Last Updated: March 18, 2024
Cloud Migration Strategy
Published On: February 05, 2024

Blog Summary: This blog is an in-depth analysis of cloud migration strategies to help CTOs and CEOs identify the ideal strategy for moving to the cloud. It will be their guide on the migration journey, where they can explore the key factors influencing their migration decision, take inspiration from successful ones, and follow some best practices before they plan to move their on-premises IT infrastructure.

Cloud migration is not just a transfer; it’s a metamorphosis, a rebirth where your data is no more than a star in the vast constellation of the digital universe. When you bid farewell to the mundane shackles of physical IT server infrastructure, a cloud migration strategy transcends your data to the virtual skies.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the cloud migration market size in 2024 is USD 232.51 billion. Growing at a CAGR of 28.24%, it is expected to reach USD 806.41 billion by 2029.

cloud migration market

Statista projects over 180 zettabytes of data flowing through cloud networks till 2025! Since 80% of this would be unstructured, organizations find it difficult to turn this data into meaningful business intelligence. Hence, they must understand security concerns and complexities before moving to the cloud.

In this blog, we’ll uncover the most essential migration strategies for CTOs and CEOs to help them navigate their cost savings, business agility, and scalability.

What is a Cloud Migration Strategy?

The sole purpose of migrating cloud data is to transfer all the IT assets, technologies, and workload from on-premises to cloud infrastructure. Hence, its success depends on striking the right balance between benefits, challenges, and suitability of associated components.

Since there is no one-size-fits-all approach, each IT component and technology differ in terms of cost, usability, performance, complexity, and integration. Hence, there is a different migration strategy for each of the elements.

So, implementing the ideal migration strategy and an organization’s cloud readiness is crucial before you plan to move your on-premise IT infrastructure. Making a roadmap can help you plan the migration of cloud data by deciding what you will move and in what order you will move.

It involves these 4 steps:

1. Assessment

The first step consists of assessing and gathering information regarding the goals and areas of the infrastructure that are misaligned.

2. Planning

The second step is identifying the goal you want to achieve with cloud migration – reducing costs, decommissioning data centers, or leveraging autoscaling.

3. Executing

The third step is to determine the migration strategy and which applications, processes, and infrastructure you want to migrate.

4. Optimizing and Operating

Determine the applications and processes to be moved with respect to the data analytics workloads and networking and calculate server costs.

Types of Cloud Migrations

An organization can decide to move its private, on-site servers to a public cloud, or it can also opt to move between different clouds.

Let’s understand the 4 types of migrations below:

1. Cloud-to-cloud

Moving resources from one public or private cloud to another cloud is useful for managing different products, services, and pricing packages. A central management tool can help them solve the challenges in implementing cloud.

2. Hybrid Cloud

Moving a portion of its infrastructure and leaving the rest on-premises creates a hybrid cloud. It’s beneficial for maximizing the value of on-premise data center equipment as well as creating a cloud-to-cloud data backup for disaster recovery.

3. Datacenter

The data center migration process includes moving the data from on-premise servers and mainframes. The resources are moved to high-capacity disks and data boxes and are shipped to cloud providers for uploading onto servers.

4. Application, Database, and Mainframe

One of the most common migrations is workload migrations using SAP, SQL Server, etc. Benefits of such migration include lower costs, reliable performance, access to cloud-based developer APIs, and robust security.

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What are the Benefits of Cloud Migration Strategy?

A cloud migration process helps businesses move their applications, databases, and other IT resources seamlessly to remote servers. Cloud observability plays a huge role in a migration strategy by assessing the security measures and offering valuable insights into the security protocols.

The most significant benefits are discussed here:

1. Time and Cost Savings

Maintaining and running on-premises applications is expensive. Moving to a cloud provider relieves organizations of costly duties as the cloud handles all the maintenance processes. Cloud environments include adding platform updates, server performance, and host management. They offer competitive prices and also use minimal equipment to run and maintain.

2. Application Modernization

Making an organization cloud-compatible is one of the biggest challenges of cloud migration. Using modern data systems can prove useful for boosting the application performance. When Johnson & Johnson saw their business growing, managing data volume became costly.

With Amazon Web Services (AWS), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), and Elastic Block Store (EBS), they were able to store copies of virtual desktops and democratize data access for over 45,000 workers.

3. Enhanced Scalability

Warner Broschose AWS GuardDuty to solve their biggest challenge of agentless integration of anomalous detection for efficient scaling. They paired it up with AWS Detective for seamless detection of anomalies in the infrastructure without any disruptions.

4. Improved Security and Compliance

Rightsizing resources with a reserved or spot capacity can help you reduce infrastructure costs by 20% to 50% with cost attribution and budget alerts to track the limits.

SIEMENS is one such example that strengthened its security posture and modernized its infrastructure with AWS and AWS Security Hub. With Amazon CloudWatch’s cloud services, they were able to send periodic real-time notifications for vulnerability across 21 affected accounts.

5. Reduced Downtime and Risks

The quick transition of data is extremely important for large organizations that have a high potential for scalability. For a growing organization like Airbnb, Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) helped them migrate their entire database with only 15 minutes of downtime. They were also able to distribute incoming traffic efficiently with EC2.

Types of Cloud Migration Strategies

Cloud migrations can often take much longer than expected, which is one of the biggest challenges of cloud migration. A small project of migrating emails and document management can take up to 1 to 3 months. However, a complex and large-scale migration can take at least 7 to 22 months.

While moving through phases is the ideal way to migrate, many businesses struggle to do so. Most of the time, it happens because they either overspend or are unsure how and in what order they should migrate their resources.

Finding expert talent and skills is also a challenge that leads to delaying the migration processes. Moreover, security risks are the highest in cloud migration, which also keeps organizations on the edge.

However, with the right tools, processes, and especially strategies, they can ease their moving processes. This brings us to the 6 R’s of cloud migration strategy; let’s look at them in detail:

1. Rehost

Rehost

The rehosting strategy involves moving resources to the cloud with minimal changes in the underlying code. As the simplest and least time-consuming method, it replicates daily activities in the cloud.

Organizations with legacy infrastructure can also utilize the “lift and shift” strategy to evaluate their cloud readiness. Under this strategy, they can move their resources from on-premises local data centers to the cloud.

Rehosting is specially designed for large-scale organizations by using migration tools like AWS Database Migration and CloudEndure Migration.

How did Thomas Publishing bring agility?

Being a prominent marketplace for suppliers and buyers, Thomas Publishing was looking to bring agility in launching new products to the market.

With AWS, they were able to close down their largest data centers. They handsomely reduced their operating costs and seamlessly upgraded their Oracle environment by moving all their content management and publishing applications to Amazon Aurora and RDS.

The above example shows that for companies who want to transform their existing infrastructure to cloud, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the ideal solution. Moreover, if you’re new to the cloud or migrating data with deadlines, the Rehosting strategy would be the best fit.

2. Replatform

Replatform

The re-platforming strategy involves bringing modifications to an application’s code to make it compatible with work in a cloud environment. This strategy enables organizations to make a few configurable changes to the apps without changing their core architecture.

For instance, introducing cloud-native technologies and services like auto-scaling can bring more compatibility. Developers often utilize this approach to change interactions between applications with tools like Amazon RDS and Google CloudSQL.

How did Thomson Reuters save 20% on additional costs?

Thomson Reuters wanted to divest its financial and trading platforms and needed to migrate its entire infrastructure.

They had to migrate at least 400 applications, which consisted of almost 10,000 IT assets distributed across 7 data centers. Some of these data centers were the company’s legacy systems, around 20 years old!

Committing to a cloud-ready environment with Amazon EC2, they decided to build infrastructure in AWS and then modernize their units’ redeployment.

They used three services to rehost and re-platform – Customer Enablement, Managed Services, and Professional Services. They not only completed this migration within 2 years but also saved 20% of additional cost savings.

3. Repurchase

Repurchase

Organizations can discover repurchasing opportunities only by analyzing their current application environment.

Since third-party solutions offer low-cost services, it has become increasingly difficult for organizations to develop and operate their own email and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications.

Hence, if the internal assessment finds any of these systems running in-house, opting to repurchase a SaaS application will deliver maximum benefits.

The repurchasing or replacing strategy involves replacing an on-premise existing application with a software solution provided by cloud vendors. The software services usually have the same capabilities with options to change licenses.

For the same reason, this strategy is also called “drop and shop.” You can drop the existing license agreement signed for your physical premises and ship a new one with the cloud vendor.

Repurchasing helps retire legacy infrastructure and replace it with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription models based on the consumption of resources. Since third-party vendors build and manage these services, this strategy helps reduce the operational costs of in-house teams.

Lastly, it also decreases downtime by simplifying and quickening the migration process, providing better scalability and application performance. A notable example of utilizing this strategy is interchanging an internally administered email server with an online offering.

Or it could be a Virtual Private Network (VPN) replacement with an appliance built by a third-party vendor.

4. Refactor

Refactor

Some organizations have highly critical infrastructure that needs thorough modernization, either due to outdated systems or performance issues. They need cloud-native features to operate on their highest levels and hence also require a complex migration effort.

This strategy is also known as Re-architecting or Re-building. Though it may incur huge transformation costs, it also allows optimized cloud usage, which makes an application future-proof.

In the process, organizations refactor their applications using an alternative architecture. The refactoring process involves breaking an app’s components into smaller blocks and microservices.

Afterward, these are packed into containers to deploy them on a container platform. It also involves breaking down processes into fragments to simplify them and bring agility.

How has Spotify simplified its back-end processes?

Spotify implemented Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services in 2016. It moved its 1200 online services, data processing systems, and 20,000 job completions that affected over 100 Spotify teams from data centers to the cloud.

Three years later, in 2019, Spotify’s subscriber base grew to 271 million monthly users and 124 million Premium subscriptions. All this happened due to effective data usage over the cloud that enhances customer experience, understanding, and privacy. The microservices existing over core data storage, network, and computing services simplified the back end.

5. Retire

Retire

Once organizations analyze their IT environment, the next thing their cloud migration teams need to do is find out which application can be eliminated or downsized.

The retiring strategy focuses on getting rid of the applications that are no longer in use. It helps them find applications that are not worth moving to the cloud by exploring all applications in terms of their uses, pricing, and dependencies.

While this strategy might not sound useful, it can help boost a business. By reducing the surface area that needs to be secured, they can direct the team’s attention to things that people use.

How did 20th Century Fox reduce their data centers’ size by 70%?

20th Century Fox retired its physical IT infrastructure and moved its distribution centers to the cloud. Their massive production studio faced the challenge of shipping physical prints and tapes to movie theaters and global broadcasters respectively.

These processes were complicated, tedious, and had long delays. They needed a combination of private and public cloud services to tap the resources as needed, work with in-house teams, and handle massive data at the speed of light.

With Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s hybrid cloud migration, they were able to download and upload more than 1.3 exabytes of data and content each year. They also solved their distribution challenges, reduced manual effort for inventory shipping and tracking, and reduced delivery times. The most significant result they got was the reduction of the sizes of data centers by 70%.

6. Retain

Retain

The retaining strategy is also known as Revisiting or Refactoring. You may have to revisit some old portions of digital IT infrastructure before deciding to move them to the cloud.

Some applications are not feasible to move due to their compliance and security issues. Either they have been recently upgraded, or an organization might have found out that they are best suited for on-premises arrangements.

Organizations decide to retain a system only if it’s dependent on another application that needs to be moved. Or when they find no immediate business value while migrating it to the cloud. When it comes to vendor-based applications, an organization can opt to retain the plan if it’s going to be released as a SaaS model.

How does Live Tech Games cover over 30 FIFA World Cup 2022 tournament games?

Live Tech Games covered the FIFA World Cup 2022 broadcast and scaled its gaming platform for a massive number of concurrent users (CCUs). Before November, they struggled to get past 10,000 CCUs, and in the FIFA World Cup, they had to support more than 5,50,000 CCUs.

Retaining their previous gaming infrastructure with Azure Kubernetes (AKS), Microsoft Orleans, and SignalR Service, they deployed a highly scalable cloud architecture. Game developers and publishers handled huge incoming data traffic during the World Cup and ran over 30 live tournament games – all at the same time!

They were also able to distribute the load across multiple locations with Azure data centers with AKS automatic load balancing and container orchestration.

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Key Factors Influencing Cloud Migration Approach for Enterprises

Infrastructure costs can range from 4% to 5 % of the TCO. Similarly, licensing can cost from 20% to 25%. They can also leverage tools for optimizing the cloud cost like CloudWatch, AWS Budgets, Kubecost, and CAST AI. These tools help them figure out how much costs they would be able to reduce when they hire cloud migration to the cloud.

This analysis can help enterprises identify why there is a need for cloud migration. Apart from the above, here are some other key factors that influence the migration strategy:

1. Business Objectives

If your goal is to cut down budgets, choosing a cloud app development partner with an economical pricing model is a good option. For example, two major cloud providers are AWS and GCP. AWS offers a pay-as-you-go model, which means you pay only for the instances you use.

Similarly, GCP can help you save up to 57% of costs on Compute Engine resources like Graphic Processing Units (GPUs). Additionally, architecture and workload requirements that need to be migrated are also some of the most important considerations. Skills, time restraints, and budgets also form a key part of achieving business goals.

2. Requirements of Workload

The specific characteristics of each workload and their readiness directly impact the cloud migration strategy. Hence, understanding and figuring out the volume and data complexity of workloads is highly important. For instance, applications that need higher performance might need a cloud provider that fulfills those requirements.

A large-scale organization should avail of the services of a cloud platform like Digital Ocean. It has scalable virtual machines called Droplets, which offer performance monitoring add-on storage across multiple computers simultaneously.

3. Security and Compliance

For a secured migration process, organizations require a combination of cloud services capable of facilitating secure access and robust encryption. For example, GCP provides highly secured data warehouse modernization services while migrating to BigQuery from Teradata and Oracle.

Similarly, by combining AWS Macie and AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) services, you can manage your identity and discover and protect your data. With AWS Cognito, AWS Detective, AWS Inspector, and AWS GuardDuty, you can also detect vulnerabilities, threats, and anomalies while moving sensitive data to the cloud.

4. Cost Optimization

Moving to the cloud involves upfront costs, such as changing your SaaS provider, resource transfer, and staff training. Apart from that, till the completion of the migration process, you’ll also have to run both the on-premises infrastructure and cloud systems.

Hence, it’s crucial to decide which workloads need to be completely stopped, retained, or repurchased to optimize costs and pay only for the systems you operate. A good cloud migration strategy to optimize costs is considering cloud storage tiers, as they tend to accumulate over time.

You can also examine the app stack to identify the most cost-efficient storage approach for high-speed archiving. If you combine that with dead data, you can save handsomely on monthly cloud bills.

5. Employees’ Skills and Training

Any cloud immigration is incomplete without successful user adoption. To measure its success, it’s important for employees to have digital proficiency in using new cloud instances.

This also involves considering the demands, needs, and preferences of all stakeholders across each department. It’s a wise decision before zeroing in on a strategy. The overall input from diverse stakeholders can help optimize the migration design, implementation, and monitoring stages.

Lastly, it’s also recommended that all business processes and practices be reviewed. It will help identify obsolete applications or the ones that need to be updated before transitioning them to the cloud.

6. Scalability and Flexibility

A comprehensive cloud migration plan involves key components of adaptability and scalability. For example, Amazon offers services like EC2 for auto-scaling and Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). Both of these services enable organizations to dynamically adjust their resources for scaling as the demand increases.

Amazon FSx is an AWS tool that enables the launching, running, and scaling of high-performing and feature-rich file systems. As a fully managed service, it lowers the TCO and frees your time to focus on your end users.

The New York Times partnered with GCP to transform their entire historical photo archive and found new tools for visual storytelling for journalists.

7. Keeping Up with the Future

Today’s powerful hardware systems might soon become obsolete at any point in time. Hence, building on-premises servers and data centers is an expensive option. They can’t utilize the latest cloud technologies, which might cause security problems, leaving them vulnerable to cyber threats.

Cloud vendors provide IaaS that enables organizations to keep upgrading their business processes. Besides, it helps them test new hardware on the cloud and save investing costs.

The on-demand computational power ensures that organizations can build, deploy, and test applications on the go. To keep up with the evolving future, a refactoring strategy is the ideal option to migrate to the cloud.

10 Best Practices for a Successful Cloud Migration Strategy

Maintaining the costs of on-premises infrastructure is expensive for organizations compared to moving it to cloud services like GCP, AWS, and Microsoft Azure.

Cloud Migration Strategy Best Practices

Before choosing a cloud migration strategy, organizations must prepare for their initial transition process. It can be achieved by creating a business report to outline the estimated TCO of their on-premises IT setup and compare it with their current budgets.

1. Define Goals

Every business has distinct objectives, which could be cost reduction, scalability, or more agile operations. A migration strategy that suits a small-scale enterprise might not suit a large-scale one as the latter one’s applications are distributed across multiple departments.

Cloud migration is a highly complex process and involves security challenges throughout. They could either be related to data transfer or privacy and regulatory standards of applications.

2. Identify Priorities for Migration

Create a cloud migration strategy by identifying priority applications based on business needs, technical complexity, and risk. Develop a phased approach, addressing one area at a time to minimize disruption. Consider decommissioning older systems post-migration for optimal efficiency and system management.

The strategy emphasizes a careful, systematic move, focusing initially on less critical components and progressively integrating critical ones with proper support and testing.

3. Use Cost Calculators

To preempt unforeseen expenses in cloud migration, enterprises should leverage cloud pricing calculators like AWS pricing calculator, Microsoft’s Azure pricing calculator, and GCP pricing calculator.

These tools aid in assessing the total setup cost and offer real-time guidance for optimized configurations. By accurately estimating costs and forecasting scalability, migration teams ensure a proactive approach to cost management, preventing unexpected financial surprises.

4. Have a Working Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP)

A functioning Disaster Recovery Plan should encompass data backup, resource allocation, and service restoration strategies to counter disruptions. Cloud migration, despite strategic planning, requires fail-safes.

So, an updated DRP plays a pivotal role in mitigating transition risks, ensuring a foolproof approach to tackling disruptions. Organizations must prioritize the integration and maintenance of an effective DRP within their cloud migration strategy for optimal resilience.

5. Train all Employees

A comprehensive cloud migration strategy must allocate resources for ongoing training, recognizing the time and capital investment necessary for successful cloud adoption.

The unique dynamics of working in the cloud, especially for those transitioning from legacy systems, necessitate continuous education. Specific training tailored to the chosen cloud provider is crucial, acknowledging the evolving nature of cloud technologies with regular updates.

6. Avoid Vendor Lock-in

Carefully evaluate cloud providers based on business needs, budget, and security requirements to avoid vendor lock-in. Consider pricing, scalability, reliability, security, and technology roadmap. A multi-cloud setup can mitigate risk and enable organizations to leverage the best features of different providers. Choose wisely for long-term success.

7. Monitor Performance and Security

Monitoring performance and security is essential in the cloud. Prioritize security controls and compliance, regularly monitoring performance. Utilize AWS migration tools for monitoring, audit, and compliance. Document the migration process for stakeholders and audits, including goals, assets, strategies, cost analysis, and testing/training plans.

8. Focus on Automation

Automation is crucial in cloud migration, optimizing operations and reducing errors, downtime, and costs. Use middleware tools to automate processes, establish Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) workflows, and adapt to the evolving cloud environment. AWS CloudFormation facilitates infrastructure as code and automated resource provisioning for enhanced automation.

9. Test and Measure Migration Success

Implement a testing plan to ensure a smooth migration and minimize risks. Conduct a test migration to assess readiness and establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring success.

Regularly evaluate KPIs to assess migration success and justify ongoing investment. Testing should be done to ensure all services and applications are functional, and older components should be decommissioned after successful testing.

10. Stay Updated with New Features

Stay updated with new features and upgrades offered by cloud providers to ensure your organization remains current and benefits fully from the cloud. Include an update cycle in your cloud migration strategy to stay future-proof and take advantage of new capabilities. Regularly upgrading to new features can help organizations fully leverage the benefits of the cloud.

Migrate to the Cloud With Moon Technolabs

Moving your apps and data to the cloud can save money and make things more scalable in the long run. But to succeed, you need to plan well, keep an eye on progress, and manage costs. The blog suggests picking the right plan that fits your business goals to avoid problems.  While it’s not an easy journey, having the right knowledge helps. The mentioned strategies are flexible and suit different needs, like IaaS or SaaS.

Moon Technolabs helps you understand and control costs during migration, ensuring a smooth move to the cloud. Book a FREE consultation with us for a hassle-free and budget-friendly transition.

FAQs

The 6 Rs of a cloud migration strategy are Re-hosting, Re-platforming, Re-purchasing, Re-factoring, Retiring and Retaining. We’ll help you ease the migration process by recommending an ideal strategy for your unique requirements.

Cloud migration challenges include data security concerns, potential downtime, application compatibility issues, cost management, and the need for skilled personnel to execute a smooth and successful transition.

Cloud migration offers enhanced flexibility, scalability, and cost efficiency. It facilitates easier access to innovative technologies, ensures data security, and allows businesses to adapt quickly to changing needs in the dynamic digital landscape.
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Jayanti Katariya

Jayanti Katariya is the CEO of Moon Technolabs, a fast-growing IT solutions provider, with 18+ years of experience in the industry. Passionate about developing creative apps from a young age, he pursued an engineering degree to further this interest. Under his leadership, Moon Technolabs has helped numerous brands establish their online presence and he has also launched an invoicing software that assists businesses to streamline their financial operations.

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