Migrations to the cloud entail risks with potentially vigorous impact on businesses – downtime and loss of data being top concerns. But with cloud adoption on the rise across industries and cloud based applications becoming increasingly valuable to businesses, teams eventually need to face cloud server migration tasks head on.
For the success of a cloud migration process, it is important to be able to answer some essential questions – such as how the data will be stored, how processes will need to evolve to take advantage of the new setup, and how unexpected events may be dealt with. Here are some essential guidelines for executing a successful cloud migration.
Before executing the transition, and before cloud adoption, organisations need to understand which cloud service provider will meet their needs and will simplify the cloud migration process. Will it be Amazon Web Services (AWS)? Or the Google Cloud Platform? Early on, enterprises will also need to pick between the public cloud, hybrid cloud, or private cloud? Hybrid cloud can offers advantages of both fully managed platforms and the customized security and efficiency of private data center. But each business will have a unique requirement and therefore, a unique solution.
It is also important to understand how applications can be migrated to the cloud to begin with, and which applications may require more efforts than others. The more critical question however, is, how will the data be stored? The answer to this is contingent on the type of data the organisation is dealing with. Relatively dormant data – such as backups – can be migrated to cold storage options available on all major cloud services. Active data, on the other hand, will need customisations depending on the type of service being used, with IaaS, Paas or Saas each requiring varying migration time and efforts.
Cloud Migration Portfolio Discovery and Planning
Portfolio discovery refers to analysing components of the business environment, their relationships with business services, mapping their interdependencies, and compatibility with the cloud environment. It involves inventorying the applications that will migrate relatively easily to the new environment, and the ones that will require additional resources and efforts. The next step – planning, involves strategising on achieving an optimal migration for all these resources:
- Some applications may require changes to their core architecture.
- Some could simply be moved to the cloud.
- Some others may even need to be replaced with more compatible versions entirely.
- Organisations may also discover that they simply do not require some applications anymore, and may phase those out.
Many internal applications powering a business may be designed to run at lower, fixed performance, and would be unable to take advantage of the scalability benefits the cloud brings. This introduces some inefficiency to the setup. Businesses will need to standardise these systems if they want to truly see the results of their migration process. This extends to other areas – such as support processes, reporting structures, and even retraining teams to make them compatible with the new cloud environment.
The onus and responsibility of managing the cloud infrastructure often falls on the service provider. But it is prudent to estimate (and prepare for) the challenges that may lie in terms of network or compute requirements before migrating to the cloud.
- A baseline analysis is often necessary to estimate the traffic patterns and by extension the bandwidth consumption. This will provide a realistic idea about the network and storage requirements.
- Synthetic tests, end-user monitoring, analysis of packet paths can provide important insights into the network requirements an organisation will need to deal with once on the cloud.
- Lastly, the network cloud architecture itself, based on how the organisation wishes to achieve user isolation, traffic restrictions, security, surge protection etc., needs to be clearly outlined and specified.
- An organisation where the deliverables depend on actions from the users’ end, requires especially strong security policies. Any breach of security could result in dire consequences. For example, if the business is a payment processing organisation, loose security could result in the loss of money – both theirs and their customers’.
- Security also involves identity and login management. Data access rights will need to be granted as per the organisation’s policy, while a holistic disaster recovery and backup plan also needs to be in place, and should be a key focus area for the cloud maintenance team.
- A breach in security or a failure the cloud infrastructure could lead to undesirable results, such as loss of huge volumes of data. It is hence, often advised to create a secondary backup.
- For example, if you are currently using the AWS ‘ap-south-1’ for Mumbai, and you want to migrate to servers in a separate region, it is a good idea to create a secondary backup in the Amazon provided simple storage solution (S3) which acts as an object storage service.
Reporting, Analytics, and More for Cloud Migration
Once online on the cloud, tools to manage data access, monitor costs, prepare reports, study analytics and even ensure compliance, are critical to making the migration a long term success. There’s no one size fits all solution here, so an enterprise’s choice of tools will depend on a variety of factors:
- Cost monitoring: Cloud providers may charge expensive rates for usage over amounts part of standard billing, which can result in unexpected and potentially very high bills. Cost monitoring services assist users in keeping their billing in check and within budgets. The Google Cloud Platform, for example, offers in-built billing limits for users.
- Compliance and security: Tools to perform and uphold encryption, data access, key management and customized policies are essential to maintaining the sanctity of the cloud infrastructure. They can also generate detailed reports on usage and ensure compliance with local laws.
- Reporting and management: Dashboards that offer insights into network or compute statistics, allowing users to tweak their systems for optimal efficiency are indispensable tools to achieving high organisational performance.
Standardisation and Maintenance
To take optimal advantage of cloud migration, business processes will need to evolve and adapt to the new environment. Once the migration has been executed successfully, a dedicated team needs to be tasked with security and maintenance actions. This involves both the cloud and physical resource management.
Moreover, organisations should ensure that there is standardisation in processes revolving around resource provisioning, incident reporting, ticketing, and the day-to-day management of all these operations from both the consumption (internal or external users) and administration sides.
Despite the seemingly daunting migration tasks, getting a business running in the cloud offers significant flexibility and convenience to work. In a world where tech is advancing itself every year, it can be hard to imagine sectors or industries that would not benefit from migrating to the cloud. Looking to migrate? Get the right assistance with IndiQus. Already moved to the cloud? Learn how to manage your cloud services the right way here.