Cloud Migration

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Cloud Migration

This blog is an overview of cloud migration for companies considering their first move from an on-premises system to one that is cloud-based. It should clarify some of the questions about whether the cloud is right. 

If you’d like a hands-on contact about cloud migration from an expert, visit our Cloud Migration page for more details. 

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving on-premises assets like databases, records, workloads, and applications to a cloud-based infrastructure.  During and after the migration process, the previous infrastructure is referred to as the “legacy” system. The goal of cloud migration is usually to keep the elements of the previous system that work or are vital to the operation, and provide access to a deeper pool of resources from the cloud.   

Cloud migration can also refer to the process of moving from one cloud provider to another, e.g. moving a website backend from Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The same general principles apply to this scenario as the first.

Why Should I Move To The Cloud?

Public interest in the cloud is at an all-time high, and continuing to grow. In fact, businesses that operate in the digital sphere without some type of cloud-based support may find themselves falling behind without it. The following are some of the reasons why migrating to the cloud is an important step for any business.

  • The decentralized structure of the cloud mitigates security risks, and carries an inherent bonus to disaster recovery preparedness by creating data stores in multiple locations.  
  • Policies can be enforced automatically through configuration, ensuring that systems remain compliant without micromanagement.
  • The scalability of cloud-based systems outpaces on-premises systems by far, due to its modular design that allows for simpler expansion of assets.
  • Software development receives enhancements to delivery and deployment, enabling applications to reach the market faster, and app-based businesses to eliminate a ton of headaches.

Migrating To The Cloud: The Basics

The first phase of an effective cloud migration begins with assessment and planning. This is done to make sure the new cloud-based system matches the functionality of the legacy system where it matters. This could mean business-critical functions or the database which powers an application, or any action that affects outcomes.   

One of the main benefits of cloud migration is that it presents a chance to consider where the legacy system can be upgraded with a modernized version of each asset. Sorting through all the available options is the bigger task, so it might be worth the ROI to seek expert help with this part.

Cloud Migration Methods

There are a few different methods for moving infrastructure to the cloud. The following are some of the most effective:

  • The Lift and Shift/Rehost methods make slight modifications where applicable, but strives to keep all resources as close to the legacy system as possible. This includes the data stores, applications, network configurations, and deployment measures. It is an ideal migration method for users who want to keep their infrastructure consistent with the previous.
  • In between, there are methods that migrate legacy systems with varying degrees of moderation. These include refactor, re-architect, and rebuild, which offer varying degrees of modifications to the application and architecture of a system. These are applicable when the legacy system has a good foundation, but requires upgrades to its existing structure to work fit into the cloud provider’s requirements.
  • The most involved method is a complete replacement of the legacy software–new data stores, infrastructure, architecture, applications, and so forth. While this measure is generally reserved for systems that aren’t modern enough to be migrated, it can also apply to decision makers with modern systems who want to leverage cloud-based architecture.  As this is the most intensive of the three, replacement likely requires the most external help, since replacing architecture requires a deep understanding of the cloud provider.

Security And Data Integrity During Migrations

Part of the reason to migrate to the cloud is due to the inherent security challenges of legacy systems. Even if the platform is up-to-date with the latest protections, there may be concern over the level of exposure during the transition to the cloud. 

A sound migration plan should also include ways to limit downtimes for business-critical systems–that is, securing business continuity while you literally secure the data that powers it.   Taking these steps isn’t just practical, it’s inserting security policies from the onset. Using cutover and rollback methods is one effective way to maintain data integrity during a cloud migration; 

Migration Baselines

Establishing criteria for objective evaluation is a necessary step toward verifying the cloud migration goes smoothly. Effectively using migration baselines requires two things: that the metrics involved are reliable and accurate; and that the people involved with the migration know how to translate the results into corrective actions. 

It’s also important to make sure the system can meet your key performance indicators (KPIs) and cost-effectiveness standards. Business-related metrics, especially those that are critical to operations, should each have a cloud-based equivalent upfront. Cloud services can always provide an on-demand version of any vital legacy software, and the cloud version is usually more up-to-date due to continuous delivery.

Help For Cloud Migration 

To find expert help for migration to AWS, GCP, and Azure, consider Foghorn Consulting as your choice for migration and all things cloud-related. Click the button below to contact us directly.