The success or failure of modern businesses hinges on the technology it uses. As businesses grow and expand, their IT infrastructure requirements also increase. According to a report by Meticulous Research, despite the pandemic, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector is expected to grow by 7-8%. Clearly, the need to upgrade systems will not taper in the days to come. If anything, businesses will only try to move away from legacy on-premises systems to the cloud. The cloud technology offers businesses an opportunity to scale operations using cost-effective means. Forbes predicts that the adoption of cloud technology will continue in the post-pandemic era.
Before the advent of cloud technology, businesses had to spend a fortune on infrastructure, hardware, software, networks, and other services. A large part of this expenditure has now been eliminated with the adoption of cloud technology. Essentially, almost all the capital costs are eliminated and the maintenance and management of these systems are outsourced to cloud solutions providers. Let us look at what a successful cloud migration is all about.
What does cloud migration involve?
Cloud migration involves the process of moving data, applications, and other components stored on on-premises infrastructure to remote datacentres that provide on-demand storage space, computational power, and network services at scale in a virtual pool of shared resources. This not only ensures the optimal use of resources but also maintains system performance with adequate security at affordable costs. If you compare Azure virtual desktop pricing with the cost of implementing such a system on-premises, you will get an estimate of how much more cloud technology has to offer than comparable on-premises systems at significantly lower costs.
With the capabilities of cloud technology, organizations become more flexible and agile with the ability to quickly adapt to the needs of the market. Here are some of the advantages of cloud infrastructure over on-premises infrastructure.
- Significantly lower costs
- Much better security
- Much easier to scale horizontally and vertically
- Facilitates device mobility
- Better built-in disaster recovery capabilities
- Advanced control mechanisms
- Helps retain a competitive edge
Cloud migration steps
Planning and Preparing for Migration
Before you can start with the migration process, you need to prepare the different stakeholders and the environment for the migration. The level of preparation required varies for different businesses. Most importantly, you should be clear as to why you are moving operations to the cloud. While cloud technology offers several benefits to different users, your organization must have a specific reason for the choice. It might be a good idea to assign a person or a team to ensure the smooth migration to the cloud as large organizations often have to grapple with complex technical plans and decisions and having a certified team of experts might be useful.
The complexity of the migration process also depends on the level of cloud integration. Any data or application can be integrated with two modes – a shallow cloud integration or a deep cloud integration.
The shallow cloud integration is also called the “lift-and-shift” operation in which organizations move the on-premise applications or data to the cloud with minimal changes to the servers that run the applications. Often, minor changes to the applications themselves are sufficient for running them in the new environment. The limitation of this approach is the users cannot use cloud-unique services. As the name suggests, in this model the application is simply lifted in its original state and moved, or shifted, to the cloud.
In the case of deep cloud integration, applications and infrastructure need much wider changes to take full advantage of cloud capabilities. While it could be something as simple like using auto-scaling and dynamic load balancing, it might also involve utilizing sophisticated serverless computing capabilities for specific components of the applications that have to be moved. Exchange to Office 365 Migration is an example of such a migration. Here are the broad steps to move to the cloud.
Choosing the Right Cloud Environment
The ideal cloud environment suitable for your business has to be selected before the migration process. The most important decision to be made is a choice between single cloud and multi-cloud environments.
In the case of a single cloud environment, an organization uses the services of a single cloud hosting services provider for all applications and services. This could involve the use of either private or public clouds, whichever serves their current and future needs better.
This option enables organizations to move workloads to the cloud expand their operations by increasing the subscription for more virtualized servers as and when needed. Often, organizations with a single cloud model are employing the cloud for a single service or application, such as cloud-based QuickBooks Enterprise Cloud Hosting or other such enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
In a multi-cloud environment, organization opt for two or more public cloud services that may even be provided by different vendors. Depending on their strengths and features, different clouds may be used for various tasks for achieving better results or avoid vendor lock-in. Such an arrangement can be made when there are distinct needs of different departments in an organization. Most importantly, organizations become less dependent on one provider, often resulting in lower costs and greater flexibility.
Depending on the solutions that vendors offer, you can choose IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service), PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or, Storage, Database, Information, Process, Application, Integration, Security, Management, Testing-as-a-service among other cloud solutions.
Migrating Applications and Reviewing Data
If the planning for the migration was done right, the actual migration process should proceed smoothly. You might either copy your data to the cloud over the internet manually, or use tools to achieve the same results when there are larger workloads. This process can again be outsourced to migration experts. Throughout the process, it is important to ensure the security of data.
Once the migration is complete, it is important to optimize the resources available on the cloud with advanced features like dynamic allocation. So make sure that your IT department can handle resource distribution for applications on the cloud.
The movement of business applications and data to the cloud is an important tactical and strategic move from the perspective of any business. It adds a competitive edge by reducing costs, improving scalability, and providing cutting-edge features among other benefits. While these basic steps should help businesses understand how they can migrate to the cloud, outsourcing it to experts is a simpler way of managing the process. If you are opting for Microsoft cloud services for example, a Microsoft Partner like Apps4Rent can help you with the migration.