When a legacy data storing and processing system is no longer up to the task, restricting the use of new technology and hindering business productivity, timely system modernization is the most proper measure. As a result, you will be able to adopt more business-boosting features and tools, store and process data in line with the best market practices, as well as efficiently scale according to the expanding capacities of your company or framework.
And migrating to the cloud computing environment may just be your best bet, offering flexible data storing capacities, advanced security, and significant cost savings when compared to traditional proprietary data management solutions. Ultimately, migrating to a reliable cloud-based system hosting, you don’t have to cover all the software implementation, support, and maintenance costs, paying only for on-demand services.
But let’s dive into the topic and figure out the ins and outs of cloud migration — what you get out of it, where to start, how to better approach the whole process, pick the right cloud migration strategy, etc.
There are clearly specific fruits and benefits that can be achieved with timely, proper on-premise to cloud migration. And as much as they may vary from one company to another, in general, here’s what you get as a result of this decisive effort.
With up-to-date cloud computing, you get in-depth integrated analytics powered by smart technologies that help your business become more personalized, spot the market demand more efficiently, and boost the quality of services provided in the long run. Advanced tech such as AI and BI may also power up thorough automation of workflow processes, relieving stress on employees that must deal with tons of cumbersome, monotonous manual work prone to human-factor errors.
As a whole, compared to on-premise solutions, you usually get higher overall performance due to practically indefinitely scalable cloud capacities, which reflects most positively on the finalized user experience in the long run. One deciding factor is that your rented cloud data center may be geographically positioned in your target demographic’s vicinity, thus reducing network latency among end-users.
Cloud environments are secure and compliant at their core in order to serve as demanded services. This means that it is the cloud hosting provider that monitors and reinforces all security aspects. Thus, compliance with all major data regulations comes out of the box while the biggest cloud platform providers (including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, etc.) surely watch and enhance data protection mechanisms and cybersecurity protocols to stay up to the high-end quality.
And you can rest assured that during the planning and implementing the whole cloud migration process, a profiled company is usually there to help you employ the most tried-and-tested cloud data security best practices.
A cloud system can be conveniently scaled to support more users, handle more tasks, and cope with more performance intensity without major proprietary issues. All because cloud capacities can scale on the provider’s side to pretty much any required extent. You don’t actually need to bother with all the server/storage/network hardware and licenses in order to scale easily.
Cloud solutions are highly accessible via practically any existing device connected to the world wide web. Whether it is a customer or an employee — all one needs to do to access your services is unblock a smartphone, go online, and launch your app. This is just the flexibility employees require and responsive UX modern users seek. As a whole, migrating to the cloud is an essential part of efficient digital transformation for your business, let alone the international scaling opportunities you get.
As we’re going to be repeating, it’s the cloud provider’s responsibility to handle all the technical maintenance, support, updates, and software issues, including scaling efforts and system optimizations. You only pay for the powers used (usually based on the subscription model). This may help you shift some excessive IT operations-related costs to investments into innovations or marketing-pushing initiatives for your company.
We can see that migrating to the cloud can be a real game-changer effort for your business. What you need to understand from the get-go, though, is that it is a pretty complex, highly responsible initiative that calls for careful preparations and considerations. A couple of things you need to know before even thinking about picking a migration method and starting preparations include the following.
When it comes to cloud data migration, even if the full-on cloud/digital modernization/transformation is the main goal, there still may be bits of data that you may safely get rid of, reducing the migration workflow complexity, cutting storing costs, and avoiding data clog-up risks. This concerns obsolete archive data, damaged pieces of history data, stale data volumes, and whatnot. Cloud migration is the perfect time to clean all of that up.
You may already store tons of secret and personal data in your legacy on-premise storage. Add the mass consumer personal data people provide (especially when you are working with an extensive target audience), and you get a necessary task to keep it safe and sound. For this, you need to make sure that the way you collect, store, and process that data complies with major data privacy regulations (you might have heard of GDPR among them).
The basic definition of your cloud migration approach, basically, starts with picking a preferred deployment format. Different approaches may fit different goals and project specifics. Common options include:
The final decision should be based on particular project specifics, like budget, scope, and such — your best bet would be to get a thorough project-focused consultation from qualified cloud engineers.
To have the most complete image of the project at hand, the system’s post-migration state must be planned out as well. In particular, the tasks required to handle to properly deploy and launch the whole system in its final operating post-migration environment will influence the general project budget as much as all other underlying tasks. You need to outline and prioritize them beforehand (one of the major post-migration tasks being building up a well-thought-out user access rights hierarchy).
Depending on a specific scope of business activity, its needs, and the kind of services it provides, cloud computing capacities can be deployed in several ways. The final choice of a migrating to the cloud strategy is dictated by the scope of budget and operating time you are willing and ready to dedicate to the whole thing, as well as by other specific needs. We can point out the following major cloud computing migration strategies.
In a nutshell, you re-host software by taking an existing application out of its on-premise hosting environment and deploying it in a cloud server. This is the most basic way to migrate as it is done without changing the application’s basic architecture. Your system is simply re-deployed in the cloud environment as it is. For this, you need an IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) services provider to grant you a cloud infrastructure in which to re-deploy.
The main advantages of this approach include:
The above points may just make a perfect fit for your business needs. However, at the same time, you may have to sacrifice some functional flexibility with basic re-hosting, as it doesn’t usually imply in-depth custom software modifications. Consider this as your quick (almost plug-and-play) option that sets cost-efficiency and short-term migration above all else.
Complete re-platforming is about fully moving an existing application from its legacy OS and putting it onto a new underlying cloud platform. This can be an initial stage of refactoring, but the gist here is to move to a completely different underlying operating system in the cloud that an existing application is compatible with. The main reason for this approach is an opportunity to expand the functionality and employ some new OS-specific powers without changing the application’s code much.
Similarly to basic re-hosting, full re-platforming also reduces expenses with a fairly simple, fast migration process, yet it may suffer from, again, limited functional flexibility. It can be considered a midpoint solution between simple re-hosting and complex refactoring.
Application refactoring implies modernization of essential code components through hardcoding and code refactoring to achieve compatibility and compliance with up-to-date functional, security, and enterprise needs and standards through the cloud. Here, on top of an application being “picked up” from on-premise and moved to the cloud, it is also tinkered on a lower coding level in the process to customize, expand, and optimize for cloud environments.
This is done by employing a PaaS (Platform as a Service) solution — sort of a rented cloud-based platform where the application’s code can be reused with new hardcoded functional additions to achieve an improved, more versatile, and better compatible system as a result of application migration to cloud. Only the very core architecture of your software remains unchanged.
The major benefits here include:
This is the ultimate way to modernize from the ground up, but on the flip side, refactoring is time-consuming (accordingly), labor-intensive, and requires bigger financial investments.
The above-mentioned basic ways to migrate may also be based on several basic software modernization techniques that you may consider adopting in line with your tech and business requirements, needs, and goals. These can be implemented as part of any of the above-mentioned types of cloud migration strategies.
A big part of refactoring is software revision. The existing software is tweaked and customized on a deeper level, with some features and capabilities either added/removed, rewritten or changed. As a standalone concept, however, it can be employed to some extent in terms of re-hosting and re-platforming, too. With thorough planning and proper tech knowledge, one may achieve much higher cloud performance rates by revising the software.
You may also implement a full-on codebase replacement prior to migration. Going much further than even in-depth revision, the whole previously existing application codebase is left behind to build a new sturdy architecture optimized for cloud performance on a native level. This is an extra mile you may take if your existing system is legacy by definition and is no longer up to modern market standards. Respective time and cost requirements apply here.
Software replacing is about migrating data to the cloud while a completely new native application is created to store and process that data in the new environment. Basically, you move only data to completely new software architecture. A new prebuilt SaaS (Software as a Service) app is provided by your preferred cloud vendor.
Now that we have got the basics of migration in cloud computing concerning top benefits, strategies, and underlying specifics, let’s take a look at the whole process itself — i.e., its essential stages.
You are most unlikely to indulge in the benefits of migrating to the cloud without careful, considerate migration project planning. On the most superficial level, the first point in your cloud migration project plan should outline a picked strategy based on specific goals and the scope of the required software modernization effort. All other requirements must be evaluated — security, application interoperability, data integrity, underlying costs, etc.
Do you still need to have access to the data while it is migrated? How much sensitive data do you need to encrypt, if at all? How much is obsolete legacy data that should be cleansed? Clarify these crucial questions during planning as well.
With a complete project roadmap in hand, the next step is to partner up with a cloud hosting vendor. The best providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud offer flexible collaboration models where they tailor the underlying software and migration process mechanisms to your business capabilities, goals, and desires. And if you’re up to setting up hosting of your own single-handedly, CRM integration services can be an alternative, but only if you have a reliable, properly qualified team by your side.
Choosing a cloud hosting vendor, make sure to settle from the get-go on which style of migration environment should be employed — public/private cloud, multi-cloud, or hybrid cloud. Developing and polishing out a strategy with the assistance of specialized experts is surely a great idea as well.
The essential nuance and challenge of implementing the migration itself is keeping the existing operations workflow (if one exists) unaffected by the whole migration initiative. A well-executed, long-term profitable migration is a smooth, fast, and cost-efficient one. But as much as this task rests mostly on the shoulders of your cloud provider, what you can do to speed and smooth things up is analyze and plan, as well as create reliable backups of your existing databases.
Certain migrating issues may be identified only after the full-on migration. Optimization and support during the post-migration period are among the paramount cloud services a reliable cloud vendor must provide. In all other aspects, you may completely shut down your on-premise system once you make sure that the cloud is running just fine.
That is, basically, your “migration to the cloud in a nutshell” without exhausting in-depth technical details, and you must only approach the process armed with these insights. And here are some particular pro tips on how to avoid cloud migration pitfalls.
A poorly, superficially composed cloud migration plan is like a foundation that’s crumbling on the sides — it won’t hold your project in a consistent shape for long, so always prioritize planning and strategizing.
Fitting your existing application to new cloud conditions may become an issue of its own. Some extra optimizations may require additional staff with proper software engineering skills. This calls for unnecessary expenses and can be avoided with the timely audit of the pre-migration architecture.
A vendor lock-in means that your operating flexibility goes only as far as your vendor allows it. Certain customization and corporate integration conflicts may arise here. The solution is employing the services of client-oriented providers who know how to work with open-source cloud frameworks.
Market players often put the question of cloud migration security to an argument — “how can we be sure all our corporate and secret data is handled properly, without losses or damages?” (especially when it comes to cloud computing in healthcare). In reality, it all comes down to backups created beforehand, well-planned project workflow, and reliability of your cloud vendor — if all is in place, your data will be okay.
NIX United is an established provider of cloud computing migration services with flexible opportunities for projects of any scale, purpose, and complexity. We are your custom software development company of choice with convenient project workflows, insightful consultations, and innovative solutions.
This article was a focused take on some of the underlying software modernization aspects that, hopefully, helped you understand how to migrate to the cloud in a nutshell. The process is a very responsible one and it promises significant benefits if approached right. Proper basic knowledge and a reliable software expert should help you indulge in all of those benefits and grow further and better as a market player.
In a nutshell, it is about modernizing a legacy system or expanding existing software capacities by literally moving on-premise databases and software systems to the cloud environment. This is usually done in order to achieve higher mobility, accessibility, and scalability potential for important businesses or other types of systems.
Cloud migration can be approached from different angles and, based on a set of underlying aspects (migration goals, needs, requirements, etc.), you may migrate to a private or public cloud environment (either getting your own dedicated cloud environment or adopting a shared cloud), to multicloud (combined public cloud environments), or to a hybrid cloud (a custom-built cloud environment consisting of many integrations).
The essential migration strategies for this include re-hosting (taking an existing application as it is and setting it up on the cloud-based hosting), re-platforming (doing the same but also switching the underlying OS in the process), and refactoring (software customization on the code level to fit cloud conditions), which also may or may not involve software revisioning (changing bits of software to modernize and optimize for the cloud), software rebuilding (creating a completely new cloud system from scratch), and software replacing (migrating only data to a specially pre-built cloud solution).
The main purpose of migrating to the cloud is the modernization of operating capacities in order to offer up-to-date performance and UX conditions, as well as to conveniently scale (which can be done almost without a limit and effort in vendor-governed cloud environments).
Cloud migration implies some significant project workflow, which is usually based on: 1) Initial planning and strategizing; 2) Cloud hosting selection; 3) Implementation of data and tech migration; 4) Post-migration support and optimization.
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