7 Steps for a Cloud Migration: Why and How to Move Applications to the Cloud

Maciej Gamrat

Mar 12, 2021 • 8 min read

With the pandemic showing no signs of abating, cloud migration is expected to accelerate.

The coronavirus outbreak highlighted the need to adapt to unforeseen business disruptions rapidly, so a growing number of enterprises is now considering such a switch.

If you're considering this move, by reading this post you will learn about the most important benefits the cloud can bring to your business. We'll highlight critical steps in this process so that you get a better idea of what to expect and how to avoid the most common pitfalls. Read on!

What are the benefits of moving apps to the cloud?

Despite varying degrees of digital transformation, there is little doubt that cloud solutions are gaining momentum. As IDG's 2020 Cloud Computing research found, 81% of organizations have moved at least one application to the cloud.

There are many reasons for which companies are embracing cloud technologies.

First of all, it offers scalability and cost optimization. Advanced cloud solutions can monitor your apps and automatically adjust capacity to maintain steady performance at the lowest possible cost. Dynamic scaling adds and removes the necessary power when needed, which is crucial in apps experiencing variable traffic and workload patterns.

Secondly, the cloud stands for security and data protection. Deloitte's survey reveals that this benefit is the top driver for almost 60% of IT leaders.

From 24/7 infrastructure monitoring, easy database backups and versioning to detailed logging, cloud computing helps ensure your data's confidentiality and integrity in many ways.

Redundant storage enables recovering assets in case of a service outage or human errors, while encryption adds another layer of protection to your data.

Thirdly, the cloud equals increased availability and reliability. It lets you distribute your app instances across multiple zones, and if any of these fails, another instance can handle these requests instead.

Thanks to numerous locations, the cloud can ensure the lowest latency so that users of your services can enjoy content almost instantly.

In a nutshell, cloud computing is the way to go. Let's now discuss the steps you can expect in your migration journey.

7 Steps for a successful cloud migration

1. Evaluate the opportunity

Name the business case that will drive your migration to the cloud. As your cloud migration progresses, this will help keep your eye on the ball. It will also allow you to avoid some of the most common cloud migration mistakes – more on this in a minute.

2. Assess your existing infrastructure

Then it's time to map your apps, databases, and other assets so that you can understand their interdependencies. A deeper understanding of what's inside your infrastructure will help you outline a migration plan.

This is also the moment to evaluate your data storage, disk usage, and backup retention periods. During the migration, you'll be running both environments, so you'll need to sync your data – and this goal will be easier with data replication processes in place.

3. Plan a safe migration order

You don't have to migrate all apps. Combining on-prem and cloud services, hybrid cloud has become popular among businesses globally – and for good reason.

Only account for apps that can benefit from the move. Prioritize items with fewer dependencies and gradually include all services. This process should get you to a preliminary execution plan, which will require further refinement.

4. Adjust and test your infrastructure

It's time to ensure that your infrastructure is ready for the move.

  • So do your services comply with 12-factor application principles?
  • Are your applications properly isolated and packaged? Do they support scaling?
  • Can app copies work simultaneously?

If all is good, you can execute the migration plan.

5. Deploy it!

Move the planned components and test them on a small group of users. Be ready to react if something goes wrong.

And if everything works fine, continue carrying out your plan and switching more users to the migrated services.

6. Monitor your deployment

Use cloud logs and follow key metrics to assess the overall health of your deployment. Pay close attention to costs. Actual traffic will help you verify if your initial cost optimization estimations were correct.

7. Work towards a new operating model

Finally, as your deployment proves stable, you can fully switch to the migrated environment. Now it's time to iterate on your new foundation and work towards a more efficient operating model. That's where DevOps often comes into play.

Avoid these common cloud migration mistakes

Cloud migration can bring numerous efficiencies, but these few mistakes can stop you from getting great results.

No clear business goals

According to Unisys Cloud Success Barometer, one in three migration projects fail, largely because organizations don't make the cloud a part of their core strategy. Simultaneously, almost 80% of businesses avoiding this mistake reported moderate to significant improvements from their cloud migration.

Building a clear business case for migration provides your organization with a data-driven rationale to support the initiative. Never overlook this step.

Lift-and-shift migration

Cloud is very different from an on-premise environment and requires at least some level of adjustment of the apps to be migrated.

The "lift-and-shift" approach means that you move apps with little or no modification. While often feasible technically, you lose out on opportunities to address existing technical flaws or debt by choosing this strategy.

It also stops you from reaping benefits such as improved performance and costs due to managed storage and databases.

Lack of know-how

From initial planning and assessment of the apps and their dependencies to deploying the new solution, the process of migration is complex. Not to mention that this is only the first step to adoption, which requires educating staff to accelerate your organizational transformation.

Surprisingly, many organizations still try to go it alone. However, according to this Unisys study, companies seeking external help are almost 30% more likely to achieve great or at least moderate benefits.

Final thoughts

Moving apps to the cloud is a complex process, yet its benefits far outweigh the costs.

Don't go it alone, though. You can mitigate the risks by partnering with organizations that understand and align with your business objectives.

At Netguru, we have supported many cloud migrations and provided DevOps services to multiple clients worldwide – from emerging startups to top global brands. As a certified AWS partner, we design and build advanced architectures, move apps to the cloud, and manage them post-migration.

Get in touch, and let's talk about your needs.

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Maciej Gamrat

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