In this way, you can save on cloud services and see if cloud solutions work for you at all.
Relocate. This means creating a virtual copy of the app datacenter in the cloud. The relocation strategy is suitable for organizations that run on-prem mainframe infrastructure on VMware and need to quickly migrate it to the cloud.
Rehost. Choose rehosting to replace the current infrastructure without changing the app architecture. This strategy is also called “lift and shift” because you lift your servers from current hosting and shift them to the pay-as-you-go environment.
Repurchase. This is suitable for companies that want to replace outdated software with modern SaaS solutions. For example, small and mid-sized firms may find it useless to support proprietary human resources (HR) or customer relationship management (CRM) systems but would rather buy a SaaS license.
Replatform. If you don’t know how to migrate legacy applications to the cloud, replatforming will suit you best. It allows running legacy apps on modern cloud technologies without changing app core by emulating them through a virtual machine.
Refactor. Over time, organizations may find their app architecture no longer meets business expectations. In this case, they can use refactoring or rearchitecting to get better scalability, higher productivity, and more robust security of the app.
Seven steps to migrate to the cloud
When you realize that on-premises resources can no longer meet your organization’s needs, it’s time to start the migration. It is necessary to have a step-by-step plan to implement it efficiently. So, here is your checklist to follow:
1. Take inventory. This includes identifying essential and useless components, their connections inside the app, and the possible impact of restructuring.
2. Decide on a cloud model. There are three of them: public, private, and hybrid.
- When you migrate to a public cloud, you share cloud space with other companies.
- In a private cloud, you are the only user of a given environment.
- Hybrid cloud allows the distribution of app resources between public and private spaces simultaneously.
3. Describe migration success. Organizations expect to get a better effect from business when they migrate to the cloud. To ensure the goals are achieved, it is necessary to list and measure specific indicators before and after the migration:
- Average server response time
- Maximum server response time
- Total server and app uptime
- Error ratio
- Error types
- Network delay
- Indicator of compromise (frequency of malicious activity)
- Network bandwidth
- License fee
- Operating costs
4. Choose a cloud provider. We recommend setting up your cloud migration project plan with reputable companies, for example, AWS or Azure. In 2020, Gartner Magic Quadrant recognized these two as the best IaaS providers worldwide.
5. Set up a migration roadmap. List the services to transfer, set the order of their migration, and define a deadline to complete the project. At this stage, it is also vital to choose cloud migration tools. Providers like AWS and Azure provide native migration solutions: AWS Server Migration Service and Azure Migrate. However, you can also use third-party instruments like Carbonite Migrate, Turbonomic, or Corent SurPaaS.
6. Test cloud space. After moving the first service to the cloud, estimate the time spent, check how everything works, and see if any errors occur. A step-by-step transfer will assist in the timely detection of errors, help you take measures to eliminate them, and reduce migration time altogether.
7. Migrate. When all preparations are complete, proceed to migration. If you cannot, or do not want to, do it yourself, contact a cloud migration company with proven relevant expertise.
Moving from one cloud to another
Moving from cloud to cloud means changing the cloud service provider. It is a long and expensive procedure; however, it is the only way to move the business forward in some cases.
What makes cloud-to-cloud migration difficult?
There is a technical side that needs to be considered in advance. The differences between the resources of the two platforms may require new solutions, and you will need to carefully choose the cloud data migration tools in advance.
Take, for example, load balancers. AWS handles them using SSL termination, while Azure applies the Azure Application Gateway. These are entirely different mechanisms, so you will need to readjust the load balancer system from scratch.
Another example concerns container orchestration. For instance, Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) may seem similar, however, each has specific technical requirements, so you will need to reconfigure your container management system.
Additionally, Identity and Access Management (IAM) is primarily used to control access in AWS. But in Azure, this task is covered by Azure Active Directory (AD). Thus, different settings will be required to set up access management on a new platform.
By hosting applications on third-party infrastructure, organizations eliminate hardware costs, reduce development time, and get the necessary tools on demand. With all this, cloud migration is a serious step that must be taken after conducting detailed business analysis and determining the benefits of using external IT resources.
If you are unsure whether your company needs a cloud, take advantage of our migration consulting service. During the talk with a domain expert, you can clarify all the details and decide what solution suits you best. Even if you have non-trivial tasks, for example, migrating Jira or Confluence servers to the cloud, an experienced team will advise on the most economical way to do it. After consultation, you can book cloud migration assistance. By entrusting this project to professionals, you will get a fast and efficient result without downtimes, data loss, or corruption of features.