In 2022, 67% of all enterprise infrastructure is predicted to be Cloud-based. What’s more, 81% of all enterprises reported having a multi-cloud strategy already in the works.
If, for some reason, you’re not part of these 81%, this article will help you to establish how to set up a tailored Cloud Migration Strategy that will perfectly fit into your needs.
Moving to the Cloud can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Depending on what systems are part of your IT portfolio, it may turn out that you don’t need to do that much to enjoy your first Cloud-related benefits. However, to establish if that is the case, you first need to create an inventory of what you have and what you’re planning to achieve with the migration.
Migration to Cloud – How to Start
AWS reports that the most common questions enterprises ask when starting to work on their Cloud migration strategies are:
- What solutions and applications are part of their IT environment?
- What are the dependencies between them?
- Which of them would be hard to migrate?
- Migrating which of these solutions and application would likely deliver the biggest business benefits?
Having established these basic facts, you can outline a rough plan (that will likely change later) on how to migrate which applications and solutions, and in what order.
AWS advises to start with the migration of low-complexity solutions (since it will be easier to complete). Next, after receiving a couple of positive reinforcements thanks to quick wins, you can concentrate on the more complex elements of your IT environment.
The overall complexity of migrating existing solutions can vary, depending on the architectures and existing licensing agreements. AWS reports that monolithic mainframes are considered to be at the high-complexity end of the spectrum, while virtualized, service-oriented architecture should be considered part of the low-complexity end.
6 Strategies for Migrating Applications to The Cloud (The 6 R’s)
Now, after listing and analyzing your IT portfolio, you can start planning how exactly you’d like to migrate which elements of your systems.
Generally, AWS defines 6 common strategies for migrating to the Cloud.
However, before we dive into the specifics, it’s important to point out that these strategies aren’t an exhaustive list. All these approaches are flexible and can be mixed to achieve the best results. That’s why you should treat them only as a general framework rather than set-in-stone strategy puzzle pieces.
Also called the lift and shift strategy, re-hosting means moving your solution from on-premise hosting to the Cloud. It’s viewed as quick and easy since it doesn’t require any architecture changes or coding. Unfortunately, it also doesn’t offer full Cloud infrastructure benefits. As a result, it’s not always very effective.
Also described as re-hosting with optimization, re-platforming is similar to the first strategy, but also aims at adjusting your solutions and assets to be ready to deliver more Cloud benefits. However, re-platforming isn’t about changing the core architecture of the application.
Re-purchasing means moving to a different product – usually a SaaS platform – and dropping your own on-premise solution. For example, this could mean moving your CRM to Salesforce.com or your HR system to Workday.
The previous strategies are not always viable or sensible business-wise. If you need to improve your infrastructure, you may be forced to re-architecture your solution for it to meet your new requirements, optimize maintenance costs, or improve performance and quality with Cloud-native features. This approach is also called serverless.
AWS reports that as much as 10% (sometimes even up to 20%) of enterprise IT portfolios are no longer useful and can simply be turned off. Getting rid of unused solutions and functionalities can not only save money, but also direct the attention of your team to more important things – and that’s what retiring is all about.
The last strategy is the easiest to execute but may be the most difficult to accept. Its goal is to do… nothing.
Sometimes your organization may not be ready to migrate. You should only migrate if it makes sense from the business perspective. And if, for example, your application has been upgraded very recently, it may not be sensible to move to the Cloud right away. That’s why retaining is also called “revisiting”. After all, Cloud migration should be your end game – but just not right here and right now.
Cloud Migration Strategy – Similar to Legacy Systems Modernization
These approaches are relatively similar to the areas we’ve defined in our article about legacy application modernization. Since modernization usually also means moving your legacy systems to the Cloud, these strategies are nearly identical.
Consider Migrating to The Cloud Today
A few years back, the Cloud has been considered an advantage - some sort of bonus asset. However, in 2021, it's hardly the case. Business executives don't have to be persuaded anymore that the Cloud is the way to go.
So, don't fall behind. Start by preparing an inventory of your IT portfolio and analyze which applications and systems would deliver the most benefits if migrated.