Cloud platforms are popular, but they aren’t yet ubiquitous. Six out of ten businesses have conducted a cloud migration, but that implies four out of ten haven’t. If your business hasn’t made the leap to cloud infrastructure, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. In this article, we explore five reasons you may want to reconsider moving some of your workloads to cloud platform like AWS or Microsoft Azure.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the process of moving data, applications, and computational workloads into the cloud. Because the cloud takes many forms, cloud migration takes many forms too. The classic cloud migration involves moving an application hosted on a physical server to a virtual server hosted in the cloud. But cloud migration may also involve breaking an application into components distributed across multiple cloud services, including database services, storage services, and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
A business may also choose to migrate only part of an application or workload. For example, they may migrate data storage to a cloud platform while hosting the application’s code in their data center. Or they may use on-premises infrastructure as a primary site while leveraging the cloud as a disaster recovery or “cloudburst” location. The combination of on-premises hosting with cloud hosting is often called a hybrid cloud environment.
Three Cloud Migration Strategies
As we’ve seen, cloud migration isn’t a simple matter, but application cloud migration strategies can be broken down into three broad categories.
Lift and Shift
Lift-and-shift, also known as rehosting, is the simplest cloud migration strategy. An application is transferred in its current form from on-premises servers to virtual servers running in the cloud. Lift-and-shift migrations involve minimal changes to the application because Infrastructure-as-a-Service platforms such as AWS EC2 or Azure Virtual Machine provide server environments that are essentially identical to physical servers from the application’s perspective.
Lift-and-shift migrations are faster, simpler, and less expensive than other types of migration. However, they may not take full advantage of the cloud platform’s capabilities. Additionally, businesses should consider the security and compliance implications of even a simple rehosting project. Virtual servers appear similar to physical servers, but moving to an unfamiliar cloud environment may introduce security and privacy risks that a business is not well-equipped to predict or mitigate.
Rearchitecting transforms an application’s design to take advantage of cloud platform features. A monolithic application might be rearchitected as microservices hosted on containers. Or the application might be modified to work with a managed database platform instead of a self-hosted database.
The extent and complexity of rearchitecting projects depend on the business’s objectives and often on cost considerations, but all rearchitecting projects must pay careful attention to the security and privacy implications of any changes.
In the most radical cloud migrations, an application is rebuilt or replaced in its entirety. Instead of moving code and data to the cloud, similar functionality tailored for the cloud is built from the ground. Businesses may take this route to leave behind a legacy application judged unsuitable for the cloud or to embrace new technologies and platforms. Rebuilding provides a cloud-native application, but it is the most complex and expensive cloud migration option.
5 Benefits of Cloud Migration
We’ve looked at what cloud migration is and the migration strategies businesses use to achieve their objectives, but why do they choose to migrate to the cloud in the first place.
Improved Infrastructure Security and Compliance
Cloud migration alleviates businesses’ need to manage some aspects of infrastructure security. For example, the cloud provider manages physical and some network security. It also provides tooling that helps businesses to monitor and secure their infrastructure.
However, it’s important to emphasize that cloud security is a shared concern. Although the provider is responsible for some aspects of infrastructure security, the user must ensure they configure and manage cloud services according to cloud security best practices. A significant percentage of cloud security incidents result from improper configuration, as we’ve discussed in previous articles.
Reduced Infrastructure Cost
Cloud platforms can be less expensive than on-premises or colocated infrastructure if managed correctly. Cloud environments grow and shrink in line with the user’s requirements. For example, AWS EC2 instances scale up and down, and businesses can choose from many different configurations depending on their need. Additionally, cloud infrastructure does not require significant up-front investment; users pay only for the infrastructure they use, as they use it.
As with the security benefits of cloud migration, businesses must follow cloud best practices to realize potential cost savings. Cloud users may spend more than they expect if they do not monitor and control their environment to avoid wasted resources.
Scaling on-premises infrastructure is often complex and expensive. Scaling in the cloud is more straightforward. As we have already mentioned, most cloud services grow and shrink in line with the users’ needs. For example, cloud block storage services provide an almost infinite amount of data storage, and businesses don’t have to manage physical storage devices.
Scalability is one reason businesses opt to rearchitect applications when migrating. Breaking an app into smaller services allows each component to be scaled and replicated independently, which may not be possible with a monolithic application.
Increase Business Agility
The flexibility of cloud platforms allows businesses to respond to evolving customer and market demands. They can deploy and scale infrastructure quickly. Larger cloud platforms provide an array of managed services that make it easier to deploy new features. Furthermore, cloud platforms encourage a DevOps approach to application development, allowing businesses to quickly develop and deploy new features.
Simplified IT Management
Cloud infrastructure can be managed in a web interface or scripted via an API. Modern cloud management interfaces provide a vast array of features that allow businesses to monitor, configure, and adapt every aspect of their environment.
As with the other benefits we’ve looked at here, there are potential drawbacks where cloud management is concerned. Cloud management is simpler if your business is familiar with the platform and its intricacies. If not, cloud management can be confusing, and, in the worst cases, a lack of expertise leads to cost, security, and compliance issues.
Verify Your Cloud Migration Security with KirkpatrickPrice
Cloud migration may create significant new security and compliance risks, especially for businesses unfamiliar with the platform. A cloud security audit verifies and tests the controls your company has in place on AWS, Azure, or GCP. Visit the KirkpatrickPrice AWS Security Scanner or contact a cloud security specialist to learn more about cloud security audits.