Migrate to GCP

In this blog, we take a look at the four key steps businesses can follow when migrating their data and applications to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP).  

Today, Google Cloud is among the top three cloud service providers globally, after Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. The company has a global market share of 8%, and it provides Infrastructure as a service (Iaas), Platform as a service (Paas) and Software as a service (Saas) services to its customers.  

While it stands at number three in terms of market share, GCP comes with a number of benefits; For starters, its pricing is extremely competitive and it is one reason why a number of enterprise are going with GCP to modernise some of their end-user applications. Secondly, it operates on its private fiber optic network which ensures that there is seamless connectivity between its data centers. Thirdly, it is able to carry out live migration between clouds with no downtime. Lastly, having been in the cloud businesses for long, it provides the same security as it does for its other cloud applications like Gmail, Search and Docs.  

If you’re looking to migrate your data (and applications) to the Google Cloud platform, keeping in mind the best practices mentioned in this blog will certainly ensure a smooth transition.  

Set objectives for cloud adoption 

Moving your data to the cloud requires ample prior planning. There are key questions you need to ask yourself before you take this step; what is the objective of moving data and apps to the cloud? Which cloud deployment model will be suitable for your business? What portions of data do you want to move to the cloud?  

Having an objective in place will help you answer these questions, and determine the right cloud adoption strategy for your business. For example, you may want to move your data to the cloud, but you may be operating in a highly regulated industry. In such cases, it makes sense to retain sensitive data in a private cloud, and move the not-so-critical data into a public cloud platform. In fact, having a migration strategy in place can also help you optimise costs, and ease your workforce into learning to operate on the cloud. 

Google offers a wide range of services as part of the GCP platform. Some of the key services include BigQuery, Google Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Run, Cloud Build, App Engine, Vision AI, AutoML Tables, etc.  

As a Merit expert adds, “Let us say you’re migrating data (or creating a copy) from an on-premise ERP to BigQuery – the key is to use the right Data Pipeline to ensure safe and secure data movement. You may be using BigQuery to run analytics workloads. Or, you may want to build ML applications using AutoML tables. The options are plenty. Having the business objectives documented will give the cloud team ample clarity to build out the right architecture, choose the right services from the GCP ecosystem and plan out budgets as well.”  

Assess your current data and applications 

Before you take the step towards migration, assess your current infrastructure and applications. This can help you determine what type of migration you need to carry out; a lift and shift, which requires minimal changes to be carried out for your data and apps, the refactor or rebuild approach, which requires your apps to be modernised to configure with the cloud provider’s platform, or the replace approach which requires you to replace your applications or functionalities to suit the SaaS platform.  

This step is crucial because it will minimise risk of data loss during transition and minimise disasters that may occur during the migration process. For example, part of your assessment can include understanding what kind of hardware your business uses, the users and associated licensing protocols, the regulatory requirements followed, and interdependence between the various applications. 

Google’s Cloud Build service enables fast and consistent cloud builds, while Cloud Run offers fully managed environment to run stateless containers. This way, it is easy to migrate applications and modernise them with a microservices architecture, so its easy to maintain and scale.  Google also offers an operations console (formerly Stackdriver) to monitor logs and run diagnostics on applications that have been moved to the cloud.  

Irrespective of the cloud deployment model you follow, it is critical to understand the compute and storage needs in the old environment, and plan the migration to GCP accordingly.  

Determine your pace of adoption 

Even if you are adopting the lift and shift model, it is always advisable to move your data and applications in batches. In fact, once you’ve completed the assessment, try moving one application to the cloud and testing how it functions in the cloud environment; is the app fully functional on the cloud? Is it compatible with all browsers? Does it allow the same plug-ins and add-ons as earlier? Is it moving all past data onto the cloud? These are some checklists you can follow in the testing phase.  

In fact, Google Cloud advises businesses to first shift their data, and then move their applications. It offers different storage tiers like NearLine storage, standard storage, ColdLine storage, and database services like Google Cloud SQL, Datastore and Bigtable to ease data transition into Google Cloud. For moving apps, Google Cloud has a convenient provision for businesses using the lift and shift model. It allows businesses to create a local virtual machine that represents the company’s workload, and allows app import as a Google VM. Or, if apps need to be rebuilt, it allows this through custom VMs and GCP infrastructure services.  

As a Merit expert adds, “Having the right cloud migration partner in place is critical. They will know what it takes to design and build the right architecture, plan infrastructure accordingly and also decide which GCP services are needed at every stage of the project. For instance, if you need a speech-to-text microservice inside your application, GCP has an in-built tool to make it easy. Find the right cloud solutions partner and the migration journey will be seamless.”  

Optimise your assets and plan for business continuity  

At this stage, businesses can follow certain best practices to optimise data and applications on the cloud; they can make apps redundant across GCP availability zones, they can implement their BCP by saving data and apps on Google Cloud backup, add third-party apps to automate processes further, enhance security measures, and monitor events, logs and activities. 

Using GCP’s Workflows feature, it is easy to move data between different services within the GCP environment and outside applications as well. Google Cloud Marketplace also offers a wide-range of third-party services that can be integrated into your application.  

Merit’s Expertise in Cloud Migration 

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: https://www.meritdata-tech.com/service/code/digital-engineering-solutions/

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