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According to McKinsey & Company report, cloud computing will account for $8 out of every $10 spent on IT hosting by 2024, including private clouds, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). Cloud-native application development and use of cloud migration services are the new norms, but this does not mean undergoing such a process is an easy endeavor. Cloud migration might be long and inefficient without experienced cloud migration service experts leading you through such a digital transformation.
Advantages of moving to the cloud
Companies are concerned about the savings they can achieve in the long run when making investments. Migration to the cloud is no different. Security and performance, guaranteed by cloud services, also play an essential role in the decision to go cloud native. Cloud migration is advantageous because of its pay-per-use model, increased self-service and flexibility. A cloud-native approach increases scalability, productivity and safety, being not only a paradigm shift in building software but a cultural change that impacts the entire business.
Strategies for moving to a cloud computing environment
Benefits related to moving to the cloud are considerable, but every company must factor in that such an undertaking requires bespoke technology and an experienced team. First, you should consider which type of migration you want to carry out and with what kind of data. A cloud migration plan will undoubtedly come in handy. Second, focus on a migration strategy.
Cloud migration services – four steps you cannot ignore
Step 1. Identify the applications or working resources you want to migrate.
Step 2. Assess the amount of data to be moved, the method you will use, and the project’s timeline.
Step 3. Find dependencies in the current databases and the data inventory. Furthermore, determine how to replace them in the cloud. While doing so, consider which data is non-transferable, i.e., critical to the security of your company or customers due to data privacy regulations, bandwidth, or performance.
Step 4. Work out the budget for your cloud migration project and consider challenges such as hardware infrastructure, software licenses, staff training, maintenance and support tools.
Cloud migration strategy
There are, currently, four types of cloud solutions:
- The hybrid cloud mixes public and private cloud models and moves data between them,
- The public cloud allows multiple users to access computing resources via the Internet or dedicated connections,
- The private cloud has a proprietary architecture accessed by selected users instead of the general public,
- The multi-cloud solution uses services delivered by various cloud computing providers.
Before choosing a solution, you must consider which one will fit the bandwidth you require – which will influence the application’s performance. Every model suits the specifics of certain industries, current data architecture, or enterprise hardware capabilities.
Read also: How Does Cloud Computing Work?
Actions to take in the cloud migration journey
Moving your applications and data to cloud computing may look different, depending on the cloud solution model you went with. However, there are some common points in each scenario worth addressing, namely:
- Assessment of performance and security requirements,
- Selection of a cloud provider,
- Calculation of costs,
- Reorganization, if deemed necessary.
In doing so, you must realize you will encounter some difficulties and complications throughout the project. Typical ones include:
- Ensuring business continuity,
- Guaranteeing interoperability,
- Providing security,
- Ensuring the integrity of your databases.
Best practices in the data migration process
Your company won’t be the first to migrate data to the cloud, so it’s worth taking lessons from other entities’ experiences. The motivations for moving data are different from a business and technological side. However, basic principles are common and worth considering even at the implementation and planning stages. Such guidelines include:
- Build an interdisciplinary team – a cloud project requires competencies from different areas. You need to be ready for the challenges waiting ahead and establish a healthy team structure that goes from end users, through engineers and specialists to project managers.
- Configure the architecture and features of the solution – you need to determine what kind of cloud environment is necessary, who should have access to it, and how to authenticate end users and technical users. In addition, you will need detailed and structured documentation on the configuration itself, as well as the processes.
- Choose additional services – cloud solution providers have a wide range of advanced support applications. You should analyze your needs and decide what other technologies might be helpful in your use case.
- Ensure cloud security – in the age of digitization, placing particular emphasis on securing the cloud and the stored data is a must. It’s worth taking handfuls of examples of companies that have put themselves at risk by ignoring such issues.
Migration consulting to the rescue
You will inevitably face other challenges during your project, as cloud computing may not be the miracle solution to all problems. That’s why a planning stage, overseen by migration experts, is crucial to avoiding potential challenges in a cloud project.
Sometimes, when moving data to the cloud, companies fail to have a solid cloud exit strategy, in which applications are forced out of the cloud solution and restored to their original state on-premises or in a private cloud. Cloud consulting services will help consider where the data will go, how to manage the technical transition and how to resolve any business or legal issues. Furthermore, it’s also worth remembering that if the application changes during the migration to incorporate certain cloud benefits, such as horizontal scaling, those benefits would be lost when the application returns to on-premise storage.
Training your employees is also an overlooked element of cloud migration. Cloud migration experts will assist in running in-depth training for specialists in the various aspects (data, engineering, architecture, infrastructure and security) of cloud technologies. Additionally, it’s worth keeping at least one specialist from the cloud consulting company on your team for some time after completing the process.
Is my company ready for the cloud?
It’s useful to answer a few simple questions to determine whether your company is ready to take the next step in software development by moving to the cloud. If the reply to at least some of them is positive, the next step should be to consider cloud migration.
- Are your applications and data suitable for the cloud migration process? Older applications and critical data, perhaps, should not be moved to the cloud without expert support.
- Is the balance of benefits in your favor? Cloud solutions have a lot of flexibility, so they may be appropriate if you assume a sudden increase in workloads.
- Are any of the cloud models mentioned in the article fitting for the specifics of your data and applications? Consider getting feedback from cloud consulting services, whether public, private or hybrid cloud will work for your needs.
- Are you familiar with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud? If not, cloud migration experts will be more than helpful in guiding you through the process.
Define the Type (Level) of Cloud Integration
Moving your systems and applications from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud involves choosing between two ways of how the migration can be approached. To be more specific, we’re talking about the so-called “shallow cloud integration” and “deep cloud integration”.
Shallow cloud integration means that when you move your on-premises system or an app, you make small to zero changes to the servers on which the system or the app will be running. The process is sometimes referred to as “lift-and-shift” because of how it is done. You simply take a system or an app and move it to the cloud as it is.
Deep cloud integration, on the other hand, is all about introducing changes to the system or the app during the migration process to make it fit the new cloud environment better. The changes we’re talking about here can be really simple like using dynamic load balancing or auto-scaling, or they can be much more elaborate, for example, they can involve implementing a cloud-specific data store such as Dynamo DB.
Which option is better? As always, it depends on your company’s needs and requirements. To be honest, it’s best to consult this matter with your cloud migration architect.
Decide On The Cloud Deployment Model (Single Cloud or Multi-Cloud)
If you are considering moving to the cloud, you must have heard the terms “single cloud” and “multi-cloud”. The two simply refer to the fact that you can either use just one cloud for running your business operations or many.
In other words, this means that you can migrate your systems and applications and make them work within a single cloud or get them to run on multiple clouds at the same time.
The first scenario is rather simple – your dev team has to make your system or app cloud-friendly using just one set of APIs. However, using only one cloud has its downsides. This approach is sometimes called “vendor lock-in” because you are tied to a single vendor. Not only does it limit your growth, as you can only use their cloud features (as beneficial as they may be to your business performance), but it also makes it very difficult to get out of this situation.
Choosing the multi-cloud model is a way to avoid vendor lock-in, be able to choose your clouds and vendors freely, and take advantage of all benefits that each cloud you use provides. However, there is a catch which is that it is fairly difficult to manage a multi-cloud environment. Getting all of the clouds to work together in unison requires knowledge and experience that only true IT experts possess.
Cloud migration services are a commodity
As global cloud revenue will total $474 billion in 2022, up from $408 billion in 2021, according to Gartner’s forecast, companies need to embrace cloud-based technologies in the current wave of business evolution. Cloud migration means maximizing benefits with minimal effort and costs but achieving such a goal is only possible with the right cloud consulting services provided by a trusted migration expert.
If you’d like to know more about planning your cloud migration journey, customizing multi-cloud environments, and optimizing costs and cloud architectures, get in touch using this contact form. Our experts are happy to help you find a tailor-made solution for your needs.
About the authorSoftware Mind
Software Mind provides companies with autonomous development teams who manage software life cycles from ideation to release and beyond. For over 20 years we’ve been enriching organizations with the talent they need to boost scalability, drive dynamic growth and bring disruptive ideas to life. Our top-notch engineering teams combine ownership with leading technologies, including cloud, AI, data science and embedded software to accelerate digital transformations and boost software delivery. A culture that embraces openness, craves more and acts with respect enables our bold and passionate people to create evolutive solutions that support scale-ups, unicorns and enterprise-level companies around the world.