Cloud migration strategy is no longer an option, it’s an essentiality for businesses that want to stay abreast with technological advancements, get better performance and improve customer experience. The year 2020 has only contributed to the popularity of cloud solutions. But this quick cloud transformation was too unexpected for organizations and many of them were just questioned – what to do next? To eliminate such situations, we want to make everything clear about services and operations to be moved to the cloud, the most reliable cloud service providers, cloud migration strategies, and the main challenges awaiting for business during the cloud transformation process.
Main business and technology incentives
When migrating to the cloud, an organization gets many benefits both from a business and technical perspective, among which are:
1. Broaden market reach
Business extension entails the reach of bigger and new audiences without rebuilding the applications from scratch. That’s the thing that can be achieved with the help of cloud-native development. It allows the processing of millions of requests per second without time-consuming delays.
2. Faster market entry
By combining DevOps with Agile methodologies, businesses accelerate both technology delivery and time-to-market. The correct implementation of the best DevOps practices generates the speed-up of the development process, application updates, and automates the workload.
3. Cost optimization
Apart from indirect savings appearing due to lower downtime and elevated resilience, you save money on surplus resources. Switch to cloud-native app development provides you with the pricing flexibility by paying only for the computational resources.
4. Responsive technology usage
Cloud migration brings more flexibility to the working processes of the development team. For instance, developers will be able to suitably combine operating systems, web platforms, programming languages, and databases based on your business needs.
5. No vendor lock-in
There’ll be no need of sticking to a certain cloud provider if it doesn’t suit your business. One of the main advantages of cloud applications is the possibility to work in any cloud and be transferred between different ones.
6. Accessible infrastructure administration
Cloud-native apps are easy to maintain since they have microservices that can be updated due to the extension of the application functionalities.
7. Failures resilience
Since cloud apps can automatically process failures, they are resilient to any breakdowns by nature. If any problem occurs, one can effortlessly provide some updates without disrupting the end-users.
According to IDG’s 2020 cloud computing research, 46% of cloud-based apps were developed for the cloud and 54% of those were transferred from the on-premise software. That means that businesses see the power of the cloud and seek opportunities for transferring their processes to a more secure environment. If you are just thinking about switching to the cloud, then you must consider all the important points, challenges, and opportunities.
Cloud migration journey
The cloud migration journey begins with a determination of your vision and conceptualizing the strategy. After having all those points done, you can move to the next phases that include planning, realization, and further maintenance. If not, you risk losing money and getting system breakdowns. A successful cloud journey consists of three stages: discovering, consulting, and delivering.
As it’s stated by Gartner, 70% of businesses will develop their cloud strategy till the year 2022. So, if you don’t want to be among the last ones, start investing in this vital step right away.
Defining an outstanding strategy of cloud migration
A successful cloud migration strategy can’t be realized without a perfectly suited cloud model for your business needs. There are three general models of cloud deployment: private, public, and hybrid. The factors you find the most important for you can influence the final decision. To make things clear, it’s worth going over all these models.
- Public cloud
Being the most popular cloud model, the public cloud is considered to be scalable, cost-effective, and easily managed. Public cloud can be free of cost or offered through different pricing schemes, including a pay-per-usage option. The infrastructure and operating system are maintained by cloud providers. They have all responsibility for the management, security, and updates.
- Private cloud
This one provides you with better control when it comes to data storage and keeps data more constrained due to higher set-up costs. Users can get access, store data in a private cloud being in any place, as well as in a public cloud. The difference is that nobody else can get access to the resources or work with them. Private clouds require the same spendings on personnel and maintenance as traditional data centers.
- Hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud allows more flexibility by incorporating the components of the two other clouds. It establishes a seamless communication between two platforms that data can be moved smoothly from one to another.
The choice between these isn’t restricted by certain situations or circumstances. That’s why many companies prefer all of these options, but each for certain needs.
Apart from cloud deployment models, there’re other ones, which are based on service. They’re commonly known as Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Function as a Service (FaaS).
- According to IDC, SaaS is the most popular cloud computing category that has more than half of all spendings on the public cloud. It is a fully developed software application functioning in the cloud and can be accessed through Internet or API providers for monthly or yearly payment. Saas implies the management of app, environment, operational systems, servers, storage, and network by the vendor. As for the user, he is responsible only for the data.
Example: Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, Cisco WebEx, Google Apps
- Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is second place after SaaS, as it’s described in the same IDC report. It provides clients with fundamental resources, such as physical or virtual servers, storage, network infrastructure, and data processing centers. IaaS involves the leasing of the IT infrastructure for the establishment of your own remote cloud center on the payment based model.
Example: Microsoft Azure, Cisco Metacloud, GCP, Amazon Web Services.
- The FaaS model allows users to develop, launch and manage the functional part of the application without struggling with the creation and maintaining infrastructure.
Example: Lambda, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud Functions.
- PaaS has the lowest rates of spendings in contrast to three other models. By this model, everything is deployed in its data processing center: networks and servers, storage, and databases. The developers are responsible only for the data and apps hosted in the cloud.
Example: Apache Stratos, Elastic Beanstalk, Google App Engine.
Most organizations have changed the on-premise software for the work in the cloud, as for now. Some of them have included the whole infrastructure and some of them have made just a partial shift as for now. Gartner states that 60% of enterprises will take advantage of an external service cloud provider by 2022, which is twice bigger than in 2018. Even if there’re more than 100 cloud service providers, we all know the leading ones: AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
However, notwithstanding that Google Cloud and Azure appeared on the market a few years later after Amazon Web Services, they have quickly adapted and created decent competition for AWS, becoming reliable cloud providers both for small and large businesses.
- Azure cloud services
Azure cloud services are one of the Microsoft solutions, that’s why it has good integration with Windows, VBS, SQL database, Active Directory. It offers a big range of services, such as computing, databases, network, mobile devices, management and development tools, security, and corporate apps. When it comes to pricing, one pays only for the used resources on a minute payment basis. Azure appears to be cheaper for those, who have already invested in the Windows ecosystem.
Azure offers a whole range of products and services for the creation of hybrid solutions. It ensures this with the following platforms: Azure StorSimple, Azure Stack, and Hybrid SQL.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS has created the biggest community of clients and partners throughout the whole world. It is a secure environment of cloud computing since AWS Security Hub offers a range of instruments from internetwork monitors and endpoints protection to vulnerability scanners. These are AWS IAM, AWS Directory Service, and AWS CloudHSM.
AWS offers services for computing, storage, databases, networks, and machine learning. It has file storage offered with EBS and objects storage with S3. The good is that scalability isn’t a problem for AWS, since there’s service, scanning your location, and regulating stable performance with minimum spendings possible.
AWS provides hybrid support through a partnership with local vendors and less open for third-party cloud services providers.
- Google cloud computing services (GCP)
GCP popularity is connected to security and prices. Everybody who uses Google services knows about its strong security features, as it’s a whole fully functioning security process. The beginning lies in the physical security of the data processing centers, hardware, and software, which are the fundamentals of the infrastructure. It all ends up with the technical constraints and process vital for operational security. Pricing is based on the pay-per-minute model, so you pay only for the time used. Furthermore, GCP has discounts for longer workloads without the need for prepayment.
The introduction of the hybrid cloud support in 2018 strengthened the focus on multi- and hybrid cloud workloads using Anthos. That allows the management of workloads in GCP and Google Kubernetes Engine for users.
To get rid of any hesitation you may have regarding the choice among three of these, let’s have a closer look at the detailed table.
It’s not hard to notice that there’s no total winner. All three create a secure and effective environment with their special capabilities. Again, all the technology-related decisions depend on the exact business needs and state of the market.
Cloud migration strategy approach
Though there’s no versatile solution for cloud migration since many variants of cloud services exist nowadays. But all of them are built on three main cloud migration pillars. These are DevOps, apps, and data. It doesn’t matter whether you choose private, public, or hybrid cloud, you have to think about the app modernization strategy and find reliable and secure ways of data transferring to the cloud. DevOps best practices will accelerate time to market and help to optimize resource usage. Only by combining cutting-edge data migration options, apps transformation, and DevOps, you will guarantee a successful cloud migration. If not, you risk increasing your technical debt.
Overcoming cloud migration challenges
Wasted costs, complex infrastructure, data loss, downtime, and many other things can make it difficult to migrate to the cloud. If you want to establish a secure transfer of the apps and data, follow the recommendations listed below:
- Optimize the cloud costs to prevent wasted costs
- Assess your IT infrastructure to make it “fit” for the cloud
- Resolve security issues to prevent threads
- Fix downtime issues
Cloud migration strategy seems to be a hard process, though, with the proper preparations, you will definitely succeed and get rewarded. Adopting cloud solutions will empower you with scalability, cost-effectiveness, and market-driven innovations. Do not hesitate to take a risk today, so you won’t regret it tomorrow.