If you’re here, you’ve probably already considered the benefits of cloud computing – lower operational costs, tighter security, better accessibility, scalable growth and of course, automation. So, you know that migrating your organization’s computing resources to the cloud trumps on-premise storage on almost all counts.

With cloud migration, for example, the cost of maintaining, securing, and supporting infrastructure is no longer your burden but becomes the responsibility of the cloud service provider handling your firm’s database management system. This helps considerably to cut down on budget. With premium cloud service providers, your data is also protected with multi-layered, end-to-end cybersecurity.

Choosing the Right Approach

Now that we know what we want, and why, let’s decide the next important step – How? Avoid a common rookie mistake and start by determining the unique requirements of your business first, instead of focusing on cutting costs from the get-go. Most organizations miss out on maximizing the business value they would expect from their cloud deployments simply because they approach cloud migration purely in terms of cost efficiency.

Pro-tip, before you shift your database to the cloud, take some time to understand the specific demands of your business model and where the need for cloud migration fits into that. Formulating your organization’s cloud migration strategy should be a well-deliberated process where you plan and identify what is in the potential migration environment, what interdependencies are involved with migrating elements, what will migrate, and what will stay. Or, for the sake of brevity, what industry insiders call the 6Rs: Retiring, Retaining, Re-hosting, Re-platforming, Refactoring, and Re-architecting.

This is also where you decide what kind of cloud environment you want to adopt, depending on what best serves your current and future needs. This can be a public cloud, hybrid cloud, private cloud, or multi cloud model.

At the planning stage, you must determine the number of instances to migrate, specify any new features or requirements you expect from your cloud service provider, decide the best time to migrate, address feature gaps or restrictions such as quota limits and compliance issues, run a performance check and of course, goes without saying, set a budget!

The 6 Rs of Cloud Migration

Once you’ve finalized that, the next step is to choose which approach is the right-fit for your move to the Cloud. Briefly, here’s what you’re working with:

Retire

This is where you assess your business environment for cloud readiness.  This is an opportunity for you to evaluate the value of the product, service, or application. You might find that some have become redundant or obsolete. Identify how, where and if each migration element is being utilized. Of course, another benefit of deciding what you can eliminate, is reducing costs on elements that can be phased out.

Retain

There will be some elements of your environment that may not migrate and could be best utilized by retaining them as-is. Reasons to maintain an in-house element can be several and vary from riding out the depreciation value, high cost of migration, or if the company can maintain more value using the application or service on the ground. Retaining some aspects on-premise is a popular choice for a hybrid cloud service.

Re-hosting or ‘Lift-and-Shift’

As the name implies, this involves lifting your stack and shifting it from on-premises hosting to the cloud. You transport an exact copy of your current environment without making extensive changes for the quickest ROI. This method might best serve you if your company is migrating many different environments such as demo, DevTest, and training environments to the cloud. Once an environment has been lifted, you can provision separate instances as needed.

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Re-platforming

Well-established or conservative organizations sometimes have legacy systems that are too structured for cloud platforms. Re-platforming involves adjusting optimize your landscape for the cloud without changing the core architecture of the applications. Instead, legacy applications are emulated through virtual machines to make them compatible with modern day cloud technologies. This also allows firms to build trust in their chosen cloud environment while achieving increased system performance and similar benefits.

Repurchase

This is an efficient and swift method to access cloud-based SaaS that is tailored to your business needs by your cloud provider. SaaS (software as a service) takes your company’s existing data and applications and articulates them in a cloud-based product to help manage operations, such as human resources (HR), customer relationship management (CRM), or content management (CMS). This means moving your applications to a new, cloud-native product, most commonly a SaaS platform (for example, moving a CRM to Salesforce). The challenge is losing the familiarity of existing code and training your team on the new platform, but it might be your most cost-effective option, especially if your firm is moving from a highly customized legacy landscape.

Re-factor or Re-architect

Refactoring (or rearchitecting) involves rebuilding your applications from scratch. This is usually driven by a business need for scalability and new features- to leverage cloud capabilities that are not available in your existing environment, such as cloud auto-scaling or serverless computing. Refactoring is generally the most expensive option, but also the most compatible with future versions. It also often boosts agility, business continuity, and overall productivity and collaboration.

As the technology landscape evolves rapidly, most companies are embracing cloud-based technologies to attain their organizational goals and sustain healthy operations. According to Gartner, CIOs rank operational agility as a top driver for cloud adoption. Cloud migration allows for automated scalability, more efficient backup and recovery solutions, and enhanced security. Word to the wise, this is what we call a Win-Win!

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