Ankur Mandal

Ultimate Guide To Cloud Migration


Ankur Mandal

5 min read

In today's growth-driven digital era, if you want your business to succeed, you must embrace the cloud. The cloud has become indispensable since it transforms how organizations manage their technology infrastructure. 

However, implementing the cloud is not as easy as it might seem. Organizations either fail to adopt the cloud or implement it poorly. This calls for a comprehensive understanding of cloud migration—from the basics to tips to ensure your cloud migration is successful. 

This blog will cover every aspect of cloud migration to ensure you have a thorough understanding before we implement cloud migration in your organization, ensuring you do it the right way.

Cloud migration refers to moving business components such as services, databases, IT infrastructure, applications, and other digital assets to the cloud. Many businesses tired of the obsolete and inadequate legacy infrastructure are now moving to the cloud to gain the full benefit of cloud computing. According to statistics and 75% of global IT decision-makers, 95% of the workload will be on the cloud within five years. This signals the growing significance of cloud migration.

Embracing cloud over on-premise gives organization flexibility to pay only on the resources they use and meanwhile maintenance and overhaul of the complete physical infrastructure is taken care by cloud service providers.

What Are The Benefits Of Cloud Migration?

Cloud migration is a popular choice for storing data, applications, and servers because it offers various benefits at a lower cost.

  • Scalability: Cloud-based infrastructure enables organizations to quickly scale resources in response to changing business needs, eliminating the need to over-provision hardware for occasional spikes in demand. This allows organizations to optimize cloud costs by efficiently scaling down resources during inactive periods.
  • Agility: Cloud infrastructure is engineered to provide virtually limitless computing and storage resources and a wide array of services instantly upon demand. This empowers organizations to deploy and scale workloads without the delays associated with infrastructure procurement, enabling them to utilize resources for as long as required and only pay for the actual consumption of resources.
  • Consistent Innovation: Cloud providers periodically update their cloud infrastructure and applications automatically and add new features, enabling businesses to innovate their infrastructure. Moreover, these updates also include security patches that bolster the safety and security of the cloud infrastructure.
  • Long-term cost investment: Cloud solutions may not always guarantee lower costs than traditional local data centers over the long term. However, the transition from significant capital investments in regional data centers to recurring monthly operational expenses in the cloud can assist businesses in effectively managing project budgets and improving cost forecasting.
  • Eliminate demand for local resources: Cloud computing alleviates the strain on expensive local data center utilization and expansion requirements. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can allocate critical workloads to their local data centers while offloading routine or noncritical workloads to the cloud. This approach enables firms to delay or potentially cancel plans for data center construction or expansion and, in some instances, even reduce the physical footprint of their local data centers.

How Does Cloud Migration Work?

While the cloud migration process varies depending on the type of migration you opt for and the resources you want to migrate, it entails the following typical steps.

  • Defining the purpose: Every cloud migration endeavor should commence with a precise delineation of the tangible business objectives driving the migration and establishing unequivocal expectations for the project.
  • Understanding the target application: This phase involves collaborative efforts among business, technical, and compliance leaders to scrutinize the local environment and pinpoint potential candidates for migration to the cloud. It's crucial to recognize that not all workloads are suitable for migration due to performance, security, compliance, or other considerations. 
  • Choosing cloud target: Following the selection of an application for migration, the business can proceed to choose the appropriate cloud deployment model—public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud—as well as the optimal service model, such as IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, that best aligns with the desired destination.
  • Choosing a cloud partner: Taking preventive measures while selecting a cloud partner is better than struggling with undesirable outcomes. Select a cloud service provider with a proven track record of impeccable hosting services. 
  • Assessing migration cost: This entails monthly fees for SaaS, per-user charges for PaaS, and diverse costs associated with IaaS resources and services. Given the recurring nature of cloud expenses, businesses must allocate sufficient funds for migration and ongoing support in their budgets.
  • Evaluating migration needs: Comprehend the performance requirements and expectations for the workload post-migration. Businesses should define metrics and KPIs for continuously monitoring and reporting workload performance.
  • Devise a migration plan: Under this step, you need to set how the cloud migration plan will be and when it will be executed. The plan should incorporate provisions for meticulous data migration. This involves testing and validating dependencies, such as essential databases, and transferring the intended target workload. Subsequently, thorough final testing and validation should be conducted.
  • Execute the plan: With all the elements of cloud migration in place, it is time to execute the migration plan. This phase encompasses all movement activities and meticulous testing. It allows business and technology leaders and workload owners to review initial performance reports to ensure sufficient performance and security under full load.
  • Monitoring and reporting: This involves monitoring performance to track different aspects, such as workload availability, health, and performance, as the applications run in the cloud. 

What Are Different Types Of Cloud Migration Models?

Cloud migration models can be divided into three categories:

  • Platform as a Service: PaaS cloud migration involves leveraging cloud services like databases, application servers, operating systems, containers, and development tools to develop and operate new applications within the cloud provider's data center.
  • Software as a Service: SaaS cloud migration entails transferring the data and functionality of an application, currently hosted in your data center, to operate the entire business process on a cloud-based application provided by the cloud provider."
  • Infrastructure as a Service: This migration model involves relocating an application from your on-premises data center to a cloud provider's infrastructure, typically with minimal modifications. Once migrated, the cloud provider assumes responsibility for the underlying hardware's maintenance, updates, and patches, including compute, storage, and networking infrastructure.

The 6 R's of Cloud Migration Strategies

You can implement one of these six cloud migration strategies when migrating your application and workload to the cloud.

  • Rehosting: Lift and shift involves moving the application to the data center with minimal altercations. Since the only difference is that the data is now hosted in a cloud infrastructure, your employees or customers won't even know that the data has been moved.
  • Replatforming: Replatforming involves migrating an on-premises application to a cloud provider's infrastructure and upgrading it to leverage the provider's new technologies or services.
  • Repurchasing: This involves substituting an application operating in the on-premises data center with a cloud-based, vendor-provided Software as a Service (SaaS) application that employees can access through a web browser.
  • Refactoring: Refactoring involves relocating an application to the cloud to modernize its architecture and capitalize on cloud-native capabilities. You can significantly implement a microservices architecture to enable the development, testing, and deployment of new features for the application.
  • Retaining: Retaining is the thought process wherein you take a closer look at what it will be like to migrate the applications to the cloud and, hence, decide not to do so. There could be numerous reasons behind this step, such as your latency requirements favoring an on-premise model. You might have realized that the cost and efforts required in a cloud migration outweigh the benefits and have decided to retain the legacy infrastructure. 
  • Retiring: Retiring means letting go of the functionality and application that no longer serves you any advantage. While this time-consuming process requires strategic planning, eliminating redundancy will help save significant money in the long run.

What Are The Challenges In Cloud Migration?

Like any other technology, cloud migration has its set of challenges you might face while trying to implement cloud infrastructure. Let us take a look at them.

  • Network latency: Latency is when it takes certain applications with high throughput to send data over the internet to cloud providers. While the impact is not noticeable for most organizations, it can quickly escalate into an issue if not planned.
  • Data Residency: Certain data, whether constrained by company policies or governed by data residency regulations, cannot be transferred to a cloud provider's data center. This can be a problem in cloud migration.
  • Complexity: For companies managing thousands of databases and applications, transitioning data and business processes to the cloud can require meticulous discovery, planning, and adept execution.

What Are The Organizational Hurdles To Cloud Migration?

Aside from challenges, several organizational hurdles prevent businesses from successfully implementing cloud migration. Some of these are mentioned below.

  • Unexpected high costs: Unlike traditional models, which have fixed costs, the cloud has a pay-per-use cost model. If there is high service utilization, such as scaling resources due to unplanned application growth, it can lead to high costs. This is why performing cost planning before migrating to the cloud is important.
  • No cloud strategy: Businesses are jumping on the bandwagon by implementing the cloud without considering it, and this is where they are wrong. Cloud migration will only work when an adept cloud migration strategy is in place. Refining cloud strategies requires a comprehensive approach, prioritizing proficiency in existing infrastructure and the intended cloud environment. This entails proactively identifying potential migration obstacles, devising robust contingency plans for remediation, and continually optimizing processes to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Poor application performance: Not every application performs well in a cloud environment. There could be several reasons for the application not working in the cloud, such as poor latency or compliance challenges hindering application compatibility with the cloud. This should not be considered an application or cloud failure since not all applications are for the cloud.
  • No cloud exit strategy: In their pursuit of creating a solid cloud migration strategy, IT managers often forget to discuss a cloud exit strategy. A cloud exit strategy includes strategizing how the apps and data will move out of the cloud and return to their original state, which could be either on-premise or private cloud. The IT managers need to devise an exit strategy to consider where the data would go and other aspects.
  • Inadequate infrastructure: To make the cloud migration work, organizations need optimal cloud infrastructure with adequately provisioned resources, whether compute instances, storage volume, or other services. Lack of proper design can negatively affect cloud workloads and may result in migration issues.
  • Improperly trained staff: Successful cloud migrations necessitate the expertise of adept and seasoned cloud architects and engineers who can comprehend workload requirements and skillfully design optimal cloud components for hosting the migrated workload. Overseeing applications in the cloud presents unique challenges distinct from managing local data centers and standard virtualized resources, demanding a specialized set of IT and management proficiencies. This is why the staff must be adequately trained. 

Tips To Ensure Successful Cloud Migration

Now that you have understood the nuances of cloud migration, it is time to implement it with the right tips. To simplify the process, we have compiled a list of the most helpful cloud migration tips.

  • Know which assets you will migrate: Spend time understanding which IT assets you own and which ones you will migrate. Such a comprehensive understanding will enable you to effectively quantify and measure the success of your cloud adoption efforts.
  • Map application dependencies: To comprehensively understand an application's communication ecosystem in the cloud, it's crucial to analyze its interactions with other applications and servers. This includes determining the frequency of communication, identifying whether it's bidirectional or unidirectional, and assessing the nature of data exchanged.
  • Include business and technical requirements: A thorough grasp of the application's cloud landscape necessitates a clear understanding of its business and technical prerequisites and dependencies. This involves discerning the functional needs aligned with business objectives and the technical specifications crucial for seamless integration and performance optimization within the cloud environment.
  • Choose the right cloud migration partner: Look for a cloud migration partner with technical expertise and a portfolio that shows agile methodology and project management.
  • Take a two-step approach: Migrate the least complex application first to mitigate any headaches from migrating complex applications. While complex applications take time, planning, and coordination for effective execution, mobile webstreams offer flexibility and are easy to move.
  • Test migration for verification: Make sure to check whether or not the migration is working through testing. Assess alternative scenarios to understand their potential impact on application dependencies and the overall migration process. By considering different possibilities, such as varying migration strategies, deployment models, or cloud providers, you can anticipate potential challenges, evaluate risks, and refine your migration plan to ensure a smooth transition with minimal application functionality and performance disruption.
  • Consider security: Use the cloud providers' integration capabilities to reduce costs and strengthen security. Additionally, adopt a multi-layered defense strategy that integrates technical controls, employee training initiatives, and routine security assessments such as penetration testing and vulnerability scans. Coupled with continuous monitoring, this approach fortifies your security posture by creating overlapping layers of protection, reducing the likelihood of successful cyberattacks, and enhancing the overall resilience of your infrastructure against evolving threats.
  • Ensure regular maintenance: Regardless of how organized your data center migration is, it will fall into disarray if there is no maintenance plan. Developing a robust maintenance plan that includes regular monitoring, proactive maintenance tasks, such as performance tuning and security patching, and documentation of configuration procedures.

Lucidity: Optimize Storage For Successful Cloud Migration

Cloud migration and storage optimization go hand in hand when transitioning to cloud infrastructure. During this process, organizations frequently move large quantities of data from on-premises systems to cloud environments. Efficient storage resource management is crucial for a smooth and cost-effective migration. 

Evaluating and enhancing storage needs before migration can reduce costs, improve performance, and simplify data transfers. Continuous efforts to optimize cloud storage also help efficiently utilize resources, promote scalability, enhance data access speeds, and optimize the overall ROI.

Why storage, specifically, you ask?

While several cloud cost management tools focus on compute resources, a shortage of tools emphasizes storage resources, even though storage significantly contributes to the overall cloud bill.

Findings from the research study "State of Hybrid Cloud Storage in January 2023," conducted by Virtana, emphasize the impact of storage expenses on overall cloud service costs. This study revealed that 94% of participants observed an increase in cloud costs, with 54% noting that storage-related expenses escalated faster than other components of their bills.

To investigate this phenomenon further, we conducted an extensive independent analysis involving over 100 enterprises that use leading cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP.

Our independent study delved deeper into the relationship between storage resources and overall cloud expenditure, uncovering significant insights. We found that 

  • Block storage, such as GCP's persistent disk, AWS EBS, and Azure Managed Disk, emerged as a major contributor to overall cloud costs. 
  • Surprisingly, despite its significance, disk utilization for root volumes, application disks, and self-hosted databases remained notably low within the organization. 
  • This discrepancy indicated a potential issue of overestimating growth and overprovisioning storage resources. Despite the overprovisioning, our analysis revealed that the organization experienced at least one downtime per quarter, highlighting the importance of optimizing storage resources to ensure cost efficiency and system reliability.

Upon further investigation, it was determined that to enhance the system's buffer and ensure optimal operation during periods of high or unpredictable demand, the following steps must be taken:

  • Implementing three manual touchpoints - monitoring, development, and alerting - necessitates the DevOps team to navigate through three different tools for managing block storage manually, resulting in significant time investment.
  • Certain cloud providers require a minimum downtime of 4 hours to shrink 1 TB of disk space, with a 3-hour downtime necessary for disk upgrades.
  • The subsequent scaling process will require a minimum wait time of at least 6 hours.

Due to these challenges, organizations prefer overprovisioning resources instead of optimizing storage. However, we understand the reasons behind it, which are as follows:

  • Given the limitations of CSP tools, there is a growing need for a customized solution, which can be a complex and time-consuming endeavor requiring significant DevOps efforts.
  • Relying solely on CSP tools may result in inefficient and resource-intensive processes, making ongoing storage optimization challenging for day-to-day operations.
  • Popular cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP do not offer a live shrinkage process, necessitating manual intervention. This intervention is labor-intensive and prone to errors. Additionally, it involves stopping instances, taking snapshots, and mounting new volumes, resulting in downtime.
  • Implementing a tool across an extensive cloud infrastructure with thousands of running instances can be costly, prompting organizations only to deploy tools in the production environment, thereby limiting visibility.

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler

Storage audits are critical to cloud cost optimization. Once you have identified the idle/unused and overprovisioned resources, you will either delete the unused ones or rightsize the overprovisioned ones. 

But shouldn't there be a way to automate this as well?

Lucidity autoscaler agent integrates directly with Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for effortless auto scaling groups deployment. This seamless integration helps to maintain disk utilization of 70-80% by automatically scaling as per the workload requirements.

This is where Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler comes to your rescue.

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler, the industry's pioneering storage autonomous orchestration solution, dynamically adjusts block storage capacity based on fluctuating demands to reduce hidden cloud costs. The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler has the following features:

  • Storage Optimization: Instantly increase storage capacity and maintain an optimal 70-80% utilization rate for significant cost savings and improved storage efficiency.
  • Efficient Performance: Benefit from minimal impact on instance resources with the optimized Lucidity agent, consuming less than 2% CPU and RAM usage for efficient storage management.

Once deployed, Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler offers the following benefits.

  • Automated expansion and shrinkage: The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler is intricately crafted to fine-tune disk scaling in 90 seconds, allowing for smooth management of extensive data. Unlike traditional block storage volumes, like Standard EBS, which are restricted to around 8GB per minute (125MB/sec), the Auto-Scaler maintains a sturdy buffer to handle sudden spikes in data, preventing any breach of the imposed EBS throughput limit.
  • Achieve significant cost savings of up to 70%: Utilize Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler to optimize storage expenses by removing overprovisioning risks.
  • Avoid downtime: Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler swiftly adjusts to changing storage needs, ensuring uninterrupted performance. Using the "Create Policy" feature, you can easily create tailored policies to expand storage resources seamlessly based on predefined criteria.

Ensure Cost-Efficient Cloud Migration

By now, you must have a fair understanding of the intricacies of cloud migration and how to make it successful. If storage optimization while cloud migration seems problematic, contact Lucidity for a demo and learn how automation can help optimize your storage usage and ensure a cost-efficient cloud migration.

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