Migrating to a cloud environment is becoming increasingly popular for businesses of all sizes as it offers many benefits, such as cost savings, scalability, and improved security. But the process of creating an Enterprise cloud migration strategy can be complex and daunting.
A successful cloud migration starts with determining your organization's needs, creating a cloud migration plan, understanding cloud migration strategies and processes, and using the right tools to make it all happen. Although this may seem like a challenging undertaking, breaking it down into smaller steps will give you an easier grasp of the overall process.
Types of Migration Strategies
The first step in forming a successful enterprise cloud migration strategy is to assess your business needs. Consider what applications you need to migrate, how much data you will be moving, and what type of cloud environment you will be using.
But where do you even start?
Step one is to consider the various cloud migration strategies that organizations have been using successfully for years. Find the tried-and-true methods that have been shown time and again to yield positive results.
Among the most widely adopted methods is the AWS 6 R's model, which provides a variety of strategies for application migration.
So, what are the 6 R’s, and why should you care about them?
- Retire - Deciding to retire applications that are no longer needed.
- Retain - Keeping applications as is for re-evaluation in the future.
- Re-host - Moving applications and systems “as is” into the cloud environment, also known as "lift and shift."
- Re-platform - Changing platforms to take advantage of special capabilities of the cloud, such as using fully managed platforms like AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
- Re-architect - Redesigning the application in a more cloud-native manner, creating a serverless version of a legacy application.
- Re-purchase - Abandoning the existing software and migrating to a cloud-first application, such as transferring software licenses or replacing them with SaaS options.
To successfully form an enterprise cloud migration strategy to fit your requirements, it is essential to understand the 6 R's model and how you can leverage each method to achieve your goals.
Key Cloud Migration Benefits for Enterprises
Cost is often the main driver behind any technical shift in an organization. If it does not benefit the bottom line - why do it? One of the main benefits of cloud migration for enterprises is the ability to reduce costs by taking advantage of “pay-as-you-go” pricing models. This can be more cost-effective than maintaining on-premises infrastructure. Additionally, many cloud providers offer services that are designed to optimize costs and minimize waste.
If your current platform is holding your organization back, you have all the more reason to migrate. Cloud environments allow enterprises to scale resources up or down as needed, which can be especially beneficial for businesses that experience fluctuations in demand. This can help organizations to avoid over-provisioning resources and save money in the long run.
If the Pandemic taught us anything, it is that businesses that have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances flourish. Cloud migration enables enterprises to access a wide range of services and technologies, which can be customized to meet the specific needs of their business. This can help organizations more responsive to changing business requirements and adapt to new technologies more quickly.
With the growing threat of cyber-attacks and data breaches, improved security is a significant advantage of migrating to the cloud. Cloud providers have implemented robust security measures to protect customer data and meet regulatory compliance standards. This can provide your organization with peace of mind, knowing that valuable data is protected from cyber threats and breaches.
You can't protect yourself from every disaster, but having a backup plan is the first step toward ensuring your company's success in the long run. Cloud migration can help organizations ensure business continuity by providing them with access to a range of disaster recovery and business continuity services, such as automatic backups and replication of data to multiple
locations. This can help to minimize the risk of data loss and minimize downtime in the event of an emergency.
Core Technologies to Consider
When considering the core technologies for an Enterprise cloud migration strategy, there are many factors that come into play, such as compatibility with existing Enterprise Applications, scalability, performance, cost savings, and security. Below, you will find some of the top cloud computing providers in this space.
Amazon Web Services
With undoubtedly the most extensive suite of cloud computing resources, AWS is one of the most popular platforms in the world. As a leading cloud provider, AWS offers a wide range of services and tools for cloud migration, including compute, storage, databases, and more. Products like AWS Beanstack and EC2 make it easy to scale your cloud computing activity, while keeping costs in check.
Microsoft’s cloud platform provides a wide range of services for cloud migration, including virtual machines, storage, and networking. One of the primary advantages of Azure is it’s integration with existing Microsoft services.
Google Cloud Platform
Google offers a host of services in direct competition with AWS and Azure, with resources like compute, storage, data analytics, developer tools, and even AI and machine learning services. While Google Cloud is not as dominant in the market as the other two, the platform still offers over 100 services aimed squarely at cloud-native businesses.
How to minimize risk during migration
- Plan and Prepare: Minimizing risk during migration starts with thorough planning and preparation. This includes identifying the applications and data that need to be migrated, assessing the compatibility of these assets with the target environment, and creating a detailed migration plan that considers the dependencies and interdependencies of different systems.
- Test and Validate: Before migrating any applications or data, test and validate the migration process in a non-production environment. This helps identify and troubleshoot any issues that may arise during the migration process and ensures that the final migration goes off without a hitch.
- Use Automation and Tools: Automation and tools can help to minimize risk during migration by reducing the number of manual steps involved in the migration process and increasing the accuracy and consistency of each step. This can include using cloud-native migration tools and scripts and third-party migration tools. A little time spent setting up the right tools goes a long way in ensuring the migration goes according to plan.
- Monitor and Manage: Monitoring and managing the migration process helps minimize risk by providing visibility into the progress of the migration and allowing for quick identification and resolution of any issues that arise. This can include using monitoring and management tools and creating detailed migration reports and metrics.
- Have a Rollback Plan: Sometimes, you can’t prevent an error. If you don’t have a rollback plan, you’re playing things too risky. Having a rollback plan in place can help minimize risk by providing a way to quickly and easily undo any changes made during the migration process. Create backups of the original systems, and devise a failover plan in the event of a bumpy migration process.
Cloud Migration Process
Migrating to the cloud can be a complex process and requires careful planning and execution in order to ensure a successful transition. The steps involved in cloud migration vary depending on the environment, applications, and data being moved but generally involve assessing business needs, developing a plan for switching over, understanding strategies and processes related to migration, and using the right tools.
It sounds like a lot, but once your organization is set up, you can begin taking advantage of all the features offered by your new cloud provider. Before you get there, you’ll have to go through a full Cloud Transformation.
The whole thing isn’t as daunting as it sounds - Let’s go over the process from start to finish.
1. Assess the Current Environment
The first step in an effective Enterprise cloud migration strategy is to assess the current environment. This includes identifying the applications and data that need to be migrated, assessing the compatibility of these assets with the target environment, and creating an inventory of the systems and dependencies that need to be migrated.
We’re not migrating anything yet. This stage is just about gathering data. You should be looking at the following areas:
- Analysis of the existing system landscape and infrastructure
- Formulating KPIs
- Understanding the key pain points of the legacy infrastructure
- Determining success drivers for the future cloud infrastructure
2. Develop a Migration Plan
Once the current environment has been assessed, developing a migration plan is next. This includes creating a detailed schedule and timeline for the migration, identifying any risks or challenges that may arise during the migration process, and determining the resources and personnel that will be needed to complete the migration.
During this planning process, you’ll lay the groundwork on which the whole migration is built. Take your time and ensure everyone on your team is kept up to speed with the developments. Choosing the wrong deployment model or cloud vendor at this stage could set your organization up for risks later on.
As mentioned previously, planning and preparation are key to preventing issues like vendor lock-in and unexpected cloud costs.
3. Prepare For Migration
Once your organization has set sail with a solid plan in hand, it's time to really set the wheels in motion and dive into the nitty-gritty of preparation.
To prepare for migration, it's essential to take the necessary steps to safeguard your data and systems. This includes creating backups of the current systems, developing a failover plan, and configuring the target environment to meet the specific needs of your organization.
It's also crucial to thoroughly test and validate the migration process in a non-production environment before migrating any applications or data. This step allows for the identification and resolution of any potential issues that may arise during the migration process, ensuring a smooth and seamless transition.
4. Perform the Migration
The migration process is now underway. This is where all the planning and preparation pay off. It's important to carefully monitor the migration of applications and data to the target environment, managing any issues that pop up during this process.
Once the migration is complete, you can’t let off the brakes yet. It's crucial to perform post-migration testing to ensure that all systems are functioning as expected and that any issues that were identified during the migration process have been resolved. This step is essential to validate the success of the migration and ensure that the systems are fully operational and ready for use.
5. Continue Monitoring
With the migration process now complete, it's essential to keep a close eye on the newly migrated systems to ensure that they are functioning as intended and that any issues that arise are identified and resolved quickly.
Part of this process includes monitoring for potential issues, such as system crashes or data loss, and taking necessary steps to prevent or resolve them. To ensure the systems can handle the expected usage and are secure, it's important to conduct various tests such as load testing, stress testing, and penetration testing. These tests provide a thorough evaluation of the systems' capabilities and help identify any areas that may need improvement.
While the technical side looks healthy, it is important not to forget about WHY your organization migrated in the first place. Continuously evaluate the systems that have been migrated to ensure that they are meeting KPIs and delivering results for your company.
In conclusion, cloud migration is becoming increasingly popular for enterprise companies due to its many benefits, including cost savings, scalability, improved security, and business continuity. The key to a successful cloud migration is to assess your organization's needs, understand the 6 R's model of migration strategies, and choose the right core technologies to support your goals. So start your cloud migration journey today and reap the benefits of a more flexible, secure, and cost-effective IT environment. Or if you're looking for some help, learn more about our cloud transformation solutions.