What is cloud migration?

Cloud migration is the process of moving on-premises applications, data, and infrastructure to the cloud. The cloud makes computing resources available on-demand, without requiring active management by the user that employs it. In this context, “cloud” could mean multiple availability models involving private, public, or hybrid (meaning some combination of public and private cloud).

Cloud essentially created a new benchmark for modern IT operations:

  • Shifting Computing Costs: organizations no longer needed to buy and host large numbers of servers that they might never use scalable Usage and Storage Expenses: computing resources can be increased or decreased very easily with cloud
  • Increased Accessibility: the cloud potentially makes your data securely accessible to a wider audience Most importantly, the Cloud accelerates Innovation: computing resources can be made available instantly to support new digital initiatives that help meet business goals

Cloud has given us the systems through which data could be collected, and it’s next stage will be dedicated to creating value from this data. Cloud has given us the infrastructure and a stable foundation—now it’s time to move forward by providing organizations with the predictive and behavioral analysis that will become vital for industry leaders to maintain their positions.

The enhanced benefits of cloud are now resetting that benchmark and creating a new normal for industry-leading businesses. On top of the technological advances that continue to drive down consumer costs and boost performance for cloud users, we’re also exploring the benefits that artificial intelligence and machine learning can bring to the table. The possibilities of self-healing and offline bridging are exciting flashes of things to come. Cloud now also provides a more seamless, stable, and secure platform for businesses to perform their IT processes.

The different paths to cloud migration

Cloud migration may involve moving all of your systems and data to the cloud, or you may choose to keep some of your infrastructure on-premises and others in the cloud. Many applications can be migrated to the cloud, while others can be reengineered as “cloud-native,” which means to take full advantage of the scalability and flexibility provided by cloud.

When considering your cloud migration options, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied across your entire application portfolio. You’ll need to consider factors such as your organization’s timeline of cloud adoption, key business drivers for moving to cloud, complexity of current applications, rate of change needed, degree of migration effort, scalability requirements, and other considerations. You will need a well-thought out plan to decide which applications you are keeping on-premises and which are actually moving.

A comprehensive cloud migration strategy should include risk assessments, budgeting, and security. And, since many organizations are using a hybrid approach, a comprehensive cloud migration strategy should detail how the environment will be managed in a consistent and simplified way.

Analysts agree that there are essentially five ways (the five R’s)to achieve cloud migration:

  • Rehost: The Rehost option, commonly referred to as “lift and shift,” is a relatively quick way to industrialize your applications. With rehost, you can exploit cloud capabilities such as shared and virtual infrastructure on which existing applications would run with minimal change.
  • Refactor: The Refactor option extends Rehost by leveraging applicable native cloud services such as elastic load balancers or relational database services from a cloud provider. Both Rehost and Refactor options involve mostly configuration changes with the application codebase itself running as-is.
  • Revise/Re Architect: The Revise or Re Architect option reorganizes andrestructures your applications or services so that they exhibit characteristics such as automatic dynamic provisioning, elastic scalability, and self-service oron-demand computing. As part of this option, you would adopt a microservices architecture and leverage a platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
  • Rebuild: The Rebuild option is chosen when it’s determined that the effort and challenge required to re architect your applications exceeds the alternative of rebuilding or rewriting the application. This strategy could be used as part of a larger engagement in which you seek to replace a third-party component.

Potential issues to avoid during a cloud migration

The benefits of cloud migration are lucrative, but businesses looking to transition should still do so cautiously. There are potential issues to avoid, both during and after cloud deployment, including:

Security breaches

Be wary of carrying flawed data-security practices forward into an environment that may be less forgiving than your current on-prem system.

Vendor unreliability

Choose a cloud service provider (CSP) with market-proven reliability and sizable infrastructure to avoid outages and business interruptions.

Vendor lock-in

What happens if your CSP makes a drastic change to the product they’ve supplied to you? Or even worse—goes out of business? Look for a CSP that is established and reputable.

Lack of compliance

Compliance concerns continue to inhibit cloud adoption. Yet major CSPs have established protocols and regular audits to ensure that the information they handle has full data lineage traceability.

In-house staff inexperience

The migration process can seem overwhelming, but there are integration tools available that enable individuals from all departments—not only IT— to deploy and monitor cloud migrations.

When a company is deciding whether to make their cloud transition, they need to be aware that chasing more agility can actually produce more complexity, if handled incorrectly. The best way to avoid these potential complications from the outset is to simplify the migration process by using an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) that enables a fluid transition to an enterprise-level CSP.

Seamlessly migrating a varied set of business applications is a complicated process, but coupling the right iPaaS and CSP will intuitively help you bypass any potential setbacks—whether it’s security, reliability, lock-in or compliance—and provide a simple user interface that can easily monitor all your business tools during and after migration.

Common misconceptions surrounding cloud migration

Even with the majority of businesses now operating on the cloud at some level, there are still many common misconceptions surrounding cloud migration. The most persistent complaints from would-be cloud users are that migration is:

  • Too complicated to be undertaken by personnel outside of the central IT sector
  • Overly time-intensive
  • Only suited to enterprise-level businesses
  • Prohibitively expensive

In reality, iPaaS’s have evolved their capabilities to counter all of these issues. The new generation of iPaaS features intuitive, uniform graphical interfaces—simple visual tools that enable in-house personnel to easily accelerate a company’s ascension to the cloud, regardless of whether they are IT specialists.

It is true that manually moving data to the cloud is tedious work for a developer. Work that requires custom code for every connection made across the applications, systems, and devices within an IT infrastructure. But combining your iPaaS with a world-class CSP will unlock low-code/no-code plug-and-play options, drastically reducing time and expense for business owners and managers.

Merging your integration tools with a compatible CSP also ensures enhanced security for data storage and processing, as your data passes seamlessly from your on-prem system, through the integration process, and into a secure cloud environment.

Benefits of cloud migration

After you’ve integrated your business tools and paired your iPaaS with a reliable, secure CSP, your business will be primed to take advantage of many new opportunities, including:

  • Reduced IT costs: Eliminate the purchase, management, and maintenance expenses of your on-premises IT systems, and channel those costs into the areas of your business that will fuel growth.
  • Scalability: Scale your operational and storage needs, saving costs in downtime while staying confident that your systems will handle any spikes in workload.
  • Business continuity: Minimize downtime and loss of productivity (or information) with secure data backup.
  • Collaboration efficiency: Communicate and share information easily, from global access points, using a single source of truth.
  • Enhanced security: Find a trusted CSP that has been designed on industry leading security processes, to ensure that private data and services stay safe and secure.

Continuous support: From project initiation to deployment and long after, your integration supplier can be there to assist with any difficulties that might arise along the way.

If your business is ready to integrate its tools and applications and accelerate its digital transformation into the cloud environment, it’s time to find an industry-leading iPaaS—one that boasts full compatibility with an enterprise-grade CSP.

Cloud migration key drivers

Digital transformation and operational excellence are pushing organizations to adopt cloud technology. There are three key drivers that drive cloud adoption. Operational excellence, accelerated innovation, and digital evolution and collaboration. It’s important to note that these are not mutually exclusive and that all three might be behind the reasoning for cloud migration.

Companies striving for operational excellence rely on flawless operations and terrific customer experiences. By operating in the cloud, users can be sure of the scalability of these applications when needed while remaining financially flexible.

For companies looking to accelerate innovation, cloud platforms allow for continuous delivery of different applications to differentiate themselves by constantly innovating customer experiences.

Using new cloud based apps, businesses can combine their capabilities with partners to create new products and processes.

Cloud technologies, when combined with DevOps approaches, can provide better operating models, more robust business applications, and greater self-service capabilities.

Cloud Migration Diagram