Cloud Migration Strategies, Process, and Tools: The Ultimate Guide

Cloud Migration Strategies, Process, and Tools: The Ultimate Guide

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Success in the current digital world requires embracing the power of the cloud, particularly as businesses increasingly move their apps to the cloud to spur growth.

WebTribunal Cloud Migration reports that global spending on public cloud services will increase from $257.5 billion in 2022 to $623.3 billion in 2023. More than 45 per cent of IT investment will move from conventional solutions to cloud-based services by 2024.

cloud migration statistics

Despite significant investments in the cloud, one in three businesses never reaps the rewards. According to the Unisys Cloud Success barometer survey, 33% of firms have experienced little to no improvement in organisational effectiveness since adopting the cloud. Moving to the cloud is a complex and expensive process. So how to avoid a cloud migration failure?

Planning effectively and choosing the best cloud migration strategy for your IT assets are the key to finding the solution, developing a path for migration, and making the switch to the cloud more easily.

Move your business elements, data, and applications to a cloud environment by choosing the most suitable cloud migration strategy. This guide covers everything you need to know about cloud migration as six cloud migration strategies, including their use cases, challenges, benefits, and best practices to ease your migration process in 2022.

Let’s get started with discovering what cloud migration is.

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is moving data and applications from on-premises architecture to the cloud. Not all workloads benefit from running on cloud-based infrastructure, so validating the most efficient way to prioritise and migrate applications before going live is essential. A systematic, documented strategy is crucial.

The journey to the cloud differs for every organisation, as there is no one-size-fits-all migration plan. Each IT asset to be migrated is unique in terms of cost, performance, and complexity. So you cannot move all components to the cloud with one standard method. The migration strategy will answer the questions of what, how, and in what order to move these components.

Most plans include a public cloud migration strategy where the target is Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, or other public cloud providers. Data centres are facilities devoted to housing computer equipment, as opposed to a server room or server closet, the storage units for computer systems you could find behind a locked door in any given office. They are typically enormous and built primarily to maintain a lot of technology functioning at its best.

Read more: Top 5 serverless platforms in 2022

What are the Main Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud?

The advantages of cloud computing are frequently centred on efficiency, getting the most out of resources while spending the least money. Organisations can deliver enhanced performance by choosing a cloud-based solution, staying up-to-date with technology innovations, and benefit from higher scalability, lower expenses, and security. Here are the main benefits of migrating to the cloud.

Scalability

Scalability is the power to rapidly increase or reduce computing, memory, and storage resources to satisfy changing demands without worrying about cloud capacity planning. A corporation can effectively scale its IT requirements up or down depending on its current needs by migrating to cloud platforms.

By moving to the cloud, organisations are no longer limited to swiftly degrading equipment and can significantly adjust their operations and architecture to accommodate current demands.

Cloud computing can scale up to support larger workloads and more significant numbers of users far more quickly than on-premises infrastructure, which requires companies to purchase and set up additional physical servers, networking equipment, or software licenses.

Cost optimisation

According to the Microsoft Office 365 report, 82% of SMBs account reduced costs due to cloud technology, and 70% reinvest the saved money into their company.

Thanks to the cloud, you can only pay for the resources you utilise. It allows you access to resources that would be far too expensive and time-consuming for you to maintain on your own, which is related to scalability. Companies can allocate more resources to their business needs, such as creating new goods or upgrading their current ones, rather than maintaining operations.

The top initiative mentioned by enterprises is optimising the current usage of the cloud (cost savings), followed by moving additional workloads to the cloud. Workload migration may increase agility while reducing costs.

the most popular cloud initiatives

Remember that an organisation's cloud spending can spiral out of control without an acceptable strategy!

Flexibility

Using the cloud also enables you to adapt to changing circumstances quickly. With a few mouse clicks, it is easy to access new services, making it feasible to act immediately when a new need, challenge, or opportunity arises. Users can access the cloud services and data they require from any location, whether they are clients or workers.

It facilitates a company's ability to grow into new markets, provide its services to clients worldwide, and allow workers to work flexibly. Moreover, migrating to the cloud can improve performance and end-user experience.

Advanced Security

Cloud providers take care of security and compliance, which includes keeping up with upgrades and market trends to guarantee the protection of your sensitive data in the cloud.

Regularly releasing security upgrades prevents unauthorised users from accessing your data, allowing you to focus on what matters to your business without worrying about security risks.

The policies, technology, and controls that public cloud providers typically offer substantially improve the security procedures used by most organisations. Along with this, practically any industry-specific compliance requirements are taken into account.

Additionally, storing data on the cloud rather than on your hard drive can prevent data breaches if a device is lost or stolen.

Discovery Recovery and Failure Processing

If something disastrous happens to their physical equipment, operations won't stop. Without the need for a team to be present, problems can be promptly discovered and fixed when these protocols are included in routine processes.

Cloud providers offer easy ways to manage automated backup and recovery procedures, which promote company continuity. Further, they deliver built-in, user-friendly backup and recovery features, including the choice to store backups in various geographic locations.

Why do Businesses Migrate to the Cloud?

There are many reasons why companies move their operations to the cloud. However, working on the cloud offers you access to nearly infinite computing resources, which is a significant factor.

Following the report by BCG, cloud migrating may save businesses 15-40% on infrastructure expenditures, with the top three reasons being reduced IT costs, more agility and flexibility, and improved disaster recovery. For some businesses, savings might be considerably more significant.

A basic example is Clouds like electricity. A simple exercise compares this infinite supply of computing and storage to electricity.

  • Yes, you could run a generator to generate electricity independently, but the hardware is expensive upfront.
  • Then, you must maintain its functioning, which requires a certain amount of knowledge and regular maintenance time.
  • Unless you've splurged and had a second generator lying around ready to go at a moment's notice, you're out of luck if it breaks down.

However, if you and those around you both require electricity, it makes more sense to outsource the setup and ongoing management of electricity generation. It is similar to how you consume electricity on daily basics. Then, with the flick of a switch, you and all your neighbours who require electricity can access it.

  • You are free to use what you need and only pay for what you use.
  • You are free to use as much electricity as they require.
  • The electric utility will take care of you.
  • They concentrate on providing you with electricity fast and effectively, freeing you up to focus on what has to be done.

Adopting a cloud migration strategy helps your company to identify and execute the fastest, lowest cost, most minor disruption transition from on-premises to the cloud.

Since every organisation is different, an enterprise cloud migration strategy should be tailored to their needs to achieve the desired business and technical outcomes. It requires knowledge of the business needs and goals and the application portfolio that can provide visibility for undertaking a migration.

What are the challenges of a cloud migration strategy?

Migrating to the cloud does not come without obstacles. Transferring large databases is time-consuming and difficult. Sometimes companies will need to slowly move data across a long period before the on-premise system can be dismantled. Organisations must know what needs to be migrated and why, rather than jumping in with both feet and trying to shift every workload to the public cloud.

Among the critical situations to be aware of are:

  • Security and compliance

Data security and compliance are two main barriers to cloud migration. The security of the infrastructure is handled by the cloud service provider, while the client is in charge of protecting data and workloads, data retention, and data privacy.

Therefore, even though the cloud provider might offer robust security measures, your firm is responsible for setting them up properly and ensuring that all services and apps have the proper security controls.

  • Correct cost estimation

Cloud can result in cost savings; however, it can be challenging to estimate cloud costs. It's simple to misjudge cloud costs. Not only should the relocation costs be taken into account, but also the costs of the migration services, the future need for more bandwidth, and future recurring expenditures.

Many firms have not clearly defined KPIs to determine what they plan to spend or save after shifting to the cloud. Because of this, it is challenging to determine whether migration was profitable. Additionally, cloud environments are dynamic, expenses are subject to quick changes when new services are adopted, and application demand increases.

  • Keeping data safe during migration

Your company's data is most exposed when transferred to the cloud. For large databases that would take too long to send over the Internet, some cloud providers provide physical data transfer techniques, such as loading data onto hardware equipment and delivering the appliance to the cloud provider. Application of cloud security controls like privileged access management and app encryption must be made with extreme caution to reduce the danger of a compromise.

Before creating your plan for cloud migration, we consider all of it to make your migration to the cloud with confidence.

How does a cloud migration strategy work?

Organizations should consider the design and requirements of each application before deciding on migration options, as well as the skills, resources, and timeline needed to achieve the desired results. To evaluate the maturity of each workload, teams must first assess what is already in place. For each instance of every application that is currently in use, this might necessitate a thorough discovery stage.

The workload migration process should be planned with milestones, distinct targets, appropriate timeframes for each activity, and an awareness of potential dangers.

Every migration should start with a pilot effort, perhaps relocating or rehosting. It makes it easier to spot any gaps and make necessary adjustments.

The company should concentrate on three crucial areas of optimisation to carry out a migration at scale:

  • Cloud migration planning

It's crucial to evaluate your environment and identify the variables that will control the migration, such as critical application data, legacy data, and application interoperability. It's also essential to assess your dependency on data: do you have non-critical data that might be transferred during the first few migration rounds.

  • Migrating your apps and data

Determine the operational gains, cost savings, and architectural improvements along the three dimensions of the predicted cloud migration benefits. In exchange for a long-term commitment to cloud resources or a commitment to a specified amount of cloud spending, cloud providers provide a variety of pricing schemes and savings plans.

  • Choosing your cloud environment:

Choose the cloud model you want to use now that you have the visibility you need to succeed. Depending on which best meets your immediate and long-term goals, you should select a public cloud, hybrid cloud, private cloud, or multi-cloud (or services like Google, Azure, or AWS). Just make sure your APM solution includes the provider you've chosen.

The 6 R’s of Cloud Migration Strategy

There are six types of cloud migration strategies. However, this does not mean that they are the only solutions. Your strategy should fulfil your needs and capabilities. Each cloud migration will be unique, and these strategies are not definitive. Use this guideline when you create a cloud migration strategy.

the six Rs of cloud migration strategy

A cloud migration project can easily include elements of all or some of these strategies at different stages:

  • Rehost - known as “lift-and-shift.”

The easiest method of cloud migration is rehosting. It entails transferring software, virtual machines, and server operating systems unchanged from the current hosting environment to public cloud infrastructure.

If you decide to adopt lift-and-shift, you should be aware that it has a short-term downside: limited utilisation of cloud efficiency. Cloud-native features, such as monitoring systems, automated recovery, self-healing, or open-source compatible services, are not operated merely moving an application burden to the public cloud. You will be able to reduce the time spent on system management and free up some time so that engineers may once again concentrate on resolving business issues and product optimisation.

When businesses need to change their on-premise infrastructure quickly, this cloud migration can also serve as the beginning point for large-scale optimisation projects. For instance, if your data centre lease is about to expire, you could need to rehost your current workloads swiftly. Further codebase optimisations will be more straightforward once these workloads are in the cloud.

  • Replatform

The move-and-improve strategy for migration is updating your program with contemporary features, such as scale or automation, without completely replacing it. The strategy may first appear to be the best choice, but it may lead to migrations where you retain all of your technical debt and receive none of the advantages of cloud-native development.

  • Refactor/Re-architect

This strategy entails starting over your workload to make it "cloud-native." It requires time and skill development (especially upskilling your current talent), but it pays off with the most significant cloud benefits.

While every business and workload is different, if your goal in shifting to the cloud is to profit from its unique features and advantages, you should adopt cloud-native design principles. It entails planning and doing things correctly, including ensuring your staff is equipped to handle the transition and rewriting your code.

  • Repurchase - moving to a different product.

This strategy means moving your applications to a new, cloud-native product, most commonly a SaaS platform (for example, a CRM to Salesforce). The challenge is losing the familiarity with existing code and training your team on the new platform. Repurchasing might be your most cost-effective option if moving from a highly customised legacy landscape.

It relates to the decision made by the company to switch to a different product, which occasionally entails terminating current licensing and repurposing services on a new platform or service. It is frequently unnecessary with apps created using modern application code because moving the code from one provider to another is unimportant.

  • Retire - get rid of

Once you have disclosed everything in your explicit environment setup, finding out who is in charge of each functional area's application is best. This method makes it simpler to obtain savings to strengthen the business case and focus the team's scant attention on the team's human resources. Additionally, the goal in this situation is to reduce the security's visible perimeter.

  • Retain - means “revisit” or do nothing (for now)

Last, we have kept it one of the best methods for moving applications to the cloud. There can come a time when you're not prepared to give a recently enhanced application priority. Additionally, there's a potential that you won't want to move all of your applications. At this stage, the best course of action is to relocate only what is necessary for the business. You will have fewer reasons to hold on if you realise that the portfolio's focus has shifted from on-premises to the cloud.

Migration Services + Tools

What program is employed for cloud migration? There are many more than one! Large public cloud providers like AWS, GCP, and Azure want you to migrate to their portion of the cloud; they provide you with many tools to make the process as easy as possible.

What migration services and tools are there?

Moving to the cloud may result in cost reductions, but cloud costs can quickly spiral out of control. Using all the resources at your disposal to plan and modify procedures is crucial. Things that were cost-effective in-house can become costly errors in the cloud.

Before moving, you can estimate the cost of your setup with the use of cloud cost calculators. Examine the one that your public cloud provider provides. Examples include the Google Cloud Pricing Calculator, the AWS Pricing Calculator, and the Azure Pricing Calculator.

Other tools to look into are Microsoft Azure Advisor for Azure and AWS Trusted Advisor for AWS. These give you in-the-moment advice on best practices for the cloud and can also assist with cost reduction, cost optimisation, security, and performance.

According to Canalys, the top three cloud service providers accounted for 62% or US$55.9 billion of total cloud spending in the first quarter of 2022.

Read also: 4 Best AWS DevOps Tools for Cloud Build and Deployment

AWS

With a 53 per cent acceptance rate among SMBs, Amazon Web Services is the market leader in public cloud services. If you’re looking for Amazon cloud migration services, the cloud has a range of solutions — including plenty of free ones — to help you kick off your migration.

  • AWS Migration Hub
    It lets you track the progress of migrations across AWS solutions, helping you pick the right tools, track metrics, and more.
  • AWS Application Delivery and Migration Service
    Plan for your migration, and collected data are encrypted and accessible from the Migration Hub. Also, this service makes it easy to move workloads to AWS.
  • AWS Database Migration Service
    Quickly and securely move your databases to AWS. Bonus: The source database remains functional throughout the migration, minimising downtime.
  • CloudEndure Migration — This automated lift-and-shift solution is free for 90 days.

The AWS migration tools are software tools, including command-line, code generation, and graphical programs, that you can use to migrate data, applications, and development environments from on-premises and non-EC2 infrastructure to AWS.

The migration tools automate the migration of your development teams and software assets to AWS.

These tools include:

  • AWS Application Discovery Service

AWS Application Discovery Service is a web service that provides a simple yet powerful way to discover AWS resources, public and private, running in any environment (virtual or physical). The AWS service leverages the AWS Discovery API, a specific set of web services which describes resources and the discovery parameters you can use to discover them.

  • AWS Migration Acceleration Program

The AWS Migrating to AWS tool is a web application that helps you migrate from on-premises environments to AWS. The tool uses a wizard to guide you through the steps involved in moving your on-premises systems to AWS. The wizard includes an inventory of on-premises environments, a step-by-step migration process, and AWS resource utilisation information. See the AWS Migration Acceleration Program User Guide for more information about using the tool.

Get more details on the specifics of AWS cloud migration and AWS services we provide here.

Azure

Azure Migrate, a built-in migration solution from Microsoft, acts as a focal point for resources, progress monitoring, insights, and advice for organising and carrying out effective cloud migrations. Most of the other tools mentioned below are incorporated into this main dashboard.

VMware, Hyper-V, public clouds, and other VMs may all be assessed and moved to Azure using the Azure Migrate: Server Assessment and Server Migration tools.

The Data Move Assistant assists in identifying compatibility problems that can prevent your migration. It identifies new features and helps you determine the best course for database conversion.

  • Azure Database Migration Service — migrate on-premises databases to Azure VMs.
  • Azure Data Box — move large amounts of offline data to the Azure cloud.
  • Movere — It’s a discovery solution that increases business intelligence to see and control environments across.

GCP cloud migration tools

GCP offers two options for streamlining cloud migration planning. Google Cloud Rapid Assessment & Migration Program, which the company refers to as a "holistic, end-to-end migration program," is the first. The second choice is the Google Cloud Adoption Framework and the 15-minute Cloud Maturity Assessments.

  • Transfer Appliance

You may securely capture, ship, and upload data utilising 100TB or 480TB models with Transfer Appliance for offline bulk data migration.

  • Anthos

Modernize and migrate existing workloads to containers.

  • Data Transfer Service

Let your analytics team organise and automate data transfers from the app while laying the groundwork for a BigQuery data warehouse.

Get business apps functioning in the Google Cloud as data is migrated in the background by migrating for Compute Engine. Applications may be tested, operated, and migrated without the need to be changed.

Best Practices for a Successful Cloud migration

There are different technical processes and recommendations for moving different workloads and creating different cloud configurations, but this step-by-step guide can serve as a strong foundation:

  • Define Goals

Creating goals is a crucial phase that Has to be in every cloud migration strategy. The objectives of your cloud migration strategy should be formalised and recorded. When creating your migration plan, consider both the current infrastructure and business objectives, as well as a few technical details and key performance indicators (KPIs). The baseline for measuring cloud migration activity would be an ideal goal.

  • Finalise which assets are moving and when

By assessing each investment in terms of cost, performance, size, complexity, and internal dependencies, this practice—an essential component of the portfolio discovery and planning phase—allows you to understand the current environment better.

Afterwards, a business case and KPI metrics can be created using the evaluation to evaluate the performance of each asset both during and after transfer. Companies relocate the less-important components first and only move the important ones once the proper support infrastructure is in place. The chosen strategy must be used to create, migrate, and test new applications.

  • Prepare your team and the existing IT environment for the transition

Working with cloud technology differs from working with in-house technology, particularly if a company is switching from traditional infrastructure to the cloud for the first time. To operate with a particular cloud provider, employees must receive training. Because there are ongoing updates, this training cannot be done once.

Additionally, you must prepare the current IT environment by strengthening the network connection, allocating resources, controlling access, and implementing a system for security, compliance, and governance.

  • Select the right partner for your cloud migration journey

Choosing the right cloud vendor for the organisation is essential since this is a long-term relationship. Selecting a cloud vendor depends on its current services and future technology roadmap. Your cloud provider must understand costs, tools, compliance, security, governance, and cloud-skill requirements.

TechMagic is an AWS Consulting partner. Our trained AWS specialists help you develop, deploy and optimise cloud applications on AWS.

  • Document everything

A formal business process, a cloud migration requires documentation at each stage. The objectives, resources, migration tactics employed, cost analysis, and testing and training plans should all be included in this documentation. All parties will use the document as a reference for compliance audits.

  • Test and validate for optimisation

Use the same business objectives, and unique application KPIs specified during planning to assess and evaluate the migration's success accurately. For instance, you can decide that a cloud-hosted version of an application that was first rehosted is necessary. The foundation might need to be improved as cloud workloads change over time. The strategy must include the testing timetable. After testing is complete, short- and long-term success must be evaluated using the KPIs established during the goal-setting phase.

  • Focus on automation

The cloud computing ecosystem is evolving quickly, and changes are ongoing. Many cloud services are uncontrollable "black boxes," with very few controls that the company may override. Automation streamlines the process, shortens downtime, and frees your team to work on other crucial activities.

Conclusion

A cloud migration strategy requires careful planning, testing, and resourcing. The stakes are high when a cloud migration process kicks off. Both business and operations need to be secure from the get-go. A good cloud migration strategy needs to ensure that this aspect is taken care of and that the organisation leverages the cutting-edge technology of the cloud to stream ahead.

Cloud migration is a difficult journey, but it doesn’t have to be with the proper knowledge and direction; you need a solid migration plan to support the achievement of critical business goals.

These methods are dependable but not conclusive approaches to preparing for a move. Which migration model you select or already have in place for your business will also influence the strategic decision. There is no one-size-fits-all method, so your migration strategy can incorporate any combination of these tactics or even all of them.

Planning effectively and choosing the best cloud migration strategy for your IT assets hold the key to finding the solution. This article intends to help you better understand a cloud migration strategy and make the switch to the cloud more effortless.

TechMagic provides excellent cloud migration consulting services and has proven experience in helping organisations develop efficient migration strategies for their move to the cloud.

Contact our cloud experts today to get a result tomorrow!

FAQs

#1. How to avoid cloud migration pitfalls: strategies for success?

Cloud computing continues to increase in the years to come. However, as mission-critical enterprise applications migrate to the cloud, companies need to pay special attention to two critical aspects to ensure cloud adoption success: security and organisational readiness.

#2. What are the 5 cloud migration strategies?

The five cloud migration strategies are Application Migration, ETL Data Migration, Database Migration, Cloud Consolidation, and Hybrid Cloud Migration.

  • Application Migration: Applications already running on-premises can be migrated to the cloud, providing users access to applications from anywhere.
  • ETL Data Migration: Extract, transform, and load (ETL) data can also be migrated to the cloud to create a seamless end-user experience.
  • Database Migration: Databases can also be migrated to the cloud, creating additional space for data and applications.
  • Cloud Consolidation: This methodology allows you to consolidate the workload from multiple cloud providers into a single, centralised cloud, lowering operational and capital costs.
  • Hybrid Cloud Migration: Hybrid cloud migration simply means migrating or “lift and shifting” to the cloud.

#3. What are the 7 R's in cloud migration planning?

1. Reassess current environment (Observe current processes, needs, and infrastructure)

2. Research alternatives (Compare and contrast alternatives)

3. Re-plan the current environment (Construct a plan)

4. Relocate/migrate (Move/upgrade infrastructure and applications)

5. Restart/resolve (Resolve issues and plan next steps)

6. Review findings (Peer-review and validate results)

7. Record results (Report findings)

#4. How should sensitive data be handled?

Many privacy regulations require specific safeguards for personally identifiable information. Also, any critical data such as contracts or intellectual property should be treated with extra care.

#5. How do I ensure the right users have access to post-migration?

You don’t want to accidentally cut users off from the data they need to do their job. On the other hand, you have to ensure you don’t unintentionally open up access to people who don’t need it.

#6. What are the advantages of cloud computing over local infrastructure?

Cloud computing enables organisations to accelerate innovation and provide access to flexible resources, as well as greater resilience than local resources. You usually only pay for the help you need when using cloud services. Cloud computing can work with existing local infrastructure (in a hybrid model) or completely replace it. Learn more about cloud computing and cloud migration.

#7. How long does it take to migrate to the cloud?

Most of the time is spent on audit, analysis, and transition planning. On average, depending on the size of the company, the type, and the method of migration, the preparatory stage requires 1 to 4 weeks.

The migration can take several days, in the case of a simple IT system, to several months. It will take some more time to fine-tune the security policy and work out the requirements of regulators.

#8. How fast is the migration going?

The speed of migration depends primarily on the amount of data. The second and third vital points are the bandwidth, as data is transferred over the network and the speed of disk subsystems.

To control downtime of the service, you need to follow the technology of its launch: first, deploy the system in the cloud, fill it with combat data, test it, and then switch to it in industrial operation.

#9. How does TechMagic help with cloud migrations?

Our approach to cloud migrations begins with a comprehensive cloud readiness assessment. This involves collecting baseline data and conducting a discovery workshop with our clients. We identify key drivers, gaps, risks, and solutions and design a strategy to address those gaps.

During implementation, we provide end-to-end support to complete the migrations successfully. This support includes project management, strategy, and change management. We also support post-migration optimisation through improvement projects and services tailored as your needs evolve.

Roman Kolodiy
Roman Kolodiy
Delivery Manager, AWS Expert at TechMagic, big fan of SRE practices. Helps teams to improve system reliability, optimise testing efforts, speed up release cycles & build confidence in product quality.
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TechMagic is a software and web development company from Lviv, Ukraine that builds dedicated teams skilled in JavaScript, Node.js, Angular, React, AWS, Serverless, and Salesforce.
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