CLOUD MIGRATION STRATEGY AND APPROACH
Database Management and Cloud Migration Best Practices
The tips below are organized according to phases for clarity purposes. You are by no means obligated to use the phases linearly. A flexible agile approach can help ease the process of cloud migration and enhance the management of your databases.
Phase A—What to Do Before Migrating Your Database to the Cloud
1. Take stock of your resources
Create an inventory of all the digital assets you want to migrate to the cloud. Include the license type of each tool, to ensure that your license covers cloud environments. If you can’t bring your own license (BYOL), maybe your service provider offers a pay-per-use license. Check this in advance to avoid compliance issues.
2. Set a budget for cloud migration
After taking stock of your resources, take stock of your finances and allocate funds appropriately. You will have the initial costs for the migration process and then a new monthly expense for the use of the DBaaS service and any related tasks. Before moving forward with the migration, ensure that you have enough initial capital to begin the process and the equity to sustain the adoption.
3. Choose a migration strategy
A migration strategy serves as the blueprint of the entire operation. It includes all the particulars and determines how the migration will be implemented. You may choose any of the following migration strategies, depending on the needs of the project and the budget.
General migration strategies include:
A lift-and-shift migration is exactly what it sounds like: lifting an application or landscape out of its current hosting environment and shifting it to another environment — for example, from on-premise hosting to a public cloud. Lift-and-shift migrations transport an exact copy of the top three layers: application, database and OS layer. Gartner< refers to this as rehosting, because it involves moving your stack to a new host without making extensive changes. This enables a rapid, cost-effective migration, minimal disruption and quick ROI.
A lift and shift from on-premise to cloud hosting also increases agility, simplifying future transformation. This makes it a good first step for businesses with a conservative culture, or indecision about long-term cloud strategy. However, as Gartner points out, the lack of modification to your system also prevents you from harnessing certain cloud migration benefits in the short term:
“The primary advantage of IaaS — that teams can migrate systems quickly, without modifying their architecture — can be its primary disadvantage as benefits from the cloud characteristics of the infrastructure, such as scalability, will be missed”
Companies need to weigh the quick payoff and low disruption of a lift and shift against the greater benefits of a more transformative cloud migration strategy.
Replatforming is really a variation of lift and shift, involving some further adjustments to improve your landscape in some way. In fact AWS General Manager Stephen Orban< refers to replatforming as “lift-tinker-and-shift.” Replatforming empowers businesses to accomplishing important goals beyond rehosting without greatly expanding the scope of the project:
Here you might make a few cloud (or other) optimizations in order to achieve some tangible benefit, but you aren’t otherwise changing the core architecture of the application. You may be looking to reduce the amount of time you spend managing database instances by migrating to a database-as-a-service platform… or a fully managed platform.”
For SAP users, replatforming can be a useful step for accomplishing particular goals like increasing system performance or adopting a managed services. For example, it can enable SAP ECC users in conservative organizations to audition a vendor and alleviate skepticism about digital transformation, while laying the groundwork for a future HANA migration
Repurchase: “Drop and shop”—migrating from on-premise data centers to the cloud. May apply to any of the offered cloud computing services.
Migration strategies for ineffective resources:
Refactoring: “Re-architecting”—re-purposing ineffective resources to lower costs and increased efficiency. Requires complex configurations of code.
As the name suggests, this method is all about re-architecting existing applications to run smoothly in the Cloud platforms by leveraging the features or services provided by the cloud provider. This feature usually comes into play, when an enterprise is interested in customizing and developing the software within the Cloud, to cater to new ventures or software needs. However, this comes with its own set of disadvantages, which translates into the loss of legacy codes and known development frameworks.
Despite the disadvantages, it is difficult to overlook the advantages it brings with it. When you look at re-architecting as a migration option, it opens up the enterprise’s access to a series of world-class developing tools, which are available on the cloud provider’s platform. Such advantages include the likes of pre-designed customizable templates, along with a set of data models, which can enhance productivity greatly.
Retiring: Turning off ineffective resources to avoid wasting space, speed, and performance capacity in the new cloud environment.
During the migration process, an enterprise has to do a deeper dive into the list of its owned apps’ this would mean going through every app which needs to be migrated and further trying to understand its uses and cost to the company. If the company feels the app is obsolete or not worth the money and effort of migrating to the Cloud, it can be downsized, and removed from the existing kit — this not only simplifies the cost and translates into saving for the company, but also makes it better for an enterprise to promote scalability and efficiency.
Saving ineffective resources for later use in the former environment and migrating only active resources.
This process involves holding back applications from migration which could either attract a significant amount of time in rearchitecting to be able to run in the cloud or are not migration ready as they were upgraded recently and may turn out to be a costly affair if migrated. One may also decide to retain an application if the cloud doesn’t support the app or if there is an existing sunk cost associated with the application.
Depending on the need of the hour and the immediate uses, an enterprise can pick and choose the best available option, when it comes to migrating to the Cloud. An enterprise needs to weigh the pros and cons of the selected method and act on it accordingly. This way, there is a lot of effort which is saved in running old apps in a traditional and unconventional manner.
4. Run performance checks
To prevent transferring threats along with your resources, run a performance check before migrating to the cloud. The time and resources invested in this check can save you trouble and overhead in the future. Get rid of any detected vulnerability to protect your cloud.
5. Bring your team into the process
The cloud offers many advantages, but it also introduces a change. Before migrating, ensure that your IT team is trained in cloud computing and that your general personnel is versed in the proper use and care of the cloud. It would be wise to create in advance a Policies and Procedures document that explains how cloud environments are to be handled.
Phase B—Set Up Your Cloud Architecture, Management, and Security
1. Choose your cloud architecture wisely
Migrating to the cloud often offers a fresh new start. You can shed old models in favor of modern designs of cloud architecture. While models such as the multi-cloud architecture have become popular due to the level of flexibility it offers, it might not be the best solution for all businesses. Be sure to model cloud architecture in accordance with the needs of the business.
2. Create a security strategy for protecting data in the cloud
Remember that security needs changes between environments. When designing your new security strategy, take into account the security controls offered by the new service provider in correlation with legacy security resources you still have in-house.
Current standards of data security promote:
Tokenization for protecting data at rest and in transit
Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems for securing access
VPN and encryption for protecting data in transit
Phase C—Automate Cloud Migration, Governance, and Monitoring Processes
1. Set up a monitoring system
Continuous monitoring of the cloud enables a healthy cloud environment. You can set up your own monitoring system, or you can use the modules offered by the cloud provider. Whichever the case, ensure that you have basic visibility controls such as audit logs. If possible, use automation and analytics tools to set up regular security and performance alerts.
2. Set up a governance system
Most cloud providers offer their own management platform, which serves as your main control room. Make sure that the provider of your choice can integrate with your preferred database management system. Most providers offer integration with the popular MySQL and Postgres management systems. Not all providers offer NoSQL compatibility or pre-built APIs for a large number of systems.
3. Automate cloud migration processes
You can increase the speed of migration processes by automating repeated patterns. The automation capabilities are determined by the chosen tool, and may include the following functionalities:
Run automated scripts
Automate the migration processes
Implement controller-level automation
Automate optimization of servers