Cloud Migration: Benefits, Risks, and Strategy
By 2022, the growth in enterprise IT adopting cloud-based solutions will be faster than growth in traditional IT offerings, making cloud computing one of the most impactful forces in the IT industry since the beginning of the digital age. Besides, spending on cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS) will grow from $39.5 billion in 2019 to $63 billion through 2021.
Cloud Migration Benefits
Cloud migration is the number one priority for 31% of companies, and for a good reason. There are many benefits that growth-driven businesses across all industries can take advantage of migrating data and workloads to the cloud.
Scalability: Cloud computing removes the physical constraints to scalability and minimizes the financial restrictions of adding servers and the needed infrastructure to a data center. The cloud is scalable, allowing you to expand and reduce the resources you require with great ease.
Cost-effectiveness: Nearly 50% of companies reported their IT costs dropped by 30-50% thanks to the use of cloud infrastructure and apps. With the cloud, you only purchase the technology you use. Instead of adding on-premise technology to predict scalability you may or may not need, the cloud lets you also scale when you need to.
Security: In general, clouds are secure environments that comply with applicable industry standards and government regulations. They are protected by security solutions, best practices, and policies that cloud vendors update as required regularly and at scale.
Faster adoption: Cloud migration enables your company to implement new technologies faster while also allowing cost-effective, just-in-time tech solution adoption in response to business opportunities.
General Risks Of Cloud Migration
While your specific business environment can define the risks applicable to you, there are some common drawbacks accompanying cloud migrations that you need to know.
- If your application stores sensitive data, you might not be able to manage it in the cloud. Likewise, compliance requirements could also restrict your choices.
- If your current setup is fitting your needs, doesn’t require much maintenance, scaling, and availability, and your clients are happy, there is no need to tweak it.
- If some of the technology you currently leverage is proprietary, you may not be legally able to deploy it to the cloud.
- Some services might suffer from added latency when using cloud platforms across the internet.
- If the third party maintains your hardware, you might lose some visibility and control when debugging performance issues.
- Your specific application design and architecture might not wholly suit distributed cloud architectures; thus, it may require some adjustments before migrating them to the cloud.
- Once migrated to the cloud, it might be hard to leave or move between platforms.
- Downtime happens to everyone, but you might not want to feel like your availability is under control by someone else.
As time progresses, cloud migration has become a tedious task in terms of moving workloads. Thankfully, with the trusted cloud provider and IT partner, you can mitigate or minimize all these risks. The sections below show how to get ready for the process thoroughly and take a win in this battle.
Choosing the Right Cloud Model
Once you decided to try the cloud, you have to choose the cloud computing service model to deploy it in. These are the most popular models:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) such as AWS, Azure, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud Platform;
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) such as AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine, Heroku, Engine Yard;
- SaaS (Software as a Service) such as Salesforce, Google G Suite, Office 365, NetSuite.
IaaS is perfect for companies that don’t mind hosting their applications in third-party data centers but instead would prefer to outsource the care of their physical infrastructure to focus more entirely on developing, deployment, and monitoring. Through 2022, however, insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay half of enterprise IT organizations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more.
PaaS is best suited for organizations that prefer their applications to be movable since a robust PaaS platform offers a full (and invisible) infrastructure environment. Besides, the implementation of the PaaS solution has reduced ready-to-market time. Since PaaS can be preloaded with most of the necessary software at runtime – you only need to deploy the topmost layer of your application, in some cases, just the ABIs (application binary interfaces).
SaaS tools are cloud-based applications that build links between on-premise data and destination clouds and allow for secure data migration. Cloud-based solutions typically are automated and the easiest to use.
The statistic above shows the predicted global spending on public IT cloud services by segment between 2016–2018. Roughly $US121.3 billion was spent in the SaaS (Software as a Service) segment globally in 2018.
What Cloud Type to Choose
After you’ve determined a suitable cloud model, it’s a perfect time to choose the cloud type. There are three basic alternatives:
- Public: Your resources are completely hosted across one or several cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, GCP, Alibaba, or DigitalOcean.
- Private: You create your private cloud employing a platform like OpenStack or VMware’s vCloud.
- Hybrid: Your resources are distributed over both private and public platforms, with connections that you keep track of.
Hybrid cloud implementations can be attractive due to its on-demand reliability, high availability, security, and reduced operations costs. With a hybrid cloud, you can reap benefits from both worlds.
Imagine that your web app is rapidly gaining popularity and users. To keep pace with the growing demand, you need the underlying resource to scale up dynamically. During the peak demand, you can deploy most resources to serve requests, and when the market drops, you have to be ready to drop unneeded resources to cut costs.
This is possible with a public cloud. But in case the data your app collects is highly sensitive and can’t just be stored off-premise, a hybrid solution comes into play. In this case, you can choose which elements you want to live in the public cloud and which to keep in your data center.
In the RightScale report, we see that corporations are increasingly adopting a multi-cloud strategy (84%), and 58% plan to use hybrid clouds. Moreover, according to Gartner, the multi-cloud strategies will reduce vendor dependency for two-thirds of organizations through 2024.
Cloud Migration Strategy: Plan and Checklist
To migrate to the cloud successfully, one requires a detailed plan and execution of a comprehensive strategy with goals set, defined timeline, expected challenges, and defined project success.
Cloud migration strategy takes into account which workloads to move to the cloud, which to leave on-premise, and which new capacities and applications to add once migrated. Your migration strategy should include specific use cases for the workloads prepared for migrating. These may be the following:
- Mission-critical enterprise applications
- Data backup and recovery
- Productivity and collaboration applications
- Software development projects
Use cases help to create a solid strategy to execute the migration process properly.
The security plan should cover certain types of data to be encrypted, compliance with regulations on data in motion and at rest, and requirements for replication.
Also, ensure you keep all stakeholders informed of the progress of the migration and define their specific roles and responsibilities in the project.
Cloud Migration Plan
Your cloud solutions provider should create a detailed cloud migration strategy plan, which includes budgets and timescales. This plan is essential for keeping the migration on track and ensuring your business remains productive throughout the transition.
Migration plans cover roadmaps, timetable, project metrics, tools, and services, and they include a communication plan for organization leaders, implementers, cloud vendors, and—as appropriate—all stakeholders. The latter consists of the users who will be affected by the changes resulting from the migration.
Cloud Migration Checklist
To ease your relocation, create a checklist that aids in keeping the project on track by marking each task as completed. A list can be as basic or full as project managers decide to make it. The following are some items to consider:
- Classify workloads for migration to the cloud by complexity, size, and production/not production.
- Analyze and pick a cloud provider suitable for the workloads being migrated.
- Determine if you need a multi-cloud approach based on your workloads.
- Assess the costs needed for the migration.
- Assign a team to perform the migration.
- Describe the goals of the cloud migration to the team.
- Define the parts of the migration that should be handled internally and by the cloud provider.
- Set the priority of workloads to migrate.
- Prepare the roadmap and calendar for the migration.
- Determine whether the company already uses any cloud-based apps and whether they should remain as they are or be replaced by new cloud solutions.
- Communicate to all stakeholders what to await during and after migration.
- Prepare a security plan for migration and post-migration.
- Set KPIs for the migration.
- Stay in touch with implementers along the way to check progress.
- Test, review, and make adjustments as needed.
Keep in mind that your team should have comprehensive training on how your new cloud infrastructure works and the ways that it will positively reshape their working day and job role. This ensures that your organization remains productive, even after the big change.
Conclusion: Migrate to Cloud with Innovecs
Legacy IT is holding your company back. With the cloud’s scalability, flexibility, and agility, your business has a lot of space to grow. Fortunately, cloud migrations don’t have to be tricky too much. With the right strategy, services, and know-how in place, you can move your chosen applications and workloads to the cloud seamlessly.
If you are considering moving application(s) to the cloud and would like further guidance, please get in touch with us and we will find the best solution for you. Innovecs possesses deep expertise in many industries, including Big Data, BI, Blockchain, VR, Machine Learning and Data Intelligence, and more. So we are always ready to help you get rid of pains and get more gains with the top-notch tech solutions.