Tips For Designing A Smart Cloud Migration Strategy in 2021

Definition

Cloud migration is the process of shifting enterprise data storage and digital operations to the cloud. The computing services are hosted in a multi-tenant environment and IT can deliver them through the Internet or a direct connection. 

Moving data, applications, and IT processes to the cloud is a common business practice in today’s technology-driven world. It can be a lengthy and formidable task if your enterprise does not prepare adequately for the process. Having the right strategy can make all the difference between a successful migration and investment failure. 

Is the Decision Feasible?

Companies move to the cloud for various reasons. Firstly, outsourcing data storage to a CSP not only eliminates the need to build your infrastructure. It simplifies engineering and management requirements, allowing organizations to focus on software development. Secondly, cloud-enabled application development environments offer the flexibility and scale that enterprises need to expand operations quickly and adapt to changes in market trends. For example, it is more expensive and complicated to scale up or down if your company has its physical hardware. The economies of scale associated with the cloud minimize costs as it only charges based on the storage capacity a business uses. 

Another reason is the stress of maintaining legacy systems. Cloud solutions mitigate the risks of IT outages and data loss. Perhaps, the answer lies in how the shift from on-premise enterprise models to sophisticated cloud-based platforms has propelled businesses to new heights. This brings a host of benefits including high availability (HA), unlimited scalability, performance improvements, enhanced disaster recovery (DR), and business continuity during unexpected events like COVID-19.

Furthermore, the majority of statistics support the decision. For example, according to the Hosting Tribunal, a report by Flexera reveals that 41% of SMBs advocate the public cloud. Whether small businesses choose a public, private, or multi-cloud strategy, 78% will fully embrace the technology by 2020. 

Factor in the growing popularity of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and 5G network technologies, and we can expect even more upcoming cloud developments.

Knowing where to begin is crucial. There are some initial considerations to look into, so let’s explore them before we move on to the tips and best practices.

Cloud Migration

Initial Considerations

Do not put your plan into action if you have tightly coupled legacy applications. Instead, start with standalone applications. Then, think about how you want to migrate storage and networking to Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). As an example, you can use Azure or AWS. This mitigates risk by validating crucial bits of your proposed tech and detecting existing tools that you can use to operate the cloud. 

Understand how factors such as network configurations and interdependencies, SLA requirements, and availability requirements are relevant to the migration process. Next, study your niche and its possible limitations. For instance, if you are in the healthcare sector, you should know the importance of ensuring HIPAA IT compliance. This act requires you to take measures to protect medical records and personal health information at all times. 

Tips and Tricks

1. Select The Best Solution

Each deployment model offers its own set of features and benefits to meet unique customer needs. Ensure that your architecture supports global deployment and lets you keep track of usage as well as billing details. Flexibility, scalability, data backup, and redundancy are also integral aspects of a well-rounded service. 

In any scenario, keep a list of the applications you can and cannot move. Identify the employees who use the applications and how often they use them. Examine project sensitivity and criticality, and choose your migration technique accordingly. For example, when shifting to IaaS, you can either rehost or revise. In rehosting, you do not make any changes and only redeploy your applications on an IaaS platform. If you revise, you can extend or modify the existing code to suit your cloud deployment.

2. Address Skill Gaps

Many companies have talented IT departments with knowledge and hands-on experience in managing IT environments. When it comes to the cloud, their skills may seem redundant, and continuing to rely on them is the same as fitting square pegs in round holes. 

Developing and operating cloud applications calls for a new set of essentials to optimize performance, scale-out, and manage security. For cloud setups, organizations should revamp QA-related methodologies and prioritize DevOps. These will accelerate application development, increase business velocity, and allow your teams to capitalize on the automation that technologies like Kubernetes and containers offer. Users must go beyond the initial learning curve to understand and adapt to new operational principles. 

3. Evaluate Your Components

Monitor all your resources including application and software components. Developers generally use open-source components to save time and money but can lose visibility and fail to account for resource maintenance. This can create problems when it comes to upgrading or addressing vulnerabilities. Also, without adequate planning, it is difficult to migrate legacy applications or rehost data center infrastructure on the cloud. This is a problem especially if you do not track legacy components.

Run a discovery in software development to identify open-source components or legacy solutions so you can keep a watchful eye on them in an inventory. Next, decide which components should go to the cloud and those you can do without to reduce your migration footprint. Conducting static cloud analysis also allows you to replace specific infrastructure components on the cloud. 

4. Plan In Stages

Migrating your information can be time-consuming especially for companies that store huge volumes of data in their infrastructure. As a result, your approach should move data in stages. Migrate non-essential data first if you are unfamiliar with the cloud environment you will be shifting to. There is always a possibility of something backfiring if you attempt to handle sensitive or business-critical information first. For example, doing so can lead to data leaks or breaches that can be costly to your organization.

Cloud Migration

5. Proof Of Concept (POC) & Testing

Run your POC and tests for validating workload performance as well as the costs of running them on the cloud. This will give you an idea about the resources that your applications require, including storage types and size, network bandwidth, and the quantity of VMs. You will also gain a better understanding of storage service options for replacing conventional data repositories. Perform system testing in such a way that it accurately represents the final production environment. This will help you know the network and security controls you need to take the place of your legacy firewall systems.

6. Apply Automation

You can build Infrastructure as code (IAC) and deploy applications automatically to prevent downtime. Identifying and automating applications that involve repeatable patterns enables you to enhance consistency and speed up the migration process. Look for tools to help you in this stage. Many are available in the market for applications based on Dockers or other containers.

7. Security Check up

Decide how you want to incorporate security into the DevOps process. Check the security of the APIs among the individual components of your application and interfaces between the cloud, your information, and payloads. Secure your access points and limit credentials so that you do not leave your infrastructure open to hackers. 

Cloud technologies must come with features such as encryption, strong authentication, tokenization, and the ability of applications to generate audit logs. Only then can highly regulated industries hand over their information to the cloud and reap the benefits of a successful migration.

8. Prepare A Disaster Recovery (DR) Solution 

Invest in a cloud-enabled DR solution. It involves a hot site that replicates an on-premise infrastructure but is hosted in the cloud. You can continue working through the cloud even if a disaster renders your normal hardware unusable. Moreover, your CSP continuously updates the solution, and it is more affordable than an on-premise DR platform. 

9. Migration

Finally, we arrive at the migration stage. Begin by creating a blueprint design of your setup. Focus on your plan for automating the shift and list the tools to manage factors such as expense tracking, performance, replication, and backup. Go over the services your CSP provides for supporting servers and data migration in minimal time. 

Train your team members and give them time to familiarize themselves with cloud solutions and deployments. Ensure that everyone is on the same page where your strategy is concerned, and align them with your goals.

Conclusion

Thinking about making the move to the cloud but not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we are here to help.

By choosing Clouve as your partner, you receive:

  • Premium Solutions

From architecting your plan and choosing the level of integration to defining performance baselines, we provide complete coverage.

  • Expert Consultation

We offer technical expertise and guidance to map out a strategy that prioritizes your unique needs and unlocks tangible business value. 

  • Digital Transformation

We simplify the process through a personalized roadmap, workflow model, and ecosystem collaboration.