Digital transformation without cloud technology? Hardly imaginable. More and more companies are planning to migrate to the cloud. The Corona pandemic has once again fueled the trend. We provide an overview of why the switch is worthwhile, which alternatives are worth considering, and how the cloud migration can go smoothly.
Definition: What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud refers to data centers of professional providers who host IT resources such as storage space and network components or applications there and make them available to customers via the internet. Cloud migration refers to the process of moving data from a company's own server or data center to the cloud of a service provider. The term can also be used for moving data from one cloud to another.
Cloud Computing Diffusion
Startups often organize their infrastructure on the basis of cloud solutions from the very beginning. Until a few years ago, however, it was standard practice to host corporate IT on servers on the company's own premises. However, cloud computing is now widespread in medium-sized and large companies: according to a survey by the German Federal Statistical Office, two-thirds of companies with more than 250 employees (2020) use IT resources via the Internet. Smaller companies are now also tackling the issue of cloud migration.
Advantages of Cloud Migration?
In Germany, skepticism about cloud technology persisted for a comparatively long time. Security concerns were holding decision-makers back. But in recent years, it has become clear that a migration to the cloud brings more advantages than disadvantages for a company if it is carefully planned and strategically implemented.
Companies can easily and quickly increase cloud capacity during peak loads or reduce it as needed. This flexibility is not available when operating your own hardware. Expanding your own server capacity takes much longer and takes IT staff time.
A migration to the cloud is often carried out under the aspect of cost efficiency. Companies not only save the costs that would otherwise be incurred for purchasing and securing server rooms or data centers. With cloud computing, the service providers also take over maintenance and updates completely. Organizations can be confident of working with the latest technology at all times. Companies can concentrate on their core business.
Cloud service providers have optimized the operation of their data centers using the latest technology. An investment of this kind is often not profitable for many small and medium-sized enterprises on their own servers. By migrating to the cloud, they can participate in technological progress. The cloud usually achieves better performance and transmits data with lower latency compared to corporate networks with distributed systems.
Location-independent working and cross-location collaboration are developments that will not disappear after the Corona pandemic. Cloud infrastructures represent the optimal basis for providing employees and partners with uncomplicated access to corporate data and applications from anywhere. After a cloud migration, organizations are much more easily able to quickly expand into new markets and set up their structures or offer services there.
On-Premises vs. Cloud Migration – Which Is the Better Way?
More and more companies are deciding to migrate to the cloud. Nevertheless, on-premises architectures are not inferior as such. Both architectures have advantages and disadvantages. The initial situation and requirements of the individual company are decisive.
One advantage of cloud migration is the ability to concentrate fully on the company's strengths and to benefit from a comprehensive service. This usually includes the backup of data. Cloud data centers are usually designed with redundancy. Organizations with on-premises servers have to take care of backup themselves. However, they have their on-premises corporate data under control at all times. With a view to increasing data protection requirements, this is not insignificant.
For this reason, a Cloud Migration Consulting often comes to the recommendation to build a hybrid architecture: Companies outsource part of their applications to the cloud, but keep sensitive data on-premises.
Successful Cloud Migration: The 5R Strategies
Cloud migration is a major challenge for any company. However, with the right cloud migration tools and cloud migration consulting, the time and financial investment can be minimized.
To be able to measure the success of the cloud migration, companies should in any case define clear goals for the change. A holistic security concept, which includes both cloud applications and on-premises processes, should also be developed before the technical migration.
The IT market research institute Gartner classifies five possible strategies for cloud migration.
Existing applications can be re-hosted in the cloud. However, administrators must then adapt the infrastructure configuration. An effort. This is eliminated if the infrastructure itself also moves to the cloud. Those who select this infrastructure as a service (IaaS) can migrate systems very quickly without modification.
Some applications, especially older ones, may require code changes to make them cloud-ready. This applies, for example, to Python-based programs or applications that are to be integrated into the Google App Engine.
It is also possible to completely rebuild applications. It can be useful if companies want to extend legacy applications with new functionalities that are provided by cloud providers as prefabricated components. For this purpose, companies must select a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model.
The final option for cloud migration is to replace existing applications with software as a service. However, difficulties can arise here if the cloud applications cannot easily access the company's data resources.
Practice shows that a single strategy is often not the best solution company-wide. Rather, it makes sense for organizations to define migration strategies for individual departments or areas. Experienced consultants can help you analyze which variants are best used where within the framework of cloud migration consulting.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cloud Migration
Due to the Corona pandemic, many companies have recognized the importance of flexible, location-independent IT infrastructures and have therefore decided to migrate to the cloud. At the same time, there is also a growing awareness that cloud computing offers cost advantages and that innovative business models can often only or more easily be realized cloud-based. Skepticism dominated in Germany for a long time. A better understanding of the technology is now accelerating the cloud migration trend.
The term hybrid cloud refers to IT architectures that combine multiple clouds or an on-premises infrastructure with a cloud. Companies can, for example, outsource their applications to a public cloud in which they share server capacities with other customers of the service provider. Sensitive company data, however, is hosted in a private cloud. In this case, they do not share the server with other companies, which further increases the level of security. The combination of on-premises and cloud can also be justified for security reasons, but also for cost reasons, for example if the migration of legacy systems would be too costly.