Cloud migration is a highly efficient digital transformation strategy that implies moving data, configurations, services, OSes, and applications stored in the company’s local hardware to the virtual data center of a public cloud provider. According to the Fobers statistics, about 83% of the companies striving to achieve the leading market positions by 2020 will transfer their network infrastructures to the cloud. This can help make a company's operation on the market cheaper and scalable.
In the article, we will talk about the additional advantages of migrating to the cloud and new possibilities for your business, as well as about the steps you will need to take to make it.
Cloud Migration: Why And For What?
Any sort of organization planning to move to the cloud must handle one major task - advance to the next level while keeping the gained business shape and achievements intact. That is, however, an end result you can get by enhancing five key aspects. Let’s consider each in more detail.
Going through the digital transformation, companies require a new level of data protection, as everything stored previously on hard drives is transferred to the network. There, slightly different means of protecting data from hacks, viruses, and downtimes.
Lower Operational Costs
The increased level of reliability and security is quite possible to achieve due to the lowered costs required when operating in the network. Thus, you will need to pay either monthly fees in accordance with your tariff or pay for the volumes of memory spent exclusively (depending on the conditions of your cloud migration services provider).
Cloud Migration Unlimited Scalability
The cloud environment’s unlimited computational capacities, you will be able to continuously expand your network infrastructure without wasting too much time and effort on the reorganization of everything with the help of the new physical server equipment (which should only be done by the experts).
Fast Processes Deployment
There is no need to employ a whole team of professionals in the process of the network infrastructure scaling that would plan, setup, connect, and configure new network equipment during the cloud migration. You get an utterly fast and painless way to grow and accelerate your business processes.
Minimum Possible Downtime
Minimum risks of downtime are guaranteed during the cloud migration due to the unlimited memory resources, advanced fail-operational capability, and multi-level copying. The things and processes which are practically impossible to achieve with the help of only your set of server hardware (providing the sufficient fail-operational capability for systems locally is extremely expensive).
How to Move to the Cloud: Top 4 Steps Checklist for Your Business
Below, we suggest taking a look at the subsequent steps to take in order to properly form your cloud migration strategy.
Decide On Your Cloud Type And Service Model
To start things off, decide which type of cloud suits your requirements better. All in all, there are three cloud services types your business may become categorized as after the migration to the cloud:
- IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). A client gets virtual servers and virtual network for use; any software can be installed on it. There are three options you can choose from. The first one is the list-and-shift strategy - everything is moved without changes as much as possible; they are made only if absolutely necessary. The second one includes virtual automation powered by the cloud storage technology - so, you automate some processes to make operations more efficient. Finally, you can opt for DevOps transformation, which means using the cloud-native agile approach as much as possible;
- PaaS (Platform as a Service). It can be a web server or database; a client gets to manage the application while the OS is managed by the provider. This is an option that allows clients to set up certain connections between several apps and implement a set of configurations locally (i.e., this model does not require you to manage an OS or other software and you will be provided with a special web interface to handle the services; additionally, less server administration will be required, both in the aspect of its hardware and software parts);
- SaaS (Software as a Service). This is a private type of software (for instance, an email or some other office application); here, a client employs an app while all basic configurations are handled by a provider. SaaS is a readymade option of the cloud-stored software exploitation in the field.To handle the SaaS model, you will need a dedicated staff of system administrators who would work on the procedures of integrating the software transferred to the cloud (you get the full admin rights in the rented virtual servers; all the primary system configurations must be adjusted manually: software installation, firewall configuration etc.) As an alternative, you can choose to get a custom solution. Even if you don’t employ a whole department of IT specialists, you can turn to experts from digital transformation agency that will develop it for you to suit your every business need. You can read more about this here.
Allocate Your Resources
Next, you will need to define the most suitable provider tariff with the consideration of the models we described in the previous paragraph. If you realize that you are ready to expand your staff of employees with the whole department of IT support, the only reasonable option for you is the SaaS model (which is also the most expensive one). On the other hand, if you count all of the nuances, you probably see that the SaaS-based cloud migration is still cheaper than organizing new working spaces, paying regular salaries and taxes for a whole department of system administrators.
Document All Your Key-Points
At this point, you will have to gradually move from theory to practice. Prepare for the digital transformation in the following planned way to go through this period reasonably and efficiently:
- conduct an audit of your existing network infrastructure;
- prepare and approve with system administrators the work statement (including the SLA parameters);
- select the providers of software, hardware, and network security tools;
- plan the solution’s architecture in the cloud;
- create the planned schedule of migration for such activities as the software supplement plan, software-hardware complex configuration (including the network equipment and access parameters), as well as the testing of performance, fail-operational capability, and high accessibility of the newly-created platform.
Run a Pilot Project
The cloud migration as a whole can be partial or full. The first option is perfect for small and medium business where there are not as many services that must be stored on the organization’s physical equipment. The latter option is for large business and it implies gradual, subsequent transfer of services according to the previously composed plan of migration (the scheme of dependencies between applications).
Therefore, if the migration to the cloud in your particular case is a multi-stage, complex procedure to handle, we would recommend starting with moving only separate parts of your network infrastructure. In particular, launch a pilot project first - a project that would allow you to evaluate the reasonability of the required time, expenses, as well as to detect some possible potential issues. In the cloud migration context, such a pilot will define the secondary applications, a temporary absence of access to which during the reconfiguration will not cause any significant downtimes in your organization.
If you choose to get a tailor-made custom solution, this pilot project would be called minimum viable product (MVP). In this case, it would be a system with basic functionality that is tested by some of your employees to improve it. You can read about MVP development here.
Cloud migration is the most profitable and efficient way to scale your current network infrastructure and decrease its employment costs. Do you wish to migrate your software in such a way? We are a digital transformation agency Axisbits and we can help you with that. Describe your task in the contact form and we will contact you very soon to provide a detailed digital transformation consulting and get to implementing your migration in practice.