A large number of organizations are undergoing digital transformation and need a thorough understanding and assistance in migrating the traditional workloads to the cloud. The pace of cloud migration has accelerated significantly to meet the increase in online demand and remote working in the wake of a pandemic. The article explains what cloud migration is, its benefits, and various strategies.
As described at Accenture Insights, cloud migration is defined as:
The process of moving a company’s digital assets, services, databases, IT resources, and applications either partially, or wholly, into the cloud. Cloud migration is also about moving from one cloud to another.
Besides, the migration also includes modernization of the current workloads by providing APIs to access business functions from an existing monolithic app. It frees the organizations from the burden of maintaining legacy infrastructures, hardware, or software that is no longer operating efficiently. Building cloud-native apps give the flexibility of load balancing, microservices tracking, traffic flow, service management, etc.
Cloud Migration Strategy
As the business embarks on the journey of moving to the cloud, it plans a strategy and maintains a checklist to answer the below questions:
- The objective and type of migration
- What does a business gain from migration?
- Scrutinize the need to move to the cloud
- Upfront and reorganization costs
- Selecting the cloud model from the public, private or hybrid
- Selecting cloud provider
- Do the mission-critical applications have any special requirements
- Capture the dependencies related to data, network, or application
- Security and performance prerequisites
- The scale of data to migrate
- How to replicate the workload in the cloud
- Challenges and workarounds specific to the use case of different applications
- Roadmap and timeline by when migration should be complete
Considering that the above list is only a glimpse of what factors go behind the migration plan, the actual migration process is much more detailed and comprehensive. The following guidelines from Google are a great reference resource that helps in building the foundation for migration:
- Building a foundation for migration (Part 1)
- Building a foundation for migration (Part 2)
- Building a foundation for migration (Part 3)
Cloud Deployment Models
The process of moving the enterprise infrastructure that includes data, applications, and computed workloads to the cloud is called cloud migration.
Different cloud computing models are meant to meet the swiftly changing needs of organizations. 3 types of deployment options include the public, private and hybrid cloud. The migration involves the understanding of enterprise workloads and deciding whether to move them to the private cloud or public cloud.
The cloud provider owns the infrastructure, hardware, and software to deliver the services over the public internet. Multiple organizations aka tenants share the same hardware, storage, and network devices. It is the most common and frequently used cloud deployment that comes loaded with many benefits like cost savings, no maintenance hassles, scalability, and reliability.
While the public cloud allows an organization to share the cloud resources with other organizations, the private cloud, as the name suggests, is exclusive to one organization. What do we mean by “exclusive”? It means that the organization has dedicated hardware and software, and the services are delivered over a private network.
The public cloud would indeed cost less than the private cloud due to shared resources as against dedicated ones in the private cloud. But, the private cloud is a crucial requirement for government agencies, financial institutions, and highly regulated organizations with data-sensitive business needs. Needless to say, the private cloud provides tighter controls and privacy with better scalability than on-prem infrastructure.
When the organizations have constraints on maintaining data on-prem due to compliance issues, their best resort is to get the maximum value of the current infrastructure as well as reap the benefits of scalability and reliability in a hybrid cloud deployment model.
Essentially, a hybrid cloud is a combination of on-prem infrastructure or private cloud with that of a public cloud.
The mix of maintaining highly sensitive data in their own data center and running workloads in the cloud is called a hybrid cloud.
In the event of fluctuating demand for computing power, the hybrid cloud can scale up the organizations’ on-prem infrastructure to the public cloud. It results in huge cost savings by removing the need of investing in infrastructure for sporadic needs.
What would an organization achieve by adopting cloud offerings? What are the benefits of moving to the cloud? Well, to start with, it shifts the organization's focus from managing applications to building innovative solutions. And, there are several other benefits such as reduced cost, agility, speed, and many more.
Capex to Opex
Capex and Opex are financial models for capturing business expenses. CAPEX includes purchases that are made once and give long-term benefits & OPEX includes the running costs of business
Traditional ways of building in-house data centers demand a huge upfront cost investment that gets attributed to the CAPEX model. This expenditure includes space, software, equipment, and IT teams to manage and maintain them. While this on-prem infrastructure certainly sounds lucrative when considered from a security and governance perspective. But it is not cost-effective.
It is defined as "the degree to which a system can adapt to workload changes by provisioning and de-provisioning resources in an autonomic manner, such that at each point in time the available resources match the current demand as closely as possible"
Elasticity not only provides the agility and scalability to the organizations to accelerate their journey of digital transformation, but it also proves to be a cost-effective measure.
Besides lower costs and scalability, the cloud also provides a fallback mechanism for any individual who fails to maintain business as usual. The cloud protects against power outages - be it due to natural disasters or manual error that leads to data loss and negatively impacts business operations. Cloud also looks after maintenance, upgrades, and scheduled downtime to maintain business continuity and includes hardware, network, process, and network outages as well.
Pay as you go model of the cloud results in tremendous cost savings by giving the flexibility to the customer of paying for the product rather than buying it. This payment model does not charge fixed monthly or annual fees and allows the customer to pay for the usage on demand. Such services have made it easy for the small players to drive innovation without being concerned about the costly affairs of buying the products. Additionally, it takes away a load of responsibility and ownership from the customer.
Cloud enables the user to select a service from a service catalog and be able to provide it with minimal intervention from the cloud vendor.
In this article, we learned what cloud migration is and the benefits of moving traditional workloads to the cloud. We also discussed different types of clouds and what are the considerations an organization needs to keep in mind while choosing the appropriate model.