Cloud / April 20, 2021

What Is Cloud Migration?

For decades, businesses have been using computers and servers to streamline processes and achieve higher performance. In the traditional office setting, most software was deployed locally on an employee’s personal computer. However, this traditional model is flawed because individual computers have limited system resources, and the modern business environment demands making information accessible from anywhere in the world.

Therefore, many of today’s businesses are moving to cloud-based models. With cloud infrastructure, remote servers provide resources for processing, storage, and applications. Users then can then access these resources remotely using their own computers or mobile devices.

In most cases, businesses are better off going through the migration to cloud process. There are few disadvantages to using cloud technology, but migration can require substantial investment. Read on to learn whether cloud migration is right for your organization.

What Is Cloud Migration?

In today’s digital world, “the cloud” consists of servers that can be accessed over the internet. Cloud migration is the act of transferring digital resources to cloud servers.

Migrating to the cloud enables software and hardware resources to be controlled using the latest solutions. When business processes are moved to the cloud, a high level of scalability can be achieved. The cloud environment enables system resources to be dynamically increased or decreased depending on demand, so businesses can save money through more efficient resource utilization. Resources that are not used by a business can then be rented out to other businesses by the cloud provider. When demand for a company’s digital resources is high, cloud technologies can automatically increase resource availability to prevent downtime while delivering seamless scalability.

The Importance of a Cloud Migration Strategy

Businesses that migrate to the cloud enjoy a broad range of benefits that can save money, improve efficiency, and modernize processes. Cost should not be the only factor in a decision to move to the cloud, but transferring resources to the cloud almost always saves money. Cloud resource providers have their own world-class IT staff, and the cost of maintaining this personnel can be pooled across all of a cloud provider’s clients. Since IT costs are, thus, dramatically reduced in the cloud environment, providers can afford to spend more on cybersecurity and active threat monitoring. Therefore, businesses can enjoy the benefits of having a well-managed infrastructure without incurring the costs associated with maintaining a large IT organization.

The pooling of system resources also results in a better product for businesses. Cloud providers have the resources to ensure that all software packages are updated regularly, and many providers offer their own proprietary software tools to improve functionality. Most cloud providers also offer managed services that give your organization access to personalized IT assistance without requiring you to hire in-house staff. When outsourced IT providers keep your servers running smoothly, your organization can stay focused on business objectives without getting bogged down by high overhead.

Another major benefit of cloud migration is enhanced performance. Many of the leading cloud providers have server centers around the world, so your customers can access data with minimal latency. Cloud providers can, therefore, often help with GDPR compliance by ensuring that data is stored and utilized only within specific jurisdictions.

Most importantly, applications that run in the cloud are generally very fast. When servers get overloaded, businesses can often increase their resource allocation in a matter of seconds. Reputable cloud providers use physically secure facilities that have outstanding internet access, so the risk of downtime can be significantly reduced. Low downtime makes cloud resources ideal for hosting websites and applications that need to be kept available 100 percent of the time. Although perfect uptime is technologically infeasible, many cloud providers are able to offer over 99.99 percent uptime.

Developing a Cloud Migration Strategy

When formulating a cloud migration strategy, you should start by assessing the range of applications that you plan to use in the cloud environment. Most cloud applications run in a Linux environment, but you may need to make use of Windows Server or other operating systems as part of your strategy.

You should also consider the type of cloud migration that you will need to implement. In cloud migrations that involve moving data from one provider to another, the portability of data could be a major concern. You may need to physically deliver hard drives to your provider or write code to grab the files that you need. If you are transitioning from legacy infrastructures, existing data may need to be modified to make it compatible with newer systems.

Cloud Migration Process

The process of moving to the cloud can take a significant amount of time. Your organization should prioritize getting your migration right so that you can achieve your business goals. Cloud migration can be expensive in some cases, so it is common for businesses to cut corners during the migration process. Failing to allocate sufficient resources to the cloud migration process can result in serious problems when mistakes are made and resources are deployed improperly.

In today’s world, data breaches are more common and more costly than ever before. Therefore, security requirements should usually be your priority. In general, you should start by assessing your organization’s security requirements. You should also consider the performance level of the solutions that you will be deploying. If you plan to deploy specific applications, the developers of these apps may be able to assist with determining what security requirements need to be met as part of your strategy for cloud migration.

You will, of course, also need to actually select a cloud provider. Your selection process should be informed by substantial research into the technical requirements for your deployment. In all cases, you will also need to do substantial due diligence to look into providers that you are considering. Be sure to carefully research a provider’s history of experiencing security breaches. Also, look into whether a provider has frequently experienced service outages.

If you are an enterprise doing cloud migration, you should insist on consulting directly with a provider before moving forward. Some providers attempt to apply a cookie-cutter approach to working with enterprise clients, but this approach leads to less tailoring, higher costs, and reduced flexibility. The IT support services that a provider offers should also be considered thoroughly. Be sure to research a provider’s support limitations since some unethical providers attempt to charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars an hour for support services after a contract has been signed.

Finally, you should calculate the total costs associated with your strategy for cloud migration before making any purchases. Some organizations may decide to delay cloud migration until additional capital becomes available. In other cases, you may decide to reorganize your strategy to account for your constraints or needs. Remember that it is always less costly to reorganize your strategy instead of incurring the costs associated with redundancy and underutilization.

Challenges of Cloud Migration

While we’ve touched on the fact that it’s almost always a better idea to migrate to the cloud than not, that doesn’t mean the process is always easy. Here are a few of the main challenges an organization might face when migrating to the cloud.

  1. Cost
    Of course, costs should be a major factor in your decision-making. Cloud providers often attempt to differentiate themselves by focusing on having cost advantages in specific areas. Therefore, shopping around can often reveal providers that can deliver an acceptable solution at a substantially lower cost.
  2. Data Integrity and Security
    Keeping your data secure and intact can be a big undertaking during the cloud migration process. Properly assessing security may necessitate working with trustworthy cybersecurity consultants who have experience in cloud migration.
  3. Ongoing Support
    Finally, you will need to make sure that you have adequate staff to properly implement the planned cloud migration. Many cloud providers can offer their own staff to help with migration, but these staff can be exorbitantly expensive. If you plan to negotiate directly with a cloud provider, be sure to include cloud migration staffing in your agreement to ensure a smooth transition.

Benefits of Cloud Migration

Overall, the benefits of cloud migration almost always outweigh continuing to use legacy infrastructures. Here are the main benefits of cloud migration.

  1. Unlimited Scalability
    The possibility of practically unlimited scalability has significant business implications that support unforeseen growth while avoiding downtime at the most crucial points in time. For instance, no business wants to experience a service outage due to a rush of traffic after being mentioned by a major influencer. When businesses move to the cloud, resources can be automatically scaled to account for service demand.
  2. Increased Elasticity
    Likewise, elasticity is also an enormous benefit of leveraging the cloud. All businesses experience peak hours when a higher amount of resources are needed. Instead of forcing you to maintain excess resources in preparation for peak times, cloud solutions enable you to utilize system resources only when they are needed. Therefore, businesses that ordinarily waste over 90 percent of their capacity can often reduce waste to less than 5 percent of their total resource allocation. With a highly elastic pay-per-use model, you can save money while delivering better services to your customers.
  3. Better Resource Allocation
    cloud providers enable their clients to manually increase or decrease their resource allocation by using self-service provisioning. Dynamically modifying your own resource allocation enables you to optimize efficiency. You can also modify your resource allocation with automated programs and APIs to increase efficiency even further.
  4. More Control
    Cloud infrastructures also provide you with an enhanced level of control. Most providers give you direct access to RDP-like applications that let you take full control over your cloud infrastructures. You can, therefore, maintain full control over security practices to meet your organization’s requirements.

How Gigamon Can Help with Cloud Migration

The bottom line is that cloud migration can help improve business performance while reducing risks. Gigamon can aid your cloud migration, making it secure and eliminating uncertainty through greater visibility and fast threat detection and response, giving you peace of mind and saving you from potential future headaches. Read more about Gigamon cloud protection solutions here.

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