A practical guide to cloud migration
The predicted rapid acceleration of cloud migration and adoption has come to fruition. Already gaining momentum before 2020, the enthusiasm for cloud computing increased during and following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, 94% of the U.S. market has adopted at least one cloud deployment, according to Forrester’s State of the Cloud in the U.S. 2022. These deployments include public, private and hosted private solutions, and the majority of the implementations are hybrid or multicloud users.
Adoption of cloud-native software and Platform as a Service (PaaS) is likely to speed up as organizations continue to evaluate different cloud solutions. Indeed, 74% of U.S. infrastructure decision-makers say their firms are adopting containers with a PaaS in an on-premises or public cloud environment.
With more opportunities than ever to migrate critical enterprise data to the cloud, it’s important to have a full understanding of what it entails.
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the transfer of data, processes and applications from one existing datacenter to a cloud-based datacenter. This transfer could originate from a different cloud or an on-premises solution, but it’s destination is always a cloud environment.
Cloud migration usually involves moving to a cloud-computing infrastructure environment in one of these three categories:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), such as Amazon’s AWS environment
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), such as the Salesforce Platform or Hyland’s Alfresco Digital Business Platform as a Service, which makes advanced content management capabilities available to any enterprise application through open APIs
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), such as DocuSign or Hyland’s OnBase in the Hyland Cloud, which manages and scales your solution automatically
Application Migration to Cloud
Application migration to the cloud is a more specific concept than just cloud migration. It moves a software application and all of its data and processes to a new cloud computing environment, usually from a legacy on-premises server.
Organizations migrate an application to the cloud for many reasons, including that the ROI of cloud computing quickly outstrips the hard and soft costs of operating on-premises.
Example: Migrating an application from on-premises to the cloud
Many long-time customers of Hyland’s OnBase content services platform started their application on-premises. Today, when a customer migrates their OnBase application to the Hyland Cloud, server management duties are shifted to the cloud provider, and the cloud architecture is specifically designed to deploy OnBase.
Other benefits of application migration to a qualified cloud provider include:
- Enhanced disaster recovery resources
- Nearly universal data availability
- Quick incident response
- Cloud security expertise
- Application-specific expertise
7 Benefits of Cloud Migration
From ROI to total-cost-of-ownership (TCO), migrating to the cloud and investing in future cloud computing infrastructure has proven to save organizations time and money, as well as to create a stronger IT team by allowing them to focus on what they do best (which may not be managing complex cloud infrastructure).
Benefits of cloud migration can include:
- Streamlined modernization efforts
- Better utilization of IT personnel resources
- A stronger distributed workforce
- Increased flexibility and agility
- Simplified and stronger security and privacy control
- Cost savings
- Faster innovation and business solution development
1. Streamlined Modernization Efforts
Keeping on-premises hardware up-to-date is time-consuming and expensive, and adding or modifying solutions in it can take a long time and demand immense IT resources.
Organizations must be able to adapt new and existing business solutions quickly and easily across their enterprise. The best way to do that is to migrate to the cloud.
2. Better Utilization of IT Personnel Resources
The highly fluid demands of business and a growing diversity of technologies can overwhelm teams of internal experts, leaving businesses under-supported. In addition, the current job market is challenging due to fewer on-premise experts and those who may have the experience can be hard to find, expensive and difficult to retain.
By migrating to the cloud and leveraging a leading cloud provider, IT teams can focus on their own expertise and support their business operations rather than expend precious time and knowledge learning and operating cloud infrastructure.
When migrating to a cloud powered by AWS, for example, organizations gain the robustness of AWS infrastructure as well as the specialized workforce it takes to properly capitalize on it.
3. A Stronger Distributed Workforce
Embracing a decentralized work environment has proven critical for keeping and hiring employees. Consider how migrating to a secure cloud solution helps maintain the tools for enterprise-wide connectivity by providing:
- Access to corporate networks, content and processes
- Secure sharing tools for even sensitive corporate information
- Virtual hiring, onboarding and HR processes
- Cloud-based, real-time communication platforms
4. Increased Flexibility and Agility
With more digitalization comes more data, and it needs somewhere to live and expand.
Leading cloud providers offer essentially exponential growth opportunities, from storage space to additional servers for supporting growth in application, web or processing. This means worrying about the amount of space available for storage as your organization expands becomes a thing of the past.
In addition, responsive and standards-based cloud architecture gives users the flexibility to work effectively from various modern devices, enabling access to data and processes from anywhere, anytime.
5. Simplified and Stronger Security and Privacy Control
Leading cloud providers meet stringent security demands across various industries. After migrating to the cloud, organizations can focus on executing their business plans while knowing the content is compliant, protected and encrypted, and resilient (always available).
6. Cost Savings
Hosting solutions on-premises carries more than just risk: It carries huge capital expenses, startup costs and the ongoing operational cost of keeping infrastructure running.
Migrating to the cloud reduces or eliminates many of these costs, including hardware, networking equipment, staffing, overtime, database maintenance, physical and logical security, and even software upgrades.
Once the cloud is operational, the cost becomes purely an operational expense that can be budgeted for.
7. Faster Innovation and Business Solution Development
Migrating to the cloud opens opportunities to drive innovation. Cloud-enabled organizations can build new solutions faster, optimize business processes and adapt to changing markets quickly and better compete.
Cloud Migration Considerations
As organizations evaluate how and when to migrate to the cloud, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of current operations, capabilities and what’s on the horizon for future technology.
Use these considerations as a starting point for evaluating cloud migrations:
- Is there an existing cloud strategy or vision? What is it?
- Have you selected a public cloud vendor?
- How are upgrades currently managed?
- Do you have applications in the cloud, and are you leveraging any other SaaS, PaaS or IaaS solutions?
- When was your last hardware refresh? Do you have any coming up?
- What is your current disaster recovery or business continuity approach?
- Who is currently managing your infrastructure/hardware?
- Does your current infrastructure meet security and compliance best practices?
Checklist for Migrating Content to the Cloud
Migrating to the cloud is a daunting idea because datacenters and all they entail are precious assets to any organization.
Leading cloud providers and their partners should be able to provide a detailed roadmap for your cloud migration.
For example, when a Hyland OnBase customer is ready to migrate to the Hyland Cloud, our team has a process in place. Here’s a high-level cloud migration checklist for taking your content to the cloud.
Complete a Content Inventory
Prior to launching an enterprise-transforming migration to the cloud, take the time to review all the content that will make the move. Cloud experts recommend:
Inventory your content
- Determine what moves to the cloud, what stays behind and why
- Determine the value of this content to the business
- Identify what content is subject to any compliance requirements
There are a variety of analytic approaches, automated tools and specialist firms to help with this evaluation process. Any redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) content should be disposed of in a legally defensible manner.
Assure content is in context
- Enrich your content with the right metadata (and drop any metadata that’s redundant or unused)
- Use metadata to control content access, move content through a process and automate information governance
Cost and time considerations will determine whether you do this processing before or after content is migrated to the cloud
Deliver a Copy of your Cloud-Bound Content to your Cloud Provider
Once you’ve identified which content will be moved to the cloud, send it to your cloud provider so they can begin setting it up in its new home on the cloud.
> Tip: Remember what you shared. You don’t want to send duplicate data during updates before go-live.
Once the cloud solution is ready for testing, access it and start testing. Track your changes and align with your cloud provider on any changes they make, then collaborate to assure those changes are applied during go-live.
Schedule a Go-Live Date
Once all testing is complete and the solution is working as expected, get a go-live date on the calendar. Good cloud partners will try to accommodate the most convenient time for your organization when scheduling the go-live— including nights and weekends — to minimize day-to-day disruptions.
> Tip: Wait until testing is complete before setting the go-live date. This avoids schedule changes due to unforeseen delays.
Prepare to Launch
Stop all on-premises solution work. A clean cutover from on-premises to cloud is best, so request users avoid transaction creation in the on-premises solution during the final migration.
> Tip: Upload a fresh database backup and any remaining disk group data. Its size is generally the largest time constraint in the go-live timeline.
All content is in place, the database is restored and all the changes noted during the initial testing phase are configured. Before go-live, this is a good time to give the environment one last round of testing to make sure everything is operating as expected.
Take it Live
Simple as that. Start enjoying the benefits of your migration to the cloud.
What’s your Cloud Migration Plan?
You’ve seen the research, and you have a clear view of what’s in store for an enterprise to move its content and processes into the cloud.
Now is the time to partner with a reputable cloud provider. Hyland, a leading content services provider, works in collaboration with AWS to support increased cloud deployment and migration for our customers.
Learn more about putting your content to work, migrating to the Hyland Cloud or Hyland’s strategic alliance with AWS.
Hyland on AWS
Hyland is listed on the AWS Marketplace. Learn more about the benefits of purchasing there, including the ability to:
- Streamline procurement
- Implement controls and automate provisioning
- Manage software budgets with cost transparency