Is your organisation still working off of on-site applications? Are you still experiencing business disruption by constant server crashes and patches? Can you not work from home because there’s just no availability to do so?
You’re not alone.
Many businesses still haven’t begun cloud migration. Many are dissuaded by the word “migration”, fearing the negative implications of a move, and others are still asking, “But what are cloud migration services?”
By choosing not to migrate to the cloud, businesses are restricting their architecture, harming their growth and reducing their productivity.
In this blog, we’ll answer the cloud migration queries, list some key strategies, and provide some helpful tips that can help make the leap to a cloud computing environment both seamless and simple.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the term given to the process of transferring digital assets, like data, applications, and all other IT resources, to a cloud computing infrastructure.
The migration aspect of the term refers to the process of moving the assets from a physical, on-site location to the public cloud.
Often, the migration needs to occur because the organisation’s on-site infrastructure is either unreliable, outdated or is taking up too much space which limits a business in its versatility, adaptability and growth.
In other instances however, cloud migration could simply refer to an organisation switching cloud providers, for example leaving AWS (Amazon Web Services) and choosing to use Microsoft Azure instead.
What are Cloud Migration Services?
Cloud migration services therefore refer to the way in which businesses choose to move to the cloud, and the potential products or partners they will use to complete the move.
Many cloud providers like Azure, AWS and Google Cloud will all provide tools and services to ensure a smooth transition of workloads and applications, but organisations who may lack the technical expertise will often enlist the help of an IT partner.
Cloud migration IT partners, such as us at Binary Blue, can remove the confusion and worry of the migration process by offering an experienced, bespoke and comprehensive solution. We can oversee the timescale, draft a budget and utilise the services on offer to minimise the businesses downtime and disruption and ensure a seamless transition.
What are the benefits of Cloud Migration?
In today’s digital landscape there are more reasons than ever for businesses to migrate to the cloud, but the four essential benefits are:
A Reduction in Operating Costs
Around 50% of organisations attest to their IT costs dropping by 30-50% just through the use of cloud technology.
By using cloud technology, businesses save money because they’re only paying for the services they use, and all on a pay-as-you-go basis. This reduces the need to make a significant investment.
Additionally, businesses save utility costs. Hosting your own data in an on-site location full of servers requires time, resources and electricity costs to keep the room cool and constantly running, which all add up.
Flexibility and Freedom
Over the past year, the modern business landscape has changed dramatically. Whilst work-from-home and remote working positions were rare, and merely a dream for some employees, they are now commonplace.
Large organisations like Shopify, HSBC and John Lewis have all attested to developing either remote or hybrid working environments, which means that there is more need than ever for cloud computing services to offer flexibility for workers.
Remote working services cannot function without a secure and versatile cloud computing infrastructure because it is that infrastructure which allows employees to work from wherever, whenever, and to access the information they need quickly and securely whilst on the go.
A goal for most businesses is to grow. But to grow means to scale, and successful scaling can only be achieved with an infrastructure in place that can support the business as it expands.
In this instance, migrating to the cloud is the best (and only!) solution.
Cloud computing is completely versatile and scalable, which means that it will grow with each arm of the business. For example, if your business has more data to accommodate and more users accessing that data, there’s no need to worry about storage or access limitations. In the cloud environment, the storage and access capabilities will already be available.
As technology grows, so does our wariness about our data being made readily available or accessible, and restrictions continue to grow around data security and GDPR.
This means that businesses must use the most secure solutions to protect the confidential data that is managed and stored by their business in order to prevent potential cyber attacks.
Cloud computing offers unrivalled protection and security through encryption services readily offered by all cloud providers across all types of cloud. Microsoft for example provides app security, intelligent threat detections as well as multi-factor authentication and thorough security reviews across all your resources. In the event of a breach or attempted attack, this protects your data behind a stonewall, keeping it safe and secure.
What are the types of cloud migration strategies?
There are 6 basic types of cloud migration, but it is worth noting at this stage that each cloud migration strategy should be bespoke to the needs of the organisation. Whilst one strategy may be suitable for one business, it may not be suitable for another. This is why it’s recommended that a business must ensure the objectives, data and applications it will be moving determine the infrastructure, platform and security methods of the cloud migration.
Rehosting (Lift n’ Shift)
Lift n’ shift as it is colloquially called in the IT world simply involves doing just that: Lifting your data, applications and resources and moving them in their entirety into the cloud. This is the method commonly used when a business is moving its data from an on-site location to a public cloud for the first time.
Rehosting duplicates the current environment into the cloud, keeping costs low and producing a good ROI.
Replatforming harnesses much of the same process as the lift n’ shift, but makes adjustments to optimise the businesses cloud environment. For example, cloud-native applications can change to utilise the new cloud environment and offer new customer requirements like features or functionality.
Replatforming is a good option for organisations that are new to the cloud but whose objectives include adding benefits such as increased system performance capabilities.
Repurchasing refers to the moving of applications from one cloud native product to another. This is most commonly seen in the SaaS industry, and an example could be moving a CRM to a provider such as Salesforce.
Repurchasing is complex because teams can lose the familiarity of the applications they’ve been used to, and training may be required to re-familiarise them with the new software. Repurchasing is still a cost-effective option for teams however.
Refactoring is the most expensive cloud migration strategy. That’s because it is essentially rebuilding the applications from scratch from a legacy environment to a cloud environment.
Reasons for refactoring could include an organisation needing to utilise cloud capabilities that have previously not been available in the existing environment like serverless computing.
Though it’s expensive, it is a way to future-proof organisations so costs and resources shouldn’t dissuade businesses looking to scale.
Retiring is a simple cloud migration strategy: It just means turning off applications that are no longer useful in a new cloud computing environment.
Retiring is a great cost saver because businesses can potentially channel the saved revenue into new applications that are ready for migration.
Finally, there is retaining. Retaining is still classed as a strategy, but this time there is no migration involved.
That’s because a business opting to retain is a business that has chosen to not yet go ahead with a full cloud migration. Some organisations simply aren’t ready, and others may be wary of needing to lose access to an application that they may be unable to afford to replace or refactor.
How to seamlessly migrate to the Cloud:
Migrating to the cloud couldn’t be easier once a strategy is decided upon, objectives have been identified and applications assessed. There are four easy tips to follow throughout your cloud migration and they are:
- Gather and organise your information
Gathering and organising your data is exactly the same as when you gather and organise your possessions when it comes to moving house.
As a business you must analyse, evaluate and rationalise what data will be moving, which is the most essential to be moved, and ultimately where that information will end up.
Ensure that the employees responsible for your migration are involved in every step of this process so they know what to look for and where once the migration process has occurred.
- Involve your employees
Huge technological changes can be met with wariness by employees, especially if they are not entirely comfortable or confident when using technology.
To make the transition seamless and simple for all layers of the organisation, get your employees involved in the process by asking them to contribute to the solution. You could ask what they would want from a cloud solution – could it be faster access, or the ability to access whatever from wherever?
By actively contributing to the process it’s more likely that your employees will feel comfortable adapting to the new technology, and the process of adoption will be shorter.
- Offer training
Whether you are refactoring, or just replatforming, it’s important to offer training. There will be a new workflow for employees to adapt to, especially if their most used applications are now hosted in the cloud.
Offering comprehensive training also reduces the time it takes for employees to adopt the software, and boosts productivity by everyone having a thorough understanding of how to utilise the new technology to the best of its ability.
- Always reassess and reevaluate
Cloud migration doesn’t have to be a one strategy only process. Your organisation may begin by replatforming their data, resources and applications, but later down the line may find that the time has come to repurchase, reformat and even retire some applications.
As the business grows and cloud computing boosts productivity and reduces costs, it’s recommended that all organisations constantly reevaluate their cloud computing needs and undergo further migrations and changes to the cloud environment if deemed necessary.
At Binary Blue, we have years of experience helping businesses complete their moves to the cloud. We can create a bespoke cloud migration strategy for your business, and keep the disruption to an absolute minimum – letting your business utilise the power of the cloud as soon as possible. For more information, get in touch with us today telling us how we can help and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.