Team Stax
Stax on Stax
16 Mar 2022

The Complete Guide To Cloud Migrations: Everything You Need to Know

Organizations of all types and sizes are moving their data and applications into the cloud. Most are seeking to become more secure, more resilient, more flexible, and to increase their level of innovation, according to surveys of companies that have made the transition.

If you are in the process of planning a business cloud migration and want to ensure that it goes smoothly, we recommend following the advice in this article. We also suggest using a fully-featured AWS-native cloud management platform like Stax. Stax can streamline and accelerate a cloud migration by providing you with a firm foundation for building your new cloud ecosystem.

Below, we take a look at everything you need to know when planning a migration to the cloud, including key considerations, benefits, different types of cloud migrations, and the importance of having a well-defined migration strategy.

What is a cloud migration?

A cloud migration is a migration of digital resources and infrastructure into the cloud. It commonly involves the relocation of data, applications, and processes from on-premise servers to remote data center servers that are owned and operated by public cloud service providers such as Amazon (AWS).

However, the term may also be used to describe migration from one cloud ecosystem to another. In either case, it will not normally involve the relocation of physical IT assets such as servers and network infrastructure, but rather the relocation of the data and code that resides on these assets.

What can the cloud enable?

There are a wide variety of reasons that can drive a company’s decision to opt for cloud migration. We’ve put together a few points to consider below:

  • Growth and scale — For companies that predict significant growth in their future IT infrastructure needs, a cloud ecosystem can provide the required agility and flexibility at a lower cost than comparable onsite solutions. An AWS cloud solution also provides a high degree of elasticity, enabling businesses to scale resources up and down as their requirements change. This elasticity is a key feature of cloud computing that supports companies in their efforts to control, and in many cases reduce their ongoing IT costs.
  • Improved technology adoption — If your organization would like to take advantage of newer technologies such as AI and machine learning, a cloud ecosystem could enable you to do so more easily and inexpensively.
  • Improved availability and accessibility — If your company uses applications that need to be available to both onsite and remote workers, or end-customers at all times, a cloud solution could help simplify corporate security protocols and ensure that future outages are minimized.

If you have specific concerns about moving to the cloud, such as security, identity and access, risk management or cost management, contact us now to find out how Stax can help.

Key cloud migration considerations

When planning a cloud migration, there are a number of things you need to consider before jumping in headfirst. As leading experts in cloud ecosystems, here are our top tips to consider before you begin the great file migration.

  • Data transfer — Most companies keep a large amount of data on their corporate servers, which will need to be transferred to remote servers during a typical migration. You need to consider how this can most easily be achieved and whether it will involve moving to a new database platform simultaneously.
  • Data integrity — Once the transfer of all data has been completed, you will need to examine it to ensure that it is intact. You will also need to confirm that the data is secure and is not vulnerable to leaks. Cloud data leaks may be caused by poorly configured security protocols and services. This is often an issue when on-premises security configurations are used in the cloud without any modifications. A cloud security expert can help you to reconfigure your security protocols to suit the new environment in which your data is stored.
  • Timescale — A successful business cloud migration needs to be completed within an agreed timescale to ensure that no interruptions to existing services are experienced. It is vital to follow a schedule that is achievable but does not draw out the process for too long. A full business cloud migration can take six months to a year to complete, a significant portion of which can be spent waiting for the cloud foundations — consisting of hardened, secure accounts, guardrails to prevent misuse, a repeatable deployment process, user access, and network configuration and management — to be completed.

Building these foundations may take from 8-14 weeks if you decide to handle the whole process in-house or leverage a partner to build them from scratch. You are unable to start the actual migration process until this foundational build is finished, keeping application engineers ‘on the bench’ for longer. With Stax, these foundations can be provided in just days or weeks, allowing the wider business cloud migration to be significantly accelerated.

  • Cost — The cost of migration will depend on the amount of data that needs to be moved, the applications you will deploy in the cloud, and the service provider you decide to use. All of these factors need to be considered when preparing a cloud migration cost estimate. Setting up a functional landing zone for your cloud solution could cost somewhere in the region of $400,000 to $800,000.

Stax provides those foundations in days to weeks, for zero upfront CapEx and plans starting at $5000/month in OpEx. Future running costs can be controlled and optimized more easily with Stax, which provides advanced cost management functionality.

  • Suitability of the cloud for existing applications — Not all applications are suitable candidates for migration to the cloud. It is essential to identify those that are not and to devise a plan for supporting them in the future if they cannot be replaced with other, more cloud-friendly solutions. For companies that need to support legacy applications, a hybrid cloud solution is the most appropriate solution.

Key benefits of moving to the cloud

Organizations that complete a cloud migration enjoy a number of benefits, including:

  • Flexibility — The ability to access applications and data in the cloud from any location makes it easier for companies to expand their operations in the future without having to redesign their IT infrastructure.
  • Scalability — Cloud ecosystems can quickly be scaled up or down to meet changing requirements.
  • Reduced costs — With no need to employ a large team of IT specialists to maintain and upgrade your networks, cloud solutions often result in significantly lower running costs.
  • Improved performance — The ability to deploy applications and data closer to where they are needed can provide a marked performance improvement.

However, these benefits could easily be wiped out by bill shock after the migration has been completed. Unless you opt for the right quantity and type of cloud services, you could even see your running costs increase. That’s why having the right provider is so critical. With the help of the experts at Stax, you can ensure that your new cloud ecosystem provides genuine cost benefits by provisioning the right type and quantity of services and resources across all your AWS accounts.

The importance of a cloud migration strategy

If you plan to introduce cloud computing to your organization, a well-defined strategy is key to the success of your move. This strategy should cover all phases of cloud migration that need to be completed, including data transfer and deployment of workloads in the cloud.

There are six main approaches — or strategies — that organizations follow when planning and executing an AWS cloud migration:

  • Rehosting — Moving applications and data into a cloud ecosystem without taking advantage of cloud optimizations, at least in the beginning.
  • Replatforming — With this strategy, some optimizations may be implemented during the migration, but the main architecture of the applications remains unchanged.
  • Repurchasing — In some cases, moving to a new CRM or ERP solution that is already designed to run in the cloud is easier than migrating an existing platform into the cloud.
  • Refactoring/re-architecting — In this approach, existing applications are refactored (redesigned) during the migration, to take advantage of native cloud features.
  • Retiring — This strategy involves identifying services and resources that are no longer required and decommissioning them rather than moving them into the cloud. It is unlikely to be the only strategy you employ but may be useful when used in tandem with another.
  • Retaining — Some applications may be best left in their current location, running on your on-premises servers. As with retiring, this strategy is most often used in combination with another.

The best strategy for your organization to adopt will depend on your existing IT infrastructure and your primary objectives in migrating to the cloud. When choosing a strategy or combination of strategies, you need to consider the challenges that your organization will face before, during and after the migration. Do you have the necessary expertise to configure your cloud ecosystem and efficiently provision services/resources? Are you able to calculate an accurate budget for your migration? Will you be able to complete the move into the cloud within an acceptable time frame?

You can most easily overcome the challenges involved in a cloud migration by partnering with an experienced solutions provider like Stax. We have managed hundreds of business cloud migrations and can provide you with the tools and support you need to complete your migration quickly and efficiently.

Reach out to our team to learn more and arrange a demo.

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