Which Cloud Migration Strategy is Right for Your Business?

The cloud is bigger than ever before—and it’s expected to keep growing. In fact, according to data cited by MarketWatch, the cloud computing technology industry is “expected to generate revenue of USD 411 billion by 2020.” This growth is fueled by the many benefits of the cloud, such as improved scalability, reduced cost of infrastructure, and greater enterprise mobility.

It seems like every enterprise is chomping at the bit to get started on their cloud migration process. However, before you start with your cloud migration, it’s important to make sure you have a proper cloud migration strategy in mind (including an end goal for your cloud solution). The thing is that there are many different types of cloud migration—and the strategy you use will have to change to meet your needs.

To help you get the most out of your own cloud migration process, here are a few cloud migration strategies that your enterprise might opt to use:

1: Lift and Shift Cloud Migration

One of the most common cloud migration strategies that companies use is the classic lift and shift cloud migration strategy. Also called “rehosting,” lift and shift cloud migrations basically take whatever existing apps, data, and/or operating systems there are on a server and move them to a cloud-based platform.

This type of cloud migration plan is especially common for companies moving from an on-premises solution to a cloud platform for the first time—though it’s still possible to lift and shift from one cloud solution to another.

The benefit of rehosting apps and data like this is that it is (usually) relatively simple. This makes planning/budgeting cloud service migrations easier. These migrations are also usually a bit faster than other cloud migration strategies.

However, just making a straight copy of your existing on-premises solution and moving it to the cloud may not provide the best possible results. There is a strong chance that additional optimizations will be needed to maximize the benefits of cloud adoption.

There is a slight modification of the lift and shift cloud migration strategy called “lift, tinker, and shift” or “replatforming.” Here, instead of simply making a straight copy of the existing production environment, your cloud migration services provider makes a few optimizations to how the apps, data, and platform are structured to increase efficiency, user experience, and/or security. This only adds a little bit of time and effort to the cloud migration process compared to rehosting, improving performance without greatly expanding your project scope.

2: Complete Transformation Project Cloud Migration

Some companies want to make a clean break from their existing enterprise software solutions to make a fresh start with new tools. This kind of transformation project cloud migration generally focuses on preserving mission-critical data and moving it to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) cloud solution with its own apps. This cloud migration strategy is also known as “repurchasing” by some.

This can be a very difficult type of cloud migration strategy for several reasons, but it can also provide great benefits. The biggest challenges are:

  1. Ensuring All Data is Migrated Successfully. When moving data from a legacy system to a new one, there’s always a risk of data being lost or corrupted in the translation. Some file systems are incompatible with one another, or a random glitch in the cloud migration process can corrupt data. So, one of the primary focuses of a complete transformation project cloud migration where all old systems are being abandoned for new ones is ensuring the integrity of data.
  2. Transitioning the Enterprise to the New Solution. A total abandonment of old systems in favor of new ones can be incredibly disruptive to operations at the best of times. Employees will need to be trained in the new cloud-based solution so they know how it works. It’s also important to show them how the new solution benefits them—whether it helps save employees some time or frees up resources that they need.

The benefit, particularly over a lift and shift cloud migration, is that your enterprise will be able to leverage cloud-native solutions that are designed to maximize the scalability, performance, and efficiency of a cloud-based solution.

3: Technical Cloud Migration Strategy

Instead of dropping all existing applications, some companies prefer to use the same apps that they’re used to and simply move them to the cloud while updating databases and operating systems. In a technical cloud migration process, apps are copied over directly from the existing solution (whether on-premises or in a different cloud) while databases and operating systems are changed to better leverage the new cloud platform/infrastructure.

The big advantage of this is that your enterprise can preserve the apps and workflows it is used to—minimizing the impact of the change to a cloud computing service. A cloud migration company is usually able to make this kind of migration easier by ensuring that the new database and OS used by the cloud is compatible with your existing apps—a process that may require some configuration and adjustment.

4: Retiring Unused Applications

Though not a cloud migration strategy per se, the removal of unused or obsolete applications is a common element of many cloud migration processes. For example, during a cloud migration assessment, when a cloud migration services provider is checking your current production environment, the service provider may identify applications that are sitting on your network without generating any ROI for your enterprise. In such cases, the cloud consulting service may recommend removing the unused applications.

In fact, according to an article in Medium, “As much as 10% (I’ve seen 20%) of an enterprise IT portfolio is no longer useful, and can simply be turned off.” These unused applications clog up an enterprise’s IT resources, wasting storage space, distracting IT team members, and even potentially creating security vulnerabilities because of obsolete security patches.

Do you want to know more about how to optimize your cloud migration strategy?

Reach out to a team of cloud consulting service experts to get a complete picture of the cloud migration process. Come for the cloud migration assessment, stay for the Complete Cloud transformation!