Businesses around the world are discovering the value of replacing legacy, on-premises technology with cost-effective and scalable cloud platforms. Cloud migration can result in a wide range of benefits, such as reduced IT costs, improved security, increased business agility and accelerated growth.
The cloud also enables modern organizations to leverage new technologies and gain a competitive edge in their industry. However, transitioning to the cloud can be a complex process that requires a well-developed plan and expertise in cloud technology.
Application migration to the cloud refers to the process of moving software applications from on-premises servers to a cloud environment. This process generally involves the transferring of a database, data, IT processes and applications to the cloud.
While there are countless advantages of application migration to the cloud, there is also a large risk that the migration could fail. In fact, research published by Unisys revealed that one in three cloud migrations fail when businesses do not approach the cloud as part of their core strategy and plan accordingly.
Having a solid and comprehensive plan before beginning an application migration to the cloud is critical for a successful transition. Learn more about application migration to the cloud, what the process entails and how to streamline the process.
Defining Application Migration
Application migration is the process of moving software applications from one computing environment to another. Applications can be migrated from an on-premises server to a cloud provider’s environment, from one data center to another or from a public cloud to a private cloud environment.
There are several common application migration strategies that businesses can adopt based on their unique needs, time limitations, budget constraints and similar factors. A move without conversions occurs when moving an asset, such as a website, to the public cloud from an on-premises environment.
This type of move can create significant savings and provide businesses with extra support through cloud optimization functionality, such as on-demand capacity extension and disaster recovery tools.
Another common application migration strategy involves choosing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) replacement that can meet the business’s requirements while freeing up on-premises resources for alternative workloads.
Choosing a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) replacement is also an option that can result in increased business agility during periods of high demand. Other strategies involve modernizing applications by adding new or improved functionality. Workloads that do not provide value should be retired.
Today, there are many excellent application migration tools and services on the market that help make application migration to the cloud fast and simple. Some of the most well-known options include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Velostrata, Micro Focus PlateSpin and Turbonomic.
Cloud Migration Steps
Having a clear and concise plan for application migration to the cloud is critical to increasing the odds of a successful transition. The following steps provide a basic outline of what businesses can expect when navigating the application migration process:
1. Establish Purpose Of Moving To The Cloud
Before initiating an application migration to the cloud, organizations must first define their objectives for wanting to move to the cloud. This can be achieved by following an analysis-based approach. Does the business want to reduce costs? Improve scalability? Adopt new features?
These goals can impact decisions made later on during the migration process and what resources will be required to complete the project. Cloud migrations that align with key business objectives are more likely to succeed compared to siloed projects performed within an IT department.
2. Gather A Dedicated Cloud Migration Team
Finding the right group of professionals to assist in the application migration to the cloud is essential. Businesses ready to migrate to the cloud will want the expertise of a project manager, business analyst, architect and a specialist in infrastructure and/or application.
It can also be useful to consult with other professionals who can provide guidance before starting the migration, such as a security specialist, vendor management expert and a professional who is familiar with the industry and unique processes of the business.
3. Conduct A Cloud-Readiness Assessment
The next step in the process involves determining whether the organization is ready to move to the cloud. Perform a cloud-readiness assessment that will provide a comprehensive overview of the organization’s current environment, applications and infrastructure.
A cloud-readiness assessment should provide an in-depth analysis of what technology the business uses and how it is used. Most legacy applications are not optimized for use in cloud environments and this type of architecture can become inefficient and costly in the cloud.
4. Select A Cloud Vendor And Environment
Choosing a cloud vendor is one of the most important steps in the application migration process. Some of the most prominent cloud hosting platforms include well-known names like Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and AWS, among others. Choose a platform that meets the business’s requirements and preferences.
The cloud migration team will need to decide whether a private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud environment is best for the organization. According to a survey published by Gartner, 81 percent of public cloud users work with two or more cloud providers.
5. Develop A Roadmap Of The Application Migration
Once an organization has determined the purpose of the migration and what they can expect to achieve from its completion, it is time to outline the priority of each component to be transferred. Map out how each phase will be implemented based on a schedule that reflects the organization’s preferred timeframe and budget.
Having a comprehensive roadmap to look upon during the migration can be invaluable, especially for organizations that choose to incrementally migrate various functions to the cloud. A clear roadmap can help the migration team stay on task, achieve an accurate timeline and reduce the risk of elements being overlooked.
6. Prepare The Application For The Cloud
The next step in the application migration process involves getting the application cloud-ready. Businesses can approach this step in two main ways: rehosting (lift and shift) or refactoring (re-architect).
Rehosting is when an application is moved to a cloud environment in its “as is” condition. Refactoring, on the other hand, means making changes to the application architecture in an attempt to leverage cloud capabilities. While refactoring can have great results, it can also be highly time-consuming.
7. Migrate The Data
Developing a data migration plan is a critical component in the application migration process. A well-written data migration strategy will involve auditing the data to avoid unexpected problems and to resolve any identified issues before the process goes any further.
Data migration typically involves three main steps: data extraction, data transformation and data loading. It is important to always back up data before starting a data migration as a safety precaution. Testing is also recommended at each phase of the data migration to prevent unnecessary loss.
8. Execute Testing And Switch To Production
Once the cloud environment has been successfully set up based on the business’s specifications, the data has been populated and the application is in the cloud, it is time to switch to production.
It is possible that problems could arise even with extensive testing. Consider migrating a set of test users to the new environment before the full launch to identify possible issues that may have been missed during the initial testing.
Advantages Of Application Migration
Migrating an application to the cloud can have a wide range of advantages for businesses, including the following:
The use of public cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure or AWS, can be highly efficient, resulting in reduced operating costs when properly managed. Businesses only pay for what they use, paying more during peak times and less when they require less storage capacity and infrastructure.
Applications on the cloud enable team members to efficiently collaborate on files and documents in real-time.
Data saved directly to a computer or other device has the potential to become lost or corrupted. With cloud applications, the data is accessible on any device. Even if a laptop or computer is damaged beyond repair, the data can be otherwise accessed.
It is not always easy to see into the future to determine an organization’s future needs. However, as a business grows, it will require more infrastructure which can be resolved with the use of the cloud. Businesses can easily purchase more storage space or downsize services as needed.
Employees, vendors and clients can access data and documents from any device or location with cloud-based applications. This mobilization of information can increase productivity.
Disaster recovery can be a costly endeavor with on-premise applications. However, data on the cloud is automatically backed up, allowing users to pick up exactly where they left off.
Challenges Of Cloud Migration
While there are many benefits of cloud migration, there are also some challenges that can arise. To achieve a successful cloud adoption and implementation, businesses require an end-to-end migration plan that is comprehensive and free of shortcuts.
Without a defined strategy, problems can arise that result in downtime and unexpected costs. When transitioning to the cloud, businesses must ensure that the data they move is secure.
Organizations must also ensure that their data strategy complies with all relevant government and industry regulations to avoid financial penalties and other consequences. Problems can also arise when businesses fail to properly calculate costs or engage skilled professionals to effectively manage the migration.
Get In Touch With Orases
Is application migration to the cloud the next logical step for your business? The custom software development professionals at Orases can help your organization navigate the complexity of application migrations. For more information about migrating to the cloud, or to speak with an experienced Maryland custom software development professional, contact Orases online today.