A cloud migration is the process of moving files, data, applications, and other critical digital business systems to the cloud. The “cloud” in cloud migration is shorthand for a cloud computing environment.
Cloud computing refers to data centers and services available to many people over the internet, granting the capability to access files and perform tasks from any enabled computer or other device. Cloud computing has been around for a couple of decades, and at this point, consumers use cloud computing all the time to check their email, use social media, and communicate via messaging apps.
Additionally, businesses are increasingly migrating files, systems, and processes to the cloud. This fact—and other benefits of cloud migration—have created a major shift in enterprise storage. “The cloud” refers to servers, resources, data storage, and more that are accessed on-demand over the internet instead of hosting, managing, or running physical servers.
Cloud migration strategies
There are various ways to migrate to the cloud, depending on the use case and the objectives of your project. It’s important to note that a cloud migration can also refer to migrating content, data, and services from one cloud to another.
In the IT space, there are typically six different types of cloud migrations. These are commonly referred to as the 6 Rs of cloud migration:
Rehost — Also called “lift and shift,” this type of cloud migration refers to moving applications from on-premises environments to the cloud in a relatively straightforward way
Replatform — Like re-hosting, but some of the components of the application are replaced or retooled to take better advantage of cloud services
Repurchase — Decommissioning an application and replacing it with a cloud-based version
Refactor— Re-architectonic an application from scratch to build a cloud-optimized application from the ground up
Retire — Simply shutting down a redundant legacy application without moving it to the cloud
Retain — This version of cloud migration is not actually cloud migration at all, but rather, deciding to stick with a legacy on-premises solution because it works for now.
benefits of cloud migration
When done right, the cloud can be more secure than traditional network systems. This post will outline 5 benefits of cloud migration. The cloud consists of systems, networks, and applications that must be configured and maintained securely by following the “shared responsibility” model. In the “shared responsibility” model, you are responsible for your part in securing the cloud. As part of their “shared responsibility”, companies such as Amazon have built their cloud offering from the ground up with security as their number one criteria. This means that Amazon’s cloud offering was designed with privacy and security in mind, unlike other networks. Nearly 94% of SMBs appreciate the increased security the cloud provides according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365. Also, because your data is in the Cloud, it can be accessed no matter what happens to your physical machinery.
Switching to the cloud means your company has a better ability to scale up or down based on your IT requirements and business plan. An IT solution that was ideal for one year may be obsolete a few years later, making it difficult for companies to adapt to shifting customer demands. With cloud migration, organizations have the ability to dramatically reshape their infrastructure and workloads to accommodate the needs of today without being chained to the equipment and assets that made sense in the past. The cloud gives you the power to control your resources based on your own individual and business needs. This is simply impossible with other solutions that lock you into contracts, minimum terms, and one-size-fits-all plans.
This control over your business saves you money from trying to maintain large data centers that rarely live up to their promises and potential. A cloud migration allows your business to expand and grow painlessly while working within the existing infrastructure. This means applications and data can grow without impacting your business performance or customer experience. Your business can take advantage of the reduced overhead costs and improved agility the cloud provides to achieve increased efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction with a fraction of the manpower. This is because your business no longer needs to lease expensive physical locations or have capital tied up in devices and equipment that take up valuable space and time. Your cloud migration can allow you to free up this space and capital, allowing you to innovate, grow, and change as your business grows and evolves. For many companies, this is the most important benefit of a cloud migration. Make sure to use experienced cloud migration consultants to ensure you have a smooth transition.
By moving to the cloud, you can help to reduce operational costs while improving IT processes. Switching to the cloud also means you only pay for what you use, no need to maintain costly data centers when your important information is hosted in the cloud. 82% of SMBs report reduced costs as a result of adopting cloud technology and 70% are reinvesting the saved money back into their business according to a survey from Microsoft Office 365. For enterprise clients, a study by Accenture found that enterprises who ran cloud services save the most on their energy costs after switching. Migrating to the cloud can save businesses of all sizes on operational costs while enhancing IT productivity and processing. A Datometry survey of 166 IT Leaders showed 61% of companies move their computing to the cloud to cut costs. Cloud solutions provider VMWare estimates that large organizations can save 40% to 50% of their traditional IT operating costs on average by transferring in-house data center facilities to a public cloud service provider. The cost benefits of cloud computing are endless.
The public cloud host offers the required hardware for web servers with security, maintenance, upgrades, and stack configuration included in the service plans. Many public cloud companies charge under a “pay as you go” approach. The cost of a data center includes more than just your upfront investment costs. For example, your business will be on the hook for ongoing support, maintenance, power, cooling, and staffing, which can be significant in today’s business environment. ZDNet’s survey of IT budget prediction notes that CIOs are increasingly turning to cloud infrastructure and services in order to increase flexibility and relieve pressure on capital budgets. According to Deloitte, business and professional service companies spend 62% of their annual IT budget on internal maintenance. Just like everything else, cloud migration allows your business to benefit from economies of scale. This is because public cloud hosts like AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle can reduce their maintenance, upkeep, power, cooling, and staffing costs per server unit, compared to a data center run by a private organization. If you are concerned about cost, make sure to take a look at this post on cloud migration best practices.
Moving to the cloud allows your business to seamlessly connect systems together and improve efficiency with all your services. 59% of SMBs report increased productivity from the cloud according to a survey from software company Frevvo. Over time, increased load and decreased efficiency take their toll on data centers, just as they do with any machine. Traditionally, a business using a data center would have to perform an infrastructure refresh periodically to keep its data center software and hardware updated and functioning properly. This is a costly, time consuming, and ever repetitive task that eats up valuable time and resources. Today, businesses can instead migrate applications to the cloud at the end of a hardware refresh cycle. In the cloud, hardware and software updates are completed by the cloud provider, saving money, time, and ensuring applications are always supported by the most up-to-date infrastructure. Cloud services and applications are constantly being improved, updated, and expanded upon based on business needs and consumer desires. This means your new cloud environment can grow and expand to meet your business needs while enabling your team to do more than ever before. When you migrate to the cloud your business-critical applications will respond dynamically to changes in traffic. This means your business can increase productivity and profitability by optimizing to scale up or down to meet demands and only use the resources you need. Your cloud provider can also manage the complexity of your infrastructure so you can focus on what matters most, your business. The simplicity and ease of the cloud remote access mean that your team can focus on working hard and growing your business.
Because all your data is stored in the cloud, it can be accessed no matter what happens to your physical machinery. Migrating to the cloud also means members of your organization can access necessary data and business information from anywhere in the world on any device. This opens so many opportunities for your business to grow and expand while meeting operational needs. No more snow days with thousands lost in work, your team can work productively and securely from anywhere with no downtime. Many cloud services can also provide monitoring for your business-critical apps and machines. Getting notified with there is an outage or an app has potential issues can dramatically speed up the timeline for restoring services and remediating problems. This can save your business time and money compared to the traditional approach of keeping track of the state of your services on your own. Backup and logging services are extremely important as well, especially if you need to perform disaster recovery from an outage and see where things went wrong. The backups will allow you to get things up and running again, and the logs may provide some critical information to help you find out what caused the issue in the first place. After a cloud migration, your team won’t need to be at a specific location to deploy, update, or fix issues with any of the various machines being used. This creates a more flexible solution compared to the traditional headaches of an on-premises setup. The consistency of the provisioning and deployment processes the cloud provides can make it much easier to collaborate because your entire team will be on the same page. Access and agility are more important now than ever before for companies of all sizes. Working in 2020 means working anywhere and everywhere your clients need you, and only the cloud can enable you to meet those needs.