Moving Workloads To The Cloud: A Complete Guide

Sep 08 2022

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Understanding How to Move Your Workloads to the Cloud

When you’re migrating to the cloud, there are certain things you must ensure before initiating the migration. Cloud migration is crucial and daunting, allowing your business to achieve real-time, updated performance and efficiency. Some benefits of cloud migration include increased agility and flexibility, the ability to innovate faster, the reduced total cost of ownership, faster time to delivery, and better management of increased customer expectations.

Although cloud workload migration comes with several positive advantages, it seems an intimidating task. When migrating to the cloud, conduct detailed research on types of cloud services, cloud migration costs, security needs, and the permanent availability of your services.

This blog provides a detailed guide to all these fundamental cloud workload elements you must consider while cloud migration. Let’s start. 

Moving to the Cloud- Key Considerations

If you are assigned the cloud migration tasks, where will you start? You must understand the technical terms like workload, cloud engineering, security needs, cloud hosts, and migration costs.

Below are some considerations you must work on before initiating the cloud migration. 

Which Cloud Service Best Meets Your Needs?

When you’re migrating your workloads to a cloud, the first task you must sort out is deciding on a cloud service. A workload is a hefty data application, a website, a service, a database, or some specific file load that’s generally a business asset. All business workloads fall under the SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS service categories. Below you’ll get the information on the types of cloud services that are available for your enterprise needs for workload migration:

Private Cloud

Private clouds are those in which businesses privately own cloud computing resources. The data centers can either be hosted by third parties or, in some cases, installed on-premises too. However, the resources are delivered through a confidential network. The services hosted through private clouds are only accessible for businesses’ personal use.

Businesses that deal in finance, government operations, and other sensitive and critical industries prefer to choose private clouds for cloud migration. All SaaS and IaaS businesses should choose such clouds for cloud workload migration due to its highly customizable features and strong control over the cloud workloads. 

Public Cloud

A public cloud is managed and handled by the host, and businesses deliver their services through the internet through these service providers. The services you provide are shared with the businesses digitally, sometimes referred to as cloud tenants.

Businesses that deal in storage services, development and testing environments, office-based online apps, and web email platforms prefer to use public clouds. All these businesses fall in the PaaS and SaaS categories. Hence, public clouds are the best options for PaaS and SaaS businesses for cloud migration due to their higher reliability and technical abilities. Cloud migration experts do not recommend public clouds for IaaS businesses due to infrastructure’s unwanted vulnerability and exposure to the public. Companies dealing with sensitive data should also look for other cloud service options for cloud migration.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud combines a private cloud infrastructure with a public cloud. Businesses prefer these clouds for cloud migration due to their low-latency issues, regulatory requirements, and on-premises tech investment advantages. These hybrid clouds also accept edge workloads pretty well, allowing businesses to operate offline due to reduced latency and less online cloud communication.

SaaS and IT businesses prefer hybrid clouds whose services must be delivered through secure networks. However, IaaS businesses are generally reluctant to choose hybrid clouds since the issue of public cloud deployments arises that limits the complete control over the infrastructure. 

How Should You Do an Infrastructure Assessment for Cloud Workloads?

Infrastructure assessment before cloud migration is to assess your workloads based on performance and capacity reports to see if they can migrate to the cloud or not. The assessment is made beforehand by evaluating the assets and cloud workloads to make the cloud migration easier.

Cloud migration experts advise assessing the workload migration by evaluating these questions below:

  • What are your business objectives, and how do you perceive them after the cloud migration?
  • What are your goals behind cloud migration?
  • How do you perceive ROI after cloud migration?
  • Is your infrastructure aging?
  • Are you seeking resilience, agility, and work flexibility?
  • What applications, services, data, and other workloads are you looking to transfer to the cloud?
  • Evaluate the organization’s internal available resources.

By assessing these questions, you should be able to judge whether or not your services and infrastructure are capable of shifting to the cloud. These questions also allow you to assess the benefits of cloud migration. Hence, before initiating the migration plan, you must do a current infrastructure assessment to see the capability of your system and the resources you have. 

How Would you Assess the Cost of Cloud Migration and Operation?

No doubt, the cloud hosts charge for their services for cloud migration. However, there are some other cloud engineering factors that you must consider for cloud workload migration. 

You can gain insights into the cost estimation for cloud workload migration through a cloud workload analysis. 

First, to estimate the costs, start by understanding the organization’s technicalities and analyzing the cloud workloads for their features. Second, work on milestones for estimating the costs. 

For example, pre-migration costs, migration costs, and post-migration costs. To start the estimation, classify the cloud workloads you expect to migrate. After you perform the classification of workloads, determine the requirements for migrations. Make sure to map all the exceptions and any cloud workload-specific challenges and constraints. 

Pre-Migration Costs

After doing the cloud engineering by evaluating the infrastructure architecture and exploring the technical constraints, estimate the cost for the service host you’ve to pay for accessing the cloud services. Make a budget for the team’s finance to help with cloud migration. Estimating capital expenditures (CapEx) and operational expenditures (OpEx) is a good practice. Generally, to estimate the final pre-migration costs, calculate the costs of data management, workload handling, consultations with cloud migration experts, and up-gradation of databases.

Migration Costs

After you have estimated the pre-migration expenditures, analyze the factors that will affect cloud migration. Note the labor cost, system support, real-time data synchronization, and real-time servicing. Keep in mind that you must take into account the cloud host’s service fee.

Post-Migration Costs

To estimate post-migration, consider the factors like maintenance, monthly or annual subscription fees, administration fees, staff training, updating the workloads, and the evolution of the business after cloud migration.

After you’re done estimating the costs based on your infrastructure’s model, count some miscellaneous expenses based on the size of your organization and customer base. Lastly, try evaluating ROI and TCO for your services after you’ll start operating regularly post-cloud migration. This way, you’ll end up with an approximate estimation of the total cloud migration costs and expected profits.

How do you Ensure Service Continuity and Disaster Recovery During and after the Cloud Workload Move?

Before embarking on cloud migration, you must work on disaster recovery and business continuity in case of any emergencies during and after the cloud migration. One of the great benefits of cloud migration is the resilience you get through cloud services; this enables you to recover your business in case of any disaster that affects your services. 

However, you must draft the complete set of policies and strategies to adapt for business continuity. One best way to secure your business in any disaster is to use various geographic regions to run your business systems. So, even after the data in one vendor is destroyed and unavailable, you can continue leveraging the data from other vendors in different locations. 

Some best models to ensure business continuity are warm standbys, backup and restoration, pilot light, and multi-site. All these business continuity models have different recovery times objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPOs).  

RTO is the maximum time a business service can be unavailable. Hence, in the meantime, the recovery procedures should be implemented to ensure service continuity. However, RPO is the maximum time for which data gets lost, and in the meantime, recovery procedures should be adapted to ensure service continuity after the RPO time. 

After calculating these times, choose the service continuity models like standby, pilot light, multi-site and backup. All these models offer various strategies and practices to secure and back up your data so you can ensure service continuity in case of any disaster during and after the cloud migration

What Kind of Security Measures should be taken in Cloud Migration?

Security is the most crucial concern for businesses when migrating to the cloud. Undoubtedly, reputable cloud services offer solid security frameworks and notable practices to secure the data; however, ensuring the security and safety of your company’s cloud workload assets is still challenging.

To secure your cloud workloads, there are specific security measures you should take in cloud migration:

  • Install Security Solutions. When initiating cloud migration, make sure first to configure the safety practices. For example, installation of anti-malware software, next-generation firewall (NGFW), cloud access security broker (CASB), security information and event management (SIEM) on all the digital resources that have access to cloud workloads
  • Ensure Visibility. Gain access to all usage corners through a dashboard that provides detailed information and insights into the complete cloud network
  • Provide Lease Access. When providing access to internal/external employees, make sure only to give access to their needs
  • End-to-end Encryption Using SSL. Ensure to encrypt all the data to be transferred, so it unlocks only when it reaches the resource it is meant to get. Using Secure Sockets Layers (SSL certificates), encrypt the servers to secure the sensitive information
  •  Implement File Integrity Monitoring (FIM). File integrity monitoring allows you to detect any unwanted and unauthorized changes to data you’ve not expected in the meantime to secure it
  • Secure APIs. Take proper measures to secure real-time data being transferred through application programming interfaces to avoid any unexpected data breaches
  • Secure Baseline. After doing a pre-hand thorough gap analysis on the effect of security paradigms on the cloud environment, secure your organization’s baseline

Final Words

In the end, ensure that the cloud service you’re using for cloud migration for workloads complies with legal cybersecurity rules and regulations. Although all cloud services have security compliance certificates like HIPAAPCI-DSS, and GDPR, you must still encrypt your sensitive data from your end to ensure a safe cloud migration.

Are you considering migrating to the cloud? Icreon, a cloud engineering service provider, will help you with workload placement and optimization to make your migration journey seamless and efficient. Explore Icreon’s Product Engineering Services.