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Successful Cloud Data Migration: A 7-Step Guide


June 30, 2023

The current macroeconomic climate has brought about significant changes in the way businesses operate.

As companies navigate through these challenging times, cloud leaders have become increasingly reliant on cloud-based services and products, with a staggering 41.4% reporting increased usage, according to the Q4 2022 Google Cloud Brand Pulse Survey. The report further states that this rise in demand has led to a pressing need for businesses to migrate from legacy enterprise software to cloud-based tools, with 33.4% of cloud leaders already planning to transition. Additionally, 32.8% of companies are migrating their on-premises workloads to the cloud.

This trend underscores the significance of transferring data to the cloud as companies endeavor to maintain their competitive edge and adjust to evolving market conditions. Nonetheless, migrating data to the cloud can be intimidating and intricate, emphasizing the need to tackle it with compassion and comprehension of the obstacles. Let us explore these challenges and discover effective strategies to surmount them.

What is Cloud Data Migration?

Cloud data migration involves transferring data storage and workloads from on-premises data warehouses to cloud-based infrastructure. It offers numerous benefits, such as agility, scalability, cost optimization, and rapid innovation. As organizations generate vast amounts of data, efficient storage and accessibility play a vital role in business success.

Choosing the right data migration solution is crucial and should be considered early in planning. Factors like data volume, migration time, workload types, and security requirements influence the choice. There are two main types of data migration solutions: online migration, which involves data movement over the internet or through a private or dedicated WAN connection, and offline migration, which physically transfers data using a storage device.

Challenges of Data Migration in the Cloud

Cloud migration significantly benefits organizations seeking to increase service availability and scalability while reducing costs. However, it also presents various challenges that must be carefully managed to ensure a successful transition to the cloud. This technical overview will examine the top challenges organizations face when migrating to the cloud and the strategies to overcome them.

Data Volume

  • Transferring substantial data quantities to the cloud can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
  • Meticulous planning is necessary to minimize disruptions and maintain data integrity throughout the migration.

Complex Data Formats and Structures

  • Legacy systems may employ diverse data formats, incompatible schemas, and inconsistent data quality.
  • Data transformation, cleansing, restructuring, and standardization are indispensable for a smooth migration process.

Data Security and Compliance

  • It is crucial to evaluate cloud service providers’ security measures and compliance frameworks.
  • Safeguarding sensitive data during transit and storage requires encryption, access controls, and adherence to regulatory requirements.

Bandwidth Limitations and Network Connectivity

  • Inadequate or unstable bandwidth can significantly impact the migration endeavor.
  • Assessing network infrastructure and utilizing data compression or incremental backups can optimize data transfer.

Application Compatibility

  • Some applications may not seamlessly function in the cloud environment.
  • Modifying or customizing applications may be necessary, extending the migration timeline and increasing costs.

Effective Project Management and Stakeholder Coordination

  • A comprehensive migration plan with well-defined roles, responsibilities, and communication channels is essential.
  • Ensuring alignment among different teams and departments is critical for a successful migration.

By proactively addressing these challenges, organizations can navigate the cloud data migration process more effectively. This approach ensures a successful transition while preserving data integrity, security, and operational efficiency.

Steps for a Successful Cloud Data Migration

Cloud computing has become a necessary strategic methodology for enterprises to maintain and gain a competitive advantage. However, cloud data migrations can be complex, particularly when a company’s IT infrastructure comprises myriad vintages of systems designed internally or with third-party developers and internal and external service providers. Here is a carefully considered seven-step plan crucial for a successful cloud data migration.

1. Create a Data Migration Plan

A data migration plan helps mitigate the risks associated with data loss and security breaches and ensures that the organization’s expectations are clear from the beginning. It is advisable to connect the on-premises and cloud databases with a bi-directional syncing mechanism and only delete the database once users have access to the cloud and have tested this new environment. Alternatively, an on-premises database with a one-way synchronization to a cloud-based database can only allow users to access the on-premises version during the migration process. Utilizing the services of a cloud-migration service provider can be helpful if an organization needs to gain the skill set to perform this process in-house.

2. Understand the Data Before Beginning the Process

It is crucial to understand the data’s scope and context before beginning the data migration process. An incomplete understanding of data can lead to code errors, extensive data remodeling, and extra work from transferring obsolete or duplicate data to the new cloud environment. Therefore, understanding the data allows for the elimination of unnecessary additions, making the migration task more straightforward, streamlined, and valuable in the long run.

3. Choose the Level of Cloud Integration

Cloud integration happens at various levels. Organizations can explore the range of cloud migration methods before selecting the one that best meets their needs. The two most common data integration methods are shallow integration and deep integration. Shallow integration methods, most commonly known as lift and shift, involve simply copying all data and applications from an on-premises architecture and pasting it into the cloud platform as they are. On the other hand, deep integration requires decoupling resources from their original operating system and making necessary adjustments before integrating them into the cloud. Deep integration may be initially more expensive, but it leads to cloud-optimized resources, saving on maintenance costs in the long run.

4. Staff Training

Cloud application management and cloud data centers operate differently from local and routine virtualized resources. Thus, training staff members involved in the cloud data migration process is crucial. An organization can outsource staff experienced with cloud platforms or partner with IT service providers who can support & manage the end-to-end migration process. Others prefer to retrain and upskill existing staff to manage this process in-house. Cloud education should start before cloud migration begins to ensure a successful transition.

5. Assess the Migration Tools Available

Choosing the right tools for cloud data migration is critical to a successful transition. Various cloud migration tools, including those that can manage specific types of data migrations, such as structured, unstructured, or semi-structured data, are available. It is essential to assess the tools available and select the most suitable for the organization’s needs.

6. Prioritize Security and Compliance

Security and compliance should be top priorities during the cloud data migration process. Organizations should evaluate their cloud service provider’s security measures and ensure their compliance requirements are met. It’s essential to understand the security risks and threats involved in cloud migration and take the necessary steps to protect data and applications. Encryption is one of the most critical components of cloud security, ensuring that sensitive data is protected while in transit and at rest.

7. Monitor and Optimize the Cloud Environment

The responsibilities of an organization don’t stop once data is migrated to the cloud. Continuous monitoring of the cloud environment is necessary to ensure it remains optimized and any issues are quickly resolved. Enterprises should also optimize the cloud environment by automating backups and disaster recovery and scaling processes. This helps reduce operational costs and ensures companies get the most out of their cloud investment.

Benefits of Data Migration to the Cloud

Data migration to the cloud offers many benefits to organizations of all sizes. Enterprises receive several prominent advantages when they shift to the cloud, including:

  • Scalability: Flexibly scale resources to meet business needs
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Reduce costs and improve budgets
  • Integration: Seamlessly integrate with other systems
  • Disaster Recovery: Quick and easy recovery solutions
  • Flexibility: Adjust bandwidth and storage requirements
  • Mobility: Access data and applications on the go
  • Security: Ensure data protection and privacy
  • Less Maintenance: Let cloud providers manage the infrastructure
  • Competitiveness: Stay ahead of the curve with enterprise-class technology
  • Environment-Friendly: Embrace sustainable solutions with less impact

How can Hexaware help?

Our cloud transformation product suite, Amaze®, an innovative homegrown end-to-end platform, modernizes cloud and data for enterprises. This breakthrough technology has the unique ability to streamline the transformation of legacy systems, on-premises infrastructure, and dated applications into cloud-ready architecture, set to be deployed across various cloud environments.

Complementing this, our data product line provides comprehensive, automated solutions for end-to-end data migration, encompassing data, pipelines, and analytics. It also offers robust and optimized data warehouse services. These features are instrumental in transitioning on-premises data warehouse ecosystems to the cloud. Furthermore, our infrastructure product line provides a systematic and efficient lift, tweak, and shift migration methodology. This approach allows for reliable infrastructure migration in a manner that ensures repeatable success.

Our approach at Hexaware is built on high levels of automation throughout the process, from discovery, assessment, and conversion to data migration. This results in significant savings in time and effort. A factory-driven, defined migration and strong strategic partnerships with different hyperscalers lend versatility to our platform-led solutions, making them cloud-agnostic and customizable to client needs.

At Hexaware, our cloud services span the entire cloud value chain, empowering forward-thinking organizations to unlock value and enhance customer experiences. Our approach prioritizes your business requirements and leverages automation, AI, and analytics to develop industry-specific solutions for seamless cloud migration. Discover scalable solutions that harness the potential of cloud computing through an outcome-driven approach guided by automation. We accompany you throughout the migration and cloud management journey, helping your enterprise unlock its full potential and achieve scalable value.

About the Author

Karmega Chandran

Karmega Chandran

Karmega Chandran works with Hexaware’s amaze® R&D Engineering function as a team leader. He is responsible for product marketing activities, like creation of go-to-market assets, and demonstrates multi-tasking in managing various marketing deliverables. He is actively involved with SMEs to plan & execute contents for communicating Hexaware’s amaze® product suite services to the external world for better brand recognition.

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