Cloud migration, also called cloud server migration, is the process of moving some or all of your digital operations off traditional, local servers and onto a cloud server. It is the data architecture version of moving offices. Just like in a physical move, attention to detail is vital. Leaving anything behind or discovering that the new space isn’t ready halfway through could be disastrous.
However, just like moving to a newer, larger, and better-equipped office space, cloud migration is eventually necessary for most growing businesses. If you’re moving to a managed cloud server – and why wouldn’t you? – it will be like moving into an office building where the cleaning, maintenance, and even utilities are taken care of by a building manager. So long as you keep up with the rent, all the little jobs are just miraculously done when you’re not looking.
Of course, sometimes a cloud migration is simply moving from one cloud server to another or even from one cloud services provider to another. However, these kinds of moves tend to be uneventful. Compared to your first time moving on-premises data infrastructure onto a modern cloud system, they are a walk in the park.
What Is Cloud Migration, and Why Are Cloud Migration Services Important for Your Organization?
Cloud migration services generally refer to all of the assistance you need to get your self-hosted and legacy systems modernized and loaded onto a cloud server.
Cloud migration services are important because few small and medium-sized businesses have the on-site expertise they need to pull off a cloud migration without a hitch. Your data and the uses you put it to make up a huge part of your business. You can’t afford to have it just stop working for an indefinite period. A little borrowed expertise can prevent disasters.
Types of Cloud Migration Services
Common cloud migration services include:
- Rehosting – Typically offered by Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers, rehosting recreates your exact hosting setup on an external cloud server.
- Refactoring – More commonly offered by Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) providers, refactoring reuses much of your current framework and code but modifies them as needed to run on their provided platform.
- Revising – Also known as a revision, revising means expanding and at least partially rewriting your codebase before refactoring or rehosting as described above.
- Rebuilding – In this sense, rebuilding means revamping your data architecture and rewriting all of your code to be optimized for a PaaS provider’s platform. This can be labor-intensive and expensive, but it can revolutionize the way your systems operate.
- Replacement – Depending on the state, age, and actual effectiveness of your legacy data infrastructure, it may be time to scrap it and replace everything in favor of the applications offered by third-party vendors for implementation on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution.
Most of these processes do not require any special cloud migration infrastructure, but sometimes very idiosyncratic legacy systems need special migration solutions. If that is the case, Liquid Web would be happy to help.
The Benefits of Cloud Migration for Companies
Businesses don’t seek out cloud migration services as a creative way to spend money. Obviously, the project is designed to deliver real, measurable benefits that comprise a solid business case. The exact benefits depend on your current system and the way you use it, but most companies planning a cloud migration can expect to realize benefits such as these:
As the new server will usually outperform your on-site servers, everything should work faster and more reliably. Moving your servers to the cloud can even reduce latency for your users, driving an even better user experience.
Your internal and/or external users should be able to access your cloud-hosted services from any internet connection anywhere in the world. You can reach out to new customers, and your field teams will have full access to company services securely.
Typically, cloud-hosted operations have a lower bottom line than internally-hosted ones, even with all those performance upgrades. In a financial environment like today, you should have no trouble spending that extra money.
In most cases, a cloud-hosted system can support more users and higher bandwidths than aging on-premise servers. As scalability is often a matter of clicking a button and paying a slightly higher monthly bill (as opposed to buying and physically installing a whole new server infrastructure), adjusting to sudden changes in demand becomes a non-issue.
How To Plan a Cloud Migration
Do you need to know everything about cloud migration infrastructure and the details of coding for your new cloud-based server before you start? No. In fact, we could handle almost all of the nitty-gritty details for you. But you will need a plan. That plan should generally include such concerns as:
- Clear project goals – What kind of performance will you expect from the new system? When will it be tested? When will it go live?
- Your security strategy – You’ll need to know the ins and outs of cloud and web application firewalls. You’ll also need to know how to implement the right security on your end of the system.
- The data copying and update plan – You need to make sure the cloud database is up-to-the-second when you switch over. After that, it’s all about keeping proper backups.
- Updating your BI processes – In a perfect world, this would mean simply pointing your analytics at the new database address. In reality, you’ll need to make sure it all still works.
- The ‘going live’ after party. You’ll have made a huge step. You should celebrate.
It won’t always be that simple, of course. Timing can be one of the most challenging aspects of migration.
Final Thoughts on Cloud Migration
Sooner or later, most businesses will move their internally-hosted data to the cloud. Most who choose to wait will wish they had taken the plunge years earlier, though. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as you fear, either. Contact Liquid Web, and one of The Most Helpful Humans In Hosting® will be happy to answer your questions.