OnlineIdea | ​​7 best practices when moving to the cloud
Cloud technology deployment
​​7 best practices when moving to the cloud

Moving IT infrastructure to the cloud is not only a trend, but also a strategy that allows organisations to improve the efficiency, flexibility and scalability of their operations. Increasingly, migration is becoming a standard procedure and spending on cloud services in companies is increasing, but translating into overall savings after the transformation.

According to a report by Thales (2022), as much as 60% of the world's corporate data is stored in the cloud. It is estimated that this figure will increase, not least due to the growing momentum in the transition to cloud solutions.

What is moving infrastructure to the cloud about?

The migration of infrastructure to the cloud, i.e. the transition from the so-called on-premise model, involves moving all IT resources, such as servers, storage, databases, software, applications and others, from local data centres or physical workstations to a cloud (virtual service) of choice. The process of transferring to the cloud can vary depending on the specific needs and requirements of the organisation, but typically involves the following steps:

  • analysis and planning (defining the scope of migration),
  • choosing the right supplier (appropriate to the budget),
  • design of the cloud architecture (configuration of the virtual environment),
  • the actual transfer of data and applications (file replication),
  • testing and optimisation (making sure everything works properly),
  • implementation and management (flexible scalability).

Best practices for migration to the cloud

1. Developing a porting strategy - before the actual migration process, it is worth defining the goals you want to achieve by transferring to the cloud. Only on this basis should initial directions be set, and the benefits and costs considered. In the initial phase, the 7R model will be very useful, facilitating the accurate adjustment of the appropriate strategy to the individual needs of the company.

  • Retire - retire unnecessary applications before migrating to the cloud to avoid unnecessary maintenance expenses.
  • Retain - leaving critical IT infrastructure elements on local servers to eliminate potential risks or problems, thus ensuring business continuity.
  • Relocate - transfer existing applications without making changes to the code.
  • Repurchase - replace selected resources with cloud counterparts (e.g. when they are obsolete and upgrades do not make economic sense, i.e. more expensive than choosing a different licensing model or purchase method).
  • Rehost - moving the application to the cloud with all the infrastructure and configuration, although still without modifying the source code.
  • Replatform - changing the hardware or software platform during migration to optimise performance, scalability and cost-effectiveness.
  • Rearchitect - restructuring of an application or infrastructure during portability (usually requires significant transformations in code and architecture, but which bring significant benefits in the long term).
  • Sometimes extended to include the point: Reimagine - the development of future-oriented concepts for the possible redevelopment of applications or entire business processes to take advantage of the full capabilities offered by the cloud.

2. Conducting a thorough infrastructure audit - a review of the current IT architecture, applications and data running within an organisation - provides a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with migration. It is also a good time to identify those resources that are critical to the operation of the business and those that can be archived or deactivated.

3. Estimating costs - estimating the financial outlay required to move to the cloud requires detailed knowledge of your IT facilities - the approximate amount of data, network bandwidth, and systems load. It is important at this stage to consider the long-term expenses of maintaining the infrastructure. Unlike the traditional on-premise model, with cloud solutions you pay for the resources actually used. The anticipated load and needs should therefore be carefully assessed to avoid unnecessary costs.

4. Choosing the optimal cloud model - there are different types of cloud solutions available on the market, such as SaaS, PaaS or IaaS, which differ, for example, in the degree of control or responsibility. The decision should be supported by a thorough analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of the different options, so that the final chosen model is in line with the set business objectives. More on this topic can be found in our article.

5. Preparing a migration plan - drawing up a detailed schedule of activities will allow better organisation of the entire project. Identifying priorities, defining timeframes and taking into account contingency plans will minimise the risk of possible disruption to systems.

6. Data security - a backup of the transferred environment is an absolute must. There is always the danger that something could go wrong, so you need to have a fallback solution in place for such an eventuality - preferably in the form of a backup, enabling you to quickly return to the status quo. In addition to this, data encryption needs to be considered, both during and after the migration.

7. Tests, tests and more tests - moving to the cloud is a big and complicated operation, as it sometimes involves the transfer of the entire IT infrastructure, which is the core of the business - the heart of all operations. Hence, it is good practice to prepare test scenarios "for every occasion", so as to make sure that everything goes according to plan and that, after the migration, it functions as it did before the procedure.

What else is worth bearing in mind when moving infrastructure to the cloud?

  • Migration takes time - operating under pressure often leads to failure. Trust the specialists if they advise you to take a closer look at certain issues at some point, or if they report problems with some part of the infrastructure being moved.
  • Change management readiness - migrating to the cloud will certainly affect the entire team, so support and training should be provided to staff. Well-informed and educated staff will adapt better to new tools or processes, which will speed up adaptation to cloud solutions.
  • Exit plan - this is a strategy that defines what an exit from a cloud service looks like if you end your relationship with a particular provider and decide to move to another, or back to your own infrastructure. Having an exit plan avoids situations where there are difficulties with secure exports, as well as data deletion, or additional costs associated with the transfer.

Moving IT infrastructure to the cloud is challenging, but with a few best practices, positive results can easily be achieved. It is enough to remember key elements such as a well-chosen strategy, a carefully prepared plan or a good knowledge of existing resources. The benefits of cloud solutions definitely compensate for the costs of the entire process and overshadow any risks involved.

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