“Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”
— Inventor Dean Kamen
Performing a cloud migration is no simple task, but with the proper information and organization prepared in advance, you can develop and execute an ironclad cloud migration strategy. In turn, resulting in the positioning and advancement of your business operations in these modern times. However, prior to building such a foolproof approach, it is important to make certain you understand what is involved in developing and deploying a cloud migration strategy, beginning with the basics: knowing what a cloud migration is and why you need it.
Before you can create a proper cloud migration strategy, knowing exactly what is involved in a cloud migration—and the various types of migration techniques you can employ—is essential. In its simplest terms, cloud migration is the process of transferring digital business functions to a cloud computing environment, often involving a change in your own business computing infrastructure from being on-premise or dedicated to legacy infrastructures. At a deeper level though, this is not a mere transference of data from one computing complex to another, but rather a complete upgrading of your digital operations so that future upgrades are seamlessly performed in the background while ongoing functions continue without skipping a beat.
There are variations to the original cloud migration theme of moving from hardware-laden operations to a cloud environment. There are times when you choose to switch to a new cloud service, at which point you will need to prepare another cloud migration strategy, one of transferring operations from one cloud to another. While the end result remains the same (migrating to a new computing environment), the process to achieve this goal is quite different.
Three approaches are typically employed in most cloud migration strategies. As you review and learn the differences between these three methods, you can see how these approaches differ, thereby choosing which methods will best meet your cloud migration needs and goals.
Considered the “classic” or “original” approach, lift and shift entails the moving of computing operations off-premise and into a cloud environment. One way of perceiving this process is as moving away from a physical data center within the offices and gravitating to the seeming “magic” of a cloud operation. Part of the magic involved in this process is the simplicity from the perspective of your workers: they still open and save files as they did before, and can summon print jobs or other computing tasks without changing their behaviors or methodologies.
Best of all is the instantly noticeable and measurable savings by letting your cloud server manage maintenance away from your site. The savings are twofold: less equipment downtime and fewer (or no) tech staffers to troubleshoot equipment failures (since the equipment is now handled by your cloud server). This approach is typically the least costly, as it involves fewer staffers (usually limited to infrastructure and security divisions) and the lowest learning curve for all employees. Additionally, this takes the least amount of advantage of the power which cloud services can bring to your business if all you are doing is storing data and reports for later retrieval and archival purposes.
You can further step up your game with cloud computing through application refactoring, sometimes called application modernization. Modernization is exactly the treatment your apps deserve and receive. Since apps are created for grabbing data and manipulating it in various fashions, there is no reason those apps cannot also reside in your cloud environment. Since your data is already in your cloud environment, your apps already access the cloud to obtain this important data, often resubmitting new data in the form of reports, projections, and recommendations. The obvious next step is to have your apps also reside in the cloud; since it pulls data out of the cloud for analysis it may as well perform all its calculations and permutations in the very same environment.
Legacy applications are ideal targets for application refactoring, as they can continue to operate during the refactoring of those applications within the cloud. In this way, essential functions remain fully available in the legacy applications until the migration is completed and can now function entirely within the cloud environment.
Once you begin realizing the improvement in performance and returns—which both lift and shift and application refactoring approaches have accomplished—your business is perfectly poised for re-platforming. At first glance, it may appear that re-platforming is a sort of tweaking with your existing cloud system, but it goes well beyond tinkering with your data and applications already in place. When properly deployed, re-platforming integrates mobility and scalability across your cloud provider, allowing your business to lead the way in both growth and cloud computing demands.
If you envision your company’s future as an agile enterprise ready to adapt to rapid changes in the world of business and life itself, your cloud migration strategy must include re-platforming as the final and ultimate approach to creating an ironclad cloud migration strategy. To ensure full success, do what other companies do: collaborate with OZ Digital Consulting to create, operate, and manage a robust cloud computing environment that significantly boosts your bottom line.
Murray consults with clients to create digital solutions that align with their vision, markets, customers and products. Prior to OZ, Murray co-founded Biztegra, a digital marketing, engagement and technology agency.
He also held senior positions at some of the world’s largest digital agencies, including Razorfish and Sapient, and began his career at what is now Accenture. An IASSC Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt™, Murray earned his B.S./B.A. in computer science and finance from the University of Florida.
OZ is a consulting and technology solutions leader focused on increasing customer engagement & operational excellence by leveraging Intelligent Automation.