The first step in moving from server to cloud, or from a physical onsite server to a cloud-based infrastructure, is to understand your applications and assess workloads. We suggest starting with small and gradually moving to complex workloads. Before jumping right into the migration, assess your applications by using the following methods:
Review Your Current Environment
Audit Your Environment
Try to measure your existing environment’s computing needs, response time, performance output, and other factors that are crucial for your business implementations. This way, you can easily create a baseline for the incoming platform.
Determine How Much Resources You Need
It’s always imperative to specify and gather information about your workloads such as server configuration, compliance requirements, application dependency, user needs, and so on. This will help you select the cloud platform that’s the best for your organization.
Prioritize Assets by Complexity
Categorize the data captured in the auditing process and information gathered about your workloads on the basis of the complexity; identify which can be easily migrated and prioritize them for migration.
Choose Your Cloud Model
Cloud migration is not just about assessing your own environment, it’s about choosing the right cloud deployment model as well. This helps you make an informed decision on what you need and what the opted platform can provide. The cloud deployment models you can choose from are:
Public clouds are for the general public where data is created and stored on third-party servers. Multiple businesses share the infrastructure which is owned and managed by a cloud service provider. This allows you to easily scale up or down the resources as per the business requirements; it’s a great option to cut on the cost and manage traffic. The top public clouds include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
As the name explains, a private cloud is dedicated to your business only. Irrespective of where the servers are hosted, the infrastructure is maintained on a private network. Having control of the infrastructure, you can easily customize your storage, compute, and networking requirements. Based on resource utilization, a private cloud can be a more cost-effective solution as compared to the public cloud.
As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud model is a blend of both public and private cloud. It allows companies to mix and match these two as per their requirements. For your sensitive and private information, the hybrid model can give you control of the private cloud, along with the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the public cloud for public-facing operations.
It refers to combining multiple clouds such as public clouds, private clouds, cloud-based SaaS applications, and so on, to create your unique multi-cloud environment for all your business needs.
Cloud services are often distinguished on the basis of the business model, billing systems, and their functionality. Cloud service models are described as:
Software as a Service (SaaS)
It is a web-based platform that provides users access to cloud computing based on subscription. With SaaS, companies get data storage and management features. It is used for functionality independent, prebuilt, and universally available applications such as payroll processing, email system, database processing, and so on. The software deployed on SaaS are similar to hosted services and can be accessed over the internet. It incorporates a pay-as-you-go delivery approach.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
It is basically hardware devices, such as, visualized servers, network devices, etc., which can be used by businesses with ready-to-use IT infrastructure. With IaaS, the organizations aren’t required to build and secure their own IT infrastructure, instead, they can leverage the development process with third-party servers and cloud storage.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
It is like halfway between SaaS and IaaS. PaaS provides access to APIs, development tools, and deployment instruments. Organizations can create, run, and manage business applications without having to worry about the software development infrastructure. Cloud service providers can provide resources (operating systems, development tools, etc.) to the developers, which ultimately decreases the server storage overhead and increases the flexibility of the development process.
Virtualize Whatever You’re Moving from Server to Cloud
A whole bunch of virtual servers in a demo Windows Admin Center environment. Source: Microsoft
When it comes to cloud computing, virtualization plays a vital role. Beyond executing applications, virtualization provides a virtual environment for networking, memory, and storage.
Virtualization means creating a virtual version of a server, desktop, operating system, network resources, or storage device. The idea behind virtualization is to share a single physical instance of a resource amongst multiple organizations or customers. With this technique, you can treat service and physical system separately; multiple operating systems and applications can run on the same machine and hardware together.
Virtualization has two major components:
- Host Machine: Where the virtual machine is built
- Guest Machine: It is the virtual machine
Performing the Migration
Moving from server to cloud may be a cost-effective solution, but it can be a daunting task if not strategized properly. Migration depends on various factors such as application, infrastructure complexity, IT teams’ expertise, business needs, and so on. But if we talk in general terms, migration involves the following basic four steps:
1) Planning and Assessment
The first step is obviously planning and assessment. Capture all the details about your complete environment, physical and virtual server configurations, dependencies, etc. Create details about IT implementation and third-party resources that may set hurdles in the migration process.
Create a roadmap to reach your desired state and this must include capacity planning, vendor management, procurement strategies, and cloud deployment models. Establish cloud migration KPIs to look for any issues that might arise during the migration process.
Some of the KPIs are:
- Memory usage
- CPU usage
- Response times
K6 is an example of tool that helps you test and measure the performance of your cloud environment, though it’s aimed more at developers.
2) Design and Inventory Your Assets
Create an all-inclusive view of your data center assets and their relationship to cloud services. It’s important to inventory your assets before jumping on to the migration. Make sure to gather information about the dependencies so that nothing breaks during or after the migration. Try to visualize your assets and dependencies, if any, in a single view. Prepare yourself for any negative possibility, and create a roll-back plan to tackle the worst-case scenarios. Have all the resources in place for migration and ongoing maintenance.
3) Experimental Migration
Try to resolve the issues that may have occurred during the designing of migration. Finalize the teams for migration and have a set of activities around training and communication. Based on your design and migration strategies, schedule a pilot migration. This will help you in identifying gaps in your migration process.
4) Just Do It™
When initiating the migration, try to start during a slow period, that is, when the workload is less. It can be scheduled during weekends, overnight, holiday breaks, or any other time that is likely to put the least impact on the performance. While executing the migration, follow the steps captured during the pilot migration. Once your migration is done, perform a post-migration validation, troubleshoot failures, performance hiccups, or service outages, if any.
In case something goes wrong, you could roll back the migration to identify the possible reasons behind it and then reschedule the migration.
Moving from Server to Cloud Can Be Daunting, But XOverture Can Help
For organizations, there are already various complex things to deal with. So, instead of spending energy and time worrying about the data migration, they can delegate this task to XOverture.