A cloud migration is a big undertaking for any business, with many potential pitfalls. Despite this, more and more businesses are taking the plunge, with a recent survey finding that 59% of decision-makers considered moving more workloads a top initiative.
Three Cherries is an IT Support and Telephony business based in Bristol. We have years of experience in a range of IT projects, such as moving business digital operations to bespoke cloud infrastructure.
In this blog, we explain more about cloud migration, and provide a checklist for businesses thinking of making the move.
What Is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of transferring business operations into the cloud. This can be a full or partial transfer, depending on the specific needs and goals of the business. During cloud migration, digital assets like data, IT resources, and applications are relocated into the cloud from on-premises or legacy infrastructure. The process can be complex and requires a lot of advance preparation. However, successful cloud migration presents a host of advantages to businesses of all scales, such as reduced costs, greater flexibility, and better organisational efficiency and performance.
Benefits of Cloud Migration for Business
Migrating to the cloud means you won’t need to buy and maintain onsite servers. Instead, your cloud provider will be responsible for the hardware and facilities cost, and you can invest the money saved on other areas of your business.
When business operations are hosted in the cloud, you only need to pay for the resources you use. Hosting companies are usually highly flexible, adapting their service as your business’ needs change over time. That means you can scale with agility during period of growth, without having to invest in hardware.
Data stored in the cloud is encrypted, making it highly secure. Though certain compliance regulations may require some data to be stored onsite, other data can be stored in the cloud with minimal security risk. Providers will continuously monitor and update security, and there is reduced risk of data losses through power failure, natural disasters and theft.
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Migrating to the cloud provides your business with greater mobility. With remote working becoming the norm, businesses are increasingly needing to facilitate employee productivity from anywhere. Cloud hosting offers centralised document and data storage that is accessible from anywhere, making collaboration easy, even if employees are dispersed.
Technology is always evolving, and businesses need to evolve with it. By transferring operations to the cloud, your business can harness the benefits of working with cutting edge IT infrastructure, and be ready to face the future.
Shallow Cloud Integration vs. Deep Cloud Integration
There are two main approaches here, which can be further broken down into the ‘6 R’s of cloud migration’ (more on that below!). Shallow cloud integration is the simplest and cheapest kind of cloud migration and involves moving on-premises data and applications into the cloud as they are. The only changes made are those needed to get them functioning in the new environment. A deep cloud integration, on the other hand, is much more complicated. In order to make use of cloud capabilities, applications are modified to varying degrees, and cloud specific data stores might be used. That makes it much more bespoke as an option, and capable of optimising business performance.
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The 6 R’s of Cloud Migration
When migrating to the cloud, your approach will depend on the applications in question. There are various strategies to use when moving things across, which have become known as the 6 R’s of Cloud Migration.
- Rehosting – also known as ‘lift and shift’, this approach involves moving an exact copy of the current environment into the cloud.
- Replatforming – this is similar to rehosting, except a few more modifications are made to optimise the environment for the cloud.
- Repurchasing – if cloud native alternatives exist, paying to move to newer applications is often the best solution.
- Refactoring – to leverage cloud capabilities, this approach entails the total rebuilding of custom applications from scratch.
- Retiring – after assessment, applications that are no longer being used might be better off retired.
- Retaining – certain data and applications need to be kept onsite, and sometimes it doesn’t make financial sense to migrate. In these cases, it is retained in its current state.
Cloud Migration Checklist
A complex operation needs a high functioning team. Elect a project lead to see the migration through from start to finish and make key decisions. This might be someone internal, or a third-party who can provide expert support on all things cloud.
Analyse Processes & Identify Goals
Before starting your cloud migration, it’s important to look over your internal processes and business operations and identify what you want to achieve through migrating to the cloud. You won’t be able to determine if the migration is successful without first establishing KPIs and understanding what ‘success’ will mean for your business.
Assess What Needs to Migrate
It’s not always necessary or cost effective to migrate every bit of data into the cloud. In fact, some businesses may be restricted from migrating everything due to regulations over certain types of data. For anything you don’t use or access regularly, it also might not be worth making the move.
Choose Cloud Model
Time to choose a cloud model. Private, public or hybrid – which is right for your business? Private cloud refers to a cloud environment owned and used by a single organisation. Public cloud, on the other hand, refers to when a provider’s cloud resources and services are shared by multiple customers. The hybrid model is a combination of the two, tailored to your specific needs.
Decide on Provider
Unless you’re doing everything in-house, it’s now time to choose a cloud provider. Do plenty of research to ensure you’re getting the level of service you require. Look at reviews, which other brands are using the service, the quality and security of the data centres, and the size and experience of the company.
Back Up Data
The final thing to do before the migration gets under way is back everything up. The cloud is highly secure, but it’s always good practice to make a copy of everything just in case the worst happens and something critical goes missing.
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Once you’ve backed everything up, the database migration can begin. It’s usually advisable to use a phased approach, or at least check-in after each stage. After that, it’s just a matter of monitoring performance, and ensuring you continually get the best from your cloud computing.
Bespoke Cloud Migration for Businesses
Businesses are reliant on their IT infrastructure, and efficient IT infrastructure requires highly effective IT support. Three Cherries can help your business deliver your IT projects, from cloud migration to implementing Office 365.
Talk to us about your requirements today!
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