What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving applications, data, and other elements to a cloud environment. The most common migration scenarios include:
•On premises to cloud environment (the most common and most talked about)
•Cloud environment to cloud environment
•Cloud environment to on-premises
In this post, we will discuss the most common migration types and the factors that will influence an organization’s cloud migration approach.
Cloud Migration Types
Understanding the types of cloud migration is key when creating an overall migration strategy and plan. The following outlines the different approaches.
Rehosting is often called “lift and shift.” This involves moving an on-premises application or workload into a cloud environment, with little to no adjustments.
This approach can be less costly and quicker than some of the other approaches. Organizations that adopt this approach will usually migrate applications and workloads with the fewest dependencies, regulatory criteria, and impact on business.
Replatforming, or “lift, tinker, and shift”, means that some minor modification or improvement is done on the application or workload before moving to the new cloud environment. This is done so that the application or workload can truly benefit from all of the benefits that cloud can bring. This approach is typically done with more modern software.
Refactoring, or “rip and replace”, customizes applications or workloads to align with the cloud environment. This may entail that the entire application or workload be completely rearchitected from scratch. While this approach will ensure that applications and workloads are completely cloud enabled, it comes with a great deal of cost and time.
Refactoring helps improve the reliability and availability of your current environment. You’ll immediately meet the criteria for compliance and security standards.
You may hear repurchase referred to as “drop and shop.” Repurchasing means an organization decides to find and purchase an application currently on the market that will have most or all of the features and capabilities that the legacy application had. The legacy app is then retired completely. This key tradeoff with this approach is that the new, purchased app will likely not allow for any customizations or alterations.
After a thorough examination, an organization may decide that an application is no longer useful and that it’s not worth the time, money, and effort to migrate to the cloud – or even use. In this instance the application or workload is retired, or completely shut down, with no replacement.
Organizations may also find that an on-premises hosted application and workload is not currently suitable for the cloud, but due to other constraints (e.g., security requirements, application/workload is essential to an organization’s work and can’t be disrupted). An organization would then choose to retain the application or workload as it is, reviewing its suitability for a cloud environment in the future.
Hybrid is a combination where of two or more migration strategies are employed. Most organizations will likely fall in this category.
Factors that influence cloud migration strategy
How an organization decides to go about migration will depend on many factors, including:
Age of Current Technology
While most applications and workloads in the recent past are suitable for cloud environments, many decades-old legacy systems are not, and run the risk of failure and obsolescence. These applications and workloads requires reconfiguration so they’ll work in the cloud.
While cloud may decrease the need for an organization to purchase/maintain physical hardware and software, and perhaps dedicated traditional IT staff, it does increase the need for skilled staff who are familiar with cloud adoption, migration, and implementation strategies. (often across more than one cloud platform). In addition, organizations need to consider the implementation and ongoing costs of cloud. In some instance, cloud may not be the most cost-effective option.
Scope Of Work/Proposed Future State
During the COVID-19 pandemic, customer expectations have shifted. Consumers support businesses with quality products and services and similar values. They look for those focusing on environmental, governance, and social performance.
For example, cloud operations are more energy efficient. Adding more cloud migration to current green cloud datacenters is huge. Over the next four years, this could save 629 million metric tons in CO2 emissions.
Migrating to the cloud reduces server and other IT service expenses. You’ll have enhanced computing power, data storage, and real-time resources.
Users access the applications via the internet. This promotes resource sharing and collaboration from anywhere.
The industry an organization is in Many industries have special considerations for data and storage migrations. They must adhere to regulatory standards when managing their data. Examples include:
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
- General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
Migration best practices
Migration processes aren’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. While every migration strategy and plan will differ, successful migrations will have these elements
Spend time creating a goal-oriented migration plan – establish pre/post migration key performance indicators (KPIs)
Identify specific outcomes for the cloud migration. For example, agility, cost savings, new innovation capabilities, and speed. Successful post-migration KPIs depend on your pre-KPI stance. This includes:
- Applications, data landscape, and architecture
- Risk assessments related to current usage levels
- Workload complexity and data volume for migration
- Staff cloud skill proficiency
Investing in Skills Training
Evaluate staff’s experience in working with any cloud environment. If planning to use internal resources for migration, they will need to understand:
- How to migrate applications, data, platforms, and infrastructure
- How to create zero data loss or security gaps with minimal downtime
- How to work with single, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments
After examination, organizations may find that upskilling, re-skilling or cross-training staff may be necessary. Many cloud providers provide training as part of a cloud migration project.
Develop a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCOE)
A company’s cloud center of excellence (CCOE) is responsible for developing, governing, and supporting an organization’s overall cloud adoption and execution strategy. They create policies, promote collaboration and achievement of best practices.
A CCOE is a cross-departmental team that includes people from operations, finance, and compliance departments, as well as IT staff. They ensure that decisions on cloud adoption and migration are not happening in a silo and that the potential impacts to different parts of the organization are being weighed and considered before any action is taken.
Develop a Phased Migration Plan
Creating a phased migration plan will ensure the likelihood of being successful.
Organizations identify and review their current resources, and then assess the best approach(es) against their current goals and constraints. Resources are evaluated on their suitability to the cloud and then mapped to equivalent cloud services to ensure compatibility, or to figure out what level of work needs to take place to make them compatible.
The cloud migration strategy is implemented, either with in-house resources, outside resources, or both. This includes testing servers, services, and applications to ensure they are working as they should, and troubleshooting where problems exist.
Operations are reviewed, and additional training and support is provided by the cloud provider for an extended time to ensure satisfaction.