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Migrating to the cloud, in whole or in part, can be tempting for organizations of all sizes. The cloud offers agility, potential cost savings, and scalability – all without a commitment to physical devices. But there are several kinds of cloud migration – and risks that come with each.
Migrating to the cloud can be a complicated undertaking with the potential for missteps and hidden expenses. You’ll need to take a careful look at why you want to migrate to the cloud, as well as do the work researching cloud vendors and migration approaches.
In this blog, we’ll review the different approaches to cloud migration as well as provide some tips and tricks to help you avoid common migration mistakes.
Table of Contents
Cloud migration is the process of moving servers, databases, servers, and apps into the cloud. It can also refer to moving from one cloud to another. Migration can include an entire IT environment to the cloud or just parts.
The benefits of cloud migration are simple – the cloud offers potential money savings, improved agility for IT operations, and scalability to meet changing needs.
There are many different reasons to migrate to the cloud, just as there are many different paths you can choose for your migration as we will explore in the next section. In some cases, a company might need to support changing scale during busier seasons of work. In other cases, a business leader wants to reduce the cost of on-premises devices by moving some or all their operations into the cloud.
Maybe you’re wondering if you can speed up software deployment, or maybe you want to modernize legacy databases and applications. There are many reasons to embark on a cloud migration, and a lot of them start with someone asking the question, “should/could we be doing this in the cloud?”
There are many different cloud migration approaches: a lift and shift of existing operating systems, creating a new operating system within the cloud and re-platforming current applications, or optimizing the architecture of applications first before moving them into the cloud.
The kind of migration you’ll need depends on how many applications you are interested in moving to the cloud – there is a big difference between moving your company’s HR software to a cloud-native SaaS than moving your entire operations into the cloud as an example.
In each of these types of migration approaches, you need to understand if the underlying architecture of the applications you use will need to be updated before the cloud migration – how complex are they? How dated are they? Will they need to be updated significantly before they are moved to the cloud?
In some cases, some applications were never built for the cloud. They will need significant work to make sure that they are optimized to work within your cloud.
And sometimes it’s more than just switching from one infrastructure to another, the people who are working within the cloud will also need to “migrate” to a new skillset and experience a shift in mindset.
It’s more than just applications that move into the cloud, a new mindset and a willingness to learn and adopt new technologies need to move along with it. Which brings us to a brief word of caution before embarking on your next cloud migration.
These cloud migration tips and tricks come from our experience working with thousands of customers across cloud and hybrid cloud environments. The promising potential of the cloud is like a siren’s call for company leaders looking to save money and stay on top of fast-moving tech trends. But it doesn’t always mean that the cloud is the right option for every organization, in whole or in part.
This is probably the biggest issue that we see with organizations migrating into the cloud. In theory, it all makes perfect sense. A cloud provider purchases their own physical computing power on devices in bulk, and then allows you to use a portion of these physical devices for your infrastructure in the shared cloud, saving you the cost of on premises devices. But the cloud comes with hidden costs – not only the additional cost of management (handling security, getting your team up to speed, and using tools to configure across hybrid environments), but the vendor-specific costs that can add up and be incredibly difficult to get out of down the road.
When you think about “vendor lock-in,” you might consider the decision to standardize everyone on a Mac or PC across your organization, and the work involved with committing to that kind of hardware vendor (and how difficult it is to change).
But the cloud is a new form of vendor lock-in – you’re stuck with the environment that you choose. It’s not as simple as moving from Amazon RDS to a Google server, once you’ve made your decision, it might be difficult to impossible to change.
Vendors are the same kinds of vendors you’ve encountered for hardware and software – now just in the cloud. They will charge for their services and some of these fees can add up unexpectedly depending on the usage. They also might not play well with all applications and usages.
For example, Google operates on more of a platform tool approach, whereas Amazon AWS tends to build its own proprietary features based on other technologies. Azure will also have its own limitations and offerings, so putting in the research is critical.
Of course, exceptions happen. In some cases, there may also be benefits to sticking to one single vendor. If you use a lot of Windows OS instances, your Windows license costs may be less expensive than with Azure.
Our best word of advice here is to carefully make a decision before you commit to a vendor. You may be committed in more ways than you would like, for longer than you expect, down the road.
When you move to the cloud, your team will likely have to learn an entirely new skillset to manage the network. Even something as consistent as a firewall will operate differently according to different cloud providers.
Migrating to cloud isn’t like driving one model of car, and then getting into a different model of car to start driving. In that case, the blinkers are generally in the same place, the gas and brake pedals are in the same spot – you could feasibly drive any kind of car once you have the skills and experience.
Instead, migrating to the cloud is more like going from driving a car to driving an airplane. Your team will need to adapt to new skills and take time to learn a new mindset in order to succeed.
Puppet can be used to standardize configurations across your IT infrastructure during a cloud migration. That speeds up the migration process and creates repeatability, ensuring you can build everything in the cloud just like you had it on-prem.
The best thing that Puppet can provide during a cloud migration is consistency. You can standardize configurations even when things are moving around during a migration. These configurations and rules that you set make migrations simple, even for a minor lift and shift.
You can rest easy that everything is being managed properly as machines move from one IP address to another or one network ID to another. No matter how things shift, Puppet enforces the rules that you establish before a migration. Staying within compliance, handling access rules, and making sure that you are managing risk and staying secure in the migration to cloud are all possible with Puppet.
Puppet assists in containing and managing the workloads that add to cloud complexity. Workload containment is where Puppet shines. It can significantly reduce the overall migration project time and somewhat reduce risk (and thus, overall cost). With existing cloud skills in place after your migration, Puppet can also automate hybrid cloud resource provisioning.
Why not get a free trial to see how Puppet can help you migrate to the cloud? Puppet offers a trial for its Enterprise capabilities with no expiration date, so you can configure a set number of tasks and see how they perform across different environments.
LET PUPPET SUPPORT YOUR MIGRATION
Principal Solutions Engineer, Puppet by Perforce