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What is Cloud Migration: Strategy, Benefits & Challenges

Cloud Migration – Businesses used to host their web-based applications on a shared server. However, as the number of application users started increasing, shared hosting was unable to cater to the growing demands, and businesses are left with no other option than investing in dedicated servers or data centers. Soon businesses realized that owning an entire dedicated server was not a wise decision. The reason being a large portion of server resources were left unutilized. Since businesses were paying the massive cost for owning dedicated servers and data centers irrespective of resource utilization, this proved to be a wrong business decision. This prompts businesses to migrate workloads and applications from on-premise to the Cloud.

In the last decade, Cloud adoption has boomed substantially and it is still at the priority of top business executives to-do lists. Today, businesses both large and small alike are actively making a transition to the Cloud from an on-premises data center to improve operational agility, flexibility, security, time-to-market, and reduce high capital expenditures (CapEx).

A report by Gartner states that by 2025, over 85% of organizations will embrace the Cloud-first policy. In fact, Cloud-native platforms will be accountable for more than 95% of new digital workloads by 2025, i.e. a 30% increase from 2021. Furthermore, over 45% of the IT spending on application software, infrastructure software, system infrastructure, and business process outsourcing will be shifted to the Cloud platform from traditional solutions by 2024. Despite heavy spending, many businesses fail to realize the potential of the Cloud owing to the lack of proper planning and choosing the wrong Cloud migration approach. To avoid a Cloud project failure, it is imperative to have a robust Cloud migration strategy in place before you start migrating the workloads and applications to the Cloud. So, why not take a quick look at the Cloud migration strategy you need for making a smooth transition to the Cloud but before that let’s understand what exactly Cloud migration is.

What is Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration means shifting your digital assets such as databases, IT resources, workloads, and applications from on-premise to the Cloud infrastructure. In many cases, businesses adopt Cloud migration to modernize their aging IT assets such as legacy business applications that are not operating at ideal capacity, aging servers that are encountering performance and downtime issues, and potentially unreliable firewall appliances. Typically, enterprises move their digital assets to the Cloud in a phased manner. There are several ways to shift your IT assets to the Cloud, let’s look at them in the Cloud migration strategy below.

What is a Cloud Migration Strategy?

A Cloud migration strategy is a detailed plan developed by an enterprise to move its applications, workloads, IT resources, etc. to the Cloud from on-premises architecture and servers. Most migration plans include a public cloud service provider such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provides a robust environment to lower data security risks, increase business agility, improve collaboration, reduce infrastructure complexity, and optimize soaring IT infrastructure costs, etc.

Gartner has discovered mainly five Cloud migration approaches, also known as the 5 R’s – Rehost, Refactor, Revise, Rebuild, Replace. Let’s look at them.

  • Rehost – As the name implies, ‘rehosting’ also known as ‘lift and shift,’ involves shifting workloads and applications to the Cloud from on-premises environments without making no big architectural change to the application and servers. Organizations that have just begun their Cloud migration expedition can consider the lift-and-shift strategy.
  • Refactor – It involves tweaking your application from scratch to make it Cloud-native. This migration approach is considered by businesses that want to leverage the potential of the Cloud but are unable to do so in their on-premise environment.
  • Revise – In this strategy, major significant changes are made to the application’s architecture and code to take full advantage of the Cloud.
  • Rebuild – It involves rebuilding your application architecture from scratch by doing away with the existing code base. This strategy demands a good amount of time and money but it can turn out to be highly beneficial since refactored applications are scalable, efficient, agile, and drive a great ROI.
  • Replace – In this approach, you don’t need to rebuild your native application from scratch, instead, you can simply migrate to a prebuilt application provided by a third-party vendor.

5 Key Benefits of Cloud Migration

By making a transition from on-premise to the Cloud, you can experience the following benefits:

  • Cost-efficient – On-premises IT assets are notorious for being expensive to buy and maintain. By migrating workloads and applications to the Cloud, you can convert your CapEx into OpEx.
  • Scalability – Unlike traditional IT environments wherein enterprises had to purchase, set up, and maintain software licenses, servers, data centres, and network equipment to meet the growing demands, Cloud migration allows you to easily scale up or down IT resources tailored to your business needs.
  • Security – Many Cloud service providers have robust built-in security mechanisms and data encryption policies in place so that you can rest assured about data security against malware attacks, cybercriminals, and hackers.
  • Enable Remote Working – Once you migrate IT assets to the Cloud, users can easily access workloads and applications from anywhere, anytime, which in turn, promotes remote work culture.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint – By opting for Cloud services, you can reduce your business dependence on physical data centers and servers. This not only helps you in reducing the carbon footprint but also cuts down on the costs of buying and maintaining multiple data centers.

Challenges Associated With Cloud Migration

The key challenges faced by businesses when planning to make a switch to the Cloud are as follows:

  • Poor Strategy – Many businesses start moving their IT assets to the Cloud without doing proper research and planning. It is important to note that successful migration requires a robust Cloud migration strategy since each application could have unique specifications and may require a different Cloud migration approach.
  • Vendor Lock-In – Cloud service providers offer a wide gamut of services, however, many of them can’t be extended from one Cloud platform to another. As a result, many enterprises find it difficult to switch when their existing Cloud service provider doesn’t meet the requirements.
  • Operation Downtime – Another common challenge that many businesses have to deal with during the Cloud migration is downtime. If your application is not accessible to users during the migration period, it might impact customer loyalty, brand reputation, and business bottom line.
  • Talent Shortage – There is a sharp shortage of seasoned professionals who can migrate your IT assets to the Cloud with minimal downtime and zero downtime. You may have to struggle in finding the right Cloud partner.
  • Complex Cost Structures – Cloud service providers offer multi-tier pricing plans. Without proper planning, there are chances that you may end up paying more than your Cloud usage.

Summing Up

Cloud migration offers a host of benefits to businesses both large and small alike but it has its own share of challenges. The good news is that you can overcome most of the challenges if you choose the right Cloud migration partner who can help you in developing a plan needed to make a hassle-free transition to the Cloud. So, begin your search for finding a reliable Cloud partner from authoritative platforms such as G2, GoodFirms, Clutch.co, etc.

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