6 Types of Cloud Migration - Here's How to Adopt the Right Strategy


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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

If you're planning a cloud migration, make sure you're prepared with a strategy that will make the process as efficient as possible and generate the best outcomes.

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6 Types of Cloud Migration - Here's How to Adopt the Right Strategy
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Cloud computing is now a fundamental element of everyday operations and management for a vast number of businesses all over the world.

Research has indicated that cloud data centers processed more than 90% of all workloads in 2021, and by 2025, the cloud computing market is expected to be worth $832.1 billion.

If your business hasn't yet migrated your key applications, data and other vital assets to the cloud, there are many reasons to consider doing so. Common benefits of cloud computing adoption include:

  • Avoiding the costs and capital expenditure required to manage physical IT infrastructure on-site
  • Increased operational agility and scalability
  • Easier collaboration and information sharing across business departments, regardless of geographical location
  • More reliable data backup and recovery solutions

To maximize these advantages, you should be aware of the various cloud migration strategies available, so you can take an approach that makes sense for your business.

1. Lift and shift (rehosting)

A 'lift and shift' strategy - also known as rehosting - is the most simple way of going about a cloud migration. It involves transferring applications, data, virtual machines and operating systems from your current hosting environment to public cloud infrastructure without making significant changes to them.

This is a low-resistance strategy that often works well for companies that are taking a conservative approach to cloud computing and want to keep their business-critical tools intact during the migration.

However, it does have its drawbacks, one of which is that it won't give you access to the widest range of efficiencies and benefits offered by cloud computing. If you're looking to gain advanced cloud-native capabilities such as automated recovery and resilience, for example, lift and shift might not be the best option.

2. Replatforming

A step up from rehosting, replatforming requires you to make certain changes to your tools and data in order to make better use of the PaaS services offered by your cloud platform. Crucially, the core architecture of your applications remains the same.

This can be a good way to embark on a migration if you want to retain a fairly conservative approach, while realizing enhanced system performance and other benefits that can be achieved through cloud computing.

There are certain risks associated with replatforming, such as the possibility of changes going beyond the scope of what was originally intended and leading to errors in coding or configuration. It's vital, therefore, to develop a clear and detailed plan for what will be changed and how those adjustments will be implemented.

3. Repurchasing

If you feel ready to make a wholesale shift away from legacy software that uses code hosted on-premises, repurchasing is an option to consider. It allows you to end existing license agreements, or let them expire, and adopt an entirely new cloud-based SaaS solution.

A basic example to illustrate this approach would be scrapping your legacy customer relationship management (CRM) system and licensing a SaaS CRM such as Salesforce.

One of the biggest benefits of this is the opportunity to take full advantage of cloud-native tools and workflows. However, you also need to be ready to make this transition, which means ensuring your internet connection is strong enough to provide full access to the new platform and training your team to use it.

4. Refactoring

Refactoring comes into play when you need to re-engineer your applications from scratch to help you gain maximum value from cloud capabilities. This can be seen as the opposite to rehosting, in that you're committing to making major changes to your tools, rather than attempting to keep them intact during the migration.

The biggest consideration with this strategy is cost, as the initial expenses involved can be high. It can also be a time-consuming and complex process, but in the long term, refactored applications can prove more cost-effective and will give you access to a range of cloud-native benefits.

Learn more: How to Calculate the Cost of Cloud Migration

5. Retention

It's possible that, during the process of evaluating and planning your cloud migration, you come across certain applications or workflows that simply aren't suited to a cloud computing platform.

There are various possible reasons for this, such as compliance commitments that make it impossible or unwise for you to transfer sensitive data off-premises. In this scenario, it's important to be realistic and to recognize that certain applications or information will have to be retained on legacy infrastructure.

The best strategy could be to implement a hybrid solution that combines the benefits of the cloud with the consistency of on-premises systems.

6. Retirement

Another distinct possibility is that, in the course of assessing your application portfolio for cloud migration readiness, you come across assets that are no longer fit for purpose or of any use to the company.

If this is the case, you have the option of retiring these components to reduce cost and raise efficiency. However, this action should only be taken if you're confident that it won't impact your operations or have negative repercussions for your customers.

Before retiring any applications or technologies, make sure their functionality can be effectively replaced by other elements of your IT infrastructure.

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