Cloud computing is a foundational step toward digital transformation. Cloud computing can empower data-driven decision making, organizational agility, and enhanced productivity. Today approximately half of all companies globally store business critical data on the cloud. Unlike companies that were forced to rush into cloud migration because of the pandemic, companies today have the opportunity to take a thoughtful, best-practice approach to cloud migration.
Approaches to Cloud Migration
Cloud migration moves data, applications, and computational workloads from physical servers to the cloud.
An organization can choose to move part or all of an application or workload. For example, they may migrate data storage to a cloud platform while hosting the application's code in their data center. Or they may use on-premises infrastructure as a primary site while leveraging the cloud for disaster recovery. Approaches that combine on-premises and cloud hosting are often called a hybrid cloud environment, whereas approaches that combine multiple cloud environments are referred to as multi-cloud.
Additionally cloud migration can involve transferring partial or entire management of enterprise systems to an external vendor:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is one end of the spectrum of cloud migration and involves maintaining applications, data, middleware and operating systems under company control while virtualization, servers, storage and networking are managed by a service provider.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) leaves control of applications and data in the hands of the company while all other functions are handed over to a service provider.
- Software-as-a-Services (Saas) which involves the transfer of software, storage and platform management to a service provider.
Lastly, organizations generally choose to pursue one of the three main cloud migration strategies:
- Lift and Shift. This is where an organization shifts from local hosting to a cloud provider with minimal changes to the migrated application.
- Refactoring. This strategy involves updating an application's components to meet current and upcoming functional, security, and enterprise standards.
- Rearchitecting. This strategy involves replacing an existing application with a new application which is fully optimized for the cloud. Cloud-native applications are designed to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud computing
Benefits of Cloud migration
Unlike companies that rushed into cloud migration due to the pandemic, organizations are now able to take a more rigorous approach that allows them to fully consider current and future needs and realize the maximum benefit from their migration.
Regardless of which approach an organization chooses to take, cloud migration can provide wide ranging benefits:
- Scalability and Flexibility. Scaling on-premises infrastructure is often time consuming and expensive. Cloud scaling can be quick and inexpensive within additional capacity being brought online and removed in minutes as needed.
- Cost. Physical infrastructure requires continuous maintenance and support and dedicated teams to perform this work. Cloud infrastructure is typically managed by a service provider who assumes this responsibility using technology, automation tools, and its own teams at a fraction of the cost.
- Improved Security. Major cloud providers provide state of the art security solutions with automated updates and patching to ensure your enterprise infrastructure and data are always protected.
- Simplified IT Management. Modern cloud administration interfaces offer a wide range of functions that let organization monitor, configure, and modify any element of their environment.
- Mobility. Cloud service providers can support best in class security approaches for dispersed workers. Cloud solutions can be configured to incorporate zero trust policies, SDWAN software, and other approaches to support secure, low-risk access for remote workforces.