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December 08, 2022

What is Cloud Migration? Strategy, Processes, Benefits & Risks

Migrating to the cloud is a process that has many benefits for businesses of all sizes. By making the switch, companies can save money on hardware and software, increase efficiency, and improve collaboration. However, there are also risks associated with any cloud migration that must be considered before taking the plunge.

In this blog post, we will explore what cloud migration is, the different strategies and processes involved, the benefits and risks of making the move, and how to mitigate any potential dangers.

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, or other business elements from an organization's on-premise environment to the cloud. The cloud is a network of remote servers that are accessed via the internet and offer scalable computing resources and storage.

Cloud migration can be a complex process with many different steps and considerations, but the ultimate goal is to make the transition to the cloud as seamless and efficient as possible.

There are a number of factors to consider before making the move. These include costs, security, compliance, data privacy, and application performance.

The Cloud Migration Strategies

There are several ways to approach cloud migration, each with its own set of benefits and risks.

Some of the most common strategies are:

1. Rehosting: Also known as lift-and-shift, is the simplest and quickest way to move an application or workload to the cloud. It involves lifting an existing on-premises application or workload and moving it to the cloud without making any changes.

2. Re-platforming: This strategy involves migrating an application or workload to the cloud, but also making some changes to take advantage of cloud-native capabilities. For example, you might move a monolithic application to a microservices architecture in the cloud.

3. Refactoring: Also known as re-architecting, this is the most complex cloud migration strategy. It involves making significant changes to an application or workload to take full advantage of the cloud. For example, you might rewrite a legacy application as a cloud-native application.

4. Rebuilding: This strategy involves starting from scratch and building a new application or workload in the cloud. This is usually only done when an existing on-premises application is no longer fit for purpose or when there is no easy way to migrate it to the cloud.

5. Replacing: This strategy involves replacing an on-premises application or workload with a cloud-based solution. Replacing an existing application or workload with a cloud-native equivalent can be a time-consuming and expensive process, but it often provides the best long-term solution.

What are the Processes Involved in Migrating to the Cloud?

The cloud migration process can generally be broken down into six steps:

1.       Planning and Assessment

The first step is to assess your current on-premise environment and understand your requirements. This will involve creating a roadmap that outlines the goals of the migration and the steps that need to be taken.

During the planning and assessment stage, organizations must decide which business components will be migrated to the cloud. They must also assess the risks associated with cloud migration and develop a comprehensive plan for mitigating those risks.

2.       Migration Preparation

Migration preparation typically involves identifying and addressing any technical or operational challenges that could impact the successful execution of the migration.

It also involves ensuring that data is backed up and applications are compatible with the target cloud environment. It is important to test the migration process to ensure that it works as expected.

3.       Migration Business Case

After you've planned everything out, you'll need to make a business case for each programme, dataset, or task that you want to move to the cloud. Get an estimate of how much money you'll spend on all of the cloud services you want to employ versus your present system. Is there a way to cut costs?

Learn about the various cloud providers and their price structures, as well as any savings available in exchange for long-term contracts or guarantees of minimum cloud consumption.

Migrating to the cloud is being done to enhance business operations while decreasing expenses. You should make sure the cloud service provider you go with will aid you in reaching your goals.

4.       Migration Execution

The actual migration process is usually executed in phases, with each phase involving the transfer of specific data sets or applications. This involves moving data, applications, and other business components from the on-premises environment to the cloud.

5.       Migration Monitoring and Management

Once all data and applications have been successfully migrated to the cloud, organizations must monitor and optimize their new cloud environment to ensure optimal performance.  This involves managing and monitoring cloud resources, monitoring application performance, and troubleshooting any issues that arise.

6.       Migration Closure

The final step in the process is to close down the old on-premises environment. This typically involves decommissioning servers, storage systems, and other infrastructure components.

The Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

The cloud also offers a number of other benefits, such as:

  • Improved scalability: The cloud makes it easy to scale up or down as needed, which can help organizations save money on IT resources.
  • Improved disaster recovery: With the cloud, organizations can quickly and easily recover from disasters with minimal data loss.
  • Increased agility: The cloud provides organizations with the ability to rapidly deploy new applications and services.
  • Improved collaboration: The cloud makes it easy for employees to collaborate on projects and share files securely.
  • Reduced IT costs: Organizations can save money on IT infrastructure and staffing costs by moving to the cloud.

What are the Risks of Migrating to the Cloud?

Despite the many benefits of migrating to the cloud, there are also a number of risks associated with the process. These risks include:

  • Data loss
  • Security breaches
  • Outages
  • Vendor lock-in

How to Mitigate Risks when Migrating to the Cloud?

In order to mitigate these risks, it is important for organizations to have a comprehensive plan in place before beginning the migration process. This plan should include:

A backup and recovery plan: Organizations should have a backup and recovery plan in place in case data is lost during the migration process.

A security plan: Implement security measures to protect data from being compromised.

An outage plan: Organizations should have an outage plan in place in case applications experience outages.

A vendor selection plan: Carefully select a cloud provider, preferably one with the breadth and depth of expertise in a variety of cloud platforms, including Google Cloud and put in place measures to avoid vendor lock-in.

Wrapping Up

Cloud migration is a complex process, but one that can offer many benefits to organizations. The goal of cloud migration is to improve agility, scalability, and cost-efficiency while also reducing risks.

However, there are also some risks associated with cloud migration, such as data loss and outages. With careful planning and execution, however, these risks can be mitigated. By migrating to the cloud, organizations can reap the many benefits that the cloud has to offer.

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