Cloud migration: Today’s business imperative

By | 3 minute read | May 3, 2018

For almost any business, there is a healthy dose of anticipation balanced with a fair amount of anxiety when it comes to migrating to the cloud. Added flexibility, improved agility and ready access to a rich set of cloud native services are just a few of the benefits of transitioning to the cloud. Moving a few virtual machines, a database or some test and development workloads to a cloud can be quite simple. But moving a production environment securely and seamlessly to the cloud could also become a daunting effort for any IT organization.

Put simply, cloud migration is moving data, applications or associated services from an organization’s existing infrastructure to the cloud, or from one cloud environment to another.

For companies considering moving to the cloud, the first and arguably the most important step is to formulate a strategy. Why migrate to cloud? That starts with taking stock of the current infrastructure and applications. It may be a desire to reduce investment in data centers or hardware assets. It could be to optimize a global footprint and reduce networking costs. This will be to take advantage of performance and secured cloud platforms with easy provisioning.

In doing so, organizations need to maintain a holistic view. The use of discovery methods and tools can help to determine precisely what’s going to be easy to migrate (typically application services that were built on an open infrastructure) and what will require additional work (often legacy or proprietary solutions that were never built for sharing).

Planning cloud migration

Migration to the cloud typically includes a multipronged approach that ranges from re-hosting to re-platforming to re-architecting and modernization that might take a bit more time to accomplish. Within that journey, there is an opportunity to retire some applications that they can be replaced by SaaS or micro-services applications are that are cloud-native.

Most people think about migration as the step of transferring data and applications from one place to another. But the migration event represents the culmination of preparation to execute a flawless move. Therefore, it is very beneficial to look at it as a project that includes strategy, discovery, design, execution and testing phases for both the infrastructure and the applications.

By first re-assessing and discovering the infrastructure and applications, companies can begin the broad brushstrokes of outlining an approach to migrating applications that reside on their infrastructure and in what order, and identifying what type of skills will be needed to succeed.

A leading multinational services provider for the oil and gas and power generation needed to move nearly 900 workloads from its existing data centers to a cloud environment. We worked with the client to quickly and methodically identify dependencies between systems and assist this power company re-host, re-factor, re-platform and re-architect their applications. As part of the process we also assisted the client in defining the guidelines for its transition to the cloud.

The global cloud migration factory

And while a clear strategy can simplify the migration for companies like the one I mentioned above, organizations still need to consider several factors, including:

  • Governance;
  • Performance;
  • Regulatory and compliance requirements;
  • Migration process, methods and goals;
  • Security, resiliency and disaster recovery;
  • Hybrid and multicloud expertise; and
  • User experience.

Additionally, companies must account for unexpected events that will almost always come up with any migration. This is why IBM has invested in building up a global cloud migration factory to cover all aspects of a migration, from anywhere and with proven and repeatable methods and processes. And these days, it certainly had to be active across the globe.

A good example is a major IT services provider in Europe that had grown, in part, by absorbing smaller companies. Its IT infrastructure of more than 10,000 workloads was spread across multiple countries and data centers. Working with IBM, the services provider created a multitenant cloud-based environment that was able to minimize the downtime during the cutover, mitigate the business impact and select the most appropriate migration pattern.

Working with clients such as this provide excellent examples of why I know it requires a well-thought-out strategy and a strong partner to move to the cloud. This ensures companies are prepared to make their move to the cloud that will improve the way they work, innovate and go to market.

Learn more about IBM Cloud Migration Services.