Migrating your business applications to the cloud from your in-house servers — hence the term “cloud migration” — can be a bit of a problem if you’re not sure how to go about it.
The whole point of migrating to the cloud is to move your data center capabilities where they can run on cloud-based infrastructures, usually AWS and Azure. The service, its maintenance, and security are managed by the cloud provider, which frees you and your IT department up to better focus on your company network, as well as the things your company is best at; your core competencies.
The challenge of a cloud migration is that, if it’s not done properly, there can be significant delays — days and weeks, sometimes — to move the necessary data from the in-house data center to the cloud center. That’s because there may need to be some major restructuring of the application and its data during the migration operation, which can take a while.
The first step to the migration is the actual planning stage, where you determine why you’re actually migrating and the method you actually want to use. This will help you understand what it is that you need to do, how you’re going to manage the migration, and how long it will take.
For example, disaster recovery requirements are completely different from colocation, remote work, or business processing. You also need to know how often and quickly your data needs to be backed up or synchronized. Does it need to happen once a day? Once an hour? Do you need regular synchronization for real-time access? And what about security? Will traditional enterprise-level security suffice, or are there additional compliance requirements for things like HIPAA and GDPR? And most importantly, will you have to update your various business apps and databases when you move to the new cloud platforms?
Next comes the actual migration. There are a few basic methods of migration you can use, and they all vary in their complexities, costs, and ultimate benefits.
- The simple method is called rehosting, or the “lift-and-shift” method. It’s where you just move things from one server to the next.
- There’s replatforming, which is similar to rehosting, except you need to tweak some of the code — say, the way an app interacts with a database.
- And there’s refactoring, which means reworking and modifying your different apps to take advantage of the new cloud platform. Clearly, this is the biggest and most involved method, but it can have some of the biggest payoffs in terms of savings and productivity increases.
Of course, migration can be a big problem, because it’s not instantaneous. Even rehosting can be disruptive, so you need to find a way to minimize the time lost and figure out how to keep versions of old and new data synchronized during the transfer process.
Next, what kind of monitoring systems will you have in place? How are you going to keep track of the data, making sure the necessary backups are in place, and that all data is being synchronized, stored, and accessible?
You also want to ensure that you have the right amount of computing power to handle your various business requirements. You will need to receive alerts whenever you’re reaching your peak performance or even if you’re underutilizing the space and power available to you.
It’s also important to make sure the hardware is properly functioning at all times. While most servers can alert you when they’re nearing the end of their life, there are still the occasional unexpected blips and glitches that can wreak havoc on a company’s daily functions.
Finally, make sure you have the latest and most comprehensive security available to you. This is one of the primary reasons you should switch to a cloud system in the first place: because cloud security is nearly always better and more advanced than most in-house data centers.
That’s because the cloud-based security systems are not only the latest and greatest in the industry, the high costs are shared between all the cloud computing tenants, and the AI-driven security systems use the data of all the tenants’ security issues to better learn how to protect everyone on that system: The security system gets better the more it’s tested.
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