Cloud Data Migration – Adopting the Right Strategy and Best Practices

Sudeep Srivastava November 25, 2022
Cloud Data Migration – Adopting the Right Strategy and Best Practices

Cloud data migration can be a daunting task. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and complex. But for businesses that need scalability, agility, and security – it’s often the best option. According to a report by Gartner, by 2024, enterprise cloud spending will make up 14% of IT revenue globally. Although companies claim that cloud migration is essential to their strategies for business, many face difficulty in moving to the cloud. 

Successful cloud-based adoption requires a shift in culture, laser-like focus, and a precise plan of action that incorporates input from all departments. A single oversight or incompetency in your IT infrastructure could result in lengthy and costly delays.

So how do you know when it’s time to make the move? And what are the best practices for a successful cloud data migration? In this blog post, we’ll explore these questions and find answers to them. We’ll also highlight the need for a cloud migration strategy to help you make the right decision for your organization. Let’s get started!

What is a Cloud Migration Strategy and Why Do You Need One?

A cloud migration strategy is a plan that an organization creates to transfer all assets in its infrastructure, including data, services, and applications into the cloud. 

To keep day-to-day business operations more efficient, companies should implement a cloud migration strategy. Cloud migration techniques are especially crucial for companies transitioning their existing systems to cloud computing for the first time and current cloud users seeking to make the most of their investment.

Adopting a cloud data migration strategy helps businesses identify and execute the fastest, least disruption transition from on-premise to cloud. A well-executed migration strategy also helps determine which existing workloads can be replaced, discontinued, re-written, or kept on-premises. 

Since every organization is different, a cloud migration strategy should be tailored exactly to their needs to achieve the desired business goals and improve their overall efficiency. 

A successful enterprise cloud data migration strategy should include prioritizing workloads, determining the correct migration plan for each workload, developing a pilot, and modifying the strategy as per the results of the pilot. 

Cloud Migration Process

In this section, we are going to discuss the four-step process of migrating apps and data to the cloud. While the process may vary depending on the size and complexity of your environment, here are a few basic cloud migration steps that you need to follow for a successful migration. 

Cloud Migration Process

Plan your Migration

When planning to migrate to the cloud, it’s crucial to understand the reasons for your move and which strategy can best support them. You can start by assessing the current cloud environment. Make sure to calculate your cloud server requirements based on current application resource requirements to avoid buying more than you require. You can take the help of an expert or specialist to get real-time visibility into your environment.

Choose your Cloud Environment

Now that you have the visibility you need to achieve success, your next step is to identify the cloud migration solutions you want to adopt. Be it hybrid cloud, public cloud, or multi cloud – choose the one that best suits your current and future needs. 

Migrate your Apps and Data

The next crucial step is to migrate your apps and data to the cloud. If planned accurately, your cloud application migration should be plain sailing. However, still keep in mind cloud security issues such as planning for data backup and recovery and complying with security policies. 

[Also Read: Cloud-based app development: Benefits, development process and costs explained]

Validate Post-Move Success

Once you move to the cloud migration solutions, make sure to compare pre- and post-move application performance, from both technical and business perspective in a low-risk test environment. This will help identify whether cloud migration techniques have been successful or not. 

Now that we have understood the cloud migration process, it’s time to understand the different cloud data migration strategies.

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Different Types of Cloud Data Migration Strategies

There are a number of cloud-based migration strategies that can be implemented as per your business environment. Here are the 6 most popular and effective strategies. 

Rehosting

It is also described as the “lift and shift” method. Rehosting involves transferring a complete replica of the existing infrastructure onto the cloud. Businesses that have low-impact workloads and are still trying to figure out long-term strategies regarding their scaling and service offerings should consider this option. It’s also a viable option for companies whose infrastructure relies heavily on virtual machines. While rehosting is the quickest method of migration, it can be very expensive, to begin with.

Replatforming

Replatforming is also known as the move and improve strategy. It involves making minimal adjustments while shifting to the cloud and includes plans to make scaling easier. The basic architecture of the application remains unchanged. This strategy is suitable for businesses that have already planned to scale up their services and are looking to upgrade their performance by using cloud-powered solutions. The issue with replatforming is that it does not fully utilize the cloud’s capabilities.

Repurchasing

In some cases, certain aspects of the legacy architecture could become difficult and costly to maintain, and even impossible to expand. For instance, in the case of internal customer relationship management (CRM) software. In such scenarios, it’s imperative to move to a cloud-based solution. The downside of this strategy is that employees and users may have to be educated to operate a new system from a third party, which takes time and money.

Refactoring

Refactoring is a method of building the entire infrastructure from scratch. It is the best option for companies that want to take advantage of all the benefits cloud computing provides, including auto-scaling and serverless computing. Both of these are challenging to attain through an on-premise configuration. However, writing the entire system from scratch will require time and effort. While it is the most expensive approach, it will yield huge dividends in the long run.

Retirement

This strategy involves getting rid of applications that are no longer useful or have become outdated.  If an application is considered not worth migrating to the cloud, it can either be eliminated or downsized. This helps businesses to concentrate on services that are most used and have immediate value. Retiring the right modules will also save costs and improve security.


Retention

There are times when one or more modules of the current infrastructure may not work with cloud-based platforms available in the market. This is usually information that cannot be transferred because of compliance or infrastructure built recently with huge capital. In these instances, maintaining the modules on-premises makes financial and operational sense.

Now that we have seen the different cloud migration types to overcome cloud migration challenges, it’s time to look into the best practices when planning to move to cloud-based solutions.

Best Practices for Cloud Migration

When planning to migrate to the cloud, the foremost best practice is to formulate a well thought-out strategy, as already explained above. 

However, apart from choosing the best strategy for your business, there are a few other practices that you must follow for successful migration to the cloud. Some of those key practices are mentioned below: 

Best Practices for Cloud Migration

Design the Cloud Governance Framework

Since security and compliance are among the top priorities for companies moving to cloud computing, it is essential to create a cloud-based governance structure with clear policies that allow organizations to ensure safe cloud use.

Cloud governance examines the inherent risks associated with the transfer of data and applications to third-party providers. It is the process of defining ways to do things – processes, tools, skills, and capabilities – to ensure that the business migrating to the cloud will be able to make a move with minimum risk and maximum value.

A good cloud governance program includes a number of things such as roles, structures, responsibilities, policies, goals, plans, principles, measures, and a framework for making decisions.

Optimize the Network

The default network that cloud providers use is the publicly accessible internet. Certain organizations, especially big enterprises, may be concerned that the internet is slow and not secure enough to fulfill their business objectives.

Certain third-party cloud providers know that using an internet connection may not be the most suitable option. AWS is one example. It provides a dedicated internet connection for its cloud infrastructure via corporate offices. Azure offers its ExpressRoute service that connects your local network and Azure, bypassing the internet.

Suppose the dedicated network connection isn’t required. In that case, it’s not a bad idea to seek a higher-quality, faster service from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) since moving to cloud services involves users moving from accessing applications or data locally using high-speed gigabit local networks to much slower internet connections.

Train Staff Early

As many companies often cite absence of cloud experience or lack of cloud-specific skills as obstacles to cloud application migration, it is sensible to educate your staff on the cloud platform you choose in the earliest time possible. Due to the amount of abstraction cloud systems provide and the distinctly different structure of cloud-based public systems, it is advisable to organize a series of training sessions to get employees across different teams up to speed in cloud concepts.

By educating staff earlier by introducing them to the new training methods, they have an opportunity to adapt to the new methods of working quickly.

Properly Manage Software Licensing

It is essential to correctly manage software licensing on cloud computing. One of the biggest concerns for businesses is whether their current licenses for on-premise software can be extended to the cloud. Certain software providers have a Bring Your Software and License (BYOSL) program, which gives companies the right to move their software onto the cloud. Other vendors provide usage rights based on the number of concurrent users.

An effective approach is to record every enterprise application and examine their licensing policies for cloud computing. If you are in a situation where the rules are unclear, consult the vendor to determine whether the licenses you’ve purchased can be upgraded for the application to be used in the cloud. Software Asset Management (SAM) tools can be beneficial in reducing the risks and costs and the complexities that come with the extension of license management to the cloud.

Automate Wherever Possible

Service interruptions or downtime are not the ideal results for any cloud data migration strategy. To limit disruption and increase the effectiveness of the migration, it is advisable to automate repetitive patterns whenever possible. Automation speeds up the process of moving and reduces the risk and cost.

Some tools aid in the automated transfer of virtual machines and data. They can also be helpful when you want to transfer the database of an on-premise model to a cloud-based version. Automating and the phased cloud migration approach can work together as you find repeated patterns over time that you can automate in the subsequent migration phases.

Monitor Cloud Usage

It is important to monitor the usage of cloud services from the beginning. A central dashboard that can identify running instances across various cloud services will assist you in this.

Monitoring security and compliance are vital. You’ll be collecting data from systems, apps, databases, and network points to ensure that the requirements for information security are fulfilled.

Services Provider Leverage Support

When you’ve completed your research, you’ve taken into consideration or at the very least should have thought about the amount of support you’ll receive. A competent support team will serve as a vital ally during any cloud migration project.

Test Your Migration to Ensure It’s Correct

Testing should be conducted throughout the migration process to find and fix any problems. Clients can experiment with different scenarios and evaluate the impact on dependencies between applications and the overall migration process.

Be Organized

Moving your data center is like moving into a brand new place. The place is tidy, well-organized, and laid out exactly how you would like it the first day. But, it could get a bit messy and damaged when you don’t take care to perform regular maintenance.

It would help if you thought about implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan to ensure that your environment continues to function smoothly as time passes. Examine the procedures you’ve implemented for each phase of the migration process to ensure the maintenance of the best practices and the long-term stability of your IT infrastructure. Don’t let all the discoveries and cleaning up from the past several months go unnoticed.

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Wrapping Up!

An industry study indicates that the cloud computing market will grow to USD 947.3 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 16.3%. Be it private, public, or hybrid computing platforms, businesses are expected to use these platforms for various purposes.

Today, businesses strive to become more efficient and agile in their processes. However, implementing the right cloud data migration strategy and completing the steps of cloud migration requires the appropriate skills and the right technology.

Our team of experts at Appinventiv delivers the finest cloud migration services for enterprises of all industries. We have helped many prestigious brands, including IKEA, Domino’s, KFC, and Adidas achieve great results in their business with our custom-made cloud solutions. 

Our solutions have also helped startups raise $700 million in investment. Check our complete portfolio of clients. Get in touch with us today to obtain the best-in-class cloud migration services. 

FAQs

Q. What are the three main phases of cloud migration?

A. Cloud migration has three main phases:

Phase 1: Prepare

During the phase 1 stage, you need to identify the interdependencies between your database and application.

Phase 2: Plan

In the second phase, you need to utilize the information gathered during Phase 1 of preparation and come up with the migration strategy. One of the most critical aspects of migration planning is rationalizing the data you collected against the 7 R’s of migration including rehost, replatform, repurchase, relocate, retire, refactor, and retain.

Phase 3: Migrate

After completing the migration, planning, and identification of the migration strategies, the actual migration process takes place. In this phase, the target database gets designed and the source data gets migrated to the target, finally getting the data validated. This is an iterative process that has multiple cycles of migration, conversion, and testing.

Q. What are some of the challenges faced during cloud data migration?

A. Operating your business in the cloud has its own benefits and also challenges. Here are some of them:

  • Financial cost 
  • Adoption resistance 
  • Skill shortage 
  • Lack of strategy 
  • Security and privacy 
  • Downtime 
  • Adaptability 
  • Interoperability 
  • Bandwidth

Q. Can Appinventiv experts assist you in solving the persistent cloud challenges?

A. Our experts understand the challenges that you might be facing during the cloud migration process. They can assist you with:

  • Migrating data and services to public, private, and hybrid cloud services
  • Helping reduce technical debts
  • Developing web and mobile applications
  • Securing your data and protecting your software solutions from cyber attacks
  • Ensuring seamless cloud services

If you are looking forward to migrating to the cloud, then discuss your requirements with our experts to get the ideal solution.

Q. Why more businesses are now shifting to cloud migration?

A. Here are some of the main reasons why businesses are now migrating to the cloud. 

  • Ability to innovate faster
  • Amplifies digital transformation 
  • Increased flexibility and agility
  • Better management of customer expectations
  • Ease of increasing resource demands
  • Cost reduction
  • Simplifies the IT process
  • Delivers instant business results
  • Improves performance 
  • Cloud scalability

Q. How do I opt for the right cloud provider?

A. There are three types of cloud providers including Microsoft, AWS, and Google. These three cloud providers generally offer comparable services for running different kinds of workloads in the cloud architecture. Gauge your specific requirements for support, availability, compliance, security, and pricing to find the best fit for your business.

THE AUTHOR
Sudeep Srivastava
Co-Founder and Director
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