Cloud Migration: Process and Types

Cloud Migration: Process and Types

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Updated on Apr 23, 2024 16:04 IST

Cloud migration has become increasingly popular in today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape as businesses seek ways to enhance their agility, scalability, and efficiency. Cloud migration can be achieved through various strategies such as lift-and-shift (rehosting), refactoring (or re-platforming) or rebuilding. The chosen strategy depends on the organization’s goals and objectives for migrating to the cloud. 

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The actual process of a cloud migration involves assessing existing systems; planning workload migrations; testing performance; developing security measures; deploying new solutions into production environments; monitoring activities post-deployment etc., depending upon which the organization chooses strategy during its assessment phase before beginning with any implementation activity related to it. Once completed successfully, organizations can deploy applications faster. At the same time, reducing costs associated with hardware maintenance & management, software licensing cost etc. Additionally, they can benefit from improved flexibility & scalability when using public clouds like Azure or AWS. 

Table of Contents

What is cloud migration?

Transferring an organization’s applications, data, and infrastructure from on-premises or legacy systems to the cloud, unlocking numerous benefits such as scalability, cost savings, flexibility, and enhanced security.

Cloud migration refers to transferring an organization’s digital assets, such as applications, data, and infrastructure, from on-premises or legacy systems to the cloud. It involves a strategic shift from traditional, physical infrastructure to virtualized environments hosted by third-party cloud service providers. This transition enables organizations to access computing resources, storage, and applications over the internet, on-demand, without investing in and managing their physical infrastructure.

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You can also explore: Introduction to Cloud Cost Models

You can also explore: Top Cloud Computing Interview Questions and Answers

Types of Cloud Migration Strategies

  1. Rehosting: Rehosting involves moving applications and data from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud without making significant changes to the architecture. It provides quick migration and minimal disruption but may not fully leverage cloud-native features.
  2. Replatforming: In this strategy, organizations adjust their applications or infrastructure to utilize cloud-native services while retaining their core architecture. It allows organizations to optimize their applications for the cloud and improve performance and scalability.
  3. Refactoring: This approach, also known as rearchitecting, involves significant modifications to the application’s architecture and design to leverage cloud-native capabilities fully. It requires more effort but offers the highest scalability, flexibility, and cost optimization.
  4. Repurchasing: Organizations may replace their existing applications with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software available in the cloud. This strategy can save development time and costs but may require customization to meet specific business requirements. For example, you don’t have to make BI or reporting tools. You can buy it from the market.
  5. Retain: Some organizations may have critical applications or infrastructure that are difficult to migrate or replace. In such cases, a retain strategy becomes essential. Retaining certain components of the existing systems allows organizations to balance leveraging cloud benefits and preserving the value of their legacy investments. 
  6. Retiring: In some cases, organizations identify and eliminate redundant or obsolete applications or infrastructure during the cloud migration process. This strategy streamlines operations and reduces maintenance costs.

Also explore: Cloud Computing Online Courses & Certifications

Cloud Migration Process

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Successful cloud migration involves a systematic approach. The following steps outline the typical cloud migration process:

1. Assessment: It involves checking the feasibility and readiness for migration of evaluating existing systems. This includes 

  • Identifying dependencies between different components
  • Assessing performance requirements for each application or system component
  • Ensuring the consideration of security measures throughout the migration process. 

Assessing these factors helps ensure that a successful transition can be achieved with minimal disruption to operations. 

2. Planning: Develop a migration strategy based on the specific goals and requirements of the organization. Determine the suitable migration approach, deployment model, and migration timeline. Create a detailed migration plan, including resource allocation, risk assessment, and communication strategies.

3. Data Migration: Transfer data from on-premises systems to the cloud. This may involve various methods like bulk transfers, database replication, or streaming data. Ensure data integrity, security, and compliance throughout the migration.

4. Application Migration: Migrate applications to the cloud, considering the selected migration strategy. This may involve rehosting, re-platforming, refactoring, or repurchasing. Test and validate the migrated applications to ensure functionality and performance.

5. Optimization: Fine-tune applications, infrastructure, and configurations in the cloud environment to achieve optimal performance, scalability, and cost efficiency. Leverage cloud-native services and automation to streamline operations.

Advantages of Cloud Migration

  1. Scalability and flexibility- With traditional IT infrastructure, there are often limits in terms of how much capacity can be added or removed depending on demand or usage patterns; however, with the cloud, these restrictions no longer exist since additional resources can be quickly deployed when needed without having to purchase new hardware or software licenses upfront. 
  2. Cost-effective- This includes savings related to personnel salaries associated with managing physical hardware components such as maintenance tasks like cooling fans etc., thus allowing companies to focus their financial investments into areas that will generate better returns down the line rather than simply maintaining existing legacy infrastructures.
  3. Flexibility and Agility: Cloud platforms allow organizations to experiment, innovate, and rapidly deploy applications. Development teams can leverage cloud-native services, such as containers and serverless computing, to accelerate the deployment and scalability of applications.
  4. Enhanced Collaboration: Cloud environments enable seamless collaboration among teams, regardless of their geographical locations. Real-time data sharing, version control, and collaborative tools streamline workflows and improve productivity.
  5. Improved Security and Disaster Recovery: Cloud service providers invest heavily in security measures, access control, offering advanced encryption, and regular backups. Data stored in the cloud is often more secure than traditional on-premises solutions. Additionally, a robust disaster recovery mechanism is ensured in cloud platforms 
  6. Global Accessibility: Cloud infrastructure allows businesses to access their applications and data from anywhere, anytime. With an internet connection, employees can work remotely, collaborate, and access critical information, enabling seamless operations across different locations.

Challenges of Cloud Migration

  1. Data Security and Compliance: While cloud service providers offer robust security measures, organizations must ensure their data is adequately protected and compliant with industry regulations. Data breaches, unauthorized access, and compliance issues are potential concerns that must be addressed during migration.
  2. Connectivity and Latency: Cloud migration heavily relies on internet connectivity. Organizations with limited or unreliable internet connections may face challenges accessing cloud resources and experience latency issues, impacting application performance.
  3. Application Compatibility: Some legacy applications may not be compatible with cloud environments, requiring modifications or rearchitecting. Complex applications with interdependencies may pose challenges during migration, requiring thorough testing and validation.
  4. Vendor Lock-In: Once an organization migrates its applications and data to a specific cloud provider, it may face challenges if it decides to switch providers later. Data portability and interoperability should be considered to avoid vendor lock-in and maintain flexibility.
  5. Skill Gaps and Training: Cloud migration often requires specialized skills and expertise. Organizations may need to invest in training their IT teams or hiring cloud professionals to ensure a smooth and successful migration process.

Cloud Migration Deployment Models

Public Cloud: In a public cloud deployment model, organizations migrate their applications, data, and infrastructure to a cloud platform owned and managed by a third-party provider. The cloud resources are shared among multiple organizations, offering scalability and cost efficiency.

Private Cloud: Private cloud deployment involves migrating applications and data to a dedicated cloud infrastructure exclusively used by a single organization. It offers greater control, security, and customization options but requires significant upfront investment and maintenance.

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud deployment combines both public and private cloud environments. Organizations can migrate certain applications and data to the public cloud while keeping sensitive or critical data on a private cloud. This model provides flexibility, scalability, and seamless data integration between environments.

Also read: Difference Between Public Cloud And Private Cloud

Conclusion

Cloud migration is an increasingly popular strategy for businesses looking to optimize operations, enhance agility, and reduce costs. The advantages of cloud migration are numerous and include scalability, cost savings, flexibility, collaboration opportunities, and enhanced security. These benefits make migrating data to the cloud relatively easy for many organizations. If you liked this article then do like and share it with your friends.

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