Migrating to the cloud is not a one-way street, and companies adopting cloud solutions need not worry that this decision will make them dependent on vendors. Cloud migration is a reversible process both legally/contractually and technologically. There are nuances depending on the type of cloud solutions contracted, but both solutions and especially the associated data can be migrated to another IT infrastructure, on-premises or cloud, when the beneficiary considers this decision necessary.
Back to On-Prem or Cloud to Cloud Migration?
A key feature of cloud technology is the ability to support rapid and flexible migration, giving organizations the choice between various IT infrastructure options. A company that already uses cloud solutions and wants to change provider or platform has two main options: revert to an on-premises IT infrastructure (possibly private cloud) or change cloud provider. Migration to on-premises infrastructure, known as “reverse cloud migration,” allows companies to bring certain services and data back to their own data center if they own and operate such a facility. This approach can be attractive if the company has specific requirements or must comply with strict data storage regulations. Legislation is changing, and companies that migrated to the cloud 2-3 years ago are suddenly subject to new regulations. The NIS 2 (cyber security) directive is one of the best examples, because, unlike NIS 1, it applies to a much larger number of economic sectors.
If there is no on-premises/private cloud IT infrastructure and no specific requirements, cloud-to-cloud migration becomes the best solution, giving organizations the opportunity to take advantage of different cloud service providers. This can mean: lower costs, superior performance, reduced latency, superior construction or security standards, access to complementary services or local support, etc.
For example, a company in Romania that opts to migrate colocation services from an external provider to M247 will certainly have reduced latency, thanks to the location of the M247 Data Center in Bucharest, access to a Romanian-speaking support team, and the possibility of contracting complementary services to hosting, such as cloud backup or Disaster Recovery as a Service. Therefore, the decision to migrate cloud to cloud will benefit them on several levels, simply by switching providers.
Migration options for various cloud solutions
The term cloud solutions covers a multitude of scenarios, and cloud migration options must be carefully analyzed according to the exact context (vendor, platform, technologies used, databases, etc.). Each cloud storage platform has different rules or limitations regarding what content they will support for migration. In general, it is good to know that depending on the type of solution, cloud to cloud migration can be easier or more complicated.
For example, it is simple to migrate data (folders and files) from Google Drive to Dropbox, somewhat more complicated to move a cloud-hosted ERP system between two providers, but impossible to move a Software as a Service cloud solution like Salesforce e.g. In this case, only the data can be migrated, not the application itself with the specific functionalities. This is because only the data is the property of the beneficiary, not the cloud solution, which is rented.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): – IaaS migration involves the transfer of virtual infrastructure, including servers, storage and networks, from one provider to another. This process requires detailed planning to ensure data compatibility and security.
- Software as a Service (SaaS): – In case of SaaS, migration involves only data transfer and it is crucial to ensure compatibility between applications and associated databases.
- File Storage Services: – Migrating data between cloud storage services such as Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive is probably one of the easiest examples of migrating cloud solutions.
- Cloud Backup: – Migrating backup services to the cloud requires attention to technological compatibility of solutions and full recovery of data during transfer. An immediate test is required after the migration is completed.
- Email in the Cloud: – The transfer from one email service to another can be complex, involving the migration of data from existing email servers and the appropriate configuration of new services. However, if you have your own email server, you can very easily move it to M247 regardless of where it is hosted now, to have TIER 3 level availability.
Cloud to cloud migration challenges
Cloud to cloud migration involves several challenges, some related to risk and some related to technology and planning. A critical aspect is the difficulty of estimating and uncertainty regarding the costs of the migration process. Although switching vendors can reduce long-term IT operational costs, estimating the migration effort is a major challenge. Careful planning, budgeting for hidden costs and working closely with service providers can help overcome this uncertainty.
A complementary issue can be the lack of internal resources and capabilities to achieve a successful cloud to cloud migration. The solution is to hire a cloud migration company to assist with the process and develop the skills of your internal team or recruit new talent. Another challenge is adopting a correct migration strategy that guarantees the functionality of the new system/solution. In the absence of careful planning, interruptions, budget overruns, delays, data loss, etc. may occur.
Without quality technical analysis, beneficiaries may see application performance drop after migration because they haven’t properly sized the new infrastructure, scaling options, required bandwidth, etc. As companies consider migrating to the cloud, there are various technical challenges to consider. Compatibility between different cloud services, security of data in transit and management of technology dependencies are essential aspects.
A successful cloud migration requires detailed planning
From all the above, it is clear that migrating from cloud to cloud can be a complicated initiative, but justified by the positive results. However, this requires detailed planning, appropriate technical approaches and experienced partners. It is essential that planning takes into account:
- Analysis of the two cloud environments involved in the migration
- Specificity of data and hosted solutions
- Technologies used
- Competencies of the internal team
- Risks associated with migration
- Business objectives
- The ratio of costs versus benefits
Only by considering these aspects can organizations fully benefit from the flexibility offered by cloud technology, while avoiding excessive dependence on a particular cloud solution provider. For any discussion on how you can practically migrate a cloud solution from your current provider to M247, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.