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How to Formulate Your Cloud Migration Strategy

Author: Sambit Ghosh | | March 9, 2022


 

Migrating your applications and services to the cloud is one of the most effective—and most popular—ways to digitally transform your business.

 
In a Deloitte survey of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), 68 percent of respondents said that “migrating to the public cloud and/or expanding their private cloud” would be their top driver of IT spending for the coming year.

Like any other major IT project, however, businesses need a well-defined cloud migration strategy before they begin the initiative. In this article, we’ll discuss how you should approach a cloud modernization project in terms of two key factors: what to do with your legacy IT and how to choose the best cloud hosting platform.

Doing “R Path” Analysis for Your Legacy IT

When companies move to the cloud, they need to decide what they’ll do about their existing on-premises IT ecosystem. Here, you have essentially six options, which are collectively referred to as the “six Rs”:

  1. Rehosting: Moving applications from on-premises to the cloud relatively unchanged; also known as “lift and shift.”
  2. Replatforming: Modifying and optimizing applications for their new cloud environment, serving as a “happy medium” between rehosting and replatforming.
  3. Refactoring: Overhauling legacy software or services and rearchitecting them for the cloud.
  4. Repurchasing: Buying new software licenses for cloud-native applications, i.e. SaaS (Software as a Service) products; also known as “drop and shop.”
  5. Retaining: Leaving some applications behind on-premises, at least temporarily, in a “hybrid” model that leaves the door open for future cloud migration.
  6. Retiring: Discontinuing the use of applications and services that are no longer necessary, redundant or underutilized.

 
Any or all of these strategies are available to you when moving to the cloud—so how can you select the right ones? IT leaders suggest performing what’s known as an “R path” analysis.

First, you should separate your IT assets into four quadrants based on their technical complexity and their level of compliance risk, i.e.:

  • Low compliance risk/Low complexity
  • High compliance risk/Low complexity
  • Low compliance risk/High complexity
  • High compliance risk/High complexity

 
For each quadrant, consider the following advice:

  • Low compliance risk/Low complexity: First look at approaches such as retiring, repurchasing or refactoring. If these aren’t possible and the application can’t be refactored, then replatforming is your best option.
  • High compliance risk/Low complexity: Due to the high level of compliance risk, you should seek advice from your IT compliance and risk team. Depending on an application’s purpose, you might consider refactoring or replatforming it.
  • Low compliance risk/High complexity: These applications have higher technical complexity, which might cause challenges during migration. You might want to use a multi-step process in which the application is first rehosted and then replatformed or refactored later on.
  • High compliance risk/High complexity: These are typically your core applications and enterprise applications, which are usually moved last during a cloud migration project. Your expertise from moving other applications should help guide you to the right course of action here.

How to Choose the Right Cloud Provider

From Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Oracle to Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), businesses these days are spoiled by choices when it comes to public cloud providers. So how can you choose the best cloud provider for your needs?

Below are just a few criteria you might want to consider:

  • Standards and certifications: Your choice of a cloud provider should be compliant with any applicable data security and privacy laws or regulations. Depending on your industry and region, this may include HIPAA, CCPA, GDPR, FERPA, PCI-DSS, Sarbanes-Oxley, SOC 2 and more.
  • Technologies and products: Most large public cloud providers offer a comprehensive suite of cloud products. However, some providers stand out from the rest, depending on the domain and the use case. For example, your cloud usage when hosting websites will look very different from training machine learning models.
  • Service level agreements (SLAs): The SLA determines the level of service that you can expect from your cloud provider, so make sure that this document matches your needs. For example, an SLA guarantee of 99.9 percent uptime may sound like a lot, but this corresponds to roughly 9 hours of downtime in one year. Is this tolerable for your business or do you need a stricter guarantee?

 
Still can’t decide? Another option is to use a “multi-cloud” strategy that makes use of multiple cloud providers. According to Flexera’s 2021 “State of the Cloud” report, 92 percent of organizations either have a multi-cloud strategy or plan to shortly.

Conclusion

Before you seriously begin your move to the cloud, having a well-formulated cloud migration strategy is a must. This includes determining what to do with your on-premises IT assets and selecting the best cloud provider. By working closely with the right migration partner, you’ll find it much easier to make both of these decisions and more.

Datavail is an IT provider offering both IT managed services and project services, spanning the cloud, on-premises and hybrid environments. We’ve helped build and operate mission-critical systems for hundreds of customers across cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Oracle. Datavail is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, a Microsoft Gold Partner and an Oracle Partner with 17 different specializations.

Datavail has helped hundreds of clients move their IT environments to the cloud. Our list of cloud migration services includes:

  • Performing a cloud readiness assessment and a total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis.
  • Creating a cloud migration roadmap and strategy.
  • Application development and migration, including architecture, design and software upgrades.
  • Database migration and with minimal downtime.
  • Cloud data analytics, including data integration/ETL, data warehouses, reporting and dashboards.

 
Looking for assistance with your own cloud migration? Download Datavail’s new white paper “Beyond “Lift and Shift”: Real-Life Examples and Best Practices to Get the Most Out of the Cloud,” which offers tips and guidance from IT executives who have completed their own successful cloud migration. You can also contact our team of cloud migration experts today for a chat about your unique business needs and objectives.

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