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A comprehensive guide for application migration to the cloud

Last updated:September 2019

Editor's note

Many organizations embark on a migration to the cloud to achieve scalability, cost efficiency and increased application performance. However, adapting apps that were not developed as cloud-native is a complex process that requires careful planning.

It's essential that organizations consider all possibilities. The cloud migration process both reveals and creates issues -- such as unexpectedly high costs, security gaps and application reworks. To help smooth a frequently bumpy path to a cloud platform such as AWS, organizations need to craft a migration plan.

Whether your organization is moving workloads from an in-house data center environment or from one cloud-based infrastructure to another, be sure to understand the process and temper any exorbitant expectations. And, since not every application will benefit from a migration to the cloud, make sure it's the right move before diving in.

1Perform a cloud migration assessment

While the public cloud is an attractive hosting environment, it isn't right for all enterprises or for all workloads. Cloud migrations can be laborious, a process that requires many steps and manual adjustments. Assessments are critical to determine if the cloud will meet application requirements, such as performance, compliance and security. Additionally, this is the time to evaluate application migration methods, including rehost and refactor, that will help -- or hurt -- the business. Without an assessment, cloud adopters could encounter higher costs, security vulnerabilities, distracting levels of latency and more.

2Create a migration plan

An application migration to the cloud can be a long and arduous process for organizations. Whether an app migrates from on-premises management or from one cloud platform to another, it's a risky proposition. That doesn't even account for radical changes, such as a shift to serverless. Enterprises often contend with myriad issues: downtime, security concerns when the cloud setup cannot mirror existing configurations, staff confusion about new management tools and processes, and more. But for many organizations, improved scalability, agility and other cloud benefits make the risk worth the reward.

3Work out cloud migration costs

An application migration to the cloud can be costly, especially if you don't properly prepare your workloads. Users can turn to providers' native cloud cost calculators, as well as third-party tools, to assess costs and estimate monthly spend. While some application methods may seem inexpensive upfront, you must consider the ongoing costs that can result from poor utilization of cloud benefits. There are also numerous fees organizations can encounter, such as those for egress traffic, which can turn your application into a money pit.

4Tools for an application migration to cloud

Public cloud providers offer a suite of tools and services that can assist enterprises in their migration to cloud. AWS, Microsoft and Google provide assessment tools as well as services that will perform and manage the actual process. However, these options are not all the same, so enterprises must evaluate each alternative to discover which one -- or more -- will lead them to success.

5Cloud migration terms to know

Application migration to the cloud is a hands-on process, so enterprises need to have solid knowledge of the latest terms and technology to coordinate work and steer clear of issues. And because cloud computing is a rapidly evolving area of IT, it often spawns new terminology for IT professionals to learn.