Cost-effective, hassle-free, and easily scalable; these are just some of the reasons why organizations are quickly moving from a physical to a cloud-based infrastructure system. But many times, the transition is far from smooth.
Technical glitches and hiccups can mar the fun in the process and make you think, why did I choose to move to acloud-based infrastructure in the first place? To save you from this thought and to take you into the cloud (literally!), we have prepared this step by step guide which will help you in migrating to the cloud.
1.Why do you want to move to the cloud?
This is a pretty basic question which you need to ask yourself, and you should discuss it with your team before you go ahead with the process. Yes, the benefits of cloud are many, but do they corroborate with your requirements? Is it possible that right now, it might not be a very good idea to migrate to the cloud? Think hard about it, as a substantial amount of effort is required before you migrate to the cloud.
2.Establish a cloud migration team
Once you have decided that you want to go ahead with the decision to migrate to the cloud, it is a good idea to establish a dedicated team for overseeing the cloud migration responsibilities. This will eliminate a lot of confusion and ensure that the process goes on smoothly. If your cloud migration warrants, then you could also consider assigning a migration-architect role to one of your senior system architects.
The migration team will be responsible for designing the strategies necessary for smooth migration of data, establishing migration priorities, and deciding the cloud-solutions which shall be required. A migration team will come especially handy in a massive migration project as many times, technical plans would need rejigging, and you do not want to have indecision plaguing your migration process when this happens.
3.Cloud Integration: Shallow or deep?
One of the crucial decisions which you need to take while devising your cloud migration strategy is the level of cloud integration. The thing is, when you move your data from an on-site server to a cloud one, you mostly have two broad choices.
In this method, you just lift and shift the data to the cloud without taking the effort of integrating it into the cloud. The application will run, but you won’t be able to realize the power of the cloud in this method fully.
In Deep cloud integration, you would make the necessary changes into your application, making it more cloud-specific. Your application will then be able to utilize the power of cloud-like serverless computing as seen in AWS Lambda. You might need to use the services of cloud-specific data store like Amazon S3.
4.How many clouds will you need?
Customers nowadays are spoilt for choices, especially while selecting their cloud service provider. But first of all, you must choose whether you need to go with a single cloud service provider or would you prefer to take a calculated risk and go with multiple cloud providers.
The benefit of selecting a single cloud service provider is that your developers will face less hassle as they will need to learn the API’s only for a single cloud service provider. Another advantage is that your application can take the benefit of every little feature that your cloud service provider has to offer.
The disadvantage of this method is that it is tough to change your service provider. As once you have integrated your application with one cloud service provider, it is pretty challenging to switch service providers.
Sometimes you might not get the best deal in terms of SLAs and pricing as your cloud service provider knows that it would be substantially disadvantageous to you to migrate from their service to the competitor’s service for small price differences.
The second option is to go with a multi-cloud strategy. But there are complications involved here as well; there are many types of multi-clouds you can choose from.
Two clouds two different sets of applications:- This is the simplest multi-cloud strategy. In this one set of applications is run on one cloud service provider while another set of applications is run on another cloud service provider.
This strategy allows you the freedom to select the best cloud service provider according to a particular set of applications. Also, it gives you leverage in terms of pricing. It gives you the freedom to optimize your application according to the features provided by each cloud service provider.
One application multiple clouds- In this approach, some parts of an application are run on one cloud service while another cloud service provider handles other parts. In this approach, you can utilize the benefits that each service provider offers. But there is a catch if any of the cloud service providers face issues, then your entire application will face problems.
Cloud agnostic application-In this strategy, companies build their applications in such a manner that it can run on any cloud service provider. This approach provides great flexibility to your company, and you can seek an upper hand in negotiations with the cloud service providers.
But, you cannot gain the specific benefits provided by each cloud service provider. Also, your developers will face headaches while implementing this strategy.
5.Define performance parameters
You should have clearly defined KPI’s, which will aid you in measuring whether the performance of your application is up to the mark or not. Understand that on-site KPI’s are different from cloud KPI’s. A good KPI for cloud migration will show how well the migration is going and will help you in identifying potential issues. Sample KPI’s
- Page load time
- Session time
- Response time
- Error rates
- Cart additions
- Engagement rates
You need to determine which KPI’s are most likely to be affected by cloud migration and take preventive actions accordingly.
Before you start the process of migration, it is a good idea to measure the current performance. Doing this will help to quickly determine whether the performance post-migration is up to acceptable levels or not.
6.All at once or step by step
Another thing that you need to consider is whether you should migrate the whole application at once or one component at a time.
If you wish to migrate your application one service at a time, then you will need to identify the interlinks between these services. Once you have done that, then it is advisable to move the services with the least amount of dependencies first.
A certain amount of work is necessary on your application to make it cloud-ready. Sometimes it becomes essential to re-factor your application; this helps the app to achieve dynamic scaling, which saves your cloud service costs. Refactoring also helps you in moving to a service-oriented architecture, allowing you to move individual services quickly to the cloud.
You should execute the migration of your data in a planned manner as the location of your data has a vital impact on how your application behaves. If your data is located on-site and the service which accesses the information is on the cloud, then issues might crop up.
You can use a bi-directional syncing mechanism to ensure that the data between your on-site and cloud databases get synced properly. You could use the cloud data migration service provided by Amazon and Microsoft.
7.Choosing the correct cloud service provider
Apart from cost and the features provided, here are a few things you should consider while selecting a cloud service provider to migrate
- How will your cloud service provider help you in data migration?
- Does your cloud service provider support multi-cloud environments of any scale?
- How experienced is your cloud service provider?
- Can your cloud service provider help you in dealing with inflexible and redundant architectures?
8.Execute the migration
Once you have completed all the steps as mentioned above, it’s time to make the transition. Here you could either choose to migrate all your data in one-go or take a more cautious approach and migrate a few customers first, see the effect and then migrate the other customers.
Mitigating the challenges that you are bound to face while migrating to the cloud can prove to be a tough task if the process is unplanned. The steps outlined above will ensure that you face minimum hiccups while migrating to the cloud.