Cloud migration allows organizations get away from older infrastructure that can no longer be reasonably maintained and enables companies to take advantage of newer technology that can revolutionize the way business is done by using cloud computing services.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud Computing Definition: Any type of online service, software, application, storage system, or virtual machine is generally considered cloud computing. For example, most of Google’s products can be considered cloud computing; from Google Drive, to Maps, Gmail, and even Calendar.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud Migration Definition: Cloud migration can refer to moving processes or data from on-site systems to off-site cloud computing providers or from one off-site service provider to another. This could be something as simple as uploading all documents from a local PC to a service like Google Drive. In business situations, it’s usually more complex, and involves moving entire processes or large volumes of data off site.
Forms of Cloud Computing
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): Infrastructure as a service is the most basic form of off-site services. It generally refers to using hardware that’s hosted and maintained by a third party. One example of this is renting server space.
Software as a Service (SaaS): Software as a service refers to applications that are maintained completely off-site. Users can generally log into the same interface regardless of where they are without having to have specific hardware or software installed, though occasionally plugins are needed. The Google programs mentioned earlier are examples of SaaS.
Platform as a Service (PaaS): Platform as a service refers to a virtual environment that a user can create personalized applications on. Oftentimes, the programming languages and tools that can be used are specific to the supplier. However, Google App Engine is a well-known example of this that’s designed to accept all programming languages.
Benefits of Moving to the Cloud
The services are maintained by the off-site provider. This means that smaller organizations may be able to do without having a dedicated on-site IT team to manage systems and troubleshoot, while larger organizations free up their IT teams to focus on other tasks that can drive profitability or improve efficiency.
Initial investments are generally minimal. Off-site providers usually charge for the amount of data used or for the number of individuals accessing the system. Instead of having to spend a large amount of money up front to purchase infrastructure, the organization pays a lower recurring payment.
Systems are built to scale with the company’s needs. Most providers have different tiers of service, making it possible to use more resources as a team grows or take advantage of advanced tools as needed.
Considerations for Cloud Migration
Interoperability: Will all applications and services work well together? If not, can they be adapted to?
Portability: Can the data be accessed and moved? Some legacy systems lock users into keeping all existing hardware or software, though solutions are often available to override this.
Data Integrity: Is the new environment designed to accept and use data from current systems? If not, are there middleware or migration tools available to ease the transition so nothing is lost or corrupted?
Business Continuity: Will migrating affect the flow of business? Can it be done in stages to avoid impacting the organization?
Privacy and Security: What processes are in place to ensure sensitive data is only accessible to those who should have access?
Strategy: Is there a comprehensive strategy in place that addresses the other items in this list and includes a specific deployment roadmap to address potential risks while maximizing the benefits?
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