Today, cloud services play a more significant role in digital transformation than ever before. Moving businesses to the cloud have been commonplace for several years, but it has accelerated significantly due to pandemics, shaping new trends.
According to Statista, an average of six out of ten companies have already migrated to the cloud. In turn, according to the latest forecast by Gartner. Inc, already 70% of companies using the cloud plan to increase their budgets in the future, and by 2024, enterprise spending on the cloud will account for 14% of global IT revenues.
The increase in the use of the cloud is a vital sign for companies, as it has huge market potential within it and provides an impetus to innovate and develop their products and services. 36% of application companies using on-premises infrastructure to host their software have moved to the cloud.
However, to make the transformation successful and not source high costs, the migration process needs to be well analyzed and planned in the context of the business requirements. Let’s start with the definition of cloud migration, the main activity models, and what a migration strategy looks like using AWS tools.
Table of Contents
What is cloud migration?
Migration to the cloud moves data and applications from a local server to a cloud provider environment. The cloud migration process involves moving applications, databases, and the entire system infrastructure to the cloud. It can also mean migrating from one cloud to another.
Why migrate to the cloud?
Many organizations migrate local applications and data from a local data center to a public cloud infrastructure to save costs, reduce delivery times or gain greater flexibility. Moreover, migrating to the cloud is usually the route to further innovation. Here are some of the benefits that are causing organizations to migrate their resources to the cloud:
Scalability is much-needed to handle larger workloads or the number of users. In a traditional on-premises infrastructure, scaling is complex and costly, with companies having to purchase and configure physical servers, software licenses, storage, and network hardware.
Scaling in the cloud is much simpler. Most cloud services can be scaled up or down as required. For example, cloud storage services provide almost infinite data storage, and companies do not need to manage physical storage devices.
If cloud services are appropriately managed, they are significantly cheaper than maintaining on-premises infrastructure. For example, AWS EC2 instances can be scaled up and down, and companies can choose from many different setup configurations depending on their needs.
In addition, cloud infrastructure does not require significant upfront investment; users only pay for the infrastructure they use. On top of this, cloud providers take over maintenance and upgrades, so companies migrating to the cloud can spend much less on IT operations. However, the lower costs must be adequately monitored and controlled to avoid wasting resources.
The flexibility of cloud platforms allows companies to respond to changing customer and market demands. They can quickly deploy and scale infrastructure, and improve performance and end-user convenience. Cloud-hosted applications and websites can easily be scaled to support more users or bandwidth.
They can also operate in geographical locations close to end users to reduce network latency. In addition, cloud platforms make it easier for DevOps teams to develop applications, enabling companies to develop and deploy new features quickly.
The cloud provider manages some physical and network security and provides tools to help companies monitor and secure the infrastructure. While it is mainly responsible for some aspects of infrastructure security, you must ensure that you configure and manage your cloud services according to best security practices. Therefore, you must ensure that the proper configuration is in place from the migration planning stage.
Users can access cloud services and data from anywhere, whether they are employees or customers. This contributes to digital transformation, provides a better experience for customers, and provides employees with modern, flexible tools.
Migrating to the AWS cloud. Is it worth it?
According to statistics (Cloud computing 2022), AWS (Amazon Web Services) is number one among the most popular file storage services. It is a widely used cloud platform in the world, offering more than 200 full-featured services. They are based on the global infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering, or Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which enables the creation of dynamic, scalable, automated computing environments.
Cost ━ AWS provides a wide range of services that allow you to use precisely the level of service you need to control costs. For example, you can perform data tiering in the cloud and store data in an inexpensive storage service such as Amazon Glacier.
Scalability ━ AWS cloud services offer infinite scalability and multiple ways to manage it – from automatic scaling on EC2 instances to container deployments, serverless features, and more.
Agility ━ AWS provides a comprehensive approach to automation, integrates with DevOps workflows, and allows teams to act immediately in development, test, and production environments to organize rapid iteration.
With high availability and disaster recovery ━ Amazon offers multiple data centers worldwide, with multi-AZ functionality that allows cloud services to run in multiple data centers. This means that your services will continue in the event of a disaster affecting one geographic region.
What to consider when defining a migration strategy? Challenges
In migration projects, we often limit ourselves only to the technical aspects of moving our application to the cloud. The step that should be last, we do first. We cannot expect the cloud to miraculously solve all our business and technical problems. So let’s look at what mistakes to avoid in migration projects and what a model cloud transition project should look like.
Many organizations embark on a cloud migration without giving sufficient time and attention to their strategy. Successful cloud adoption and implementation requirements, comprehensive migration planning. Each application and data set may have different needs and considerations and require a different migration approach. Therefore, you must prepare a clear business case for each workload migrating to the cloud.
When migrating to the cloud, many organizations do not set clear KPIs to ensure the resource savings they expect from the migration. This makes it challenging to understand whether the migration has proven cost-effective. In addition, cloud environments are dynamic, and costs can change rapidly as new services are adopted, and application usage increases.
The cloud’s pay-as-you-go model may seem attractive and simpler for organizations accustomed to significant infrastructure investments. But unfortunately, it’s a double-edged sword: it’s better to pay close attention to the choice of services and their use of them, lest you get a shock at the end of the month;)
When migrating to the cloud, it is essential to consider the realities of security. Migrating data or applications over the network opens up opportunities for potential attacks – such as the theft of credentials, installation of malware, or attacks that force repeated migrations and consume system resources.
In preparation, it is essential to familiarise yourself with the AWS cloud’s shared responsibility model, which defines the areas for which you are responsible. This typically means anything beyond the core infrastructure, including users’ data, access, and oversight. It also requires setting rules and structures around access management and monitoring.
It is, therefore, crucial to define roles and ownership in the cloud. This requires defining upfront who is responsible for managing the various aspects of the workload in the cloud. Is it a shared environment? How is identity confirmed and access granted or restricted? This includes proper documentation of settings and processes.
3 strategies for cloud migration
In the challenges we have just discussed, it is apparent that a deep requirements analysis needs to be carried out when migrating. Still, the primary strategies for migrating applications to the cloud can be divided into three categories.
This is the most straightforward cloud migration strategy, also known as ‘rehosting. It is copying an application (installer and file system data) and reinstalling it on a platform (usually Windows or Linux) in the cloud. Lift-and-shift is fast and involves minimal changes to the application because IaaS platforms such as AWS EC2 provide server environments that are virtually identical to physical servers.
Unfortunately, speed is not always the best solution. This type of strategy does not take full advantage of the capabilities of a cloud strategy or has adverse consequences for security or hosting compliance.
2. Application refactoring
Application refactoring for the cloud is a recommended approach by cloud providers. Application refactoring aims to take advantage of features specific to native cloud computing environments. This will make the application run faster and be more cost-effective, while developers can benefit from new cloud features affecting the application’s speed, flexibility, and quality.
However, refactoring the application while maintaining all features and a high-quality customer experience can take a long time, depending on the complexity of the application. The cost and risk are also significantly higher.
3. Refactoring with containers
A container is a unit of software in which the application code is ‘packaged’ together with libraries and dependencies. It causes so that the application can be run anywhere. Containers encapsulate only the runtime environment code required by the application and can be made self-contained without burdening the entire environment.
Containers can help to gradually migrate an application to the cloud without refactoring the entire application. Containers, such as Docker, allow you to perform a lift-and-shift service for some components of your application while refactoring others. This is a convenient solution to reduce migration time and mitigate costs and risks.
How to meet the challenges of a successful migration to the AWS cloud?
There are many benefits to deploying the cloud, including greater scalability, flexibility, and business agility. It can also help you become more innovative and drive organizational transformation to meet changing demands.
As this article discusses, each step of migrating to the cloud comes with challenges. Therefore, the key is to have the support of a partner who can painlessly guide you through the process of migrating your infrastructure to the cloud. If you have questions about your project, system, or application, we would be happy to discuss the possibility of assistance from our specialists.