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A Guide to 6 R's of Cloud Migration Strategies

The advent of cloud computing brought a multitude of possibilities for providers and consumers alike. The cloud is a system of servers on the internet that cloud service providers manage. Organizations use cloud services for data and resource sharing, storage, documentation, and management. It is globally accessible if you have good internet connectivity. 

Companies were migrating toward Cloud infrastructure gradually before Covid-19. The pandemic brought an exponential increase in cloud migration because of the remote working culture.

Cloud migration is shifting your system and its functionality to the cloud. You shift your data from your traditional storage space to the cloud environment. Cloud migration also comes with the added benefit of risk management and cost-effectiveness. Various providers like Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud offer cloud services.

 

Why Cloud Migration: 

Scaling and adapting to your fluctuating business needs is a challenge that all service providers eventually face. It can also be expensive to scale up, considering storage, servers, power, and maintenance costs. So, the migration process requires extreme care and expertise while handling; otherwise, it can wreak havoc on your business processes and damage your existing data architecture.   

Furthermore, traffic fluctuations mean a lot of resources are potentially unutilized. Also, with efficiency, scalability, reliability, and on-demand, pay-as-you-go services, cloud computing is a promising way of transforming your business needs.

Why cloud migration - system to migrate

Cloud service providers also offer better security, maintenance, and robust disaster recovery mechanisms that make for a solid argument for transition to the cloud. Therefore, the question is not whether you should migrate to the cloud but when.

 

Migration Strategies:

It can be challenging to formulate cloud migration strategies. After all, it involves a complete cultural shift in your workflow and business dynamics. Migration is an in-depth and lengthy process that requires excessive planning.

Given the wide variety of services offered by the cloud, it is therefore important to know cloud migration strategies to decide which one best suit your business needs. Overall, there are six cloud migration strategies based on different levels of services, called the 6 R’s of cloud migration.

These are as follows:

  1. Re-hosting – lift & shift 
  2. Re-platforming – lift, tinker & shift 
  3. Re-purchasing – product shift 
  4. Re-architecting – rebuilding from the ground up 
  5. Retire – discard 
  6. Retain – up for later revisiting

The first step in cloud migration is identifying which option suits your use cases and business needs. Are you planning on just hosting your system on the cloud or willing to refactor it entirely for the cloud to maximize efficiency?

Therefore, there are benefits and drawbacks to each strategy, and it is essential to figure out which one will be the best fit for your business needs.

Re-hosting: 

Because re-hosting is a popular and prevalent migration strategy, many companies employ it globally. Commonly known as the “lift-and-shift” strategy, re-hosting is also the simplest form of cloud migration strategy.

Moreover, the application is shifting from an on-premises server to a cloud-based server. Therefore, the underlying layers and functionalities remain unaltered. So, some configuration changes may be required to leverage microservice; in that regard, the line between re-hosting and re-platforming is thin.

Subsequently, re-hosting opens up many opportunities for companies to re-architect their cloud-based operations and environments in the future.

Re-platforming: 

The system is modified to allow for cloud-based optimizations, but the core functionality remains unchanged. This can include everything from shifting to a DaaS to certain configuration changes for cloud functionality.

It also allows for benefits like microservices and scalability without a complete re-vamp to the existing application. It can sometimes be an expensive affair for companies but is always a better option when organizations are unable to restructure their IT legacy system during cloud migration.

Repurchasing: 

Repurchasing is always an ideal and best choice when and if it is possible. Also, it involves replacing the existing system or application with existing XaaS/SaaS solutions. Instead of worrying about development, functionality, and maintenance, the user leverages existing solutions that serve their business needs.

Besides, this eliminates the need for self-management as the existing application is no longer in use. Also, this includes business intelligence and Data analytics tools.

Re-architecting:

Re-architecting is the most comprehensive strategy for cloud migration as it involves restructuring the entire system from a legacy flow to native cloud services, often known as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Additionally, traditional databases, storage, and servers are replaced by highly efficient cloud services that work in conjunction to deliver functionality. So, this shift is refactoring, as the system then redesigns for the cloud. 

Retire: 

As the name implies, the application also decommissions in retirement. However, there can be various reasons for this; the application may have been refactored, the on-premises solution is now obsolete, or the system has been replaced. This is one of the last options. Finally, there is no longer a need to maintain the application. 

Retain:

Also, depending on the budget constraints and business needs, retaining the existing application is possibly the best bet. Since no changes occur in the system, so the operational costs remain the same. It is viable to transition to the cloud further down the line as all the benefits of the cloud remain untapped in this strategy.

Re-hosting - Re-platforming - Re-purchasing - Re-architecting - Retire - Retain

 

Conclusion: 

So, the 6 R’s of cloud migration help us analyze what solution best fits our needs. Also, we must note that these R’s can be mutually exclusive or sequential steps towards a complete transition to the cloud.

Depending on budget constraints and business needs, the system can go through these strategies incrementally, slowly migrating towards cloud services until it is wholly refactored further down the line.

cloud migration strategies - migration constraints

Moreover, the different strategies allow us to make an informed judgment to transition to the cloud at our own pace. Thus, the technology landscape will continue to change and present us with more suitable and ideal ways of migration depending on our budget, needs, and resources.

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Muhammad Ibrahim

Muhammad Ibrahim is working as a full-time Software Engineer at Xavor. Enjoys travelling, reading, and gaming. Interested in exploring the vast avenues of cloud technology and blockchain. You can find him working on passion projects in his free time.