As businesses continue to seek out more efficient ways to scale their operations, nearly every industry explores hybrid cloud computing for its myriad benefits. But migrating to a cloud-based environment is not an overnight journey. It takes time and careful planning to properly execute any form of digital transformation, especially when adapting infrastructures to support a hybrid cloud model.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Computing
Every organization is different; this also goes for their cloud-based storage and computing needs. While many businesses use third-party public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and AWS, in most cases, distinct private cloud environments are also necessary to secure protected client data and to support legacy equipment and services. Hybrid cloud infrastructures bridge the gap between public and private by making it easier to manage workflows between the two. Hybrid cloud computing is not only a cost-effective solution when combining private and public cloud processes, it is also highly scalable and flexible.
How to Migrate to the Hybrid Cloud
Although you may be eager to reap the benefits of a hybrid cloud infrastructure, it’s important to recognize the critical migration steps in order to streamline the process. Here are five (consecutive) steps to follow when migrating your business applications and services.
1. Complete an Internal Assessment
Mapping out your business goals and objectives is an important first step to planning your hybrid cloud migration. Cloud migration isn’t always a start-stop process. In some cases, businesses take months or even years to transition all of their processes, so it’s vital that your migration priorities are in alignment with the company’s short- and long-term goals. Integral to your assessment should be the establishment of a sustainable budget to identify high-priority transitions that are critical to your day-to-day operations.
2. Segment Application Workloads
The versatility of a hybrid cloud setup helps businesses remain agile when transitioning to either public or private cloud settings. Leverage this flexibility by reducing the use of on-premises systems and balancing your workloads between both environments. Depending on each application’s use case it may make sense to favor one type of migration over another (or sometimes, not migrate at all). Legacy applications, for example, may not require a transition to a cloud environment and may be more cost-effective to keep on-premises. Security, performance, and business priority should always be your focus when segmenting each application workload.
3. Plan and Execute a Migration Schedule
Once you’ve prioritized and short-listed those databases and applications in need of migration, it’s time to develop a more detailed migration plan. Your plan should highlight each application or service needing transition, their associated budgets, all tools needed to support the migration, and a timeline for completing the project. Depending on the size of your organization, the plan should also assign team members to help manage each step of the process and troubleshoot any issues as they arise.
4. Test Your Systems
After a successful deployment, it’s vital to test any newly–introduced processes, especially those that are mission-critical. When moving between cloud environments—or transitioning from on-prem—there’s always the possibility that errors occurred during the migration, or that your business networks still need to be properly formatted. It’s critical to spend ample time benchmarking performance pre- and post-migration to ensure applications are running smoothly. Regular testing during and after the migration ensures your business stays operational and minimizes lead times when addressing issues.
5. Develop a Backup Strategy
Anytime you modify your infrastructure or migrate data, applications, and services, a top priority should be to carefully develop a backup strategy. The same applies to a hybrid cloud environment. Though top cloud vendors provide their own data backup and recovery solutions, it’s important to identify your individual business needs and note how your data is distributed between public, private, and on-premises storage solutions. Updating (or creating) your disaster recovery plan to support the new hybrid environment should also be high on the priority list once you’ve completed your migration.
Hybrid cloud environments provide a cost-effective way for organizations to enhance their organizational agility while maintaining better business transparency and improved security. Following these steps when planning and executing your hybrid cloud migration will ensure a seamless transition between your private and public cloud settings while significantly improving operational efficiencies.
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