How to Find Your Path to Cloud Migration

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By: Sachin Deshmukh|

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Cloud computing is already a significant component of IT budgets, and the number of companies that invest in it is only expected to increase in the coming years — Synergy Research Group recently reported that the cloud market has been growing 28 percent annually. With the plethora of options available between vendors, products and platforms, it can be challenging to pick the best strategy for cloud migration. Here are a few key factors to consider, as well as some strategies to streamline the process.

Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure is synonymous with virtualization, which describes applications running in a multitenant environment with shared system resources. That means applications that are already running on a virtualized infrastructure will be easier to migrate than applications with constraints that must run on traditional, physical servers.

Furthermore, applications running on Linux and Windows in an existing virtualized environment are better positioned for cloud migration, as these are the preferred operating systems in the cloud. If these are not your current platforms, choose a new one for the application to run on when it’s migrated to the cloud. Evaluate the sizing, porting and compatibility of the platform, and have clear answers to these questions related to the application:

  • Are there any constraints or benefits to running the application in a multitenant architecture?
  • Does the application have any hard-coded information, such as IP addresses, that would need to be fixed?
  • Is the application running on a supported version?
  • What is the software currency policy at the cloud vendor for application upgrades and migrations?
  • How will the application be accessed, managed and monitored?
  • Will the application component on the cloud need to talk to the on-premises applications?

Integration, Data and Cost

Application integration can be a challenge, but there are products available that can lessen the need for custom coding. It’s also important to ensure the channels for data communication between the end points are encrypted.

Additionally, you’ll need to decide whether the data itself will reside on-premises or in the cloud. Depending on the volume of data, a significant amount of time will be required to move it during migration. The architecture must be able to scale to accommodate increases in data and resource volume. Also, keep in mind that contracts may stipulate the data will be owned by the cloud service provider. Businesses must understand the legal terms and compliance aspects of service-level agreements (SLAs) to determine whether the platform chosen meets all the requirements.

The cloud also has to integrate with another, less technical factor: your budget. Consider whether cost reduction is one of the primary drivers behind cloud migration, as there will be initial and recurring costs with a cloud solution. Understanding the pricing model is vital to avoiding buyer’s remorse.

Type of Cloud Migration

In addition to the broad choices of public, private and hybrid clouds, there are multiple paths to migrate successfully to the cloud, such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Vendor-managed on-premises cloud solutions are also available. Based on your requirements and priorities, you can also choose to have multiple cloud vendors instead of a single solution.

Making informed decisions about these factors can be arduous — but if you take the time to plan them out carefully, you’ll be much more likely to have a successful cloud migration.

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About The Author

Sachin Deshmukh

Technical Webmaster, IBM

Sachin Deshmukh is a certified expert IT specialist working on the Technical Webmaster team at IBM and currently serves as the Global AIX Community Lead in the Global Technology Services (GTS) division. In this role, he provides Level-5 support and guidance to IBM accounts worldwide for critical and high severity customer impacting situations. He has written several Best Practices documentation for the consumption of the Global AIX community within GTS. In addition to AIX, Sachin works on Linux and is also certified on various other product streams such as VMware, and a Certified Solution Architect in Cloud Computing Infrastructure.