The essence of cloud migration
On the basis of a plan with a sound business case, an appropriate roadmap and compliance with governance and security requirements, complexity and risk can be effectively controlled, and a modern IT base made attainable for every organization.
The first challenge to be tackled is the business case. Examples of companies that through the cloud could respond more swiftly to market developments are legion. But how would that work in your organization? The first step towards transitioning to the cloud is to learn about the many ways in which the cloud can help your company offer better service provision, both internally (towards your employees) and externally (towards customers and suppliers). The first thing to do is to work out a clear vision and discover how the cloud impacts on the current business model. In this stage, it is important to also involve IT stakeholders in the discussion about applications and services because of the impact IT can have on the conduct of business within the organization.
The next important challenge is technology. Many on-premises IT architectures do not always make it easy to isolate components of the IT landscape and put them in the cloud. In this connection, it is important to view the current IT landscape from the perspective of a cloud-based architecture. What do we have now? And what will it look like later? This needs to be done to be able to distinguish various cloud migration scenarios and determine the route you want to follow.
The third challenge lies in the new model for making optimum use of the cloud landscape. Here, again, you need to gain an insight into the old and the new situation. What are the differences? Where will things improve? And what pieces of the knowledge and skills puzzle are missing?
Cloud migration scenarios
There are many scenarios for cloud migration. Will you opt for a comprehensive scenario or rather choose a hybrid solution? What service level do you prefer? Will you choose IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS? Or Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-Service or Software-as-a-Service?
Once you have worked out a sound business case and a clear view of the current environment and the desired new situation in the cloud, you will be able to determine your strategy and roadmap. There are two scenarios for migrating to the cloud:
- Lift & shift
With the lift & shift scenario, you opt for an approach with low risk. For instance, you will still be able to revert very easily to the current environment. Also, it can be implemented quickly. Many organizations choose this strategy as an intermediate step to be able to start from the new environment to build up the new IT landscape and in this way effectively benefit from the added value the cloud provides.
The other scenario is replatforming to PaaS- of SaaS services, the best known of which is Microsoft 365. With the massive shift to home working, many organizations have become acquainted with the convenience of such a SaaS service. Often substantial alternatives are now also available for other applications and functionalities. Tailor-made solutions can be replaced by new environments. However, you should be mindful of the complexity of aspects such as data migration and managing a cloud service.
Replatforming is also increasingly combined with no-code/ low-code environments such as Microsoft’s Power Platform, in which large parts of the IT landscape are standardized and obtained from a cloud service provider. Using no-code/ low-code, tailor-made applications are developed which can be very flexibly deployed in the organization and subsequently adapted when business conditions change.
Choosing the right scenario is also a matter of looking ahead. There is no need to change everything in one go. However, you do need to take a new look at your organization to fully capitalize on the possibilities the cloud has to offer.
Microsoft offers a range of possibilities for secure cloud migration. A clear roadmap and cloud migration strategy are based on business strategy and current organizational and information structure. When taking stock of the IT landscape, a division is made into sub-landscapes:
- Primary systems
- Unique secondary systems
- Commodity systems
- Development systems
The division and separate assessment of sub-landscapes ensures that complexity is reduced, and the focus is on business value and selecting the right scenarios. Technical value and life cycle are also taken into account in prioritizing and phasing in the migration of various components to the cloud.
In the cloud migration process, separate attention needs to be paid to security. While we often view migrating from IT to the cloud as an entirely rational matter, the overall picture also plays an important role. In the past, security was often an obstacle to cloud migration. IT and data were mission critical, and they could not be entrusted to the cloud. In the meantime, however, it has become clear that for protecting and securing systems and data there are more possibilities in the cloud than in an organization’s own IT environment.
While full use of the value of cloud technology can only be made if new possibilities are translated into new business applications, cloud security also depends to a large extent on the way it is implemented and on user behavior.
In other words, cloud migration clearly still involves work done by people!