Moving from on-premises to cloud infrastructure offers compelling advantages, from enhanced scalability to improved agility and cost efficiency. However, there are also a number of challenges associated with such a migration, namely data security concerns, potential downtime, and complexity in migration processes. 

Let’s overview the cloud migration strategies, benefits, best practices, and the ways to overcome the obstacles during the process. Read on to learn everything you need to know about on-premises to cloud migration.

Why migrate to the cloud?

On-premises to cloud migration is a strategic move that attracts businesses seeking agility, scalability, cost efficiency, and robust security. However, on-premises and hybrid solutions also hold significance, offering unique merits. Explore the benefits of each solution to make an informed decision. 

Cost efficiency: Embracing a cloud-hosted desktop provides scalable computing power and significantly reduces IT demands and physical data storage, leading to substantial cost savings for your business. On-premises setups often demand significant upfront expenses for hardware, maintenance, and physical data storage, resulting in higher initial costs than cloud solutions.
Enhanced security: Cloud IT service providers invest heavily in cutting-edge resources, technology, and expert IT teams, delivering high levels of security and data integrity. Managing security in on-premises systems demands extensive efforts, resources, and expertise. Smaller businesses may find it challenging to match the security measures and data integrity cloud service providers offer.
Availability: Cloud infrastructure provides unparalleled availability through features like multi-region and availability zone redundancy, ensuring constant accessibility and minimal downtime. Unlike on-premises systems confined to single physical locations, cloud solutions offer flexible scalability with virtually unlimited resources, enabling seamless traffic allocation and robust backup options for diverse workloads and resources.
Lowered risk of data loss: Cloud-based backup systems offer offsite data storage, minimizing the potential threats of cybersecurity issues like hackers, viruses, and ransomware. This added layer of security reduces the risk of data loss significantly. On-premises backup systems might lack the offsite storage capabilities of cloud-based solutions, potentially exposing data to risks like hardware failure, physical damage, or limited recovery options in the event of disasters or cyber threats.
Efficient deployment: Cloud services deployment often takes mere minutes or hours compared to the extended timelines for building internal IT infrastructure. This agility eliminates the long planning and implementation phases that could take months or years with on-prem. In such a way, the cloud empowers businesses to adapt swiftly to evolving needs.
Enhanced collaboration: Real-time syncing and sharing cloud resources promote collaboration and efficiency among teams across diverse locations. Cloud collaboration thrives on swift iterations and efficient work processes, emphasizing productivity over infrastructure setup. This agility enables quicker iterations and efficient work handling, reducing the time spent managing hosting setups. 
Streamlined operations: Moving to the cloud relieves the burden of managing power, space, expensive hardware, and software updates. This shift allows your company to focus entirely on revenue generation without getting bogged down by IT concerns. On the other hand, managing all of the above in on-premises setups demands ongoing attention and resources, diverting focus from core business activities.
Robust disaster recovery: Cloud-driven backup and recovery swiftly restore data with heightened reliability when confronted with data loss or system malfunctions, fortifying your business's ability to withstand unexpected calamities. On-premises backup and recovery solutions might lack the swift and reliable data restoration capabilities offered by cloud-driven systems, potentially impacting business continuity in the face of unexpected disasters or system failures.

What are the main types of cloud infrastructure?

Cloud infrastructure encompasses virtual computing resources and services delivered over the Internet by cloud service providers. These resources include storage, networking capabilities, and on-demand computing power. There are distinct cloud infrastructures: public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud – each tailored to diverse business needs.

Types of cloud infrastructure

  • Public clouds, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud, cater to multiple users, offering a pay-as-you-go model based on actual usage. It is a good choice for businesses of all sizes, especially for projects with fluctuating demands.
  • Private clouds are exclusive to a single entity, providing heightened control over data and operations. Enterprises with stringent security and compliance needs, such as finance or healthcare, will find the private cloud suitable for sensitive data, offering greater control, customization, and security.
  • Hybrid clouds integrate the functionalities of both public and private clouds, enabling flexible resource utilization while safeguarding sensitive information. Suited for businesses requiring flexibility between on-premises and cloud environments. Use it when needing to keep certain data or applications on-premises for regulatory or legacy reasons while utilizing the cloud for scalability and innovation.
  • Multi-cloud strategies involve employing various cloud providers simultaneously, ensuring diversified reliance and reducing dependency on a single vendor. Use it when specific services or features are available in different cloud providers to leverage each provider's strengths for different workloads or applications.

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Choosing the right type of cloud migration strategy

Understanding the process of on-premises to cloud migration is crucial before diving into specific migration strategies. The process consists of several steps, such as:

  • building a strong business case;
  • gaining stakeholder buy-in;
  • calculating the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO);
  • conducting asset discovery;
  • piloting workload migrations;
  • executing the actual migration. 

As you migrate workloads, each might demand a different approach - some could benefit from a simple rehosting, while others might require refactoring, and a few might even need retirement.

Let us review the seven types of cloud migration strategies. The choice between them depends on your current situation and the results you want to achieve.

7 cloud migration strategies

Rehost (lift and shift)

Rehosting is lifting your existing applications and infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud without making significant changes. It's a quick and straightforward migration that focuses on moving existing systems as they are, often for cost savings or improved scalability.

Refactor (replatform)

Refactoring involves minimal modifications to applications or infrastructure to optimize them for the cloud environment. This strategy retains the core functionality but leverages cloud-native features for improved performance, scalability, or cost-efficiency.

Revise (re-architect)

Revising means redesigning applications or infrastructure to adapt them fully to cloud-native capabilities. It involves significant changes to the architecture, allowing for improved performance, flexibility, and efficiency by leveraging cloud services to their fullest extent.

Rebuild (rewrite)

Rebuilding involves developing applications or systems from scratch to utilize cloud-native features fully. This approach offers the highest level of flexibility and optimization but typically requires considerable resources and time to redevelop applications specifically for the cloud environment completely.

Retire (remove redundancy)

This strategy targets and decommissions redundant or unnecessary applications or systems during migration, reducing operational overhead and streamlining the cloud environment.

Retain (maintain compliance)

Certain systems, due to specific compliance or regulatory reasons, remain unsuitable for migration. Thus, they are retained in their current environment to ensure adherence to essential standards.

Repurchase (switch to COTS/SaaS)

This strategy involves replacing existing systems with readily available Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products or software as a service applications in the cloud. This move aims to enhance scalability and operational efficiency through off-the-shelf solutions.

Overcoming the challenges of cloud migration

Transitioning from on-premises to cloud-based solutions is often associated with potential challenges. At N-iX, we employ proactive planning and forge strategic partnerships, transforming them into opportunities for growth and advancement.

Cost management

Bandwidth needs, resource allocation, and other ongoing costs can escalate swiftly. The fact is that managing migration expenses and total cost of ownership (TCO) demands meticulous planning. At N-iX, we optimize cloud costs by crafting cost-effective strategies and using the official frameworks of cloud providers, such as the AWS Well-Architected Framework, to assess your infrastructure. Through detailed assessments, we optimize bandwidth, allocate resources efficiently, and conduct post-migration cost analyses to ensure financial prudence.

Database migration

On-premises to cloud database migration presents inherent complexities due to the intricate nature of transferring critical data systems. The process involves relocating substantial volumes of sensitive information, needs complex configurations, and requires ensuring compatibility between on-premises and cloud environments. Challenges may arise from differences in database versions, structures, or operational dependencies. 

However, our collaborative approach between cloud vendors and our adept IT team ensures a streamlined transition. Leveraging advanced tools and methodologies, we optimize database migration timelines. This helps us minimize disruptions and ensure data integrity and system functionality in the cloud.

Legacy optimization

Addressing legacy infrastructure and applications demands forward-thinking strategies. Before migration, our experts evaluate whether re-platforming, refactoring, or replacing legacy resources would optimize their performance in the cloud. This meticulous approach ensures smoother transitions and modernization of systems for enhanced efficiency.

Security enhancement

In sectors like finance, insurance, and healthcare, where data security is critical, balancing the advantages of cloud solutions with stringent data control is essential. These industries can benefit from a hybrid approach, merging the strengths of on-premises and multi-cloud strategies. 

This hybrid model combines the robust security of on-premises systems with the agility of the cloud, offering optimal data management. At N-iX, we specialize in tailoring such solutions, ensuring top-notch data security while optimizing diverse cloud environments to suit your industry needs. Our expertise in cybersecurity services encompasses comprehensive protection, including not only your cloud resources but also any on-premises infrastructure. 

On-premises to cloud migration step-by-step process with N-iX

Migrating to the cloud is a complex endeavor for businesses, requiring meticulous strategy and execution. However, experienced software development companies like N-iX have honed well-defined processes that streamline such transitions. Here's how we ensure a smooth and efficient journey for our clients.

Assessing migration feasibility

Before diving into migration, it's crucial to evaluate your environment. That is why we identify critical application data, legacy systems, and how different applications work together. Assessing data dependencies lets us understand what can be moved immediately without disrupting operations.

Creating a strategy

Following a comprehensive assessment of your environment, it is necessary to select the ideal cloud model that resonates with your business objectives. At this stage, we consider the crucial aspects of security, governance, and operational models to ensure seamless integration. All in all, we take into account all relevant factors and create a comprehensive roadmap that aligns a cloud migration strategy with your organizational goals and needs.

Read more about creating a successful cloud strategy

Initiating migration

N-iX starts your migration by moving a non-mission-critical workload to the cloud and testing its functionality. Our experts ensure everything works seamlessly before continuing with the rest of the migration plan.

Expanding your operations

Upon completion of migration, we synchronize and update applications as necessary, ensuring they seamlessly function within the cloud environment.

Maintaining the infrastructure

Keeping an eye on your cloud workloads and monitoring their performance helps us ensure everything runs smoothly. From now on, we are ready to make any necessary adjustments for a successful transition.

Migration to the cloud with N-iX: a success story

Our client, a global provider of managed cloud services, sought cost-effective measures to generate monthly service reports. Manual efforts and reliance on a third-party tool strained their process due to scattered data handling.

Collaborating closely, our experts facilitated on-premises to cloud migration of the client's MS SQL Server infrastructure to a unified data warehouse on GCP. This consolidation involved over 70 operational data sources, leading to the decommissioning of more than 20 servers and substantial cost savings. We diligently identified anomalies, ensuring data integrity throughout the process. 

Removing the anomalies significantly enhanced the client's data management capabilities. Moreover, the unified data warehouse on GCP transformed the client’s data handling. Overall, our solutions streamlined processes, optimizing costs, centralizing data for improved accessibility, and automating report generation. This resulted in a remarkable reduction of nearly 17,000 work hours annually and eliminated dependency on an expensive third-party tool.

Read the full case study about automation, cloud migration, and cost optimization for a global tech company.

Conclusions

On-premises to cloud migration offers many advantages, including cost efficiency, unparalleled scalability, and optimized data management. However, it comes with challenges such as possible cost overruns, database complexities, legacy system transitions, and security concerns.

Yet, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for transformation. At N-iX, we specialize in turning these obstacles into catalysts for success. Our seasoned experts craft customized solutions, leveraging years of experience to optimize costs, streamline data handling, and ensure seamless and secure transitions.

Ready to streamline your cloud migration journey? Contact us today to discover how our expertise can transform your organization.

On-premises to cloud migration

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