For new companies starting off with cloud servers, getting started and configuration of your system can be a breeze, especially if you opt for a cloud provider who handles the setup for you. For older companies looking to migrate to a cloud service, however, there can be a number of hurdles to leap over. In these cases, having a good cloud migration strategy and cloud migration plan is essential. In this article, we will be looking at cloud migration strategies, the benefits of migrating to the cloud for developers, and how to plan your migration.
Cloud Migration is similar to any other traditional migration process, including data center migration, web host migration, CMS migration, and so forth. It needs good planning and strategies if you want to be successful. In fact, it needs more orientation and understanding of the internal infrastructure, since the operations tend to be bigger and more critical in nature.
On the planning or implementation level, migration can be a headache. At the same time, migration can also be one of the most interesting “one-off” works that a development team can undertake, with plenty of benefits that help the software development team focus on what they do best: write code and create software.
What is Cloud Migration?
Defining cloud migration is fairly simple – it is just the procedure of moving your IT business software, data, operations, and so on from your on-premise infrastructure to a cloud computing model.
Cloud migration is very similar to moving to other data centers, but the cloud needs more work and adoption. The process includes (as mentioned above) the moving of all, or part, of your company’s IT assets. This requires plenty of planning and preparation before starting the actual migration work. Despite the effort involved, after achieving the migration goals you will feel it was worth the costs and resources, especially if you choose a high reputation cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud who also provide guided migration plans.
Benefits of Cloud Migration
Before we delve in-depth into the issues of cloud migration, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits of migrating to the cloud, especially for software development teams.
The main benefits of cloud migration benefits include:
Scalability: Scalability is perhaps the number one benefit people speak about when they discuss cloud migration. You can increase or decrease your cloud infrastructure usage as your needs dictate, at any time, to save money.
No Starting Cost: You do not need to pay up-front to buy servers or pay later for maintaining them; there is only a monthly or yearly subscription.
More Business Focus: Instead of distributing concerns for both infrastructure and production, development teams can focus on the business at hand and leave the maintenance of the server to the cloud provider.
Flexibility: Let both your teams and your clients access your jobs and services from anywhere around the world.
Cloud Migration Strategies
In 2011, the 5 Rs of cloud migration were established, which were essentially different strategies for organizations that wanted to migrate to the cloud. In some instances, they become the six Rs. In fact, there are even cases where the Rs can include 13 total steps. Choosing the best one to suit your needs is a critical decision. Some experts suggest focusing on the least complex of them, as they are usually enough for a company’s needs. These six Rs include:
- Rehosting: This is also known as “lift-and-shift”. It is a good option for huge legacy migration scenarios. The scaling features are good, but it does not include typical cloud-native features. It is easy to automate migration with many available cloud migration tools.
- Replatforming : This is also known as “lift-tinker-and-shift”. In addition to the above work, here you add some “cloud services”. However, it does not include comprehensive architecture redesigning.
- Repurchasing: This option refers to moving to another software product, mostly the SaaS platform model. It’s similar to using online applications such as Google Docs.
- Refactoring: This option requires the most work. The application will be rearchitected with cloud-native features.
- Retire: Naturally, thanks to the advancement of technology, many functions become outdated or deprecated and you do not need them anymore. In this option, there is a chance for reducing some of the inherited “weight” and adopting a more agile environment.
- Retain: After intensive studying of cloud options and migration, you may decide not to proceed with the migration process. Perhaps it is too costly or does not make sense for your business. This option is also called “revisit” or “doing nothing right now” while you further weigh your options.
Cloud Migration Planning
Below is a list of procedures you will need to consider when migrating to the cloud:
- Establish the migration-architect role.
- Choose your level of cloud integration.
- Choose a single cloud or go multi-cloud.
- Establish cloud KPIs.
- Establish performance baselines.
- Prioritize migration components.
- Perform any necessary code refactoring.
- Create a data-migration plan.
Then, at the planning phase, you will define your needs in the shape of answering the “Wh” questions: What, Who, Where, and How:
- What: Decide exactly what software you are migrating. Despite it seeming obvious, the process can be tougher than you might imagine. Many “hidden” applications will appear as you go through this process. In order to get used to the cloud, it is recommended that your organization starts with simple apps and then move into more complex ones.
- Who: In this step, you define who will manage your applications scheduled for migration. Also, the permission roles for these applications. You should not postpone this step for after migration; it is very critical for the success of your migration to the cloud.
- Where: Many priorities can be considered, such as choosing the applications that are outdated in the infrastructure to move first. In addition, you can also start moving applications or data that eat up resources on servers in an effort to scale the infrastructure and lower the cost and resources involved.
- How: Exploring how applications are linked and architected with their priorities and workload in order to minimize the odds of downtime. This requires a better understanding of your software and operational relationships.