Four Steps to Cloud Migration

Migrating to the cloud shouldn’t have to be an all-or-nothing solution or, indeed, a daunting prospect. However, as with most business and technology changes, the key to success is to plan. Having a strategy in place enables businesses to move their data and infrastructure across to the cloud in a manageable way, while making the most of the new environment from the outset. There are four key steps that should form part of any migration to the cloud: assess, migrate, optimise and secure.

1. Assess

The first step towards cloud migration has to be to assess your existing on-premises environment. You need to review your environment, highlight existing dependencies and define your priorities and objectives for migration. Putting a strong plan in place with clear goals will ensure you create a cloud-based environment that aligns with your business needs. As part of the assessment process you’ll need to:

  • Involve stakeholders – digital transformation requires company-wide buy-in if it is to be successful. Stakeholders should be engaged throughout the organisation to ensure every area is represented. Having everyone on board before you begin migrating to the cloud will make the process much quicker and much more likely to deliver on everyone’s expectations. 
  • Evaluate cost – to understand the business value and also to ensure buy-in, you need to assess the potential cost savings of migrating to the cloud. You’ll need to review the cost of your on-premise applications compared to the cost of ownership in the cloud. Once you’ve done this, it will be much easier to build a business case around the decision to migrate. 
  • Review existing applications – if you are going to migrate your applications to the cloud, you first need to know how many you have, what they are and how they interlink. You’ll need to create an inventory of all of the physical and virtual servers you currently work with, all the applications that you are running and any inter-communication and dependencies.

2. Migrate

Once you have fully evaluated your existing environment, defined your priorities and got the buy-in you need, the next step is to decide how you will migrate to the cloud. There are four widely adopted strategies to choose from:

  • Rehost – enabling you to migrate your applications to the cloud quickly without having to make any code changes. This strategy doesn’t take advantage of advanced app capabilities and features, but is the quickest and least expensive solution to migration.
  • Refactor – allowing you to take advantage of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) products. Rehosting involves some changes to the design of applications but not complete recoding. 
  • Rearchitect – giving you the opportunity to optimise your application for the cloud environment. The process of rearchitecting involves modifying or extending your application’s codebase. This option allows for applications to become scalable, agile and much easier to manage. 
  • Rebuild- creating innovative apps that take full advantage of advancements in technology. Applications are rebuilt from scratch using cloud-native technologies. Everything is developed in the cloud, reducing expense, complexity and underlying infrastructure. 

One of the many benefits of cloud migration is that you don’t have to choose one solution and make it fit everything. You can create a combined or hybrid approach for your applications based on your needs. Selecting the right mix of migration strategies for your applications will allow you to get the most value from the cloud. 

3. Optimise

Once you’re up and running in the cloud, you’ll want to ensure you maintain a secure and well-managed environment. Cloud platform providers offer security and management services to ensure your applications are governed and monitored to the highest of standards. These services can be used both during migration and afterwards to ensure the experience you deliver is consistent across all of your applications, regardless of whether they are on-premise, cloud-optimised or cloud-native. 

By keeping on top of your costs as part of the optimisation process, you can ensure you’re using your resources to their fullest potential. Savings you make can be used to migrate additional workloads, modernise applications and improve upon your management capabilities. 

4. Secure

Wherever your applications are hosted, you need to ensure that they are secure. After all, they consume and generate vast amounts of data. You need to ensure your company data is always available when it’s needed, that it meets compliance and regulatory requirements and is secure against both cyber threats and human error. You can help to secure your applications in the cloud by adopting:

  • Cloud security management – you can take advantage of advanced threat protection. Being able to quickly detect and respond to threats can make all of the difference and drastically reduce your exposure.
  • Cloud backup services –  you can gain a cost-efficient solution that’s easy to deploy. As with many cloud services, you only pay for what you need while having the confidence that data can be quickly restored in the event of a problem.
  • Cloud monitoring services you can track the health and performance you your applications, infrastructure and data. Collecting data is one thing, but gaining actionable insights makes a significant difference. 

By creating a plan for your migration to the cloud, you can have confidence that it will deliver on its promises. The four steps we’ve outlined should form the backbone of a sustainable migration strategy. By evaluating where you currently are, where you want to be, and how you’ll get there, you’ll be able to make the right choices along the way. 

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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