Migrating From One Cloud To Another Cloud Platform: How Challenging Is It?

cloud migration

We know many companies are looking to accelerate cloud migration during the COVID-19 pandemic as employees work from home. Companies are looking at making use of cloud services to provide the tools, services and infrastructure that’s needed to empower remote work for their employees. To leverage cloud services, it often needs cloud migration, from either on-prem to cloud, or from one cloud provider to another.

Because of this, cloud-managed service providers have been inundated with requests for migration requests. Migrations often serve as the first point for the cloud journey. While migration may sound straightforward, it can be very complex. 

According to Mark Kirstein, Vice President, Products at BitTitan, the cloud-to-cloud migration market has been growing fast. “We continue to witness growth in double digits. We also continue to see the movement between Office 365 and G Suite happening in both directions, with Office 365 outpacing G Suite by getting users at a rate of 2:1.”

“Migrate mailboxes first to make sure enterprise communication can be kept intact. From there, determine which teams, groups or other workloads need to be migrated as well,” he suggests. MSPs should be aware of the peak hour schedule to make sure they’re operating a migration project during a window that helps fast execution and efficiency for a smooth migration.

What Are The Challenges With Cloud To Cloud Migration?

The challenge comes as every cloud platform is based on its unique, customised architecture, and most of it is not compatible enough to migrate its applications to other clouds. Meaning, if you have created an app for Azure, you have to run it on the Microsoft platform, and later on, if you decide to shift it to Google Cloud, then there can be a lot of software that needs to be written for the new cloud platform.

Let’s say you have your systems running on a popular cloud platform like Azure which is considered the go-to platform due to its cost benefits. Now, if you decided to switch to Google Cloud Suite for your remote working staff all of a sudden, it would be a challenging affair. Cloud to cloud migration is equally tricky as on-prem to cloud migration.

A multi-cloud strategy is complex and can impact the business process, and thus a business needs specialised help. Managing multi-cloud SLAs could be difficult as each cloud provider has its unique conditions on usage. There is also a general lack of standardisation between cloud providers, which can be a headache. 

With all cloud migrations, it’s difficult to find people with the right know-how and skillset to streamline the migration. Here, the right automation tools can be valuable. For example, migrations – cloud and on-premises can be fully automated with SaaS tools, thus getting rid of manual methods to prevent downtime and minimise errors. One example is MigrationWiz, which is a SaaS solution for enterprise application migrations across a wide range of cloud platforms. There are many other solutions in the market as well. 

What Can Be Done To Overcome The Challenges?

Adapting to the new cloud environment can be an issue and will need customisations and the reconfiguration of applications. What does an organisation do when it already has its data on a cloud but wants to migrate it to another cloud provider?  

First of all, you may have to contact you cloud migrations services provider and then it would need a thorough assessment of your needs. You will have to identify what is the safest way to migrate workloads, without causing any risk to your business operations, or data. Plus, IT admins need to get acclimatised on the new cloud management and maintenance tools.

Determining the project size and timeline for the migration is important here. Then, it is crucial to pinpoint the system components that need to be migrated. Similarly, it is vital to recognise potential challenges as things can go wrong. Before beginning the migration, have all your backups in place. 

There are also a bunch of SaaS applications out there in the market that can support cloud to cloud migration, without causing any threat to enterprise applications or data therein. Migrating applications, data and servers between multiple cloud providers need meticulous planning and method. You have to accommodate cost, business risk and migration partners before you do that.  

Businesses can also look into implementing a multi-cloud management platform that works across both cloud provider networks. By having a multi-cloud manager, businesses can efficiently move workloads and data for migration easily. 

For example, with Google Anthos, you can auto-migrate virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises, or other clouds, directly into containers in GKE smoothly. Users can target workloads from virtual machines or physical servers running on-premises on Google compute engine or on other clouds.

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Vishal Chawla
Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.

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