To say that hundreds of businesses around the world are moving their workloads to the cloud is an understatement. A whopping 94 percent of companies utilize cloud services, with 67 percent of corporate infrastructure being entirely cloud-based. From data storage to networking, companies in the United States – and worldwide – are taking advantage of the flexibility and cost savings of the cloud. And you can, too, all you need is a solid cloud migration strategy.
But First, Let’s Talk About the Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
While there are dozens of benefits to making the move, we will only explore the top three. We believe that all businesses can benefit from these three benefits of migrating to the cloud.
1. Better Scalability
One of the primary advantages of cloud migration is scalability. The pay-as-you-go model allows you to scale your resources up or down based on what your business needs. This flexibility ensures you only pay for the resources you use, which brings us to the next point.
2. Lower Cost
Migrating to the cloud saves significant costs by eliminating the need for extensive hardware investments and maintenance. With pay-as-you-go services, you pay for what you consume, reducing operational costs and promoting financial efficiency.
3. Performance Boosts
Cloud solutions allow team members to access and edit data from any location via any internet-connected device. That accessibility improves team members’ collaboration and reduces downtime, increasing operational efficiency.
The 5 Different Approaches to Cloud Migration
Now that you know the benefits, let’s talk about where to start your migration process. Let’s talk about the 5 Rs framework developed by Gartner. Each R is a different approach to migrating your applications and data to the cloud, helping you find your preferred approach.
Rehost: This is the “lift and shift” approach. You move your applications to the cloud without changing them. It’s a quick way to get to the cloud, but it may not make the most of all the cloud’s capabilities.
Refactor: Also known as rearchitecting, this involves optimizing your existing applications for the cloud environment. It balances speed and optimization but requires more effort than rehosting.
Revise: In this strategy, you make a few adjustments to your applications before migrating. It’s a middle ground in terms of effort and optimization.
Rebuild: Completely redesign your applications for the cloud. Rebuilding your apps offers maximum cloud benefits but demands significant time and resources.
Replace: Discard the existing applications and implement new cloud-native ones. While this provides the most benefits, it involves considerable investment and time.
Once you settle on which “R” is right for your company, it’s time to get technical and begin plotting out your cloud migration strategy.
Building a Cloud Migration Strategy in 7 Easy Steps
Step 1: Plan Your Migration
The first and most crucial step in your cloud migration journey is to create a comprehensive plan. To do so, start by assessing your current IT infrastructure, understanding your business needs, and identifying potential challenges. Be sure to consider factors like data security, compliance, and the specific requirements of your industry. Having a plan in place will be invaluable for the next six steps.
Step 2: Choose Your Cloud Environment
There are many different types of cloud environments, and your business won’t need all of them. So, it’s vital to discover which suits your business needs. To help, here’s a brief overview of the top three cloud environments companies are taking advantage of today.
1. SaaS. Software as a Service delivers software applications digitally, eliminating the need for users to install, maintain, and run the applications on their devices. SaaS is ideal for businesses that want to use third-party applications without managing the underlying infrastructure.
2. IaaS. Infrastructure as a Service provides computing resources that are entirely digital and can be accessed via the Internet. These services typically include virtual machines, storage, and networking resources that users can rent on a pay-as-you-go basis. These solutions suit those seeking more control over their infrastructure while outsourcing some aspects like storage and networking.
3. PaaS. Platform as a Service gives companies a platform that lets users develop, run, and manage applications without dealing with the complexity of infrastructure, such as servers and networking. This offering is perfect for businesses focusing on application development without managing the underlying infrastructure.
Step 3: Write Down Your Cloud KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are your compass in the cloud migration journey. They help you track progress, identify bottlenecks, and ensure you stay on course. Define KPIs relevant to your business – whether it’s improving application performance, reducing downtime, or optimizing costs.
Step 4: Define Your Business Goals
Your cloud migration should align with broader business goals. Are you aiming for better customer service, increased agility, or cost savings? Clearly outline these objectives to ensure that your migration isn’t just a technical endeavor but a strategic move for your entire organization.
Step 5: Migrate Your Apps and Data
With your plan, cloud environment, KPIs, and business goals in place, it’s time to migrate your applications and data. Migration often involves transferring your software, databases, and files to the chosen cloud platform. Depending on the complexity of your IT infrastructure, this step may take time, so be patient and meticulous to avoid data loss or disruptions.
Step 6: Switch Over to Production
Once you’re confident that everything is in order, it’s time to switch over to production in the cloud. You and your IT team should carefully plan your transition to minimize downtime. Communicate the change to your team and end-users, providing support as needed.
Step 7: Keep Monitoring Your System
Cloud migration is more than just a one-and-done process. Continuous monitoring is critical to identifying and addressing any issues that may arise. Regularly assess your KPIs, security protocols, and system performance. This proactive approach ensures that your cloud environment is performing well consistently.
Common Cloud Migration Challenges
While the benefits of cloud migration are tremendous, it’s important to note some potential challenges that can arise. Understanding and proactively addressing them beforehand can make your cloud journey smoother.
- Lack of Knowledge: Cloud solutions can be complicated for team members who haven’t used them before. Invest in training for your team to bridge the knowledge gap and make the transition better.
- Downtime: The best-laid plans often go astray. So, plan for potential downtime during migration and communicate transparently with stakeholders about the expected disruptions.
- Data Loss: Moving data is risky, no matter how careful you are. Be sure to implement robust backup and recovery mechanisms to safeguard against data loss during migration.
- Resource Management: It is very important that your applications and data get the right amount of computing power, storage, and other resources in the cloud. To stay ahead of this challenge, regularly monitor your resource usage, adjust your allocations as needed, and use tools that provide insights into your cloud environment.
- Interoperability: Not all cloud-based services work well together or work well with what you currently have. So, choose cloud services and tools that integrate well with one another. Also, consider using standard formats for your data, like universally accepted file types, so it’s easy for all systems to understand what’s going on.
Get Expert Help on Your Cloud Migration Strategy with IntegraTouch
The evidence is clear: migrating to the cloud is not just a trend. It’s a necessity for any business that wants to stay competitive in an increasingly cloud-driven world. Having a watertight cloud migration strategy is the first step, a first step IntegraTouch can help you with! Our IT experts are here to be your guides and guarantee your transition to the cloud is stress-free and successful. Just reach out to our team to enjoy everything the cloud has to offer you!