In today’s world, several businesses are looking at cost-effective, safe, and flexible work environments so they operate in unconstrained manner. And to overcome the limitations of working in a physical office, Cloud Migration has become an attractive way of moving the IT infrastructure of a company to the cloud so that business-critical data, information, and applications can be accessed remotely at the convenience of the employees. This shift has been fast-tracked by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic where a large number of companies had to adopt a work-from-home model.
But Cloud Migration is not limited to work from home only. It also enables businesses to reduce costs, scale up operations, and function seamlessly across geographical locations and time zones. However, making this transition can be challenging without careful planning and expertise in cloud computing. Considerations such as security, performance, latency, availability and segregation of duties between the cloud provider and the customer need to be taken into account.
But if companies manage to do this successfully, they can reap several benefits cloud migration provides:
- Reduce IT costs: Working on the cloud means that organizations do not need on-premise hardware, associated maintenance costs, specialized staff and other resources, thus reducing operational costs
- Improved business performance: Business agility is important in today’s fast-paced world. Through cloud computing, businesses can seamlessly scale both capacity and performance to meet their growth needs while have access to the latest technologies
- Better security: Cloud migration means you have better security from any kind of malicious online practices and data breaches, making business operations safer
- Increase productivity: With applications, information, and data available hosted on the cloud, organizations can now focus on their core competency, increase their productivity, innovate and unlock new sources of revenue
- Utilize technological advancement: With cloud migration, organizations can utilize high-end technological advantage through Advanced Analytics, AI/ML technologies offered as a Service in the cloud
Cloud migration process and patterns
As highlighted earlier, planning is a critical step in Cloud Migration done with both short and long-term view with flexibility built in to change course if necessary.
Here are some of the various options to consider when planning migration to the cloud:
This is a process where an application or service is re-hosted or redeployed as-is from on-premise platform to the Cloud platform. This migration pattern is applicable when there is resourceconstraints that limit scalability, there are performance issues or issues with single-point of failure.
Moving the application (without changing its architecture) to the cloud enables the application to have unlimited scalability, failover and improved performance.
This pattern consists of multiple cloud platforms and its associated services. Companies can decide to rehost on a single cloud or in a multi-cloud environment.
The company is free to decide whether it wants to host its services or applications on multiple cloud environments or a single cloud environment.
This process includes the integration of on-premises infrastructure and the cloud. So, while the applications are hosted on on-premise infrastructure, it uses cloud services to extend its applications for further use. Traditional applications are transported from the local environments to Cloud based services or its web equivalents. This helps in creating a faster Time To Market for a particular application.
Relocation and optimization
With this approach, an application is re-hosted on the cloud platform where it uses cloud services only and the architecture of the application remains unchanged. This is done so that the organizations can enhance the performance of the application without changing its architecture. This approach helps in reducing costs and increasing the application’s performance. Organizations can use efficient cloud platforms like LaaS and PaaS to achieve this.
This approach allows companies to host their applications on multiple cloud platforms and in turn, utilize diverse services and pricing models that these platforms provide. For instance, you can choose one cloud provider for their high upload speeds while another for their favorable Service Level Agreement terms. It is a best fit approach where you match the services of a particular provider to your application’s requirement.
Not all applications are adaptable to changes or capable of higher performance without change to their inherent architecture. For such applications, a multi-cloud refactoring is the ideal way of migration to the cloud. Application might require significant rewriting of the code in a modern style and structured as loosely coupled microservices. Application functionality maybe deployed as containers or serverless Function-as-a-Service such as AWD Lambda on the cloud. This pattern has several benefits: Reduction of long-term costs, increased resiliency, auto-scaling of features and simplified operations.
Refactoring with on-premise adaptation
Once an application is rearchitected, it is not necessary that it will be able to support all extensions and performances. In such cases, certain mechanisms are required to be added to the application to make it perform suitably, and this pattern can do that. It allows companies to secure their sensitive data and other information while keeping it all in-house.
Refactor and cloud adaptation
Any application, when rehosted, loses some service interfaces that are necessary for its integration. So, in this pattern, those components are provided by the implementation of an interface that enhances the performance.
Companies are often advised to host their applications on multiple cloud platforms to avoid disruptions in the cloud services. If one component fails, the application can work with the support of another component or platform. This is to ensure that the performance and workflow is not disrupted.
While Cloud Migration is a beneficial process that enables companies to utilize new technologies and features such as pay-per-use, scale-up and scale-down, geographic resilience and more. Certain best practices that you should follow during cloud migration:
- Developing a migration strategy
- Creating a cloud governance framework
- Ensure adequate networking
- Utilizing automation
- Understanding workloads
- Selecting the right cloud migration pattern
To conclude, most companies are likely to go through a cloud migration process during their IT evolution and modernization journey. Moving to cloud requires as much planning and design as do on-premise deployments, if not more. It is important to partner with third parties with expertise in cloud migration to insure a smooth implementation. Every organization is unique when it comes to requirements and ensuring that these will be met by the cloud provider while offering economic benefits is the key to ultimate success.