The first step in migration is to calculate the cost of the move and the cost of what you are running in your current setup. This is useful if you’re planning a migration from an on-premises environment, a private hosting environment, another cloud provider, or if you’re evaluating the opportunity to migrate and exploring what the assessment phase might look like. The assessment phase is crucial for the success of your migration. You’ll be needing deep knowledge about the applications, their requirements, their dependencies, and about your current environment. In this phase, you’ll be performing the following steps.
Choose The Cloud Type
Nearly everyone uses the cloud, but not everyone uses the same type of cloud. There are, in fact, three different cloud models, including public, private and hybrid clouds. To help determine which cloud best suits your company’s needs, the following explores how these three models compare and contrast.
Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. The cloud resources are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and delivered over the Internet. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. In a public cloud, you share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations or cloud “tenants”. You access services and manage your account using a web browser. Public cloud deployments are frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, and testing and development environments.
Advantages of public clouds
- Lower costs—no need to purchase hardware or software, and you pay only for the service you use.
- No maintenance—your service provider provides the maintenance.
- Near-unlimited scalability—on-demand resources are available to meet your business needs.
- High reliability—a vast network of servers ensures against failure.
A private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by one business or organization. A private cloud can be physically located at an organization’s on-site data-centre, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider. In a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your organization. In this way, a private cloud makes it easier for an organization to customize its resources to meet its requirements. Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions, any other mid- to large-size organizations with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environment.
Advantages of a private clouds
- More flexibility—your organization can customize its cloud environment to meet specific business needs.
- Improved security—resources are not shared with others, so higher levels of control and security are possible.
- High scalability—private clouds still afford the scalability and efficiency of a public cloud.
Hybrid clouds combine private clouds, with public clouds to reap the advantages of both. In a hybrid cloud, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility and more deployment options. For instance, you can use the public cloud for high-volume, lower-security needs such as web-based email, and the private cloud for sensitive, business-critical operations like financial reporting. In a hybrid cloud, “cloud bursting” is also an option. This is when a resource is running in the private cloud until there is a spike in demand. At this point, it can “burst through” to the public cloud to tap into additional computing resources.
Advantages of hybrid clouds
- Control—your organization can maintain a private infrastructure for sensitive assets.
- Flexibility—you can take advantage of additional resources in the public cloud when you need them.
- Cost-effectiveness—with the ability to scale to the public cloud, you pay for extra computing power only when needed.
- Ease—transitioning to the cloud doesn’t have to be overwhelming because you can migrate gradually—phasing in workloads over time.
When you plan an on-prem to cloud migration, you have several strategic options to choose from. There are two main approaches for cloud migration, namely greenfield and brownfield. Choosing which one is right for your organization is one of the first steps in any major migration. In the Cloud migration space, greenfield and brownfield strategies describe what amount of legacy on-prem infrastructure one holds on to post-migration.
In a Greenfield project, we develop a brand new application and choose a new architecture, platform and other technologies for the project. The entire process is started from the ground up, including the scoping process, design aspect and strategising the technologies. The plan to create a Minimum Viable Product is decided, created and tested, followed by new iterations (where any operational bugs would be cleared), and then the final product is ready. Any problems that were identified during the testing stage would be smoothed out, and the client will get an error-free product.
Advantages of Greenfield
- Customizable: The greenfield approach means your cloud infrastructure is totally customizable. That gives project leaders the ability to shake off old limitations and build a solution that eliminates existing problems related to performance, usability, and more.
- Scalable: One of the key advantages of the Cloud is the ability to increase and decrease storage and computing capacity as your business scales. That means you’re ready for major growth or downsizing in the long term, as well as the smaller ups and downs that many organizations deal with constantly.
- Compatible: By designing an ecosystem from scratch, you can skip over the time-consuming process of ensuring ongoing compatibility between cloud and legacy systems.
- Optimized: Greenfield migration allows IT departments to strategically optimize their new infrastructure to present needs, freeing up more time for IT staff to focus on revenue-driving activities.
- Innovative: Public cloud providers innovate much faster than your in-house team possibly could with on-prem infrastructure. A greenfield migration lets you take full advantage of the innovation that cloud providers roll out on a regular basis.
Disadvantages of Greenfield
- Costly: For small and medium businesses, who operate on a tight budget, greenfield migration simply might not be an option. Full migration to the Cloud costs money and requires personnel with extremely specialized skills.
- Unfamiliar: Learning how to use a new cloud infrastructure will likely involve some growing pains. While your cloud system should be designed to model the functionality of your legacy systems, it’s probably not going to match up 100%.
- Transformative: Migrating your systems to the cloud can have wide-ranging effects throughout your organization. Your operating model and the responsibilities of employees will change. You’ll have different maintenance, network, and security needs. In addition, you’ll need to develop new strategies for requesting and consuming storage and computing resources.
In a Brownfield project, though you don’t have to create a brand new application, a code audit will be done as a basis to which new ones would be built. The engineering and QA teams would put in their active participation and a plan would be charted to continue with the project. They would focus on a checkpoint, salvage the previously written code, start over from there and put in agile processes to continue with the project. In this technique, the team would find ways to continue with existing technologies and work optimally to produce a viable product.
Advantages of Brownfield
- Familiar: Learning how to manage and use a whole new infrastructure requires time, resources, and patience. You have a distinct advantage of familiarity when part of your infrastructure is made up of legacy components.
- Affordable: Migrating only certain operations to the Cloud can cost a fraction of the price of migrating everything. A mixed on-prem/cloud solution can be far more affordable in the short term.
- Simple: Developing a cloud-based infrastructure that can handle complex functions requires time and know-how. Anything placed into a cloud environment must work within its infrastructure. Brownfield strategies can address these complex problems by simply continuing to use existing on-prem infrastructure for certain elements.
Disadvantages of Brownfield
- Limited: Brownfield migrations sometimes carry over existing limitations that originated in the legacy infrastructure.
- Rigid: The Cloud gives businesses the opportunity to grow and shrink storage and computing capacity as the organization scales. On-prem systems, on the other hand, come with finite limitations that can inhibit growth over time. Companies that plan for growth might overspend on the on-prem capacity that they don’t end up needing. Those that don’t plan for growth need weeks or months of lead time to approve, purchase, install, and configure new on-prem resources.
Assess Cloud Readiness
A cloud readiness assessment is an overarching process that encompasses organizational readiness, application discovery and application assessments. The primary goal of a cloud readiness assessment is to provide you with a gap analysis of your organization and a list of applications that can be moved to the cloud smoothly.
One of the major aspects of cloud migration is its impact on people. A cloud migration may affect the way the organization conduct business. People are generally resistant to change so this may cause some internal strife. Strong executive leadership can help to aid in the broad-spectrum change.
In addition to changes in the way employees conduct their daily tasks, there may be personnel changes as a result of the move to the cloud. Employees will fear unemployment and may be apprehensive about supporting the new technology. A training program may offer a way to develop the appropriate internal skills to handle new technology. This is especially important because a cloud service provider will not have the knowledge of how your business operates. Internal staff will be critical in this process, but the staff will need a helping hand to get through all of the changes.
Another aspect of a cloud assessment is an examination of the process. Migration to the cloud may not have a positive impact on all process areas. A key part of the assessment is to scrutinize each process area individually to determine which will be improved with cloud services. Interaction with the cloud may make day to day operations more complex. This is especially true in a hybrid cloud infrastructure where maintenance staff is responsible for the oversight of both physical and logical cloud.
One of the concern when addressing process is an examination of how migration to the cloud will affect the security of a given activity. With cloud technology, data storage and management will be outsourced ultimately affecting the protection of data. In some instances, a cloud provider may be able to offer better security protection than what can be offered in house by a small team.
A technology assessment analyzes in great detail how migration to the cloud will affect the current organization’s technology. The assessment gathers information on how each aspect of the technology is used in your organization and how often. This will help to determine which if any of your current services should be migrated to the cloud. During the migration, some legacy services may require redevelopment which can be cost and time prohibitive. It may be better to keep legacy services local to avoid this expense. In some instances, the legacy server itself can be moved to the cloud in its entirety to avoid re-engineering. The analysis is both quantitative and qualitative and includes cost, time, and difficulty of migration as well as any perceived business improvements.
Overall, the cloud can provide many benefits to a business organization from reduced costs, improved scale and flexibility. Migration to the cloud can be a way to add the latest technology and computing equipment to an existing environment. However, migration to the cloud has extensive impacts on people, processes, technology, and security within an organization. An assessment can help an organization create a cloud migration plan to ensure a more successful migration.