What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process with which a business or organization relocates some or all of their data center’s capabilities from a traditional on-premises environment into cloud-based infrastructure.
Why do organizations choose cloud migration?
Organizations choose to migrate their operations into the cloud for a wide variety of reasons, but cost, scalability, and security are some of the most common. By decentralizing their network operations, companies can enjoy a far more flexible amount of storage and processing power, while only paying for the level of service that they actually need. Additionally, cloud users are no longer beholden to “vendor lock-in,” which as the name implies, can make your operations less flexible due to compatibility.
What does cloud migration involve?
Cloud migration involves relocating all of the organization’s digital assets, including data, applications, and IT resources. While there can be significant challenges to cloud migration, devising a proper migration strategy and following the proper steps can help reduce headaches and ensure reliable network uptime. Once the migration is complete, roles and responsibilities should also be updated to ensure that all processes and upkeep are working properly, just as they would be with a traditional data center.
While some prefer to make their entire transition all at once, others take a more step-by-step approach to cloud migration. The single most important goal in cloud migration is having as seamless a transfer as possible, while avoiding catastrophic situations like data loss or company downtime.
What are the benefits of cloud migration?
Of the numerous benefits to moving away from legacy servers and on-premises data operations, the most common are cost, scalability, and security.
Maintaining an on-premises data center can be extremely costly. Both hardware and software outdate themselves at a rapid pace, often requiring organizations to confront large infrastructure costs. Migrating to the cloud removes this cost and shifts certain maintenance responsibilities onto the provider.
Scalability is another factor that, prior to cloud operations, was expressed in dollars. Cloud operations offer a dynamic, scalable environment where processing and storage capabilities are added on an as-needed basis. Unlike scaling up an on-premises environment, with the cloud a business pays only for the services they use.
Security is a pervasive issue for organizations moving to the cloud. Cloud services can provide improved security (often a must for institutional compliance) and, given the multiple locations inherent to cloud-based storage, redundant data backups are kept safe in the event of an attack.
What are the types of cloud migration?
Containers offer developers many advantages because of their:
The type of cloud migration people think of most often is commonly referred to by IT professionals as rehosting (or, more colloquially, “lift and shift”). Lift and shift generally goes unnoticed by employees; it involves little more than moving the applications and data from a physical location to the cloud, where it can be served by multiple locations.
Refactoring is when your cloud-based applications are optimized for better performance in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model. The applications themselves remain essentially unchanged outside of optimization that makes better use of the available cloud-based tools, security, or enterprise standards. Rearchitecting involves a more complete coding overhaul of the applications, though the terms are used somewhat interchangeably.
Similarly, replatforming or rebuilding involves a shift to a more cloud-compliant operating system. This can involve some level of staff retraining, as applications can perform differently once migrated.
The last type of cloud migration is relocating from one cloud server to another. This is another type of rehosting where, for a variety of reasons, an organization needs to shift to a different provider. For example, cloud relocation could be due to cost, increased need for capability, or quality of service.
What is the cloud migration process?
There are three essential steps to preparing a cloud migration so the process goes smoothly and without incident. Beginning with a global view of the needs and challenges ahead helps make the move more efficient and seamless.
1. Define your operation’s business case and strategy by asking, “What are the key benefits to migrating to the cloud?” Once the objectives and desired outcomes are defined and plainly understood, a migration strategy becomes more logical.
2. The assessment phase, which involves the discovery process of determining which applications and data will be migrated, to where, and when. This should also include dependency mapping and an objective risk assessment, making sure that service-level agreements will be upheld after the migration is complete.
3. The actual migration, where the heavy lifting takes place. It is imperative that not only are applications fully cloud-native, but also that the infrastructure is set up in such a way that downtime is avoided both inside and outside the organization.
There are several automated management tools available to ensure a smooth migration. They help the process go quickly while providing consistency and repeatability. By maintaining and referencing your migration plan, it’s considerably easier to make sure everything is going as it should.
What are the challenges of cloud migration?
While the goal is always a seamless transition, planning ahead for some of the challenges inherent to cloud migration can take some of the headaches out of the process. Anticipating the complexity ahead of time—and having the resources available to resolve any issues—can be the difference between a smooth migration process and a problematic situation.
In addition to time and budget, anticipating cloud sprawl is an important step to take long before migrating a single bit of data. Cloud sprawl can occur when an organization doesn’t monitor or control excess machines or workloads, often leading to surprise costs.
For example, while some applications move easily to the cloud, others face challenges like latency or security and compliance issues. Whenever possible, modernizing and rebuilding applications to perform optimally in the cloud can be a wise investment of time and resources. It’s entirely possible that certain apps benefit more from the cloud, while others perform better as legacy apps.
Having the right team members at the ready to oversee cloud application and data management beyond the migration process is another consideration that needs to be addressed ahead of time. Ensuring that any IT professionals or administrators have been properly trained on a particular cloud architecture is a wise, but occasionally overlooked step. HPE suggests setting up a Cloud Business Office (CBO), a group of architects, operations specialists, and security professionals that can ensure consistent communication and decision-making for cloud migration and beyond.
Using cloud migration tools and services like HPE Pointnext can go a long way in anticipating these challenges and addressing them before they become issues. In addition, HPE has published a series of industry white papers clearly spelling out many of the issues those migrating to the cloud can face, as well as the resolutions and best practices for avoiding them.
Cloud migration use cases
While there are hundreds of cloud implementations that can help organizations leverage the power of their data, these are some of the most common use cases for cloud migration.
Organizations use the cloud’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) capabilities to maintain a balance of server load. If traffic is suddenly or significantly increased, their cloud management tools are able to quickly react, provision, and scale up capabilities, ensuring users aren’t frustrated by long load times.
Retail and social media businesses collect, store, and monetize large amounts of valuable information about their users’ behaviors. At the same time, most companies have begun collecting their own data to help them make informed decisions on everything from product development to marketing and more. Using HPE IaaS-based cloud services to interpolate, manage, and analyze this information can provide a powerful competitive advantage over the industry.
With virtually unlimited data storage, it’s possible for organizations to automate and store complete data backups. When the unthinkable happens, this PaaS feature gives you quick point-and-click access to exactly what you need to get back up and running quickly.
Before the cloud, building, testing, and deploying software could take years. The flexibility of cloud-based PaaS solutions gives development teams a far more synergistic way to increase workflow and productivity. With features like integrated process automation, debugging, compiling codebases, and project management, software development in the cloud has never been so robust.
HPE and cloud migration
From planning to implementation, HPE has a deep knowledge base and a dedicated staff of consultants to help position your cloud migration for success. With more than 1000 cloud transformations to date, we can help provide the right mix of clouds for your specific challenges, while also identifying potential blind spots in technology or skills.
The HPE Transformation Program gives you an objective view of your people, process, and technology while helping set up a Cloud Business Office (CBO). We can also provide financial analysis of your current IT infrastructure and potential costs of migrating to the cloud.
Our experts will help develop or evaluate your application migration plan, assisting you in anticipating which applications are best positioned for cloud migration. HPE additionally offers a Cloud-Native Software Development service, helping your teams work together to ensure application development and deployment are optimized.
Finally, HPE offers your organization DevOps training and certification, as well as Maturity Assessment, aligning your team around a common vision and how to reach it. No two organizations require the same amount of support, but HPE strives to ensure your cloud migration is a success.