According to a recent report, cloud infrastructure spending for the first quarter of 2021 increased by 12.5%, twice more than non-cloud ones. By year’s end, investments will balloon to close to USD$75 billion, with 70% on shared cloud systems. The largest spending came from Canada, China, and the Asia Pacific (excluding China and Japan). (1)
It’s easy to see what’s driving this record growth, no less despite the pandemic. By allowing the movement and storage of data within cloud servers, they become a more efficient and secure way to do business. No wonder businesses big and small are adopting cloud technology, whether for the first time or upgrading their existing systems.
No matter the reason for migrating, businesses should have a concrete strategy before initiating the big move. As this article will explain in detail, there’s no one way of going about it.
The 6 R’s of cloud migration
There’s more to cloud migration than just moving stuff onto virtual servers and systems. It begs many questions, mainly about efficiency and cost. Does going cloud increase the efficiency of a business’s workflow? Is investing in the cloud worth it in the long term? While sticking to out-of-date platforms will cost more, getting the wrong solution is just as worse.
Industry experts say there are at least six ways of managing cloud migration, known as the 6 R’s. The first step involves determining which of these R’s fit a business’s needs:
1. Rehost: For businesses going cloud for the first time or are less familiar with the tech, rehosting is the ideal strategy. Also known as “lift and shift,” this plan uses infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to move all assets to the cloud. It also works for transferring a large number of assets for the least amount of time required, especially off-the-shelf apps that need to remain intact. (2)(3)
2. Refactor: For those with adequate knowledge of how the cloud works, refactoring lets them make the most out of the technology. The “lift, tinker, and shift” strategy, as it’s so-called, employs a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model to rewrite the apps to make them more cloud-friendly. Naturally, this makes refactoring the most time and resource-intensive. (2)(3)
3. Replatform: Replatforming offers a balance of the benefits of rehosting and refactoring. Businesses can make less time and resource-intensive changes to their assets while making the most out of the cloud’s features. This strategy is best employed in intervals so that it doesn’t end up making significant changes. (2)
4. Repurchase: Repurchasing or “drop and shop” involves moving assets to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) system. Instead of a dedicated cloud system, the strategy entails using cloud-native software that’s just as capable. Specific business functions like email, customer relations management, and content management benefit the most from this plan. (2)
5. Retain/Revisit: An initial audit of cloud-bound apps and assets may find some that work better in the legacy system. Planning to retain these requires employing a hybrid cloud system to operate both cloud and non-cloud-based assets. This strategy allows businesses to revisit retained assets later, namely when they’re in a better position to move them. (2)
6. Retire: The audit may also stumble upon apps and assets that no longer serve any practical purpose. One study shows that enterprises may be hanging onto as much as 20% of their IT portfolio that’s outdated or rendered useless by technological innovations. By retiring apps and assets, businesses can save time and resources on moving stuff to the cloud. (2)(4)
Cloud Migration Four-step process
Drawing up a cloud migration strategy is as simple as four steps, although each step requires thorough preparation. With cloud migration itself a complicated endeavor, it pays for each step to be as complete as humanly possible. (3)
- Planning: Determine the purpose of cloud migration. Will it be used to safeguard data in case of a disaster? Will it be for streamlining DevOps or workloads?
- Business Case: Assess the services that cloud service providers have put forward. Every cloud-bound app or asset must have a strong case for doing so.
- Execution: In initiating the move, it must keep interruptions and costs to a minimum. A crucial app used in current processes can grind the entire business to a halt.
- Upkeep: Once the move is complete, the cloud system must be kept to a high standard of optimization and security, primarily through real-time monitoring.
Despite its intricacy and investment, cloud technology has become more necessary in business processes than before. Keeping a competitive edge in this digital economy means modernizing systems, cloud migration being no exception.
- “Cloud Infrastructure Spending Maintained Strong Growth in First Quarter of 2021, According to IDC”, Source: https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS48050621
- “Cloud Migration Strategy – The Ultimate Guide to the 6 R’s”, Source: https://www.simform.com/blog/cloud-migration-strategy/
- “What is Cloud Migration? Strategy, Process and Tools”, Source: https://cloud.netapp.com/blog/cloud-migration-strategy-challenges-and-steps
- “6 Strategies for Migrating Applications to the Cloud”, Source: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/enterprise-strategy/6-strategies-for-migrating-applications-to-the-cloud/