cloud migration strategy

Cloud Migration Strategy [Guide]

Migrating to cloud infrastructure is one of the most critical requirements for modern enterprises to ensure long-term sustainability. Initially, there was a general apprehension about adopting cloud technology and developing a cloud migration strategy; certain aspects like security and resilience were concerns. But today, with increasing technological advancements and familiarity, there is not an iota of doubt that the advantages of adopting cloud technology have far outnumbered the few drawbacks.

Enterprises realize how features offered by the cloud migration, like scalability, flexibility, and agility, are tremendously profitable to the business. As such, top executives at research agency Gartner feel that by 2022 the cloud market is likely to expand by at least 60% touching almost 355 billion USD. Today, more than 93% of global enterprises have already adopted cloud, and 66% have their own centers of excellence for cloud infrastructure.

However, all said and done, adopting a cloud-first strategy can be a real challenge. In this blog let’s explore the key factors in cloud migration strategies.

Cloud migration strategy: challenges

Unsurprisingly, it is a huge task for big corporate organizations to migrate everything to the cloud. The task becomes more challenging when there are highly complex IT infrastructure to take care of or on-premise legacy applications that are critical and contain sensitive information. Challenges range from security and operational aspects to technological, financial, and many others.

Companies must carefully consider the feasibility – countless possibilities, regulations, and scenarios, before deciding the cloud migration strategy along with which applications can be moved to the cloud and which should remain on-premise. For instance, applications that are critically important for business should be considered in one group. The same goes for complex applications. Ones that are considered less critical for business or are simpler in comparison should be grouped separately and scheduled earlier for cloud migration. Successfully migrating smaller or simpler applications first will act as a stepping stone for more critical migrations in the pipeline.

Understanding the most suitable time to migrate applications to the cloud is equally crucial. Therefore, close scrutiny of the application portfolio is essential for deciding the best time for shaping a cloud migration strategy and initiate the migration processes. It should be based on factors such as software update timelines, modernization programs, and hardware upgrade cycles.

Assessing which applications can be migrated – the 8 key FactoR’s

To decide which application can be moved to the cloud and when, following a framework taking inspiration from Gartner, can be immensely helpful. This framework includes 8 paths that can make cloud adoption more streamlined and seamless.

  • Retain – The application should remain on-premise due to regulatory or technological restrictions. Or if it is a legacy application that functions flawlessly even at low ownership costs.
  • Retire – The application does not meet requirements any longer and involves high maintenance costs. Business-critical applications can be made to retire and developed again in the cloud with cloud-native features.
  • Rehost – The application is integrated into the cloud service provider’s infrastructure, with the owner company still taking care of the maintenance of VMs and web servers, which optimizes subscription expenses. This path is suitable for healthy on-premise applications and does not need any code changes to run in the cloud.
  • Remediate – The organization upgrades databases, operating systems (OS), and related servers on the cloud, which improves performance and security, and reduces vulnerabilities. This saves overhead operational costs involving support teams and maintenance.
  • Replatform – Replatforming provides cloud benefits without going overboard with investments. Here, instead of upgrading the application software, its underlying database and OS are changed. This works best to avoid exorbitant licensing costs of database or OS in the cloud.
  • Refactor – Considerable code changes are made to the application to retain its uniqueness in the cloud. It leverages the middleware and OS of the cloud service provider and can benefit from features like dynamic capacity, DevOps, and horizontal scaling which are intrinsic to cloud platform.
  • Rearchitect – The application is developed in the public cloud using a cloud-native programming language. This automatically integrates cloud-native features like data encryption and damage detection into the application. However, this path of migration is highly time-consuming and cumbersome.
  • Replace – The application is replaced by an equally comparable SaaS equivalent like Salesforce or ServiceNow. But for that, the business will have to modify the application and align business processes accordingly. This path is widely popular among organizations and is especially suitable for CRM applications.

Which factoR is the most suitable?

Now, it is only logical to understand that the migration path for one company will be different from that of another. It will vary as per the specific business requirements. Choosing the right factoR based on business requirements such as reduced time to market or enhanced automation plays a vital role in achieving success with a cloud-first strategy.

To understand which of the 8 factoR’s is the most suitable for a particular business, there are again 3 factors to consider for each factoR –

  • Investment – The effort, time, and skillset required to move the application to cloud should be factored in, along with the associated risks of keeping it on premise, or if it fails to adapt to the cloud platform.
  • Business benefit – Will cloud migration add any value to the business? The balance between the features or benefits and the operational costs incurred will indicate whether it will be a genuine value-add to the company.
  • Business-IT partnership – In case of “Replace” or “Rearchitect” strategies, both business and IT teams must extensively work as a team for data-based analysis for successful cloud migration. This aspect is often the key to success for companies that have a cloud-first strategy.

The factoR’s that display a more reasonable balance between the risks and value-adds, will obviously be more suitable for a particular business.

Failure to identify the correct path of migration eventually keeps companies from achieving the desired benefits. Studies reveal that more than 73% of giant corporate organizations had to revert cloud-based applications to on-premise after they failed to reach anticipated milestones.

However, when collaboration and change management are robust and correct, migrating to the cloud is sure to be a success.

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