Cloud Migrations 101

Whether for cost savings, flexibility, or operational agility, the need to move to the cloud is becoming increasingly relevant for all types of businesses, large and small. There are many ways to implement a cloud migration strategy, and a solid plan will determine how successful the migration will be.

In this post, we will take a look at what cloud migration is, how it works, what are the advantages, strategies, and solutions to simplify the migration process.

What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving files, data, applications, and other critical business digital systems to the cloud. The “cloud” in cloud migration stands for the cloud computing environment.

Cloud computing refers to data centers and services that are available to many people via the Internet and that offers the possibility to access files and perform tasks from a computer or other enabled device. Cloud computing has been around for decades, and at this stage, users are constantly using cloud computing to check email, social media, and communicate via messaging apps.

In addition, more and more companies are migrating files, systems, and processes to the cloud. This fact – and the other benefits of cloud migration – has resulted in major changes in enterprise storage. “Cloud” refers to servers, resources, data stores, and more that are accessed on-demand over the Internet rather than hosting, managing, or running physical servers.


Cloud migration 6 Rs

Depending on your use case and project goals, there are different ways to migrate to the cloud. It is important to note that cloud migration can also refer to the migration of content, data, and services from one cloud to another.

In the IT sector, there are typically six different types of cloud migrations. This is usually referred to as 6 Rs of cloud migration:

Rehost – This type of migration to the cloud is also known as “lift and move” and refers in a relatively clear way to moving applications from an on-premises environment to the cloud

Replatform – Similar to re-hosting, but some app components are replaced or retooled to better use cloud services

Repurchase – Remove the app from the service and replace it with the cloud version

Refactor – Redesigning apps from scratch to build cloud-optimized apps from zero

Retire – Simply disabling redundant old apps without moving them to the cloud

Retain – This version of the cloud migration isn’t really a cloud migration at all, but deciding to stick with the current inherited on-premises solution because it works for now.

Cloud benefits

Cloud computing is not only cheaper, more flexible, and scalable, but also more secure and user-friendly than on-premises options. Here are the main benefits of cloud computing.

Benefits of cloud migration

Flexibility and Scalability: Ultimately, cloud migrations offer enterprises more flexibility as they can increase and decrease server requirements as business requirements fluctuate. For the same reason, cloud services are ultimately more scalable and efficient than on-premises solutions.

Lower costs: Enterprises can more economically use cloud-based resources because they no longer have to purchase and maintain expensive infrastructure for services and IT staff to support it. Cloud services are often associated with usage fees, which also optimizes costs. Cloud migrations can have initial costs, but ultimately these costs are amortized through lower ongoing maintenance costs.

Mobility: Cloud migration frees enterprises from anchoring in data centers and enables management from anywhere. Cooperation costs and productivity must also be taken into account. At a time when remote work is the norm, office workers cannot be tied to one workplace. Files and services stored in the cloud let you work from anywhere, on any device, making work faster and getting results faster.

Convenience: Reducing IT overhead is not just about saving costs for the company. Cloud migration makes IT organizations more efficient because most cloud services are managed externally.

Productivity: High-performance local computer hardware does not age well, so employees must constantly replace, maintain, or upgrade devices. Cloud platforms and services can offer consistently high performance at lower costs and significantly reduce IT overhead.

Security: The threat of cybercrime to your cloud-based files is largely a myth. Most cloud applications and platforms have strong built-in security mechanisms. Statistically, most of the data theft occurs within the company. Cloud migration to secure storage can be a safer way to store data and files. And cloud-based services usually offer fast data recovery in the event of a crash.

Compliance: Compliance with certain regulations such as HIPAA and FedRamp is also an issue for some industries and organizations. The most advanced cloud-based services offer a variety of security and management settings that can help your business stay in compliance.

Cloud migration strategy

Depending on your use case and your company’s goals, there are different options for switching to the cloud. From migrating content, data, and services between cloud services to making major infrastructure changes, there are typically six ways to implement cloud adoption.

Different types of cloud migration strategy

In IT, they are usually referred to as 6 Rs of cloud migration:

Rehost: This type of migration to the cloud is also known as “lift and shift” and is relatively clear about moving applications from the on-premises environment to the cloud.

Replatform: Similar to re-hosting, but some app components are replaced or upgraded to better use cloud services

Repurchase: Disable an app and replace it with the cloud version

Refactor: Design apps from scratch to build cloud-optimized apps from zero

Retire: Easily disable redundant old apps without moving them to the cloud

Retain: This version of cloud migration is not really a cloud migration at all, but instead, deciding to stick with the inherited on-premises solution as it works for now.

Challenges and Risks

Cloud migrations are complex and, while well-planned, often take years, if not months. While there are many cloud migration tools and services that offer change management or advice, there are many challenges to consider. Planning ahead not only reduces risk but also helps the rationalization process.

What to consider before moving to the cloud

Integrate data across multiple clouds: Organizations often have to deal with multi-cloud environments for reasons such as business regulations or changing requirements. It is also not uncommon for individual business units to migrate cloud for specific applications without ultimately coordinating to provide a unified cloud experience across the enterprise. For this reason, companies often need to integrate data across more than one public or private cloud.

Data and application portability: Data comes in many forms and every application is different. Moving applications and data from one cloud provider to another often creates compatibility and complexity issues. Seamless integration of multi-cloud applications and data channels is critical to true hybrid-cloud interoperability.

Security: Cloud migration attempts must be configured around data security, including compliance with modern authentication, authorization, and encryption standards. Not only is it important to have built-in protection in place from the start, but in the cloud, organizations need to be able to record, monitor and analyze data in real-time to detect anomalies and security breaches as they occur.

Business Continuity: While there are several benefits to adopting the cloud, there are many challenges with cloud migration that interfere with business goals. The need for highly qualified personnel and upgrades in software, applications, or databases increase the challenges of cloud hosting and create a seamless bridge between legacy systems and the cloud.

In other words, the smoother your transition to the cloud, the less likely it is for your business to experience downtime, lost productivity, and lost revenue. With the right cloud migration tools, your business can focus on productivity, income-generating, and day-to-day activities.

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