Technology is always moving forward and opening up new opportunities, but with those opportunities come risks, and not every business will benefit from these new opportunities. So it is with cloud-based computing, which has evolved over the last decade to be a viable alternative for a large number of businesses. It used to be that a company would need to devote a significant amount of money to technology and the upkeep of servers, computers, and more. Today, much of this can be shifted to servers that are off-site and well-secured without any business disruption. These servers that are off-site and run by larger companies are referred to as "the cloud," and what used to be simply storage has now turned into data manipulation, report generating, and a host of additional services that used to be handled in-house.

When your business is ready to move some or all of your data and applications to the cloud, you need to have a migration strategy. The last thing you need is to have your business come to a halt because you can't access your data and perform the daily tasks that you need to do. Not only that, but when you migrate, you want to make sure that it is always available and has up-time equivalent to when you had everything in-house. So what makes up a cloud migration strategy? We'll break it down so you can develop a solid plan for your migration.

cloud data stream

The Basic Migration Process

While your business is unique, and you should take the time to formulate a migration plan that fits your needs and desires, some basic points are common to all cloud migration plans. This is not something that gets done over the weekend (though some work might be done on a weekend to minimize the impact on the rest of the organization), and the more you put into planning now, the easier the transition will go.

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Planning Your Migration

At the outset, you should understand and articulate the reasons why you are migrating to a cloud-based system. Beyond that, you should settle on the right strategy that will support these reasons. Part of this planning should be to calculate your requirements so that you aren't overpaying for servers you don't need, as well as making sure that you aren't underestimating your organization's needs.

Choose The Cloud Environment

This is the point where you will choose the kind of cloud model that will fit your needs and address the security concerns you have. Don't just look at today, but try to forecast into the future so that you can adjust easily as time goes on to the changing landscape.

Migrating Apps And Data

The actual migration should be smooth sailing, but plan for issues to arise. Keep in mind security concerns, back-up plans, and recovery. An application performance management solution should be used to baseline performance for post-migration testing.

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Validating Post-Migration

Once the migration is done, you want to make sure things still work as you expect them. This is a great time to also prove the benefits of moving to a cloud-based system over your old in-house system.

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Woman planning migration

Migration Strategies

While every business will have its own unique strategy based on its needs and desires, there are six common migration strategies that most businesses have used over the years. The first is called rehosting and essentially means that you are recreating the same environment that you already had. The second is called replatforming, and this is the same as rehosting with the exception that they will do a bit of adjustment to optimize a few things. The third strategy is called repurchasing, and this involves moving to a new, cloud-based service, usually a SaaS platform. The fourth strategy is refactoring, and this is typically the most expensive strategy. You will be rebuilding applications from scratch, but you do it to leverage the new options from a cloud-based service. The fifth strategy is retiring and basically involves turning off some applications that you find that you aren't using any longer, and the resulting savings can help boost the case for migration. The sixth and final strategy is retaining, and this means that you are postponing the migration for one or more serious issues that are unable to be resolved at this time.

Benefits Of Migration

You wouldn't do a migration to a cloud-based system without some benefits accruing for the business, otherwise it's just spending money to spend money. A primary benefit is a reduction in hosting costs since you are no longer keeping up your own physical servers. A second benefit is scalability and agility. As your business grows, you can easily add capacity, and your team can work from anywhere instead of having to be on-site.

A third benefit a business can experience is a reduction in energy costs, reducing the environmental footprint. A fourth benefit is that disaster recovery is much easier and cheaper, which impacts smaller businesses more heavily. And a fifth benefit is security, as the cloud provider keeps up with the security needs and having everything stored centrally instead of scattered in data centers. These all add up and provide a compelling case to move to a cloud-based system.

Database hardware
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Wrap Up

As we have mentioned several times, each business will have its unique needs that must be met during a cloud migration. Even with these uniquenesses, there is a common set of steps that all businesses must go through to implement a cloud migration successfully. You will need to look at all of the costs involved in a migration, and even if you want to move everything or only part of what you have. The right answer for your business is what makes the most sense to those doing the migration. Yes, there are benefits to be had for migrating to a cloud-based system, but there could be a steep learning curve that impacts your business for a period of time as well. The more you keep your employees informed on things, the higher the likelihood is that the transition will go smoothly and you will only experience a small blip in productivity.

If you need additional help understanding the database migration process or need additional technologies to help with the process, Zuar is here! The professionals at Zuar have years of experience creating and implementing cloud migration strategies. Zuar has also invested ample research and development into products to assist with this process, like Mitto!

Contact us to get started with a free data strategy assessment!