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On-Premise to Cloud Migration: Steps, Benefits & Best Practices

Most companies, over 94%, have switched to the cloud, and by the end of 2024, 70% of business activities will also be in the cloud. This shift from traditional on-site servers to the cloud means businesses can easily adjust, grow, and save money with flexible payment options. However, despite these benefits, the transition needs to be implemented carefully. There is a need for thoughtful planning and use of the right tools to avoid any potential setbacks.

In this blog post, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide for moving from on premise to cloud, the migration types, tools, and benefits. Ready? Let’s jump right in!

Understanding On-Premises and Cloud Infrastructure

When considering on premise to cloud migration, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of their fundamental differences and functionalities.

On-Premises Infrastructure Explained

On-premises infrastructure refers to the traditional setup where businesses manage their servers and data storage within physical locations, be it in-house or at external data centers. 

This method provides hands-on control but often faces challenges of scalability, high costs, and limited adaptability. It’s like owning a house — you have control over everything, but expanding or renovating might be complex. It demands investments in servers, storage devices, and networking equipment, along with managing power, cooling, and security measures internally. 

Cloud Infrastructure: Definition and Overview

Cloud infrastructure involves hosting data, applications, hybrid cloud mainframe, and services on remote servers accessible through the Internet. It provides virtual computing resources and services delivered over the Internet by cloud service providers. These resources encompass storage, networking, and computing power, accessible on demand. 

Cloud infrastructure brings agility, flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness through a pay-as-you-go model. It’s like renting a fully-equipped apartment — pay for what you use, scale up or down as needed, and someone else handles maintenance. The use of cloud infrastructure is on the rise. Gartner reports that cloud spending will reach $678.8 billion in 2024, and McKinsey estimates that $8 out of every $10 IT spend will go to cloud services. 

Cloud computing comes in various forms: public clouds (like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud), private clouds, hybrid clouds, and multi-cloud setups. Public clouds let you share resources and pay only for what you use. Private clouds give you control and privacy. Hybrid clouds mix the benefits of both for more flexibility and security. Multi-cloud strategies involve using different providers to lower risks and increase benefits.

Cloud Migration Types

When deciding on-prem to cloud migration, businesses can choose from several approaches. These include: 

Rehosting: Moving without Modification

Also known as the “lift-and-shift” or “forklift migration,” rehosting involves transferring applications, data, schema, and workloads from on-premises to a cloud infrastructure without any alterations. 

Although this on-prem to cloud migration method is relatively straightforward, it restricts the functionality of your apps because they haven’t been adapted to run natively in the cloud. This approach is ideal for selected on-premises workloads with minimal impact or as a preliminary migration strategy for organizations new to cloud computing.

Refactoring: Reworking for Cloud Optimization

Refactoring, often termed “rip and replace” or “redesign,” is a more intricate process. It involves rewriting and restructuring the architecture of apps,  data, and schemas before or after the transition, with post-migration being more common. Its key advantage is the opportunity to redesign apps from the ground up with the cloud in mind, leveraging the latest features offered by cloud service providers (CSPs). 

While initial on-premise to cloud costs may be higher, cloud tools will run more effectively in the long run. If you’re planning to move a significant number of apps and workloads off-premises, refactoring may be the optimal choice.

Replatforming: Adjusting for Platform Compatibility

Replatforming involves making adjustments to applications to ensure compatibility with the target cloud platform while retaining most of the existing architecture. It strikes a balance between the simplicity of rehosting and the optimization potential of refactoring, making it suitable for organizations seeking a middle ground.

Often called “move and improve” or “revise,” this approach is commonly used, for instance, when altering how an app interacts with its database. Replatforming is applicable in scenarios such as migrating from on-premises infrastructure to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or transitioning to a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering.

Re-purchasing: Adopting New Cloud Solutions

In the re-purchasing strategy, organizations move data from existing on-premises applications to cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions offered by third parties. This approach is ideal for businesses looking to discard in-house software, especially if they have been compromised or is considered outdated. Enterprises can seamlessly transition to modern and efficient solutions using this strategy.

Retiring: Phasing Out Unnecessary Components

Retiring involves ceasing the use of specific applications or workloads, and decommissioning them as they reach the end of their life cycle or become obsolete. This strategy simplifies the migration from on premise to cloud process by eliminating unnecessary complexity and reducing the overall footprint in the cloud. It is an effective way to declutter and streamline operations, aligning the technology stack with the current business needs.

Re-visiting: Re-evaluating Strategies as Needed

Re-visiting involves periodically reassessing on premise to cloud migration strategies and adjusting them as needed based on evolving business requirements, technological advancements, or lessons learned from previous migrations. This iterative approach ensures that organizations can adapt to changing circumstances and optimize their cloud deployments over time.

Advantages of Shifting to the Cloud

Here are the key benefits of making the upgrade to cloud architecture and cloud migration services.

Enhanced Accessibility for Users

On premises to cloud migration ensures that your critical applications and data are accessible anytime, anywhere. Whether your team members are working from the office, home, or on the go, they can easily retrieve the resources they need with just an internet connection. 

Quick access to public cloud resources increases flexibility and guarantees that company personnel are no longer restricted by physical location when it comes to job performance. 

Improved Performance and Flexibility

One of the primary benefits of migrating from on premise to cloud is the improvement in performance and flexibility. Cloud service providers offer state-of-the-art infrastructure and technologies, ensuring that your application run smoothly and efficiently.

With data centers strategically located across the globe, cloud providers minimize latency and optimize performance for users worldwide. The cloud also gives you more flexibility, letting you easily adjust resources depending on how much you need, handling busy times, and using resources efficiently.

Scalability and Elasticity Benefits

Scalability and elasticity are perhaps the crown jewels of cloud computing. The cloud allows you to scale resources dynamically in real-time, ensuring that you only pay for what you use. Whether it’s handling increased user traffic during a product launch or scaling down during off-peak periods, the cloud provides the flexibility to adjust without significant infrastructure investments. 

Financial Savings Through Efficiency

Cost savings are a major driving force behind data migration from on premise to cloud, and for good reason. By shifting from a capital expenditure model to a pay-as-you-go model, businesses can significantly reduce upfront costs and ongoing expenses associated with hardware maintenance, upgrades, and energy consumption. Notably, Accenture discovered that transferring workloads to the public cloud can save 30-40% in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Similarly, in an OpsRamp survey, 94% of IT professionals said it helped reduce startup costs.

Heightened Security and Regulatory Compliance

For C-Suite executives, security is the primary advantage of cloud computing, with 60% prioritizing it over cost savings, scalability, ease of maintenance, and speed — according to an Oracle report, Security in the Age of AI Report

This preference stems from major cloud providers’ significant investments in cutting-edge security measures. These measures include encryption, identity and access management, and threat detection, all aimed at safeguarding sensitive data from cyber threats.

Challenges in Cloud Migration

Moving on-premises workloads to the cloud requires careful planning to avoid potential challenges. With the right approach and partners, these obstacles can be overcome.

Deficient Cloud Migration Strategies

A common pitfall in onprem to cloud migration is the absence of a robust strategy. Rushing into migration without a well-defined plan can lead to inefficiencies, cost overruns, and disruptions to business operations. It’s important to thoroughly assess your current infrastructure, identify goals and objectives, and devise a detailed roadmap outlining the migration process.

Effective Cost Management

On-premises to cloud migration can incur significant expenses, particularly if not managed carefully. Without proper cost management practices in place, businesses risk exceeding their budget and experiencing financial strain. To address this challenge, organizations should closely monitor cloud usage, optimize resource allocation, and leverage cost-effective solutions offered by cloud providers. 

Potential Lock-In with Service Providers

While migrating from on prem to cloud offers flexibility and scalability, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential for vendor lock-in. Relying heavily on a single cloud provider may limit your ability to switch providers in the future or leverage alternative solutions. To mitigate this risk, consider adopting a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud approach, distributing workloads across multiple providers to maintain flexibility and avoid dependence on any single vendor.

Ensuring Data Security and Adherence to Regulations

Entrusting your data to a third-party cloud provider requires robust security measures to safeguard against potential threats and breaches. Prioritize encryption, access controls, and authentication mechanisms to protect data both in transit and at rest. Additionally, ensure compliance with relevant regulations and industry standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA, or PCI DSS, to maintain data integrity and confidentiality. Regular audits and assessments can help verify compliance and identify areas for improvement.

Step-by-Step Approach to Cloud Migration

  1. Designating a Migration Architecture

Appointing a Migration Architect is the first crucial step. This individual oversees the on premise to cloud migration plan, from planning to execution, ensuring alignment with business goals and performance objectives. 

The designated migration architect’s role involves orchestrating the migration process, addressing challenges, and optimizing the overall transition for maximum efficiency. They coordinate with different teams and stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud.

  1. Determining Integration Levels with Cloud Services

Decide on the depth of integration with cloud services. Shallow integration, or “lift-and-shift,” involves moving everything without significant changes. Alternatively, deep integration requires modifications for optimal cloud performance, providing long-term benefits. Choose an integration level that aligns with your business objectives and resources.

  1. Evaluating Single or Multi-Cloud Strategies

When moving on premise to cloud, you have the option to choose between a single-cloud or multi-cloud strategy. Single cloud offers simplicity in management but may limit your options. On the other hand, multi-cloud provides more flexibility and resilience but requires additional effort in management. Again, evaluate your business needs and goals to determine the most suitable approach for your cloud migration.

  1. Set Cloud KPIs and Performance Baselines

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and performance baselines before migration. Clearly define what you aim to improve, whether it’s website loading speed or overall system responsiveness. These metrics will serve as benchmarks for success, allowing you to track progress and ensure that your on premise to cloud migration meets your performance expectations.

  1. Prioritizing Migration Components for Efficiency

Not all applications and data need to be migrated at once. Prioritize migration components based on their importance and urgency for day-to-day operations. Start with critical systems or data that can provide immediate benefits in the cloud. This ensures a focused and efficient on prem to cloud migration process and minimizes disruption to business operations and resource optimization.

  1. Implementing Refactoring Techniques as Needed

Refactoring involves optimizing existing applications for the cloud environment. This may include rewriting code, restructuring architecture, or adopting cloud-native services. Implementing refactoring techniques helps improve performance, scalability, and cost-effectiveness in the cloud. It’s essential to assess which applications would benefit most from refactoring and prioritize them accordingly.

  1. Creating a Comprehensive Data Migration Strategy

A well-defined data on premise to cloud migration strategy mitigates risks and ensures a secure transfer to the cloud. This should encompass inventorying data, assessing dependencies, classifying data based on importance and sensitivity, and selecting suitable cloud services.

Make sure to choose the right migration tools and techniques cloud while minimizing downtime and data loss. In addition, ensures data cleansing, transformation, encryption, and compliance with relevant regulations.  

  1. Executing the Transition to Cloud Production Environments

Once the groundwork is laid, it’s time to execute the transition to cloud production environments. This involves moving workloads, applications, and data to the cloud while minimizing disruption to business operations. Monitor the transition process closely and address any issues promptly to ensure a successful on prem to cloud migration.

Essential Tools for On-Premise to Cloud Data Migration

When initiating on-premise to cloud data migration, having the right set of tools is like having a reliable GPS for a road trip — it ensures you reach your destination smoothly. Here are some of the must-have tools for a successful upgrade.

ETL Tools

ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) tools facilitate the extraction of data from on-premise sources, transforming it as needed, and loading it into the cloud. Popular choices include AWS Glue, Google Cloud Dataflow, and Azure Data Factory, offering robust capabilities to streamline data movement and transformation.

Data Warehousing Tools

Think of data warehousing tools as the architects designing your cloud mansion. Google BigQuery, AWS Redshift, and Azure Synapse Analytics provide powerful capabilities to manage and analyze large volumes of data. They lay the foundation for efficient data storage and retrieval in the cloud.

Data Lake Tools

Data lake tools are like your personal librarians organizing vast amounts of information. They are essential for organizations dealing with diverse and large-scale data sets. These tools enable efficient storage, processing, and analysis of data, fostering data-driven decision-making and innovation. AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage, and Azure Data Lake Storage are popular choices.

Monitoring Tools

Monitoring tools act as your vigilant security detail, ensuring everything is in order during and after the move. Solutions like AWS CloudWatch, Google Stackdriver, and Azure Monitor proactively track, analyze, and optimize various aspects of your systems. They help maintain optimal performance and reliability, giving you peace of mind.

Security Tools

Security tools are your guardians, protecting your valuable assets in the cloud. AWS Security Hub, Azure Security Center, and Google Cloud Security Command Center provide robust protection and defense mechanisms. These tools safeguard your systems, networks, and data from potential threats and breaches.

The Critical Role of Data Governance in Cloud Migration

Data governance is crucial for managing data availability, usability, integrity, and security during on-premise to cloud migration.

  • Quality Assurance: This ensures data accuracy, consistency, and integrity throughout the migration process.
  • Privacy and Compliance: Helps navigate data privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, or HIPAA, safeguarding sensitive information and building customer trust.
  • Security: Controls data access and enforces security measures to prevent breaches, defining encryption protocols for added protection.
  • Metadata Management: Provides essential data information for easy understanding and accessibility.
  • Cataloging: Organizes data in a user-friendly format, facilitating easy search and retrieval.
  • Master Data Management: Establishes a single source of truth for key data, avoiding duplication and confusion.

Our Experience

ModLogix has nearly a decade of experience and boasts a team of 100+ top-tier tech professionals. We specialize in legacy system upgrades, including on premises cloud migration using a stack of modern technologies, including .NET, CSS, AngularJS, VB .NET, and Visual FoxPro.

One of our success stories involves migrating a healthcare data management ASP.NET Webforms app to Microsoft Azure. The client’s challenges included system parameters tailored to specific hardware, an incompatible MS SQL database, and issues with Azure Firewall. To tackle these, we implemented meticulous data processing and revamped the report-building feature, achieving a 200-fold speed improvement. 

The result was remarkable. A 99.99% business continuity guarantee, 297 code issues fixed, and an upgraded system for our client, highlighting the value of on-premise to cloud migration.

Conclusion

Migrating from on premise to cloud offers many benefits, including enhanced accessibility, improved performance, and cost savings. While the transition may present challenges, careful planning, robust strategies, and the right tools can help navigate them effectively.

At ModLogix, we understand the complexities of and offer a tailored solution to meet your unique needs. Our team of experts is here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring a smooth and stress-free on-premise to cloud migration. Start your on-premise to cloud journey with us today and unlock the full potential of the cloud.

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