In a digital transformation era where more infrastructure and applications are moving to the cloud, enterprises are making decisions as to the best approach to cloud migration to ensure long-term success. A brief overview of the concept of cloud computing is therefore necessary for a better comprehension of the cloud migration process.
“Cloud Computing“ is a scenario that involves the delivery of computing resource as a service through a network connection, usually the internet. Cloud computing simply means storing and accessing programs and data over the Internet, instead of the computer’s hard drive.
There are 3 models of cloud computing, each describing the service offered:
- IAAS (Infrastructure AS A Service)
- PAAS (Platform AS A Service)
- SAAS (Software AS A Service)
Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS): here, virtualised computing resource is delivered as a service across a network connection. IaaS is specifically hardware (or other computing infrastructure) related, and is delivered as a service. Offerings in this model include virtual server space, storage space, IP addresses and network connections. When resource is collected from a pool of servers and distributed across data centres controlled by the provider, the user is granted full access to this resource to enable them build their own IT platforms. Enterprises has benefitted immensely from IAAS.
Platform as a Service (PAAS) PaaS can be called an extension of IaaS. It is a category of cloud computing that provides enabling environments for developers to build applications over the internet. PaaS is a complete development and deployment environment in the cloud, with resources that enables delivery of everything from simple cloud-based apps to sophisticated, cloud-enabled enterprise applications. PaaS helps overcome the expenses and complexities involved in buying and managing software licenses, the underlying application infrastructure and middleware or the development tools and other resources. The developer only has to manage the applications and services developed and the cloud service provider does everything else.
Software as a Service (SaaS) provides a complete software solution which you purchase on a pay-as-you-go basis from a cloud service provider. You rent the use of an app for your organisation and your users connect to it over the Internet, usually with a web browser. All of the underlying infrastructure, middleware and app software and app data are located in the service provider’s data centre.
Cloud migration is the process of transferring data, applications and/or other business elements to a cloud computing environment. “Cloud Migration” also means moving data and applications from one cloud platform or provider to another (known as cloud-to-cloud migration). There are several tools that can be used for cloud migration like 5nine, ZConverter, VM-Converter, etc.
Several reasons have informed the decision of many organizations to migrate to cloud. From the evolvement of the cloud technology to something more recognized and relied upon by many today, to data protection, scalability, flexibility, cost efficiency and so on. The following are the Major benefits of migrating to cloud.
- No Hardware and networking (includes Security)
- Software is optional but can play major role.
- Low or minimal implementation costs.
- Storage is easier and less expensive.
- It’s scalable, as it enables both online and geographical expansion.
- It allows organization accomplish more with less downtime.
- Infrastructure overhead costs reduction
- Easy to access from anywhere in the world
- DevOps (CI && CD) Continuous Integration and Deployment
- Recovery options in event of disasters
- Power saving
- The cloud is reliable.
- It is highly available.
- Though highly debated, cloud does offer better security.
Cloud Migration Process
Every successful cloud migration must have to go through a process, each stage of which requires series of actions to be taken. Here’s the list:
- Discover/Determine Phase
- Assessment Tools
High Level Architecture Diagram
Discover / Determine Phase: The discovery and determination phase is the take-off point of the migration process where the company analyzes their needs, scenarios and resources in preparation for cloud migration. At this stage, resources such as virtual machines, application servers, storage servers and data base servers are identified and evaluated. It is also where the inventory of applications available are taken, operating systems and platform support verified, as well as used frameworks and any third party libraries are taken and evaluated for possible issues.
Assessment Tools: Assessment is another important step that involves the counting of the costs. It is very important to assess the infrastructure to be used by these apps for storage, generated data, analytics, networking and expected SLA. Money to be spent on physical servers and server management as well as any other hidden costs involved is worth double-checking. Thorough cost and infrastructural analysis will help in a smooth migration of data and apps and optimization for better efficiency.
Migration: After the assessment of cloud migration, it is now time to migrate the physical / virtual machine, applications, storage and database server to cloud. Some data can be moved through the automated tools. DMA / SSMA tools are used for the database migrations, while VM ware tools are used to move the physical / VMs migrations. Some migration processes are manually done, while others are Hybrid, a mixture of the two.
Optimize: A well-managed cloud environment is run in this phase, using Cloud security and management services to ensure a smooth administration and monitoring of the cloud applications. The services should be used during migration and even more consistently after, to ensure a consistent experience across your hybrid cloud.
Security: Protecting the servers, applications and data in the cloud using the services is very important. Backup and recovery processes should be established to protect the data and application. It is also recommended for developers to continuously monitor status of your cloud platforms, so as to discover and protect them from possible treats. For example, gauge CPU disk and memory utilisation for your VMs and view applications and network dependencies across multiple VMs.
This is how the cloud migrations work. There are many cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google and IBM. Each provider has its own features and advantages.