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What is Cloud Migration? Process, Phases, Strategies, and Tools

When a company moves its data center and other operational capabilities to a cloud computing environment, it is referred to as cloud migration. It encompasses all business elements – database, IT resources, services, digital assets, and applications – that’re transferred to a cloud-based infrastructure. Most enterprises usually blend different types of cloud solutions to suit their business needs. A recent Flexera report stated that 89% of businesses opted for such multi-cloud strategies. 

cloud migration

There are many reasons that propel companies to migrate to cloud solutions. The most popular ones are online security concerns, higher costs of on-premises IT infrastructure, operational inefficiencies, and lack of flexibility in existing legacy platforms/solutions. 


The Cloud Migration Process: 

If your company is contemplating a switch to a cloud environment, here are the basic steps involved in the cloud migration process: 

  • Planning for migration: Enterprises ready to adopt the cloud must first strategize on their migration requirements keeping in mind their business objectives, budgets, the scale of operations, server requirements, and the complexity of their IT environment. Most cloud solution providers offer consultations, but it is best to engage an external specialist for migration planning.
  • Selecting the right cloud environment: Once the migration plan is the place, businesses can easily zero in on the type of cloud models & cloud strategies they want to go for. Most of the mid-to-large companies these days lean towards hybrid cloud and multi-cloud models, as they are more beneficial from cost-efficiency and flexibility standpoints.

  • Migrating with ease: All good cloud service providers offer migration process guidance to their clients. Factors such as data backups, compatibility barriers, software integrations, and security checks are some things that have to be kept in mind before the migration is activated.

  • Migration performance assessments: The migration process is incomplete until checks are done to ensure all workloads and processes run smoothly, and that everything works as expected. Companies should also conduct pre-post assessments to evaluate the efficiencies of cloud adoption. This can help in optimizing the cloud environment further. 

Cloud migrating may save businesses 15-40% on infrastructure expenditures, especially on IT costs, increased agility & flexibility, and improved disaster recovery.  Source: BCG report 2021

Phases Of Cloud Migration: 

  • Assessment & documentation – The first phase of cloud migration begins with a detailed assessment of business requirements: data & storage, financial, infrastructural, applications, and security & compliance. An elaborate migration design documentation is then generated to help engineers virtualize the data center & application environment in the cloud infrastructure. This document explains the entire migration plan, from defining the sequence of activities to resource allocation (human and financial). 
  • PoC & pilot testing – To eliminate security risks, data access issues, workload glitches, and other migration issues, comprehensive pilot testing is conducted. This helps decision-makers ensure that all applications function flawlessly in the cloud environment. There are many Proof of Concept (PoC) tools available in the market that can help businesses test, revise, and streamline their cloud migration strategies. 
  • Cloud migration – Once all aspects of the to-be-installed cloud infrastructure are assessed and tested, the full-scale commissioning of the migration process is initiated. It involves installation of migration tools, workload configurations, applications, security frameworks, network configurations, etc. Once all workloads, applications, and data centers are successfully migrated, a comprehensive testing and optimization process is conducted. 

Related article: What is Big Data & How it Important for Your Company Growth

Cloud Migration Strategies

A cloud migration strategy is a roadmap an enterprise makes to shift its data, processes, and applications from an on-premises architecture to the cloud. 

There are 6 most common approaches to migration, known as the “six R’s of migration”. 

  1. Rehosting (‘lift-&-shift’) – When a company transports its stack from on-premise hosting to the cloud, it is called rehosting. Basically, an exact copy of the current IT environment is transported to the cloud. 
  2. Replat forming – This strategy takes Rehosting a step further. During migration, some modifications are made to suit the new cloud environment, while retaining the core architecture of applications. This is done to enhance system performance and optimize cloud resiliency and security. 
  3. Repurchasing (‘drop-&-shop’) – Repurchasing is a migration strategy involving complete adoption to a whole new cloud infrastructure or a cloud-native SaaS platform. 
  4. Refactoring – Refactoring is the re-architecting of the existing applications to suit the business requirements better. This strategy is usually considered by companies who wish to improve their applications or service offerings, and use their newly-migrated cloud infrastructure to its optimum potential. 
  5. Retiring – When businesses turn off or retire their obsolete applications & vestigial assets before the cloud migration process, it is called retiring. This helps them focus on the most-used services that yield higher value and ROI. 
  6. Retaining – Migrating to the cloud may not make sense for some businesses and they may decide to retain their current IT environment. This decision might be taken for a variety of reasons such as:
  • Poor cost efficiencies 
  • Some applications might be hard to migrate to the cloud 
  • Compliance reasons deter shifting data off-premises 

In such cases, companies might like to shift to a hybrid space or put off the migration to a future date when they could afford a refactored cloud infrastructure.  


Cloud Migration Tools

Cloud migration tools are support aids that help companies move from their legacy infrastructure to the cloud, or shift between two cloud environments. These tools are available in the form of software applications, hardware solutions, or IT services using which enterprises can migrate their data, applications, and/or workloads effectively. 

Tools for Cloud Migration Support: Cloud migration tools are typically delivered as a solution suite, where the vendor company supports the client’s end-to-end cloud journey. Some of the best migration support tools in the market are Cisco AppDynamics, AWS Migration Services, AvePoint Migration, Microsoft Azure Migrate, OpenText’s Carbonite Migrate, CloudM, Cloudsfer, Google Cloud migration tools, IBM Turbonomic, and UnifyCloud CloudAtlas. 

Tools for best practices: Microsoft Azure Advisor and AWS Trusted Advisor provide in-the-moment advice on best practices for the cloud. They also assist with optimizing your cloud environment and achieving cost reduction, cost optimization, security, and performance. 

Also read: Benefits of MIgrating Your Business to The Cloud

Cloud cost calculators: Businesses can estimate their cost of setup by using cloud cost calculators like the Google Cloud Pricing Calculator, AWS Pricing Calculator, and Azure Pricing Calculator. 

Proof of Concept (PoC) tools: such as AWS Application discovery service, Cloud Sprint, Azure Migrate, BMC Discovery, Cloud Health, etc. 

Cocolevio provides excellent cloud migration consulting services for mid and large-scale companies. We can help you with efficient, future-ready migration strategies that’ll make your move-to-cloud effortless. Please contact us at (512) 222-5730 for consulting. 

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