After years of relying on legacy systems and on-premises hardware, migrating your business to the cloud brings many changes. First and foremost is the change from a traditional model relying on onerous capital expenses. Expenses such as:
- New hardware when old physical servers and other pieces of infrastructure reach end of life.
- New software licenses that need to be renewed.
- Refreshed end-user devices as software requirements increase.
This lump sum expense model is turned on its head by cloud service providers offering infrastructure, hardware, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) in a pay-as-you-go operating expense model. This often means a recurring monthly cost with predictable pricing that can be scaled to meet your business needs.
But that’s not where the benefits of cloud migration strategies end.
“The Cloud” Is More Than a Data Destination. It’s the Foundation of Your Tech Strategy
Cloud computing solutions provide several advantages over legacy systems and on-premises hardware, such as:
Cloud environments deliver consistent, reliable, and mobile-friendly workspaces. Being able to access information and systems securely from any location frees users from the typical constraints of physical servers and gives employees the functionality to continue being productive wherever they are located.
Since data is centralized in a data center and is not residing on user end points, security is even easier. This allows users to work from their own devices and connect securely to hosted applications and software using whatever device suits them best. Access to data can be encrypted and protected with multiple forms of authentication.
Keeping data encrypted from end-to-end makes intercepting data in transit a difficult task, and keeping data sandboxed using software such as VMware’s Workspace ONE prevents it from ever entering the end user’s device. If a device is ever stolen, it can be remotely wiped of applications, and there’s no concern of sensitive data being accessed.
Using multiple forms of authentication usually revolves around a piece of biometric data, such as a retinal scan or fingerprint, or a physical token, such as an access card, or via an authenticator application like Duo Authentication or Google Authenticator. Requiring access to a password and a second identifier helps prevent data from being compromised.
Cloud adoption provides you with the capability to add or remove services and applications as needed in real-time. Usually, with a few simple clicks, workloads can be expanded in the form of VMs, containers, storage, or additional resources for consumption.
Traditional models require capital funding, usually on a schedule dictated by quarterly or yearly financials, and often before—or even well after—it’s necessary. The migration process gives you the ability to scale to meet demands with known fixed costs, which can make all the difference in a world with progressively leaner IT budgets.
Security, mobility, and scalability at an operational cost model makes cloud optimization more appealing than ever. However, decision-makers often aren’t sure where to start and become overwhelmed as they delve into the world of workloads and migration planning of the cloud.
If you’re not sure where to begin to optimize, here are some cloud migration strategy options.
There Are Multiple Ways Your Business Can Migrate to the Cloud
Here are five migration strategies that can help make the cloud migration process less cumbersome when you are looking to move your systems:
- Lift-and-shift: You can take existing applications and move them as-is into the cloud. Sometimes referred to rehosting, this strategy can help move you to the cloud quickly and reduce short-term expenses.
- Repurchasing: You can decide to move to different products or solutions. This means you also will have to end existing licensing agreements and might have to move certain services to new platforms.
- Refactoring: You can take advantage of cloud technology with periodic, scalable updates that minimally alter existing applications.
- Re-architecting: Also known as replatforming, you can adapt to new cloud features and advances by materially altering your applications to mix architecture stacks to improve efficiency and productivity.
- Rebuilding: You can write new code that meets cloud-native requirements to accelerate innovation and provide operational cost savings in the long term.
Embrace Hybrid and Multicloud Solutions
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for cloud environments. Thinking about how your organization uses applications and accesses data can often lead you in different directions.
Typically, most businesses are already using at least one cloud-based application and are familiar with common platforms, like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or Google Cloud Platform. When it comes to existing on-site infrastructure, take each application on a case-by-case basis to determine what makes sense to migrate to the cloud.
Here are key questions that should go into your cloud migration strategy:
Will This Application Migration Benefit From Additional Security Offered by Cloud Providers?
Cloud providers may be able to offer you additional tools and monitoring that would be costly to implement on-site. Certain cloud providers might be able to assist with data migration that needs to be compliant with key regulations like HIPAA, PCI, GDPA, or CCPA.
Is This a Workload That Grows Faster Than Hardware Can Be Acquired?
Being able to scale out an application as needed without needing the overhead capital investment and having to wait for hardware to arrive and be installed can save time and money.
Is This a Variable-Size Workload That Is Only Used Part of the Year?
Cloud services often allow you to spin-up resources and turn them down when they are no longer needed. This flexibility saves you the headache of having unused hardware on-premises.
Would This Workload Benefit From Having a Second Instance Off-Site?
Having a level of redundancy in an off-site location can prevent downtime in certain situations when two copies of data on-site would not be enough.
Is There a Regulatory or Compliance Need to Have Data in Multiple Geographic Locations?
Sometimes businesses do not own two separate locations, or it is not feasible to have physical servers in a secondary location owned by an organization. Making a data transfer to a secondary geographic location can meet compliance requirements without needing to invest in additional real estate.
There also are two items that could make cloud adoption especially difficult:
Is there a custom application running on legacy systems? Some applications are difficult to virtualize due to the nature of their development and may not be a candidate for cloud adoption.
Are there regulations preventing data from being off-site? Data may be required to be in a secure data center location on-site and storing it with cloud infrastructure outside of the business’s control can go against policies.
The Cloud Is for More than Just Workloads
Even if you aren’t ready for full cloud adoption – or even hybrid cloud or multicloud migration plans—leveraging cloud services for backup or disaster recovery is essential for keeping workloads intact in the event of a natural disaster, rogue employees, bad actors, or simple operating system failure.
Consider this 3-2-1 strategy for backups with data migration:
- 3 copies of your data
- 2 different storage media
- 1 location offsite
Using cloud platforms for backups to meet the offsite and multiple media criteria is simple. You can use tools like Veeam’s Cloud Connect to push new or existing backups to your chosen cloud partner.
In addition to full servers, files, and databases, data for cloud applications such as Microsoft 365 can now be backed up to the cloud – often to low-cost object storage for archival purposes. For example, Microsoft retains SharePoint data for only 93 days by default. Veeam, or other backup software, can use Office 365 backup to push the data to cloud partners and protect data for as long as necessary.
Virtual Systems: Your Cloud-First IT Partner
If you’re trying to handle your business’s cloud migration strategy on your own, you may discover that it’s not as simple as you might have expected. When questions and challenges come up, our team at Virtual Systems is here to help.
Unlike big-box firms, we provide customized cloud solutions tailored to your business needs. And if you’re not sure what you need or how to prioritize, we can help you find and build the right cloud migration plan.