Organisations all over the world are adopting Cloud services and realising the value they offer over traditional data centre infrastructures. The advantages are numerous, including scalability, cost efficiency, agility, performance, increased security and privacy.
While the benefits are numerous, to fully take advantage of Cloud services your organisation needs a carefully planned migration path that aligns to the overall business strategy and mitigates the most common pitfalls.
Why migrate to the cloud?
At first glance, migrating to the cloud can seem like a mere technical decision, but it is very much business-related. Thus, the right question is: what are the business needs that are driving your organisation to migrate to the cloud?
Benefits of cloud migration
The benefits are extensive, but there’s usually one specific trigger that starts the migration discussion:
Reduced operating expenses. With reduced maintenance costs, you can expect savings that average from 20 to 30 percent in comparison to the total cost of operation (TCO) of an equivalent infrastructure in a traditional data centre.
Operational efficiency. Scalability and agility are key when it comes to cloud services adoption. Increased manageability and efficient processes contribute to reduction of overall TCO.
Cost-effective scalability. Dimensioning your virtual machines (VMs) based on expected peak resource usage often translates into an average resource utilization of lower than 20%. The cloud revolutionises this model by adopting a “pay-as-you-go” consumption-based model.
Of course, if you are in the process of renewing your data centre, hardware leasing or licensing, or if you want to modernise your application development platforms and processes, these are all good reasons to consider getting rid of your legacy infrastructure and define your cloud migration plan.
Don’t forget that migrating to the cloud puts you in a better position to accelerate your business. With increased agility and fewer costs, you will have the time and the budget to invest in core strategic projects.
5 Cloud Migration Strategies
There are five main strategies when it comes to moving your services to the cloud. Clearly, you should take into account your needs, the skills of your team and your current priorities.
This is the fastest and easiest way to migrate your physical servers and VMs to the cloud, without modifying the way they work or their configuration.
You are then shifting your server environment to IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), optimising resource utilisation, increasing security and reducing costs. You are still responsible for the OS, applications and data parts of the workloads of your servers, but the hardware and virtualisation layer are sole responsibility of the cloud provider, providing you with immediate benefits.
In reprogram, you still take advantage of the managed hardware and virtualisation, but you also use provider-managed OS and cloud services, driving down costs.
To achieve this stage, you should apply minor application code or configuration changes to your infrastructure, given the different approach to software. This approach falls under the PaaS category (Platform-as-a-Service).
This approach consists of rearchitecting the applications that you want to migrate to the cloud. By doing so, you are modifying and/or extending the existing code base to optimise it for better scalability.
Some cloud providers provide such services directly in cloud-ready apps, which are scalable and reliable.
Unfortunately, this approach is more time-consuming than the previous, but it achieves better scalability and efficiency results in the long-term.
Cloud provider services include PaaS native offerings, giving you the possibility to spin-up a specific VM with a specific purpose and the related dependencies, software and configurations are already pre-staged. Consequently, your responsibility is setting and managing the application layer. In this approach, you dismantle the structure of your legacy application and rebuild it in the cloud.
This is the most drastic approach to cloud migration. It consists of discarding an existing application and replacing it with Software-as-a-Service.
All the layers that lie below the data and user rights are managed by the service provider and located in the cloud. Availability, scalability and cloud security are the responsibility of the service provider, giving you the possibility to embrace changes at a fast pace. SaaS applications are often open to API integrations and allow you to create an ecosystem to export/import data and share metadata.
Creating a Cloud Migration plan
Organising the migration of your organisation’s services to the cloud requires a thorough preparation and assessment phase. For the best results, this stage combines best practices from your public cloud provider and the experience of your partner in delivering and supporting a cloud foundation which fully enables business processes.
In general, you will first need to define which applications are running on-premise. This phase is crucial to define timelines and priorities. Many of your applications and servers will have several dependencies, including external data sources or other software, thus it is important to divide and migrate them in groups, ensuring business continuity.
Once the discovery and categorisation is complete, you should understand the new requirements of the applications that you are migrating to the cloud. For example, a VM that is normally running at 20% of its capacity will need fewer resources in the cloud, due to the flexibility in scaling up and down effortlessly.
Finally, you should summarise the collected information and create a cost forecast of the required resources in the cloud. Take into account that the cloud has a consumption-based price model.
Infradata: Your Cloud Migration partner
Although there are tools that you can use to assess your current situation, you should consider consulting a partner that can guide you through the various phases of your journey to the cloud. From lift-and-shift to SaaS adoption, there are several pitfalls on the way that may harm your business or disrupt your business.
You should take into consideration that shifting to a shared responsibility model, in which the cloud provider is responsible for the security “of the cloud” and you as a customer are responsible for security “in the cloud”, does not exempt you from keeping your traffic, data, accesses and services secure. You still need to implement segmentation, visibility, protection and access policies.
Migrating to the cloud is a milestone in every organisation’s journey. It represents an ideal opportunity to optimise processes, services, technology and costs. For this reason, it is vital to do it right from the start with an experienced and knowledgeable partner like Infradata.
Francesco di Stefano - 19 November 2019
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Francesco Di Stefano