Get Your Head Into the Cloud
Running a successful business isn’t just about managing employees and coming up with products or services. Making sure that your infrastructure is efficient, reliable, and not too costly is a high priority as well, especially since storage space, server maintenance, and support systems can get quite pricey. This, coupled with a desire to push forward and innovate, has driven millions of modern companies to cloud migration (or at least plans to do so). And, since nobody wants to get left behind in the dust, we’re here to help any business map its cloud migration strategy, determine the best options, and calculate the cost of the process. Go ahead and read our step-by-step guide on cloud migration processes.
“I don’t need a hard disk in my computer if I can get to the server faster… carrying around these non-connected computers is byzantine by comparison.” – Steve Jobs
The Journey or the Destination
What Is Cloud Migration?
Though it seems like a very futuristic concept, cloud migration, at its core, is very simple. It’s kind of like moving from one apartment to another, except your old apartment is far from the downtown and the new one is hovering in the sky, supported by an invisible infrastructure that’s decentralized and governed by someone else… Okay, so the analogy got away from us. Basically, cloud migration is when you move your infrastructure and data to the cloud. The reasons for it are multifaceted, ranging from a desire for more security to cost-cutting to a simple interest in innovations.
However, the main thing about the process isn’t the destination. What you should be most concerned with is the transferring. Plan ahead, make sure you have a checklist of things to do, and definitely calculate the cost beforehand! But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For now, let’s dig in on why cloud migration is both alluring and risky.
“Cloud is about how you do computing, not where you do computing.” ~ Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware
Why? Why Not!
Risks and Benefits
The big lure of cloud migration is and always will be the low cost of maintenance. Companies waste huge chunks of their budget on maintaining physical systems while going cloud-based can save a hefty sum. After all, you won’t be paying to buy hardware and keep it in good condition. Instead, you get enough space and power to run your operations and the level is scalable to your needs. So if you have expansion in your plans, the cloud-based approach is certainly worth it.
On the subject of security, your mileage may vary. Various sources, depending on their opinion on cloud services as a whole, will tell you that they either have airtight protection methods or that leaks are a major concern. The reality is, as usual, somewhere in between. Depending on your migration strategy and your cloud service provider, the security measures might be tighter than average or relatively slack. It comes down to your choices and how willing you are to invest into the security of your data.
A big issue for companies that run a tight ship is the notion of delegating control of their data and stability to the cloud service providers. However, if one of the most secretive agencies in the world, the CIA, can put trust in the cloud, as evidenced by their deal with AWS, you can certainly rely on them as well.
For high-tech and high-stakes companies, it’s also important to ensure that the transition is smooth. Not everybody can afford to have several days of downtime just because of a hitch in migration. Generally, this means finding a trusty service but everybody makes mistakes on occasion so just make sure to have a backup plan in place.
“The cloud services companies of all sizes…The cloud is for everyone. The cloud is a democracy.” ~ Marc Benioff
What a Way to Go
Determining a Strategy
With the choice between IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS determined by your specific goals and needs, you should be able to determine the right way quick. Once you’ve chosen the direction, consider whether you want a private cloud or a public one. Heck, you might even want to go for a hybrid.
Also, choose how high your budget is as that will predetermine the companies you can work with and the hardware limitations. To put it bluntly, just because you’re a smaller company, doesn’t mean your budget will be ready to sustain a full migration right away. Compile a list of all infrastructure elements that will need a transfer. Then consider the downtime because it should be accounted for in the budget as well. After all, a day or two might bring a hit to your expenses and profits. Basically, the budget should hold: downtime + the cost of cloud services + the cost of the migration itself. The latter will, most likely, represent a large chunk of the total sum as labor isn’t cheap but you’ll still be saving money in the long run.
Also, prepare yourself for hiccups. We’re not saying you should expect them but, if they do happen, don’t panic and simply process any issues and bugs the way you regularly would. A great example of a put-together transition can be found here. It wasn’t perfect but calm minds and a predetermined goal helped steer the process in the right direction.
Before we finish, let’s do a quick primer on cloud types:
- Public – very popular method that’s not ideal for those concerned about control and security as your provider would hold the keys to the kingdom.
- Private – while this type could also entail third-party hosting, it offers much more control over your data and, thus, security. Plus, if you’re really set on keeping the infrastructure close to home, you could host it on-site.
- Hybrid – a bit of side A, a bit of side B, this type offers mixed computing. The more mundane processes are handled by public capacities while sensitive data is processed via a private cloud. It’s a way of speeding up the process and cutting costs while keeping a desired level of security.
Also, remember that there’s nothing stopping you from choosing two types simultaneously or spreading your data between several providers. It’s a viable option thanks to the perks of the technology and it might be a smart one for larger corps.
Cloud computing is the third wave of the digital revolution. – Lowell McAdam
Lift Off to the Cloud
Hopefully our guide has shed some light on the process of cloud migration. And if you need further cloud migration consultation services, Incode Group’s experts will gladly help. We’d also be happy to guide you along in the migration process and offer our cloud service know-how.