Businesses that host applications on a cloud platform reduce infrastructure spending, increase operational efficiency, and become more agile. That’s why an estimated 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020. But migrating to the cloud isn’t as straightforward as simply transplanting an application from legacy infrastructure to a cloud platform.
Cloud platforms are complex, offering many different services and layers of functionality. Businesses that plan their migration in advance with the help of cloud experts are more likely to minimize disruption, cost, and downtime.
Let’s have a look at some of the factors that businesses should consider before putting their cloud migration strategy into action.
1. Where will Data be Stored?
There are many different cloud data storage options, each with unique performance, security, and cost implications. For example, on Amazon Web Services (AWS), businesses can choose between Amazon S3, Elastic File System, Elastic Block Storage, and Glacier. And those are just the file and block storage options: database storage includes a range of NoSQL databases such as DynamoDB and HBase, and relational database platforms such as Amazon RDS, which includes multiple database engine options.
It is important to assess each of these options so that you can choose the best cloud storage platform for your application.
2. Which Applications should be Migrated?
It is possible to run any application in the cloud, but some businesses prefer to use non-cloud infrastructure for workloads involving sensitive data or that rely on the performance of bare metal servers, among other reasons.
Hybrid clouds are mixed infrastructure deployments involving public cloud, private cloud, and bare metal platforms. They allow businesses to take advantage of the strengths of each platform while maintaining a cohesive and connected infrastructure environment.
Cloud migration does not have to be an all-or-nothing strategy, and businesses should take the time to assess the merits of each platform.
3. How will Your Cloud Infrastructure be Scaled?
Scalability is the killer feature of cloud platforms. Infrastructure can be deployed on-demand and scaled in line with a business’s requirements, but forward planning is essential to trouble-free scaling. An application’s architecture can limit its scalability, as can infrastructure and platform decisions. Planning helps to ensure that an application can be scaled quickly and effectively when the need arises.
Before beginning a cloud migration, businesses should understand the scaling requirements of their application and how they can be accommodated by the cloud platform and its component services.
4. How can Downtime be Minimized?
How much downtime is your business prepared to tolerate during a cloud migration? For business-critical services, the answer might be none. For auxiliary applications or in some data storage scenarios, a short downtime might be acceptable.
The tolerance of a business to downtime has an impact on cloud migration and testing strategies and on the migration process itself. The worst possible outcome is protracted and unexpected downtime of a critical application, so it’s worth taking the time to plan carefully.
5. Do your Applications Need to be Refactored?
It may be possible to simply replicate a business’s existing infrastructure architecture with cloud servers and storage, but that is often not the optimal approach to a cloud migration.
Many businesses choose to refactor applications in order to facilitate an agile approach to future development. The process often involves breaking specific business processes into smaller chunks that fit better with the services available on a cloud platform and facilitate an agile approach to future development.
6. How can Performance Expectations be Met?
Many factors affect performance, from application architecture to resource availability. Before beginning a cloud migration, businesses should assess workloads and applications to identify which resources they will require and any potential performance issues that might arise.
The cloud offers a vast array of benefits to businesses, from lower costs to improved application performance and from faster development and deployment to improved time to market metrics. The complexity of cloud platforms can be daunting, but with forward planning and expert advice, your business can reap the benefits of a modern cloud platform.
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