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Migrating to the Cloud: Key Considerations

By Daven Winans, Manager of Managed and Professional Services at US Signal

Cloud computing isn't anything new, but many companies still aren't utilizing the cloud. This may be due to the difficulty that many wrongly associate with migrating to the cloud. But the question, "Where do I begin?" shouldn't be so daunting. Cloud migration can be painless if you use the right approach.

It's important to consider that some workloads don't belong in the cloud. Performing an audit can help to determine where each application will perform best and taking a look at application dependencies and compliance requirements is a good place to start.

In some cases, an app may not perform at the level required if it wasn't developed for the cloud. Refactoring or rebuilding the app is one solution. You should keep in mind that it's not necessary to move everything to the cloud. A hybrid IT strategy that consists of public and private clouds might yield the best results.

Just because an app wasn't built for the cloud doesn't mean it can't be made to perform well there. Refactoring an app enables it to work effectively with a variety of running instances to allow dynamic scaling. Refactoring allows you to take advantage of cloud capabilities such as dynamically allocating and de-allocating resources as needed. Before beginning this process, make sure to weigh the costs vs. benefits of the endeavor.

Select an Integration Level 

The two general migration methods are the basic "lift-and-shift" or a deep cloud integration. The lift-and-shift approach involves lifting the app as it is and shifting it to the cloud. You make little or no changes to the servers you instantiate in the cloud to run the app. A deep cloud integration involves modifying the app to leverage the full benefits of the cloud. This may simply entail using auto scaling and dynamic load balancing. A more sophisticated approach might be needed such as utilizing serverless computing capabilities for parts of the app or a cloud-specific data store.

Cloud migration key performance indicators (KPIs) will help to determine if your cloud migration is successful. Categories such as user experience, application performance, and resource usage are important to evaluate. Your business should decide which metrics are essential and which will be affected the most by the cloud migration. After doing so, set a baseline metric for each KPI.

Plan the Switch Over 

The actual switch over is a vital part of the migration plan. You can choose to move an entire app to the cloud and validate that it works. Then, move traffic from the on-premise stack to the cloud stack. You can also transition a few users over and test to ensure things are working properly. If everything works well, you can continue this process until all users have been moved to the cloud-based app.

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Published Wednesday, January 22, 2020 2:30 PM by David Marshall
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