A cloud migration strategy is the plan an organisation makes to move its data and applications from an on-premises architecture to the cloud. Not all workloads benefit from running on cloud-based infrastructure, so it is important to validate the most efficient way to prioritise and migrate applications before going live. A systematic, documented strategy is crucial.
Your exact roadmap for migrating to the cloud depends on the size and complexity of your environment. These are the basic steps:
Broadly known as the "six R's of migration," these are the six most common approaches:
As the name implies, this involves lifting your stack and shifting it from on-premises hosting to the cloud. You transport an exact copy of your current environment without making extensive changes for the quickest ROI. Companies with a conservative culture or no long-term strategy for harnessing advanced cloud capabilities are well suited for rehosting.
As a variation on the lift and shift, replatforming involves making a few further adjustments to optimise your landscape for the cloud. Again, the core architecture of applications stays the same. This, too, is a good strategy for conservative organisations that want to build trust in the cloud while achieving benefits like increased system performance.
This means moving your applications to a new, cloud-native product, most commonly a SaaS platform (for example, moving a CRM to Salesforce). The challenge is losing the familiarity of existing code and training your team on the new platform. Even so, repurchasing might be your most cost-effective option if moving from a highly customised legacy landscape.
Refactoring (or rearchitecting) means rebuilding your applications from scratch. This is usually driven by a business need to leverage cloud capabilities that are not available in your existing environment, such as cloud auto-scaling or serverless computing. Refactoring is generally the most expensive option, but also the most compatible with future versions.
Once you have assessed your application portfolio for cloud readiness, you might find some applications are no longer useful. In this case, simply turn them off. The resulting savings might even boost your business case for applications that are ready for migration.
For some organisations, cloud adoption does not yet make sense. Are you unable to take data off premises for compliance reasons? Perhaps you are not ready to prioritise an app that was recently upgraded? In this case, plan to revisit cloud computing at a later date. You should only migrate what makes sense for your business.
At a basic level, the cloud's strength lies in its elastic infrastructure. This advantage manifests in many different ways, including, but not limited to:
Ensuring smooth application migration is a top challenge for today's technologists. Even after finding the right cloud provider, the migration process carries a certain degree of risk. Critical scenarios to be aware of include:
The migration process might require taking in-house servers temporarily offline. But outages could be disastrous to application performance -- and by extension, customer loyalty -- if not supported by proper backup or resource allocation.
On its move to the cloud, your company's data is at its most vulnerable. Some of it might be unavailable or at risk of breach. Extreme care must be taken to minimise breach risk by applying cloud security controls such as privileged access management and app encryption.
Not all IT professionals trust the cloud. Employees who were used to managing physical servers might need educating on the new infrastructure. In other cases, cloud adoption requires introducing new IT management roles or transforming the very backbone of business operations.
It is not easy to get your existing applications to communicate properly with newer cloud environments. To help ensure they do, you might have to adapt your processes to those of your cloud provider.
These are only a few of many migration challenges that justify careful planning, testing, and resourcing. Work with an APM provider to account for these challenges before developing your cloud migration plan, and you can migrate with confidence.