We live in an era where data is fundamental to every aspect of our lives. Valuable information can be gathered and documented from the most mundane of our actions, from the food we eat to online shopping, and then analyzed to provide solutions to problems.
Needless to say, all those ones and zeros constituting the backbone of any data structure need to be stored somewhere. Recent advances in technology have made it so that storage space doesn’t even have to be a physical place on your premises. Cloud data solutions are already here, and trends show they are here to stay.
In 2019, the American software company Flexera performed a survey on cloud adoption and 94% of technical professionals in organizations across the board reported that their business had moved totally or partially to the cloud, with 84% of respondents having a multi-cloud strategy (source). The advent of the covid-19 pandemic made even more businesses transition!
Why are so many companies moving to the cloud?
The main reason why many companies decide to implement a cloud migration strategy is to be at the forefront of innovation. Cloud data integration is becoming the norm, and that is both due to the chances it offers to improve all areas of a business and the necessity to adapt to an evolving market.
What are the benefits of cloud migration?
Adopters of cloud migration have access to several perks such as enhanced opportunities to innovate and faster time delivery. Using the cloud can also offer companies better options for flexibility, improved scalability, and help them improve the customer experience.
What should I consider before using analytics for cloud data migrations?
Here are two things you should consider before using analytics for cloud data migrations:
- Keep your data clean and catalogued
- New business opportunities
Keeping data clean and catalogued
Unoptimized data can cause issues with the efficacy of data migration tools, thereby increasing the costs of migration and maintenance. If you are planning a data migration strategy it is beneficial to add intelligent data management solutions to your checklist.
If documents, records, and any other kind of data are kept organized, it will not only be easier to use and perform an analysis on them, but it will also prevent valuable cloud storage space from being wasted. This problem is quite common, and if you haven’t given it a thought, it may be already affecting your business. Furthermore, having data organized will turn cloud data integration into a much faster and simpler process.
New business opportunities
Cloud environments and data analytics can do great things when used hand in hand. By using these two technologies in tandem, you will be able to envision new product designs and better understand how your customers interact with your business. The customer experience is considerably improved with analytics solutions since they tell you what your customers want and what strategies they react best to.
What are the steps of a successful cloud migration strategy?
Step 1: Planning
Businesses must have a good idea of what kind of assets they are going to migrate to the cloud and how cloud migration benefits the company. Having clear goals before acting is the best way to guarantee that the decisions taken down the line will be the right ones.
Step 2: Decide your approach to cloud migration
There are many ways in which businesses can implement data migration strategies. Here are some examples of ways a cloud migration strategy can be employed:
- Rehosting: Also known as lift and shift, this approach sees existing data and applications redeployed on cloud platforms in their current state, without performing any modifications. This data migration strategy is fast and straightforward.
- Refactoring: Sometimes modifying the codebase of a workload becomes a necessity for it to function reliably on the cloud. Refactoring becomes viable when there are small underlying changes to be made to the code to optimize it for the cloud, as the architecture may be different than what is being used on physical premises.
- Revising: A revision works under the same logic as refactoring, but on a much bigger scale. One can expect the general functionality and features of the workload to remain unchanged, but the code must undergo extensive modifications. Performing a revision requires a good understanding of the services, infrastructure, and nature of the cloud being used.
- Rebuilding: This is a much more resource-intensive and complicated cloud migration strategy. Rebuilding means that the workload will not be modified or iterated upon but rather recreated from scratch to guarantee the most efficient cloud performance. If a workload is too old to properly integrate to the cloud, for instance, it might have to be redesigned and rebuilt to be migrated.
Choosing a particular method does not bar from using a different one in the future. When more familiarized with the use of cloud migration tools, businesses will have no problem using different methods interchangeably. Nonetheless, remember that your chosen approach will determine several oncoming factors, such as costs and architecture decisions.
Step 3: Choosing the right cloud environment
If your data was migrating to a new house, your cloud environment would be the lot it is built on. It is important to remember that the cloud environment you choose should reflect on your long-term business goals, as it will dictate what kind of perks a business will be able to take advantage of and what data security and management measures one may have to lean into.
Here are the most common cloud environment solutions on the market:
Highly scalable and extensive, public clouds also have the benefit of possessing a global reach. Users of public clouds have access to various individual services, which may be acquired through a pay-per-use model.
These cloud services are offered by third-party providers big and small and one can find options from some of the world’s biggest companies like Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. It is also common for companies to offer a database migration service to help those wishing to use their public cloud services.
While it may lack access to third-party services, be harder to scale, and require a considerable amount of technical and financial resources to work correctly, a private cloud gives businesses total ownership and control over their data. Private clouds also provide a company with a greater degree of flexibility.
This approach is meant to combine the best of both worlds, giving a business all the benefits of cloud solutions, both public and private. This means that hybrid cloud platforms are highly scalable, flexible, and offer the company a considerable amount of control.
On the downside, running a hybrid cloud means that one will be using the time and resources needed to implement both public and private cloud services at the same time. A company wishing to deploy a hybrid cloud will thereby have to consider an increased workload and higher operating costs.
Step 4: Determine a deployment model
A business may choose a particular deployment model depending on the level of convenience expected. A deployment model can also determine how much control a business has over its data.
Typically, deployment models fall into one of the following categories:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The company’s workload is hosted on infrastructure that is built by cloud architects to resemble that of a traditional data center. Most cloud platforms rely on this model for their deployment.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS): Instead of deployment being based on traditional architecture, this model integrates resources that take advantage of the cloud to replace local tools.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): A third party provides an application ready to adapt for deployment. They are responsible for the development and maintenance of the application.
Step 5: Designing the architecture
This step will prepare everything for cloud migration and will rely on the skills of the cloud architect in charge. The complexity of the architecture will determine the extent of the activities that can be performed on the cloud, and the architect may outline what desired traits can be achieved with the company’s budget.
Step 6: Prepare for cloud migration
The migration plan must be developed by the business leaders in conjunction with IT. Several actions must be taken into consideration, both related to the migration process itself and to all the people who will be involved or affected by the migration. Some actions that may be undertaken are:
- Informing your user base of changes occurring to the platform
- Synchronizing data needed by the workload
- Performing testing on all processes to guarantee their efficacy
- Preparing documentation
- Establishing a contingency plan or other measures in case of an emergency
Step 7: Perform the cloud migration process
The migration process itself is handled by transferring the workload, dependencies, and all related data into the cloud architecture. Other activities that must be performed include configuring a domain and IP environments, as well as setting up the environment to guarantee data security.
Routine testing and validation are recommended to ensure a smooth cloud migration process, and the workload should be tested as soon as the migration is complete to make sure its functionality and performance are adequate.
How long will a cloud migration take?
A minimum of 1-2 months is required for cloud migration. However, more complex systems can take over 4 months to migrate. While it is technically possible to transfer a single server to the cloud in a day, moving the totality of a business or a considerable part of it to the cloud can take quite some time.
Proper implementation of a data migration strategy must take into account the size and quantity of the assets being transferred, the networks that must be set up, and the time and training employees may require to make efficient use of the platform. Systems used for email, communications, document management, and other similar processes must also be accounted for.
Cloud migration consulting services
The costs of migrating to the cloud can be quite steep, especially if the data you are storing contains redundant or obsolete information, which happens to be the case for many businesses that don’t have a proper cloud migration strategy. Fortunately, you can count on DataIntell to receive the best technical support when planning your transition into the cloud or when transferring between cloud environments.
DataIntell’s intelligent data management software provides a clear view of your data and customized data analytics. State-of-the-art search functions can rapidly help you find any piece of data, even in hybrid cloud environments. Plus, the software warns users and corrects data issues.