Best Practices and Cloud Migration Strategies for a Successful Cloud Migration in 2023
In 2023, cloud migration has become an essential requirement for organizations to remain competitive and meet customer demands. A successful migration can provide numerous benefits, including increased agility, scalability, cost reductions, and improved security. In this post, we will focus on the top 10 cloud migration techniques that enable global scaling, provide continuous real-time insights, and foster faster innovation, even in the presence of complex multi-cloud architectures.
As you see everywhere that businesses across all industries are accelerating their digital transformation activities, which rely heavily on the cloud. Cloud architectures offer businesses an opportunity to innovate and tackle uncertainties by enabling on-demand self-service environments, making cloud migration a compelling choice.
When moving workstreams, portfolios, or an entire on-premises system to the cloud, it’s not enough to only grasp the technology. A successful transition to the cloud demands a shift in culture, steadfast commitment, and a detailed plan that is created with contributions from various departments across the organization. Failing to properly execute any step or neglecting any application in the IT infrastructure can result in expensive delays, interruptions, and system outages.
As digital transformation continues to drive demand for disruptive solutions, IT teams are expected to be agile and adapt quickly to new technologies.
What is Cloud Migration Strategy?
A cloud migration strategy is a plan that outlines how an organization will move its data, applications, and other business processes from on-premises infrastructure to cloud-based infrastructure. The strategy includes a roadmap for selecting the appropriate cloud service provider, identifying the applications and data that will be migrated, determining the sequence of migration, and defining the timeline and budget for the migration.
A successful cloud migration strategy also involves assessing the organization’s readiness for cloud adoption, ensuring data security and compliance, and preparing the IT staff and end-users for the transition. It may also involve re-architecting or re-engineering applications to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud technology, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost savings.
Types of Cloud Migration Strategies
There are several types of cloud migration strategies that an organization can use to transfer its digital resources to the cloud. These strategies can be categorized based on the level of effort and risk involved in the migration process.
- Rehosting or “lift and shift”: The commonly used cloud migration technique known as ‘lift and shift’ involves transferring a replica of the existing infrastructure to the cloud. This method is suitable for smaller organizations with uncomplicated workloads that are still exploring long-term plans for services and scalability. It is also suitable for those whose infrastructure heavily relies on virtual machines.
However, the rehosting approach fails to consider the advantages of going cloud-native, such as flexibility. Although the migration process is quick, it may prove to be expensive in the long run, especially if the organization predominantly used bare metal infrastructure.
- Refactoring: The refactoring strategy involves rebuilding the entire existing infrastructure from scratch and is typically adopted by organizations seeking to fully leverage the capabilities of the cloud, such as serverless computing and auto-scaling. Achieving such features can be challenging with an on-premises setup.
This approach is suitable when developers and leadership collaborate to restructure existing code and frameworks, enabling the organization to take full advantage of cloud benefits. However, rebuilding an entire system from scratch requires a significant investment of time and resources. Refactoring is the most costly migration strategy but is likely to yield significant returns in the long run.
- Replatforming: The replatforming strategy, also referred to as the ‘move and improve’ strategy, involves making minimal changes to the existing infrastructure to prepare for the transition to the cloud, including modifications to enable easier scalability. The fundamental application architecture remains unchanged, making it a slight variation of the rehosting strategy.
This approach is suitable for organizations that have already planned to scale up their solutions and wish to evaluate performance on the cloud. However, the drawback of replatforming is that similar to rehosting, it does not fully exploit all the benefits that the cloud has to offer.
- Repurchasing: The repurchasing strategy, also known as replacing, involves fully replacing the legacy application with a SaaS solution that provides equivalent or similar functionalities. The level of effort required for migration heavily relies on the requirements and available options for migrating live data. Some SaaS replacements for on-premises products from the same vendor may include a data migration option that requires minimal effort or is fully automated. Some providers may also offer analysis tools to assess the expected migration effort. However, this may not be the case when switching to a product from a different vendor or if the migration path has been disrupted due to neglected maintenance of the on-premises application.
- Retiring: The Retire strategy involves retiring or phasing out an application that is no longer needed or redundant. This approach is suitable when the business capabilities provided by the application are no longer required, or when they are offered redundantly. In cases where organizations have recently undergone mergers or acquisitions, this strategy is frequently observed. The cloud migration project can serve as an excellent opportunity for organizations to assess their application portfolio and eliminate outdated applications. This way, the cloud migration project can help organizations streamline their application portfolio and eliminate unnecessary costs.
- Retaining: To “Retain” or “Revisit” an application means that it is not migrated to the cloud at the moment due to certain limitations or unknown factors. Some applications may not be suitable for cloud migration due to compliance regulations, high latency requirements, or a lack of significant benefits. It is important to set a reminder to review these applications periodically as the technical or regulatory environment may change.
Best practices for cloud migration strategies
- I. Establish Clear Objectives
To achieve a successful cloud migration, you must establish clear objectives that are defined and communicated to all stakeholders. Identify why you want to migrate to the cloud, such as reducing costs, improving scalability, or enhancing security. This can help you set realistic expectations and measure the success of the migration.
- II. Assess the Current Environment
Before migrating to the cloud, conduct a comprehensive inventory of the existing infrastructure and applications. Identify all the digital resources that need to be migrated to the cloud, such as servers, databases, applications, and data. Evaluating the performance, security, and compliance requirements of the applications and data is essential to identify potential issues that need to be addressed before the migration.
- III. Choose the Right Cloud Providers and Services
Selecting the right cloud provider and services is crucial to ensure the success of the migration. Evaluate available cloud providers and service and to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. Consider factors such as pricing, features, and support options to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money.
- IV. Develop a Detailed Migration Plan
Creating a detailed migration plan is essential to ensure a smooth and successful migration. Outline the steps involved in the migration process, including identifying the order in which digital resources will be migrated and defining the timeline for each step. Define the roles and responsibilities of team members involved in the migration process to ensure that it runs smoothly.
- V. Ensure Data Security and Privacy
Strong data security and privacy measures must be implemented to protect digital resources during the migration process. Encrypt data in transit and at rest, implement multi-factor authentication and use firewalls and intrusion detection systems to ensure data security and privacy.
- VI. Test and Validate the Migration
Conducting testing and validation is crucial to ensure a successful migration. Test the applications and data in the cloud environment to ensure that the migration process runs smoothly and that there are no issues or errors. Identify and address any issues or errors that arise during testing and validation to prevent problems during the actual migration.
- VII. Monitor and Optimize the Cloud Environment
Monitoring the cloud environment is essential to ensure that it is running smoothly and that there are no issues or errors. Monitor performance metrics, such as response times and resource utilization, to identify potential bottlenecks. Optimize the cloud environment by rightsizing resources, such as servers and storage, and implementing auto-scaling policies to adjust to changes in demand.
- VIII. Train and Educate the Users
After migrating to the cloud, train and educate users on the new environment, including new applications and services, as well as any changes in workflows or processes. Provide ongoing support and training to ensure that users are comfortable and proficient in the new environment. This can help to address any issues or concerns that users may have and ensure the migration is successful in the long term.
- IX. Documentation in Cloud Migration Processes
To ensure a successful cloud migration, you must document each step of the process thoroughly. This means including the objectives of the migration, the assets being migrated, the strategies employed, a cost analysis, and testing and training plans. By creating such a document, you and all stakeholders involved in the migration process will have access to a reliable reference tool that can be used for compliance audits and as a go-to resource throughout the migration process. Remember, comprehensive documentation is key to a successful cloud migration.
- X. Measure and Evaluate the Results
To ensure a successful cloud migration, you should measure and evaluate the results of the migration. This involves assessing whether the desired outcomes and benefits, such as cost savings, improved performance, or increased agility, have been achieved according to the objectives set by the organization.
It is important to continuously evaluate and improve the cloud environment to meet the changing needs of the organization. This can include reviewing performance metrics, monitoring security and compliance, and identifying areas for optimization. By doing so, you can ensure that your cloud environment operates efficiently and delivers the greatest possible value.