Cloud Migration: Basic Considerations

December 10, 2019
Cloud, Data Migration, IT Services

Cloud computing may be old news, but there are still many companies that have yet to make the move to the cloud. If yours is among them but planning to migrate some or all of its workloads to a public cloud service soon, you may be thinking:

  1. The cloud is nothing new, so it must be easy to migrate there.
  2. The cloud is nothing new, but it’s new to me. Where do I start?

In terms of number one, cloud migration isn’t necessarily easy. But, it doesn’t have to be exceedingly difficult if you approach the right way. The information that follows will help by providing an overview of some basic considerations.

In terms of number two, that same information will provide helpful guidance when you’re ready to embark on a cloud migration. For more assistance, download US Signal’s free eBook: Ready. Set. Migrate. 

Know Your Workloads

You’ve likely heard it before. Not all workloads belong in the cloud. An audit of yours will help you determine if they do and, if they don’t, where they will perform best.

Look at application dependencies. Investigate compliance requirements. Carefully assess apps that use legacy enterprise hardware. In some cases, they might be more expensive to run as cloud-based apps.

If an app wasn’t originally developed for the cloud, it may not perform at level required. To get it to that level may require refactoring or rebuilding it. That entails time, money, and expertise.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to move everything to the cloud. Employing a hybrid IT strategy, in which you combine public and private clouds and colocation, will likely give you the best results.

Refactor as Necessary

Just because an app isn’t built for the cloud doesn’t mean it can’t be made to perform well there. Refactoring an app will enable it to work effectively with a variable number of running instances to allow dynamic scaling. That can potentially reduce cloud service costs.

Refactoring can also enable you to take advantage of cloud capabilities, such as dynamically allocating and de-allocating resources as needed instead of statically allocating them ahead of time. Just be sure to weigh the costs vs. benefits of the endeavor.

Choose Your Integration Level

There are various migration methods to use when moving workloads to the cloud. But it really comes down two general options: the basic “lift-and-shift” or a deep cloud integration.

The lift-and-shift approach is just what is sounds like: you lift the app as is and shift it to the cloud. You make little or no changes to the servers you instantiate in the cloud to run the app. Any changes are just enough to get the app to run in the new environment.

With a deep cloud integration, you’ll need to modify the app if you want to leverage the full benefits of the cloud. This may simply entail using auto scaling and dynamic load balancing. Or, you might need to go with a more sophisticated approach such as using serverless computing capabilities for portions of the application or a cloud-specific data store.

Set KPIs  

Cloud migration key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you determine if your cloud migration is successful. There are several key categories of cloud migration KPIs, such as user experience, application performance, and resource usage.

For each category, determine which metrics are the most important to your business, and which will be most affected by your cloud migration. Then, set a baseline metric for each KPI. 

Plan the Switch Over

An important part of your migration plan will be the switch over. One option is to move an entire app to the cloud and validate that it works. Then, switch traffic from the on-premise stack to the cloud stack. Or, you can move a few users over and test to make sure things are working. If all is good, you can move a few more. Continue this process until you’ve moved all your users to the cloud-based app. 

Start Your Cloud Migration Now

There’s much more to migrating workloads to a public cloud service than can be covered in a single blog. However, the information covered here will give you a good start on determining what you need to do. You’ll find more valuable information in our free eBook: Ready. Set. Migrate.

At US Signal, cloud migration services are among our specialties. This webinar featuring one of our migration specialists and a migration client will provide good insight into how we work.

To learn how US Signal can help you migrate to the cloud, call 866.2. SIGNAL or email [email protected].