Cloud migration is defined as the process of moving organizational data and applications from a local data center to a cloud-enabled platform and storage software.
For a company migrating to cloud solutions from its traditional processes, there exists a dynamic set of checklists, challenges, and procedures that need to be followed in order to ensure a smooth transition for the entire organization.
Here we will take a look at the essential areas of consideration for a successful migration.
How does on-premises to cloud migration work?
Migration of data and applications to cloud platforms is a highly intricate and detailed process. It involves a lot of financial and architectural business resources.
The whole system can be laid out in a five-step process:
1. Cloud strategy and KPIs
The cloud migration strategy and the process will differ for every organization based on their urgency and reason for migrating in the first place. Cloud migration strategy entails the alignment of business-critical strategies with the proposed migration techniques.
The primary KPIs that need to be monitored to ensure a successful cloud migration include:
Page response times
2. Determining the applications to migrate
Cloud migration as a process is highly scalable and modular. Organizations can opt for deep or shallow scale migrations based on their requirements.
A detailed analysis of applications might be required to determine which applications to migrate and the migration strategy to adopt for each of them. Cost efficiency and platform security are two major areas that need to be taken into consideration before deciding to migrate any application.
3. Creating data migration strategy
Maintaining data integrity and business continuity is of paramount importance while migrating to the cloud. The order of migration is also an important thing due to existing dependencies of the applications.
4. Choosing the right cloud provider
Choosing a reliable cloud service provider should be the foremost thing when planning a cloud migration strategy.
There are three types of cloud platforms available: private, public and hybrid platforms.
Private cloud platforms are secure but require a greater level of organizational involvement for every process. They are particularly suitable for organizations with high security requirements.
Public cloud platforms are highly scalable but have a lower level of control imposed by the organization. They are preferred for large corporations with different scalability needs for different teams and divisions.
Hybrid or multi cloud platforms are a mixture of public and private platforms and provide a good balance between the features.
The next and final step is migrating individual applications and data warehouses to the cloud, depending on their complexity of architecture and dependency. Validating applications as the migration is in process will ensure a smoother and more efficient transition, and also will establish data security.
Types of cloud migration
Cloud migration is primarily categorized into six Rs depending on the organizational requirements. Let’s take a detailed look into them.
While migrating to the cloud, it is very important to have an objective view about the applications that absolutely need to be migrated and the applications that don’t. Companies have legacy applications that they need to retire because of their probable redundancy and duplicacy issues after cloud migration.
Certain applications and tools need to be retained on-premise because of the nature of their hardware, insufficient project ROI, or compliance issues. In such cases, they need to be kept out of the migration plan since the complex restructuring required for cloud migration is not justified for these applications.
Rehosting is where a whole application is moved to a cloud-based architecture with minimal changes to the existing processes. It is also called lift and shift migration.
This process is not very optimized in nature since it retains the weak links of the existing IT infrastructure. It is often considered to be the first step of the migration.
Replatforming is an optimized migration technique where complete applications are moved to a cloud-based infrastructure and components are migrated to their cloud-based counterparts. It is a more robust and balanced way of migration.
Also referred to as drop end shop, repurchasing is a cloud migration technique where the organization decides to opt for a cloud-based platform and move out completely from the existing service providers.
It involves getting new, licensed products and infrastructure and is an expensive but durable process if the cloud migration strategy is visualized clearly.
Re-architect is a detailed cloud migration process where existing applications are broken down and restructured to fit the cloud platform infrastructure and tools. It is a time and labor intensive process considered to be the final step in any cloud migration strategy.
Advantages of cloud migration
Cloud services are the new revolutionary change adopted by organizations – and rightly so since they have so much to offer. With growing company pains around the world, cloud migration provides excellent benefits spanning various facets and expedites the transition to a global business scenario.
Migrating to cloud provides business applications a scalable interface to fit into the changing business needs and environment. Scalability also helps reduce operational costs by ensuring that the organization does not need to pay for unused resources.
2. Disaster recovery
Cloud computing services can be accessed on the go and are not dependent on physical platforms. This enables faster and more efficient disaster recovery options for data since cloud platforms have a secondary backup system available at all times.
3. Cost effectiveness
Cloud infrastructure migration might incur an onset cost, but is cost effective in the long run since it doesn’t require the regular maintenance and renewal cost of new hardware and infrastructure.
4. Task automation
Cloud migration offers optimization and automation of regular processes which reduces manual error chances and increases productivity in the organization. Automation also helps in improved agility and scalability of existing resources.
5. Remote collaboration
With more companies adopting remote work as a viable business solution, cloud migration provides a better chance for remote collaboration between teams since all required data is accessible by the right stakeholders. Data storage and sharing are effectively optimized with cloud platform solutions.
Challenges in cloud migration
Cloud migration is a pivotal decision for any business and it is important to consider the challenges that the organization might encounter. Since migration is a time intensive process, organizations may hit a snag at any point.
Let’s take a look at some common issues and how to take care of them objectively.
1. Data security
Cloud security is an important factor to consider while migrating to the cloud. Since cloud migration is handled by a third-party software provider, security policies about sensitive data should be made clear before the process is underway.
2. Team bandwidth
Migrating applications to the cloud will go hand-in-hand with bringing your existing teams and employees up to speed. This will involve training sessions and business reskilling for the whole organization so that all shareholders of a particular application understand the process and transition.
3. Business downtime
Cloud migration strategies should always strive to minimize the network downtime and business disruption. Downtime issues can be resolved by live migration services which ensure business continuity while the source is still in production.
4. System vulnerability
System inefficiencies may pose a major problem during cloud migration if not correctly anticipated before the whole cloud strategy is put in place. Organizations should always consider the architectural redesign costs while migrating to cloud because it may lead to unforeseen time and resource mismanagement.
5. Vendor lock-in
Cloud migration strategies, however well-thought-out, are still a business risk that may pop up after a few months of smooth transition.
If a third-party vendor or cloud service provider does not work for you, you should always reconsider your agreements and opt for a different cloud vendor whose services are more in alignment with your business standards.
Top 5 cloud migration software
Cloud migration software helps companies to simplify cloud integration practices and help in the consolidation and migration of a large dataset.
To qualify for inclusion in the top five cloud migration services software list, a product must:
Synchronize business applications with cloud storage systems
Assist with file migration over to the cloud
Provide data security tools, backup assistance, and integration with backup software to keep files safe during migration.
*Below are the five leading cloud migration software from G2's Fall 2020 Grid® Report. Some reviews may be edited for clarity.
1. Salesforce Connect
Salesforce Connect is a cloud integration service that enables organizations to integrate and access data from other Salesforce orgs and external sources with point and click simplicity.
What users like:
“Salesforce is a tool that is responsible for managing an effective solution to be able to interact with potential customers, to know what intelligent decisions are and then to automate sales. Thus allowing time to be saved during this and doing a successful job. Salesforce integrates and adapts to the needs of each client, offering integrations and complements.”
PieSync from HubSpot provides tailor-made bridges between cloud-based apps. Their USP is a bi-directional sync between cloud applications which is time efficient and helps reduce manual errors.
What users like:
“The biggest advantage is the speed at which you can set up a sync and how many options you have. The customization ability is great, though limited in some areas. However, It was flexible enough for our needs. Another benefit is that there is a lot of transparency into errors and what the result of the sync is. You can see why syncs fail and troubleshoot.”
Help Desk Migration Services allows data migration from over 30 of the most popular help desk systems with minimal hassle and manual intervention. It allows users to move tickets and related customer service data from one platform to another.
What users like:
“Very easy to use interface. Clear instructions on what to do next in the process. The status of the transfer was clearly shown at all stages giving confidence that the process was working. Questions were answered quickly by support staff.”
“The only con was that during the final live migration, the tool got stuck twice on bad data, and their support (who responded quickly to help) had to do something to fix. It would be good if the tool could skip these bad records and keep going, and then give a report at the end of what was missed.”
Prodly AppOps is capable of automating the full lifecycle of low-code development, assists employees to configure applications and mitigates risk of agile method in the development process.
What users like:
“Our consultants are no longer wasting their precious time in doing tasks that are repetitive and prone to human error. They can now focus on tasks that add more value to our customers by being more productive. This tool understands the nuances that are involved in making a successful migration of your reference data up to a point where other tools simply cannot compete. Furthermore, the roadmap of the tool looks very promising with more advanced features like version control.”
“It does generate a lot of audit data. While this is useful for troubleshooting, removing it can sometimes be tricky given some limits in Salesforce for deleting records with children. But as long as you keep an eye on your usage it is manageable (and the benefits far exceed this minor downside).”
Quadrotech is a comprehensive solution for migrating the entire email ecosystem: email, archives, PST files, and cloud-to-cloud migration.It enables organizations to locate, analyze, and migrate data into a new collaboration platform.
What users like:
“Each part of the process was handled by friendly, professional and competent people. Our migration was complex and took quite some time. I never felt that the project was in jeopardy because of the team behind the product.The engineer who actually did the migration was also exceptional. Following up and being available when my team needed him most.
The product itself is also great. We migrated 8tb of mail and only experienced minor issues which ended up being all issues with the source data.”
Cloud platforms and cloud environments as a business requirement are much sought after in the present world and are likely to become highly normalized in the near future. Companies, regardless of their size, are considering cloud migration with the appropriate business policies and resource strategies in place for an authoritative presence in the industry.