Cloud migration is the process of transferring databases, applications, and IT processes into the cloud, or from one cloud to another.
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Cloud migration is the process of moving digital business operations into the cloud. Cloud migration is sort of like a physical move, except it involves moving data, applications, and IT processes from some data centers to other data centers, instead of packing up and moving physical goods. Much like a move from a smaller office to a larger one, cloud migration requires quite a lot of preparation and advance work, but usually it ends up being worth the effort, resulting in cost savings and greater flexibility.
Most often, "cloud migration" describes the move from on-premises or legacy infrastructure to the cloud. However, the term can also apply to a migration from one cloud to another cloud.
In computing, hardware or software is considered "legacy" if it is outdated but still in use. Legacy products and processes are usually not as efficient or secure as more up-to-date solutions. Businesses stuck running legacy systems are in danger of falling behind their competitors; they also face an increased risk of data breaches.
Legacy software or hardware may become unreliable, may run slowly, or may no longer be supported by the original vendor. Windows XP, for instance, is a legacy operating system: released in 2001, its capabilities have been exceeded by later releases of Windows, and Microsoft no longer supports the operating system by releasing patches or updates for it.
Infrastructure includes servers, networking equipment, applications, databases, and any other business-critical software or hardware. Legacy infrastructure, such as aging servers or physical firewall appliances, may slow down a company's business processes. It may also add more security risks as original vendors drop support for their products and stop releasing security patches.
Legacy infrastructure is typically hosted on-premises, meaning it is physically located in buildings or on property where the organization operates. For instance, many businesses host an on-premises data center in the same building where their employees work.
Companies that rely on on-premises legacy infrastructure are unable to experience the benefits of cloud computing. Because of this, most enterprises today have made at least a partial migration to the cloud.
Every business has different needs and will therefore follow a slightly different process for cloud migrations. Cloud providers can help businesses set up their migration process. Most cloud migrations will include these basic steps:
Some businesses turn off their on-premises infrastructure at the end of these steps, while others may keep legacy systems in place as backup or as part of a hybrid cloud deployment.
Gartner, a highly influential information technology research company, describes 5 options for organizations migrating to the cloud. These cloud migration strategies are commonly known as the "5 R's":
In addition to cloud migration strategy, businesses need to decide how their cloud deployment will look once the migration is complete.
A hybrid cloud mixes two or more types of environments, combining public clouds, private clouds, or on-premises legacy data centers. For a hybrid cloud deployment to work well, integration must be tight across all deployed clouds and data centers – just as team members need especially tight communication if they're spread out across different offices.
A multicloud deployment combines two or more public clouds. (Public clouds are shared by more than one customer.) Multicloud can serve several purposes: redundancy/backup, cost savings, or leveraging features from different cloud providers, for instance.
Deploying a single cloud from just one cloud vendor is not always feasible for a business, but it is an option. Cloud providers offer both public clouds and private clouds – the difference being that private clouds are not shared with any other business.
Cloudflare offers a single control plane for the performance and security products necessary to make a move to the cloud successful – such as DNS, load balancing, the Cloudflare WAF, and others. These products are all integrated and can all be managed from a single dashboard (see a cloud migration case study). Cloudflare integrates easily with any type of cloud deployment – public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, or multicloud.
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