Cloud computing is the on-demand utilization of servers, data storage, development tools such as databases, networks, etc., over the internet. Cloud computing enables enterprise organizations to get their applications up and run faster. With lesser maintenance and improved manageability, it allows teams to adjust rapidly to meet fluctuating resource needs.
Why is moving to the cloud a sensible option?
Each organization has its reasons to migrate to the cloud. However, one fundamental reason is to focus on modernizing the business processes.
So, in this blog, we have curated a list of reasons why organizations decide to migrate to the cloud. Have a good read!
Reduced Expenses: Migrating to the cloud increases your business process efficiency and reduces operating costs. Establishing and running a data center might look expensive to you. But, by using the cloud, you pay only for the services used.
Flexibility: Cloud provides employees the flexibility to work from any location and reduces the number of workstations in the office. It is ideally suited for work from home scenarios. Fantastic, isn’t it?
Better business agility: Having flexible access to IT resources is crucial to keep pace with competitors. Since 99% of IT resources are available on-demand in the cloud environment, organizations don’t have to wait for hardware components and installations. Instead, they can lease the available resources directly from Cloud providers.
No need for a backup plan: Traditional computing system requires backup plans for data storage. If there is no backup storage, mishaps can lead to permanent data loss. Backup plans are not needed when storing the data on the cloud. The data will be available as long as users have an internet connection.
Data Security: Storing information on the cloud is safer than storing it in an on-premise data center. If the information is stored in the cloud, you can move confidential data to other accounts easily. In addition, breaking the security protocols on cloud platforms is extremely difficult.
Increased Productivity: Cloud hosting of applications and databases improves productivity enormously. It enables colleagues to share data easily and collaborate on complex projects from various locations. It eliminates repetitive tasks like data re-entry and saves a lot of money in different ways.
Points to consider before moving to the cloud
1.Choosing the right cloud service provider
Choosing the right cloud supplier is a critical step in the process of cloud migration that decides whether you gain the most out of your decision or not. From performance stability to customization, customer support to disaster recovery, several factors rely upon your choice of service provider.
Here are some aspects that you should consider before selecting a cloud provider:
a. Infrastructure Design
The Infrastructure design should consider Data Center Setup, HPC, and Multi-Layer security.
The service provider should have his data centers set up at various locations around the world. This empowers you to utilize the services from the closest data center, which ensures the least latency. Furthermore, in cases where there is an interruption with a particular data center because of a typhoon, the most viable data center will continue to provide services without any stoppage.
Along these lines, it is also important to evaluate the dependable nature of the data center network of the cloud service provider.
HPC: The chosen cloud supplier deploys HPC (High-Performance Computing) servers in the cloud design to guarantee ideal performance. It enables excellent, real-time performance even with resource-heavy and load-intensive applications.
Multi-Layer security: With regards to security, you cannot afford to think twice. A dependable cloud service provider should have a concrete plan to manage the security at all three layers: host, organization, and actual arrangement.
You should check whether advanced security features such as Multi-factor Authentication, Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDS and IPS), information encryption, access control framework and enterprise-grade firewalls are a part of the cloud service provider’s security manifesto.
Backup: Almost every service provider offers a data backup facility. However, to what extent or how rapidly the backing up of data can be done plays a critical role in deciding the right cloud service provider for your purpose.
BCDR: Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery demonstrates the service provider’s ability to reestablish the hosting service after a disruption. Replication of information at different points and redundancy of infrastructure at different levels are other factors determining the quality of BCDR service provided by the cloud service provider. It is a fundamental component of any cloud hosting service, and there shouldn’t be any special charges for it.
Uptime: The duration of time for which cloud service is accessible to the customers who use your application/product. You should choose a CSP that offers high uptime to ensure that your customers can continuously access your products from different parts of the world.
SLA: Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a documented list of administration guidelines, terms, and conditions. SLA also states how the cloud service provider will make up for any failure in delivering the promised list of points. For custom cloud solutions, you can even demand the service provider to define an exclusive SLA. It is recommended that you assess the SLA entirely before selecting the CSP.
Some cloud service providers offer Support only during working hours. Based on your need, you can opt for a hosting provider that offers unlimited 24×7 Support, including weekends and holidays. Cloud service providers nowadays even choose customers to select their preferred mode of communication, namely, phone call, chat, or email, to interact with Cloud support staff.
The plans offered by the CSP ought to be worthy of the price, should be adaptable to changing resource needs, and incorporate all the services that customers wish for. Also, check for the discount strategy or free preliminary proposals before you start paid subscription.
d. Private server
A private server offers assets that are solely committed to your usage without interruption from other users. A few organizations require a private server as their business process involves highly confidential data or demands high-performance processing.
2. Selecting the Perfect Cloud Deployment model
Once you decide to move to the cloud, picking the right deployment that suits your purpose comes next. Consider the expectations you have about your application’s performance. Ensure that the model chosen has the data transfer capability to achieve it. The cloud deployment model decides who owns and deals with your cloud framework. Depending on your organization’s resources, networking, and storage requirements outlined during the disclosure stage and your general objectives, you may choose from any of the below-listed cloud deployment models:
Public cloud: With public cloud, services are possessed and run by a third-party merchant over the public web. These services can be free or accessible as pay-per-use to any individual or organization wishing to utilize it.
Private cloud: In the case of a private cloud, assets are utilized and possessed exclusively by one organization, which makes this methodology attractive for security and finance-related companies who look for control and customization, even if it means additional cost.
Hybrid cloud: Hybrid cloud joins private and public cloud components and permits assets to be moved between the two. It joins private clouds with a public cloud to derive the benefits of both models.
Multi-Cloud: Multi-cloud is the utilization of different cloud services in a single environment. This can mean, for instance, a blend of public and private clouds or utilizing a mix of public cloud suppliers to diminish dependence on a single provider or to understand the advantages of more than one supplier.
3. Choosing the right software for migration
Different software is available to aid cloud migration processes but picking the right one that fits your application isn’t simple. Engage in discussions with the technical team of consultants from each CSP and get proper insights about each software before deciding on one. For example, for moving VM from on-premises to cloud, AWS provides the below devices.
• AWS VM Import/Export
• Server migration service
• Cloud Endure
4. Choosing the right region
Choosing the data center region is an important step in the process of setting up cloud components. For example, AWS has data centers spread across the world, with each region varying in price and the list of services offered. So if your application needs to be distributed globally, you can use the required AWS global service to distribute the workload in every region.
5. Choose your level of cloud integration.
There are two ways you can migrate an application from an on-premises server to the cloud.
Shallow Cloud Integration: Shallow Cloud Integration a.k.a “lift-and-shift,” is where you move the on-premises application to the cloud by making little or no changes to the server to run smoothly in a new environment. Still, the application is moved as it is.
Deep Cloud Integration: For Deep cloud integration, the application is modified to use simple to complex cloud features such as dynamic loading, auto-scaling, and server-less computing.
Security is an important consideration when you choose your cloud vendor. Therefore, it’s essential to verify if the cloud service provider has adequate security measures in place.
The following points ensure a secure migration process:
a. Understand the common responsibility model: Cloud providers work under a common responsibility model. To guarantee that your migration is secure, you need to understand the aspects you are responsible for in this model.
b. Phased migration: Migration in a phased manner allows you to get familiar with the cloud systems. Initially, transfer the low priority data to identify any bugs or gaps in security before proceeding with confidential, high priority data transfer.
c. Understand Compliance Requirements: When migrating to the cloud, it is necessary to know about the regulatory requirements that apply to your data, such as privacy, encryption, storage, and backup. Many cloud providers have compliance certifications for the most common regulations such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and GDPR.
d. Encrypt your data: Your data should be encrypted when migrating to the cloud. Since data is most vulnerable when exposed to the internet, you have to use secure transfer protocols like HTTPS during data transfer.
e. Necessary precautions should be taken to nullify possible threats during cloud migration as well as to continue safeguarding your existing systems. After migration of data, you have to implement security tools operating both on-premises and in the cloud. Centralizing the management and use of recognized tools will make it easier for the security team to identify and respond to threats and vulnerabilities quicker and more effectively.
7. Build up performance baselines
Baselining is the way toward estimating your application’s current (pre-movement) performance to decide whether its future (post-migration) performance is worthy of the price paid to the CSP. However, during migration, deviations from the established baseline can be an early sign of bugs. Therefore, after migration, you should compare the pre-migration baseline with the observed cloud execution baseline to confirm the success of the migration.
8. Disaster Recovery:
The main objective of disaster recovery is to reduce the impact of a disaster on business continuity and performance. The cloud disaster recovery process encapsulates the entire server, including OS, applications, and information, into a virtual server that’s then copied to an offsite data center. Since it is not dependent on any hardware or OS, it can be migrated from one data center to another in a short period.
There are four types of DR strategies outlined by Amazon. They are as follows:
• Backup and restore
• Pilot light
• Warm standby
Backup and Restore: This is a simple and low-cost DR approach that backs up data and applications from the cloud during recovery from a disaster. It is a suitable approach for mitigating data loss and corruption.
Pilot light: This is another low-cost DR method. As the name suggests, you have to keep the minimum amount of core services up and running in a different region. In this approach, the information can be copied from one region to another. Since the core infrastructure requirements are all in place, it reduces the ongoing cost of disaster recovery by simplifying the recovery process at the time of disaster.
Warm standby: This approach is an extension of what pilot light does in the sense that it has a scaled-down version of a fully functional cloud environment always running in another region. This decreases the recovery time during a disaster. It handles traffic efficiently and allows for effective testing, which increases your confidence in recovery from disaster. It costs more than the previous two strategies but allows data to be recovered quickly.
Multisite: This approach is also known as a hot standby, and it helps achieve near-zero Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO). RPO is the measure of how frequently you take backups. RTO is the downtime a business can tolerate. It determines the time you have on your hands to recover after a disaster. The multisite strategy allows users to run the workload in multiple regions simultaneously. Even though the approach is complex and is the costliest DR strategy, it reduces your recovery time to zero.
These DR strategies can depend on various factors like budget, application nature, RPO and RTO SLAs, locale decisions, and so forth.
9. Network Connectivity
Perhaps the most neglected part of cloud migration is the internet bandwidth requirement. If you move your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud, you will be completely dependent on your cloud service provider for your internet bandwidth. The reliability of the cloud service provider is vital in such cases.
AWS provides a portfolio of data transfer services for migrating your electronic applications and information. AWS offers different types of assistance for online data transfer like AWS DataSync, AWS Database migration service, AWS Transfer family, etc. For offline data transfer, AWS Snow Family offers AWS Snowcone, AWS Snowball, and AWS Snowmobile. AWS Snow family refers to a collection of physical devices that help to migrate huge amounts of data into and out of the cloud without depending on networks.
The 5 ‘R of Cloud Migration Strategies?
Rehost: As the name suggests, this is the process of lifting an application/server from an existing on-premises environment to a cloud environment. This is the most common approach undertaken to migrate applications to the cloud. It is a cost-effective strategy, but it might not suit applications that are difficult to migrate and require a special set of tools and software.
Refactor: This approach is implemented by large-scale organizations that decide to overhaul the entire architecture and rebuild their applications from scratch to make them long-standing. It’s a complex approach because while making application code changes, you must also ensure that it does not affect the application’s external behavior. This strategy is also known as re-architecting. It is an expensive option, but it offers the best benefits of the cloud.
Revise: This strategy uses part of an existing codebase while rewriting or expanding it before moving it to either an IaaS or PaaS. It is also known as ‘re-platforming.
Rebuild: Rebuild strategy develops the application from scratch using all the cloud services and features and discards legacy components. Rebuild is a Platform as a Service-based solution that requires complete knowledge of the existing application, business processes, and cloud services.
Replace: This strategy replaces the current application with commercial software that provides similar functionality but is managed and supported by third-party vendors. As a result, information is the only thing you have to migrate from your existing application, while everything else about the system is new.
Cloud computing provides a lot of benefits to organizations and customers and involves potential security risks and challenges. Therefore, a cloud provider facilitating the migration processes with the least cost and top-notch security fits the bill ideally. Still, it’s not so easy to pick the right one with so many options available. That is why considering the criteria overall before concluding is important.