You’ve migrated your on-premises apps and data to the cloud. Your migration to the cloud is complete, isn’t it?
Probably not. Although there is a tendency to think of migrating to the cloud as a one-time journey that you take and never have to do again, most companies are actually in the midst of a constant migration to the cloud. , even if they don’t know it.
What is cloud migration?
The basic definition of cloud migration is that it is the process of moving applications and/or data into a cloud computing environment. Migrating to the cloud starts with deciding what type of cloud service or services to use, then modifying your current workload to accommodate them. Finally, you move the workload to the cloud and deploy it to production.
Typically, the implication is that cloud migration involves moving workloads from an on-premises data center to some type of cloud. As we will see below, however, this is not the only type of cloud migration.
Cloud migrations come in many forms
Today, more than 90% of companies use the cloud. This means that they have already completed the cloud migration process that moved their workloads to the cloud in the first place.
But that doesn’t mean they aren’t migrating to the cloud just yet. There are many types of cloud migration, and taking the first step into the cloud is just one. Others include the following:
Migration to a new cloud service
You may have started your cloud journey using only a few types of cloud services, like VM instances and object storage. But to get more out of the cloud, you may decide to move some of your workloads to other cloud services, such as serverless functions or databases. Or maybe you choose to migrate monolithic applications to containers and deploy them in a cloud-based Kubernetes environment.
Doing these types of moves requires a migration process. You usually need to make changes to the nature of your workload and configure the new cloud service to support it. It takes about as much effort as moving your workload to the cloud in the first place.
Migrate to multicloud
Deciding to expand your cloud footprint from a single cloud to multiple clouds is another form of cloud migration. Even if you use the same types of services in each of your clouds, you will need to update your configurations and learn new tools in order to use an additional cloud.
Migrate to hybrid cloud
Along the same lines, cloud migration happens when you implement a hybrid cloud environment, which combines public cloud resources with private infrastructure. Hybrid cloud migrations may not require much workload reconfiguration if you are using a service (like AWS Outposts or Azure Stack) that allows you to manage private infrastructure through the same tools you would use in the public cloud . But you will still need to provision the private infrastructure, which is no small feat.
Sometimes you may decide that the cloud just isn’t working for you – at least not for all of your workloads – and you need to migrate to an on-premises environment.
When you do this, you are undertaking a cloud repatriation. Although moving back to the cloud means moving applications or data out of the cloud rather than into it, it is still considered a form of cloud migration. This requires the same level of planning, workload modification, and actual migration as integrating your workloads into the cloud to begin with.
Why Cloud Migration Never Ends
Most organizations will perform some or all of the types of cloud migrations described above. In addition to taking the first step into the cloud, they can expand into multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architectures, or even bring some of their workloads back on-premises.
Additionally, in some cases, a company may end up performing the same type of cloud migration multiple times. For example, they could undertake a multi-cloud migration to add a second cloud to their architecture, then perform another multi-cloud migration by adding a third cloud downstream.
Due to these factors, companies should never imagine that they have gone beyond migrating to the cloud. Instead, they should be prepared to plan and implement cloud migrations of all types on a recurring basis. Unless you’ve given up on the cloud entirely and forever, chances are there will be more cloud migrations in your future.
About the AuthorChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst specializing in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers, and more. He also teaches at a major university in the Albany, New York area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution”, was published by MIT Press.
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