What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration or Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is the process of partially or completely shifting or deploying organization digital assets, services, and IT resources and useful applications on the public or private cloud. Cloud migration can also be referred as moving from one cloud to another it can be because of upgrading or degrading of resources or services.
Cloud Service migration is transitioning data from one cloud service provider to another also known as cloud to cloud migration. With the introduction ofcloud computing, many organizations and small businesses are benefited due to scalability, easy to manage and most important pay per use service.
With the introduction of Cloud Computing, Information and Technology expectations of small as well as the medium business have raised beyond measure. Before understanding what is cloud migration and its seven steps-model of migrating to cloud, it is very important to understand the five Ws that are related to cloud migration.
- Why migrate to the cloud?
- What to Migrate?
- When to Migrate?
- What is Cloud Migration and what are the steps for it?
- Who to ask for help?
If you are running a small business or company, these are the basic questions which must be considered before cloud migration and most important what is your strategy for migration.
Cloud computing is the most disruptive model of technology which has been a hotly debated and discussed topics among all the other professionals and IT researchers both in the field of industry and academia. The innovation in the field of the cloud is part technology and part business model which is, in short, said as a disruptive techno-commercial model.
The innovation in the field of the cloud is part technology and part business model which is, in short, said as a disruptive techno-commercial model. Whereas there are also risks of cloud migration which cannot be ignored.
Most of the enterprises today are using the power of cloud computing to solve their problems and these enterprises are powered by captive data centers. For small as well as medium businesses and enterprises, IT is the backbone of all their operations.
Data centers are distributed across various geographies. In order to meet the requirements of clients and varying loads, most of the data centers are provisioned with the capacity beyond the average peak loads that is experienced by data centers.
If ant enterprise is seasonal or having a cylindrical business, that there are chances that load variation would be significant. As we know that computing power can be increased to its full potential and due to this, it is observed that many data center management teams have been innovating and trying hard to innovate all of their management practices and also technology deployed to squeeze out the last possible usable computing resource with the help of appropriate programming, SLAs, system configurations and management of the systems.
In this article, we will be covering some of the important questions like When and how to migrate ones’ application to the cloud; What components of your IT company need to be migrated to the cloud and what not to migrate and who are the customers which are most benefited from your migration.
On one hand, there are large IT vendors like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, who are offering various cloud computing services and on the other hand, there have been several entrepreneurial efforts to migrate and leverage the cloud given myriad challenges, issues, benefits, and limitations with lack of comprehensive understanding the scope of cloud computing and what cloud computing can actually do.
The question here arises is why company giants are shifting towards providing services and using this techno-commercial disruptive model for business. This is because it is giving a greater return on Investment (ROI) than any other traditional IT investment for a small or large scale business.
The cloud vendors were facing many issues of distributes systems as well as business models and also had many problems that indicated that it still takes time to fully mature cloud computing services
Before migration, it is very important to understand the benefits, risks, cost, and factors like organizational and social-cultural must be dually considered. So far much research has been made in cloud migration methods mainly how to efficiently migrate your legacy system to the cloud platform.
Until now, many innovative methods have been introduced and related tools have been developed by organizations in migrating the legacy system to cloud computing. Before thinking of migrating to the cloud there should be clear migration strategy and need to shift the resources and services.
We have to think about both the perspectives i.e how clients will be benefited by this massive change and second how team members will make this change possible. For some small scale companies, the idea of shifting their services to the cloud was a complete loss as these companies were not having engineers and experts to understand the functioning of this complex model.
Why is Cloud Migration better? The Promise of Cloud Computing Services
Cloud migration is always been a better solution for companies as you don’t have to bother about the complexities of the underlying systems and complex functioning of the systems. Also if you consider buying resources like server machines and technicians to set up your own cloud and also this method can be more time-consuming.
It is better as cloud computing turned attractive to most of the IT companies as they could pass on the additional demand from their information technology setups onto the cloud and also they have to only pay for the usage and along with that they don’t have to worry anything about operations and management.
Companies are mostly impressed by uniformity, simplicity, and ease of services abstractions. In small and medium enterprises, use of additional information technology needs has saved a substantial amount of economic savings. You must have read some of the stories about cloud migration in ppt’s, pdf and also in newspaper articles.
For IT managers and technology architects, cloudonomics has become a topic of deep interest. You can read these points to get insights of why cloud migration can be better for your business/company and the promise of cloud computing services.
- Pay Per Use – Lower Cost Barriers.
- On-Demand Resources.
- Attractive NFR Support.
- SLA drove Operations.
- Infinite Elastic Availability.
- Automatic metering and usage monitoring.
- For hybrid operations, integration and interoperability support.
- Abstract IT features and also encapsulate them.
These are some of the features and promises of cloud computing services both on the technology and business front.
Till now you must be clear somewhat about what cloud migration is in simple words and also why cloud migration is a better option for your business. The question here arises is why to migrate. Why cloud migration is better for my business and most important why some of the companies still hesitate to migrate to the cloud platform.
We will be discussing every question detail and as an IT expert and researching cloud computing from last 10 years, I will be sharing all the pros and cons of migration along with how to migrate your application and services to the cloud.
But before all that, the most important is to understand why our company giants shifting to cloud-based systems and some are not.
Why Migrate ??
There are many economic as well as business goals of cloud migration which must be considered before migrating and you will understand why any enterprise application is migrating to the cloud platform.
There are many technical reasons for migrating and the most important reason is that many organizations are looking today for different ways to cut their costs and at the same time bringing greater business agility.
All these companies see cloud services is the best and most efficient way to accomplish their goals faster with accuracy. The question here arises is that agility and cost are the only reason of shifting, the answer is simply NO.
Let me explain the importance of migration with this simple example. Let us consider two of the most popular countries of the world India and China. On one hand, India has 15.1 percentage of total internet users and on another hand, China has 22 percent of total internet users. China is the country with most number of internet users with more than 642 million in the year of 2014.
In India, many of the citizens are just getting access to the internet only through the use of mobile devices. This is an opportunity for many of the companies as this number represents an enormous updated market opportunity for small-scale businesses.
Now let’s consider the growth of mobile devices in developing countries like India and adoption of mobile applications. Mobile applications have eased our work in terms of performance, scalability, and availability.
The most important thing is global availability with the ability to go viral for most of the mobile applications. Mobile applications solutions need to handle spikes in traffic at the same time. The question here arises is will these applications will be able to perform well in the fast-growing segments of the Internet-enabled population.
Now you must be understanding some of the factors for migration i.e cost and agility. To build a powerful resilient application to deliver security and good performance across the globe, an organization will be needing a full setup data center and with that engaging with several data center providers all across the globe. What is dually needed is automatically scaling the computing power whenever the demand increases, also know as auto-scaling.
All these combinations result in exorbitant cost on both – time as well as money. The second option is that we can contact public cloud service providers as they offer all these services and capabilities at a very low cost. These providers offer high levels of customer self-service with the support of auto-scaling natively within their product when there is a requirement to handle a spike in need as well as demand.
Another advantage of shifting is that these companies offer a global service footprint which allows organizations to deploy their resources all across geographies.
The key to migrating is agility. With the discovery of new technologies, enterprises can quickly create and launch new technologies and services in the public cloud. And if the new service/product doesn’t work well, they can easily bring it down.
It is one of the major factors as if your need increases the demand from the customers or users, it is easy to scale up your cloud storage and services and other requirements. Likewise, if you are requiring to scale down again, the flexibility is available on demand. As the cloud is known as on-demand service, it’s’ in our hand when we require and when we need to scale our resources. This agility can give a great level of advantage over competitors.
Small as well as large-scale businesses must be investing in robust disaster recovery as well as fluctuating bandwidth demands. But for small enterprises, they lack the required cash as well as expertise. The small businesses have twice the backup and recovery solutions than that of big companies. Service providers keep the data recovery of their clients if any disaster occurs or any technical problems occur in servers or data centers.
Automatic Software Updates
The beauty of cloud computing is that the servers and data centers are off-premise and out of sight. Suppliers dually take care of all the updates and technical problems. All software is automatically updated and you don’t have to waste your precious time in managing and maintaining the system yourself. All you need to focus is on things that matter the most – growing your business according to your plan.
Mitigate the Risk of Downtime
With the use of on-premise systems, you will be getting little or no flexible access and on another hand, cloud-based systems enable secure access to any device. Most of the companies offer 99.99% uptime than mitigating the risk of downtime. Inclement weather, local power outages can easily be avoided.
The best thing for your team members is they can access, edit, and share meaningful resources like documents, ppt’s, pdf, videos, books, and business case studies anytime from anywhere. Cloud-based workflow and files sharing applications make them do updates in real time along with giving visibility of their collaborations.
Work From Anywhere
All you need is an internet connection and all your work is in your hands. With the introduction of applications now you are also not restricted by which device you have got to hand. With the increase in flexibility, employees can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them.
These are some of the advantages and benefits which you will be getting when moving or migrating to the cloud.
Hardware costs are directly cut when you are shifting to the computing environment. You simply pay as per your usage and enjoy a subscription-based model. It’s easier to first look at the first step to cloud adaptation.
With the increase in manpower, more employees and partners collaborate on documents. Thus more is the need for document control and security. Before the introduction of cloud, files need to be sent through email back and forth and the drawback of this is that only one user can access the document at a single time. Sooner or later you end up conflicting and making a mess of formats, documents, and files.
But with cloud platform and applications, even the small companies become global and eventually increase the competition and complications as people are from different global locations and speak different languages. According to the survey, 73% of knowledge workers collaborate with those people who belong to different time zones and regions.
When you are shifting to the cloud-based platform. all files are stored centrally and anyone can access these files anytime and along with that everyone sees the one version of the truth at the same time. Greater visibility of documents and files means more collaboration with eventually means better work with the healthier bottom line.
You must have read some stories in magazines and papers that lost how the company is affected by the loss of physical resources and physical damages to the machines, also lost laptops are of billion-dollar losses to the companies. This is because of sensitive data inside the laptops and other machines that are damaged due to human mistakes or any natural disaster.
Cloud computing gives greater security from these risks when it happens. As all your important data is stored on the cloud, you can access it any time no matter what happens to your machine or device and also you are not bound to use your device every time. You can use any device to access your files anytime. And if you want you can wipe the data anytime remotely from lost laptops if it gets into any wrong hands.
With just a simple step of migration, you can become more competitive and compete with companies globally. Moving in this environment gives access to enterprise-class technology for almost everyone. With proper team and planning, even small businesses can compete with big businesses.
Faster and Cheaper Access to Advanced Features
With cloud computing power, technologies enable a business to gain faster with more economical access to all the advanced functionality with the introduction of a larger pool of technology skills. It provided access to a larger set of integrated capabilities such as conferencing, mobility, phones, and messaging.
By now you must have understood why it is necessary for your business to migrate to the cloud and we will be discussing the second parameter i.e What to migrate
What to migrate?
What exactly you need to migrate? What services and applications you can migrate to the cloud platform. With regard to the migration classification, Binz et al classified migration into three types: Standardized Format Migration, Holistic migration, and component format migration.
Applications are classified either as standalone applications also known as commercial off the shelf and other is highly customized applications.
Standalone applications are mostly typical enterprise applications such as Microsoft Exchange, MS Dynamics, and Sharepoint. Standalone applications run automatically and you can easily move licenses over cloud application. The main task of standalone applications is to transfer data.
On another hand, highly customized applications are more nuanced. These applications need to be evaluated individually and most of these are built in houses – often with easily available software that uses APIs and IP addresses rather than variables.
Moving applications in a multi-step process is not much different from simple traditional cross-platform application migration. These five steps of cloud migration framework will help you better understand the implementation phase of cloud migration.
Highly customized applications are not fit to run anywhere due to this these applications are not suited for the cloud platform. For this third-party migration tools come in action such as Racemi. This gives the ability to look at the code and know how many direct IP addresses are included in the code. Thus giving availability for applications to be deployed to a public cloud.
It must be clearly kept in mind what applications/software’s need to be migrated and does your business will be benefited from the migration.
After selecting which type of application you need to migrate and now we will be discussing when you will be perfectly ready for the migration process.
When to Migrate?
Before migrating you need to understand four parameters ie personal management, legal requirements, application management and return on investment.
- Ensure your team members get proper training in cloud offerings.
- Ensure that various departments understand the role of Information Technology
- Ensure all your groups within the company works together i.e Network team, application development team, and System management team.
Return on Investment
- Private cloud licensing usage
- Applications which are most expensive
- Is your company benefited from this technology change or not.
- Service Level Agreements
- Security requirements cost
- Data sovereignty
The most obvious requirement which must be considered first is data sovereignty.
- When your applications need most of the time.
- Which applications are most critical and need to be handled carefully and at what times.
Where to Migrate?
The first aspect which needs to be clear is to migrate public or private cloud. If you don’t know what is the difference between public cloud and private cloud, you can read our article on types of clouds.
Organizations should first consider types of applications to be migrated and where to migrate your applications and workloads. It should be noted the level of security needed and any data sovereignty issues which need to be considered.
Type of Cloud Services (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS)
You have to select from three platforms which will be best suited for your company. Platform as a service, Software as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service. are three basic services and you can read in detail about these services in our article cloud computing services.
Infrastructure as a service is the standardized offering where storage, compute and network are owned by service providers and is provided on demand. Platform as a service on other hand provides a platform with all the tools to build an application quickly. Software as a service as the name suggests delivers software as service to an organization.
We will be discussing in detail about migrating to IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and also pros and cons in each case.
Now the question here arises is whether to build the application from the scratch or to shift the existing application. The problem with building is money and cost of building the same application twice and if you are thinking to forklift the application then it must be first considered whether the application is cloud-enabled or not.
Local Cloud Provider or Global Cloud Provider
The one and most difficult decision that you have to take inevitably is whether you want a local or a global cloud provider. Most of you must be familiar with some of best cloud providers like Amazon, Azure, IBM Softlayer and much more.
By going with global providers, the advantage is that they will provide you all services that even allows you to view some of performance and ability in a public cloud environment. The problem with global providers is that data available is not kept for long and it is not comprehensive enough for some of the applications.
If your applications need to be provided locally i.e for any corporate headquarters with high-tech services, going with the local service provider will make a great sense.
Who to ask for Help and Advice??
The best thing about cloud migration companies is that they provide you with their technicians to guide you all through the process of shifting or migrating to the cloud platform. Organizations need not do it alone as there are technologies, service providers and also resources available to migrate.
Third party technologies help to migrate server workload between different virtual, physical and cloud-based environments. There are also third parties which discover entire infrastructure both as onsite and public cloud environments
Cloud Migration Assessment Model
By following this assessment model, any organization can better determine the organizational needs of their company. Before considering our needs we might ask ourselves questions like “Is there any compatible version of the system available that is already running that have same requirements as ours” or “Do I have to deal with multiple IDs and Passwords.”
To better understand the requirements you can follow 6 steps in cloud migration assessment model which are:
- Regularity compliance
We will be discussing what strategy is best for your business and what cloud migration strategy must you follow along with the proper project plan. If you are looking for regularity matters, we should ask questions like ” Do I need to ensure my data is securely transmitted over the internet or not?” of “Is my data secured on the server?”
While some of the aspects of the cloud assessment model are more relevant to some of the organizations but for others, it’s not. It is because each company needs to define the requirements and goals of their organization and each company has their different business strategy.
So What’s Your Cloud Migration Strategy
To successfully move data and applications to the cloud, organizations need to craft successful migration strategy, access risks and plan according to the requirements.
It seems completely perfect for you to migrate all your applications and resources at once, there is no dying that some services can be tremendously beneficial for you but migrating all your applications to the cloud at once is not a good idea.
You must be having a backup system available and you can take a risk with that and migrate the workloads in parts. After the complete testing of the new system, you can deploy your ongoing system.
For getting more detail about cloud migration strategy and what plan works for your business the best way, you can read an article on cloud migration strategy. Your system will be cost-efficient and scalable if you have a better cloud migration plan.