Streamlining business processes, communications and applications with cloud computing is increasingly commonplace across many sectors. To help businesses upgrade their existing infrastructure to the cloud, this is the first in a series of three posts addressing the stages of cloud migration.
One of the primary challenges with a migration strategy is dependency on legacy apps. Other risks include managing downtime, keeping within budget, preserving business data, and maintaining network performance. A successful cloud infrastructure migration shouldn’t necessarily be deployed in one hit; it requires a measured, staged approach. In order to address the aforementioned risks, the first phase is to decide which legacy platforms you should migrate to cloud applications, and which should remain on-premise.
No one-size-fits all approach
Each business has an entirely unique set of applications, systems and platforms to drive its operations and services. As such, there’s no definitive list of applications that should remain on-premise, and which should be deployed into the cloud infrastructure.
First, audit and evaluate all applications that your business relies on and decide which are no longer required, if applicable. This will help you determine which apps should remain on-premise applications, and which should be migrated or redeveloped.
Find the low-hanging fruit
When assessing which business applications to move to a cloud computing infrastructure, there are a few migration processes to consider:
- Some applications can be replaced with a software-as-a-service (SaaS) alternative
- Redundant applications can be retired or consolidated
- Virtual machines or cloud migration tools can shift some applications to the cloud
- Other applications should be entirely redeveloped as native cloud
Within your organisation, there will be low-hanging fruit such as email and file sharing that can quickly be migrated to the cloud, producing a clear return on investment.
The most business critical applications, however, that serve your customers or clients are often the most complex and challenging within your cloud migration. These applications may require the most time and cost to redevelop into native cloud applications.
Apps that need the most agility should take priority. For instance, those that see seasonal traffic spikes, frequent changes in volume, or require changes in structure would all benefit most from cloud migration.
Which service provider?
For businesses heavily reliant on legacy applications, hybrid clouds combine a cloud infrastructure with your on-premise data centers. Setting your priority between legacy and cloud applications will determine which cloud migration tools or cloud service provider you should utilise, like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud.
There’s extensive support by Microsoft Azure for hybrid clouds; your onsite servers can be used to run your applications on the Azure Stack. Amazon AWS and Google Cloud, while slightly behind Microsoft, are continually strengthening their hybrid support offerings.
Amazon’s solutions are geared towards companies that want deployments such as Storage Gateway, Direct Connect, and DynamoDB Local. Google Cloud also now enables app developers to build scalable services, using data locked in existing legacy systems that cannot yet be moved to the cloud.
Involve your entire business
The benefits of cloud computing — unified communication, improved productivity, and streamlined process management — are for the entire workforce. Performing a cloud migration can eliminate silos by giving all staff transparent access to information and data.
The value of each legacy business application, then, along with the advantages of migrating it to the cloud, should be assessed based on the value and benefit to the overall organisation; not on what the IT department believes is important or redundant.
Consider effort versus reward
Moving your platforms from on-premise workloads to the cloud should be determined based on few different factors. Score your apps based on the following:
- Cost of maintaining it in its current location
- Whether they run on a cloud-supported OS
- Rate of innovation of software and systems
- The requirements for access across the business
- How secure the application needs to be
Essentially, any application can be moved to the cloud. However, if the effort of moving it doesn’t provide a trade off for business value, consider keeping it on-premise and focus on more valuable or future-proof applications.
Ultimately, when rolling out cloud computing, businesses must decide where to best focus their time and resources. Shifting or redeveloping legacy applications into cloud applications encourages scalability and improved business performance. When addressing the risk of downtime, data loss and managing budgets, however, a cloud migration strategy should be clearly prioritised and carefully managed.
Assess which applications would benefit most from sitting in a cloud infrastructure and then consider which cloud services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud best suit your business needs. Genisys offers a range of cloud services to answer your unique business needs. We can help you identify your priorities and optimise your cloud strategy.