Cloud Migration | How to Move Data to the Cloud with Minimum Efforts

Cloud Migration | How to Move Data to the Cloud with Minimum Efforts
The idea of migrating your data to the cloud may sound like a copy and paste task, but in reality, there are challenges, pitfalls, and things to consider. This article defines and provides an overview of the cloud data migration process and suggests the best practices to turn it into a value-increasing opportunity for your business.

Cloud Migration in Brief

What is cloud migration? Cloud migration is when you transfer your data, applications and workflows from on-premise software to a cloud-based one. Cloud data migration may also mean moving the data from one cloud to another. Some companies also consider transferring only part of their data to the cloud to learn how the cloud approach will work.

There are many cloud solutions. Most of them are designed to meet specific business needs, so cloud migration is always a flexible and business-tailored process.

Types of Cloud Environment

There are a lot of questions you have to solve within the framework of your cloud migration strategy. The choice of which cloud environment to use is one of them. There are several you can choose from.

  • Public. A public cloud is owned and provided by a cloud service provider to many organizations. For example, Amazon has a whole set of public cloud environments provided to companies depending on their business specifics and needs. Using a public cloud is one of the most popular approaches to cloud migration.
  • Private. A private cloud is one used by its owner exclusively. Private clouds are the best choice for companies and industries with a need for a high level of security, for example, financial and government organizations.
  • Hybrid. A hybrid cloud combines the features of public and private ones. In this case, sensitive data is stored in a private cloud, while other workflows are managed from a public one.
  • Multicloud. You use cloud solutions from different providers to better meet specific data management requirements. For example, a company can use the cloud from both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Azure at the same time.

Cloud Service Models

Depending on the type of cloud data migration and the business challenges you face, you can choose among three cloud service models, each of which is tailored to specific business needs.

  • Software as a Service (SaaS). It is the most popular business model used by cloud providers. In this case, you rent cloud software with a predefined set of features needed for your business goal and pay for the package, the amount of data, and computing power you actually use. There is no need to develop anything. You have to set it up and use it.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS). In this case, you pay for a pre-developed cloud platform that your developers use to build the ecosystem you need.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is when you move your infrastructure to the cloud. In this case, hardware management and maintenance are the responsibility of the service provider.

Why and When You Need to Migrate to the Cloud - Use Cases

Moving to the cloud is the choice most modern companies are making. Below are some cases when you may have to move to the cloud.

  1. Move from a legacy system. 40% of companies that migrate to the cloud from a legacy system do it to improve the security of their data. Cloud data migration also allows a company to deal with legacy system tech limitations.
  2. Get a competitive advantage. Migration to the cloud is also an opportunity to create a competitive advantage because of the possibility of cutting costs and making employee workflow more flexible. Time and money can be redirected to other tasks aimed at business growth.
  3. Better response to work-from-home challenges. Cloud migration creates new opportunities for businesses to leverage more efficiency when employees are working from home. In such an environment, using the cloud for data management is the best choice.

Cloud Migration Benefits

According to the cloud guide, application migration to the cloud has the following benefits.

Simplified Service Maintenance

Maintaining the cloud is the responsibility of the service provider. If there is any issue, you can instantly get in touch with tech support to solve it.

Simplified Application Integration

If you choose AWS cloud migration, you can expect lots of support materials and tutorials to help you with data migration. Still, your tech team needs to get ready to adopt the best cloud management practices to make this solution effective for your business.

Reasonable Costs

Getting started with the cloud and launching a data migration process is a more affordable solution compared to proceeding with a legacy system or using an on-premise server. Amazon AWS, for example, also has a Free Tie opportunity which allows the company to get started with cloud services at a discount. Although this option isn’t 100% free, it turns out to be more competitive than offers from other cloud providers.

Eco-Friendly and Energy-Efficient Approach

It is one of the most valuable benefits of businesses that have environmental protection as one of their core values. According to Microsoft, the use of cloud solutions is 79-93% more energy-efficient, compared to traditional storage.

Better Safety

Even though a cloud isn’t a totally secure solution (there is currently no technology that can provide you with such a guarantee), it is still safer than on-premise servers.

Strict Access Control

Cloud data management allows for setting up access to the data carefully and with flexibility. With a cloud solution, you always know who uses the data and how the process goes. It is the perfect option for companies that should be regulation-compliant. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) strictly regulates levels of medical data access, and using cloud software makes it easy to follow these regulations.

Automatic Updates

Since cloud software management is the responsibility of the provider, you also don’t have to think about updates. They will happen automatically.

Seamless Collaboration

Cloud migration is also an opportunity to make your employees more flexible, allowing them to collaborate more effectively and seamlessly. It is a cutting-edge advantage during work-at-home times, plus there are fewer reasons to worry about data security provided that your remote employees are well aware of corporate data protection practices.

Cloud Migration Strategy: 6 Main Types

There are six main approaches to the data migration process. Here they are:

  1. Rehosting. As the name suggests, rehosting is changing the environment that hosts your data from an on-premise to a cloud-based one. This strategy is suitable when the data needs to be transferred as is and the company has no long-term plans to leverage more cloud opportunities.
  2. Replatforming. This approach is similar to the previous one, but in this case, you change your app code to make it more compatible with the cloud platform.
  3. Repurchasing. A strategy for replacing your legacy app - for example, a customer relationship management (CRM) software with a newer cloud-based one like SalesForce.
  4. Refactoring. In this case, you need to completely rebuild your data infrastructure to make it compatible with the cloud. It is the most expensive approach, but it allows for developing cloud management strategies for the long run.
  5. Retiring. This strategy means abandoning the apps you no longer need in the process of migrating data.
  6. Retaining. This process implies moving only part of your data to the cloud.

The Main Challenges of Cloud Migration

A data migration process always needs a clear strategy, backed up by a data migration plan. Strategic thinking and forecasting are essential to avoid the following challenges of a migration process.

  • Downtime. If the data is migrating from an on-premise server to a cloud one, at some point, there will be a need to disable a local server. It may lead to downtime. To deal with such a challenge, you need to have a thought-out data migration strategy, a backup plan of action, and the support of a tech-savvy vendor.
  • Data loss. A nightmare for most business owners. You should always back up and encrypt your data regardless of your intent to migrate it.
  • Resource management. Cloud adoption always includes some changes in business operations and data management. Make sure your employees are ready to adapt to the cloud and make the most out of it.
  • Interoperability. Sometimes the transferred apps aren’t cloud-compatible. To avoid this situation, choose the most appropriate cloud migration strategy of the six types listed above.
  • Cloud provider choice. The wrong choice of a cloud provider isn’t immediately apparent. In this case, the companies recognize issues after the cloud migration plan is completed, but there are too many costs and too little efficiency to make it work as expected. The only approach to avoid this pitfall is to be attentive at the seed stages, consult a data migration vendor, and (if possible) get started with the most affordable cloud service packages.
  • Cost estimate. Be careful when estimating the cost of cloud migration, and especially the cost of cloud usage. For example, the Pay as You Go pricing model provided by Amazon AWS is the most flexible one. However, it may turn out to become the most expensive one as well if there is a sudden workload boost.

Conclusion

Migrating to the cloud is essential, and doing it most efficiently is even more critical. Cprime Studios tech-savvy specialists are ready to support you on this path, help you create a data migration plan, and seamlessly move your data to the cloud. Get in touch with us for help.