How To Build A Cloud Migration Strategy

Building a clear cloud migration strategy may save your company time, money, and frustration.

The cloud migration process is slow and tedious but must be done thoughtfully. When companies rush the migration process or hire a cloud migration company that fails to build a proper strategy, the business, data, and security become severely at-risk. 

The best way to seamlessly transfer data during a cloud migration is by building a cloud migration strategy that assesses your needs and goals. 

Choosing the Type of Migration

While there are a variety of ways to migrate data to the cloud, we will be reviewing the three most significant:

  • Rehosting
  • Replatforming
  • Refactoring

Rehosting, often called the “lift and shift” method, involves migrating the application onto the cloud as-is without further fixing. While this strategy may work for specific industries and businesses, it is also one of the riskier migration plans available. While it’s convenient to “drag and drop” an application onto the cloud, the migration might fail. Additionally, without pre-migration optimization, some applications may suffer from performance issues.

However, we see this method deployed with the Microsoft Azure Files service, which works for some industries. Yet, it is not the most comprehensive way to transfer or migrate onto a cloud. 

Replatforming is similar to rehosting but requires application modification. These modifications allow clients to take advantage of cloud infrastructure that is not available under rehosting. Businesses tend to prefer the replatforming method since it enables clients to start small and scale as needed. Replatforming includes increased automation and functionality not offered with rehosting. However, replatforming can cause a bit of an overhaul, and clients may become frustrated with the dramatic change in application. 

The third method of migration is refactoring, the most involved and complex migration method out of the three models mentioned given its application code changes and testing functionality. Refactoring involves re-touching applications to fit the target cloud infrastructure so that the migration takes full advantage of the newly acquired cloud. Given its intensity, refactoring is the most expensive migration type but accrues the most return on investment when done correctly.

The most significant disadvantage to refactoring is the risk of failure. Each business must hire a cloud migration service that understands the challenges and risks with a refactoring cloud migration strategy.

Choosing a Deployment Model

Aside from choosing the type of migration, businesses will also need to decide their deployment model. There are four standard deployment models:

  • Public Cloud
  • Private Cloud
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Community Cloud

A public cloud is precisely that: A cloud available to the public. A third party or vendor administers the server and typically charges on a pay-per-use basis. These servers “pool” their resources, so clients never need to buy their own hardware. A public cloud is an excellent option for convenience and ease.

However, there are security concerns associated with public clouds. Companies and persons with highly confidential or sensitive data should not risk security by using a public cloud. Public clouds are a great option for low-risk data storage, but not for a massive healthcare business with private records. 

Private clouds, again, are exactly what they sound like: Clouds owned by a singular owner or company. Corporations tend to use private clouds due to their increased security. Unlike public clouds, companies may choose to host their server either internally or externally and do not share resources. Meaning, the public does not have access to the server or the data stored within the server. 

Moreover, private clouds offer companies increased security, more opportunities for customization and reliability. However, it is more expensive than a public cloud, but you pay for its benefits and privacy.  

Considerations For Building a Cloud Migration Strategy

Once you have chosen a type of migration and its deployment model, you will also want to consider the following:

  1. Fix application performance issues before beginning any migration.
  2. Have a backup in place.
  3. If able, start small and then scale.
  4. Have a “phase out” plan if the migration fails or does not cater to your company the way you had hoped it would.
  5. Audit, test, and test again. Auditing will allow you to see where your application is helping your business and where it could use a little bit of improvement.