What is Cloud Migration?

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And how can your small business benefit from it?

Cloud migration simply means moving to the cloud. But what does that mean? Well, it’s like moving your business to new premises, but instead of physically moving your data, software, and IT from one site to another, you’re moving things to internet-hosted data centres. Some or all your applications, software, IT processes and workloads move into the cloud, which means they will be hosted remotely and accessible to you via the internet (whether through a public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid cloud model).

Just like a physical move, this requires good preparation and a sound strategy to be effective. However, if you do it well, the benefits are well worth the effort. You will not only save on your IT bills but increase your business’s flexibility, scalability, and security.

Unlike traditional IT services that had to be accessed on-site (remember when the software was only available for installation on CDs?), cloud services can be accessed remotely and can be scaled as required.

Many applications and functions that were previously hosted on-site are quickly becoming “legacy infrastructure”. Unlike building a legacy in the historical and familial sense, which is enormously positive, the term “legacy” in IT holds negative connotations. Hardware or software deems “legacy” as something that is out of date but still in use. Legacy products and processes are those that should be phased out or replaced.

Examples include software or hardware that is no longer supported by the manufacturer (like the Windows XP operating system, which is no longer supported by Microsoft as it has been succeeded by subsequent Windows releases). Another example is outdated hardware that runs slowly and is tricky to fix. Legacy infrastructure components, like old servers or physical firewall elements, can slow down business processes, or even open you up to data breaches.

Typically, legacy infrastructure is hosted on your premises. While the equipment has served its purpose, there is often room to replace it (partially or completely) with cloud-based services that offer greater cost efficiencies and flexibility. Most enterprises have made or are planning to make at least a partial move to the cloud.

Important cloud migration considerations

When considering cloud migration for your business, here are a few things you will need to think about:

  • Database migration: Cloud migration may mean moving your existing databases to a completely new platform, which can be daunting, especially for large databases. Your cloud provider may need to physically transfer the data via hardware appliances to their data centres. If your database is smaller, you may be able to transfer it over the Internet. You need to plan for data transfer and the time it will take, this is where cloud automation comes in to reduce the manual effort and make it as efficient as possible.

  • Business continuity: You need to ensure that your systems remain operational and available throughout the cloud migration process which requires careful planning to maintain business continuity.

  • Data security: It is critical that you ensure none of your data is compromised, leaked, or lost during the transfer process.

How to go about migrating

While cloud migration may promise great benefits (and it will deliver on those if implemented properly!) it requires a strategic approach.

Your migration strategy should include goals, time frames, and potential risks (and how these will be addressed) as well as the details of what the migration will entail and their benefits to the business. You’ll need to think about budgets and security and decide which type of cloud set-up you want to use (public, private or hybrid).

Your strategy will also need to lay out what exactly is being moved to the cloud – which workloads, applications, and projects. For example, this will be done by defining use cases upfront so you can build a solid strategy and ensure you are meeting your business’s specific needs. Partnering with an experienced cloud provider or IT partner, like us, will help guide you and make a seamless transition.

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