Cloud migration best practice

While a cloud environment promises agility, flexibility, scale, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, it is advisable for businesses to follow certain best practices before taking the first step in cloud migration. In this blog, we look at what is cloud computing and cloud migration, and how businesses can migrate their digital assets to the cloud with minimal risk and maximum effectiveness.  

Before we go into the nuances of cloud migration and best practices, let’s look at what is cloud computing and cloud migration, and how it is different from traditional data centers.  

From Data Centers to the Cloud: A bit of history  

Traditional data centers are typically on-premise, and all digital assets, services, databases, and resources are stored in a physical site in an enterprise office space. These data centers are managed and secured by an internal IT team.  

In a 2019 report, Gartner predicted that the demand for traditional data centers will wane, and by 2025, 80% of organisations will have shut down their traditional data centers.  

The most apparent reason for this large-scale migration is that as businesses expand (with more departments, customers, and geolocations), building new data centers becomes expensive. Moreover, with the introduction of GDPR regulations, old data centers would have to be rebuilt, or new data centers would have to be established, which is not financially feasible for most companies. 

Cloud, on the other hand, rose to popularity in the late 1990s, when Salesforce made its CRM software accessible to end users through the cloud. Later on, Amazon, Google, and IBM innovated on the cloud front and cloud computing became a reality, eventually a necessity. 

Types of cloud services 

Cloud computing includes Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-service (SaaS). In cloud computing, third-party vendors like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Dell EMC provide remote data centers which companies can subscribe to, and store their data.  

Advantages of cloud storage 

As a Merit expert adds, “Of course, the biggest value proposition of cloud computing is the move from CapEx to OpEx. But from a technological perspective, there are several other advantages of migrating to the cloud. The biggest advantage revolves around easy scalability. With cloud-based infrastructure, you can click a few buttons and within minutes you can scale your application to millions of users.”  

Cloud storage offers a number of advantages for businesses; it is easy to implement and run, it reduces infrastructure and maintenance costs, it makes data accessible across geolocations, it provides data security, it eases and improves collaboration and accessibility, and more. For instance, a study by Multisoft revealed that small and medium businesses witnessed a 40% reduction in costs when they moved to the cloud.  

94% of companies saw their online data security improve after moving their data to the cloud. In fact, Gartner predicts that public cloud service spending can touch USD 480 billion by the end of 2022. 

What is cloud migration? 

Cloud migration is the process of businesses migrating their digital assets from a traditional data center to the cloud, or moving data and databases from one cloud to another. There are three types of cloud migration; 

  • Lift & Shift, where you migrate your data and assets to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model. This process requires minimal changes and is the easiest way to migrate data to the cloud.  
  • The re-factor and rebuild approach wherein, during migration, your business applications have to be rebuilt or modernised to configure with the cloud provider’s platform. This method is also known as moving to the Platform-as-a-service model. 
  • The replace approach or moving to the Software-as-a-Service model is where you have to replace your applications or functionalities to suit the SaaS platform. This is easier than the PaaS model. In this, businesses may have to restructure their architecture, create new interfaces and educate teams on how to use the new technologies.  

The Cloud Migration Checklist: Key Best Practices for Effective Migration  

While the cloud offers many benefits, it’s essential for businesses to first determine why they want to migrate to the cloud and find a cloud solution that is compatible with their business requirements. Here, we look at the prerequisites that businesses need to keep in mind when migrating to the cloud.  

  1. Identify the purpose and benefit your business will get from moving to the cloud. Migrating to the cloud is not an easy exercise. Several factors like data mishandling, encryption, decryption, and application modernisation needs to be considered. Once you’ve defined a specific business outcome, you can determine which assets you want to move to the cloud, and which cloud platform will suit your requirements.  
  1. Ensure that every resource in the organisation is on board and keyed in on every step of the migration process. 
  1. Think about what you want to move, and where. It’s ideal to first assess the current state of data infrastructure and storage mechanisms in your organisation. This will help identify what data is stored, where, how, and the current limitations it has. Doing a prior assessment will help you understand the nature of cloud migration needed, the level of modernisation required, a clear insight into the before and after in terms of operations and effectiveness, and mitigation of risk (data theft, loss, or mishandling) during data transfer.  
  1. Identify and use trusted automation and modernisation tools to migrate your data. Based on the cloud provider, you might have to modernise some applications and build some cloud-friendly apps and tools to ensure a smooth migration and implementation of your cloud infrastructure. While you’re at it, choose the software and tools for migration wisely.  
  1. Make sure your data meets any complex requirements, and the cloud provider meets those requirements as well. 
  1. Have KPIs in place so that you can clearly determine the actual benefits of migrating to a cloud provider.  
  1. Test every process during migration. Have alternative scenarios in place to identify, mitigate and remediate issues that can come along the way.  
  1. Have best practices to maintain your cloud infrastructure, so it can be ready for an upgrade, update, and scale. 

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Migration Efforts  

Merit works with a broad range of clients and industry sectors, designing and building bespoke applications and data platforms combining software engineering, AI/ML, and data analytics.  

We migrate legacy systems with re-architecture and by refactoring them to contemporary technologies on modern cloud ecosystems. Our software engineers build resilient and scalable solutions with cloud services ranging from simple internal software systems to large-scale enterprise applications.  

Our agile approach drives every stage of the customer journey; from planning to design development and implementation, delivering impactful and cost-effective digital transformations.  

To know more, visit: 

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