Moving your business from your office servers to the cloud is quite similar to moving your home to a new neighborhood. You wouldn’t do it without the extensive planning and preparation required to ensure it’s the right long-term move. You might compare prices, figure out how well connected the region is, and determine whether it’s a safe area. Most of all, you will want to hear some informed opinions before taking this step.

For cloud migration, we recommend you listen to Teodor-Octavian Frunză, Levi9’s.Net software developer, who has more than 4 years of experience in cloud development. His most precious insights? Research thoroughly, prepare meticulously and don’t be afraid to experiment.


What is cloud migration?

At its core, cloud migration involves transitioning IT infrastructure and applications from on-premises data centers you own and control to renting already-scaled resources from a public cloud provider over the internet. There are three primary cloud service models to choose from:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): The cloud provider manages the physical hardware like servers, storage, and networking, while you control and configure the operating systems, applications, security, and storage. It’s like renting the walls and roof when moving to a new home.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): The provider handles everything up through the runtime environments, databases, and middleware, while you just focus on the applications and code. This is akin to renting a furnished apartment ready to move into.
  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): The provider manages the entire software application, which users access over the internet. You simply use the software on a subscription basis. Think of this as renting a single room that’s fully furnished and decorated.

In addition to the public cloud, there are also private cloud options run on internal data centers, as well as hybrid models combining public and private.

Why migrate to the cloud?

Just like moving your home, choosing a new host for all your data and workflows can lead to savings, more flexibility, and being more welcoming to guests. But it’s a big move, and you must properly consider it first.

“The cloud can drastically reduce infrastructure costs compared to buying and maintaining your own hardware,” Teodor says. “It also enables much greater agility to scale capacity up or down as needed.” These advantages drive most companies to embrace some form of cloud transition.

The abundance of cloud offerings allows organizations to offload IT responsibilities at varying levels, freeing up resources to focus on core business goals.

Here are some of the main advantages:

  • Reduced infrastructure costs by eliminating expensive on-premises hardware, facilities, and maintenance
  • Increased business agility and ability to scale to meet demands. Cloud capacity can be adjusted dynamically.
  • Avoid end-of-life systems, as cloud providers manage upgrades behind the scenes.
  • Improved availability and resilience. The cloud leverages distributed resources across multiple data centers.
  • Enhanced customer experience capabilities as needs rapidly change.

Planning: see the neighborhood first

As Levi9’s cloud expert emphasizes, “Planning is key.” Migrating without careful preparation can lead to unexpected costs, technical debt, and other issues. Teodor outlines three essential planning phases:

  • Migration readiness assessment: Analyze on-prem environment, business needs, costs/ROI, and candidate cloud models.
  • Migration planning: Select cloud type, providers, design target architecture, address unknowns, and build a detailed roadmap.
  • Implementation: Follow the roadmap, migrating systems, and data in phases. Adapt as needed, but jumping straight into implementation without thorough planning is risky.

Just like warming up to the idea of choosing a new home on both economical and lifestyle factors, your cloud assessment should cover both business and technical considerations.

Skipping or cutting corners at any phase can derail projects, Teodor-Octavian Frunză warns. “Proper planning is absolutely critical,” he says. “You can do some patchwork, but avoid relying on it. Because of time constraints, you might end up with a system that is not secure enough or does not have the proper architecture.”

Metrics: prepare for a lifestyle change

After you’ve moved into a new home, you can’t take the same road to groceries anymore. You need to find new ways to go shopping, to work, and to measure distances. Similarly, cloud migration involves fundamental shifts in mindset and metrics.

“Working in the cloud involves distributed, event-based systems, which implies changing the way the data flows through the system and how it is monitored,” explains Teodor.

Some key considerations include:

  • Adopting asynchronous and parallel programming to leverage cloud-native architectures.
  • Focus on new critical metrics like fault tolerance and data consistency rather than just response times.
  • Take advantage of auto-scaling; make sure to be cost-optimized.
  • Rely heavily on extensive logging, monitoring, and analytics. Traceability is critical.

Security: don’t rely on the neighborhood watch

While the cloud offers many security benefits, risks must also be addressed. Much like a gated neighborhood, a cloud provider has better out-of-the-box security, but it can still be breached. With GDPR and its feisty fines in mind, Levi9’s cloud migration enthusiast advises security must be baked into cloud application design and configured correctly for each cloud service model.

“When we are working on premises, we have the data in our ecosystem, which means that we have full control over who accesses it and from where. However, in a cloud environment, the data stays somewhere else on a server, which is not in your ecosystem”, warns Teodor. However, the responsibility of protecting sensitive and personal data falls on you.

Some steps to keep data secure include:

  • Implement least privilege access strictly, to only give access to the only required permissions at a given time for a given use.
  • Encrypt sensitive data in transit and at rest.
  • Follow regulatory compliance requirements like GDPR to avoid heavy fines for violations.

Walk around before jumping on the Cloud

Would you move to a country, city, or area you’ve never visited before? Based on his extensive experience in cloud migration, Teodor-Octavian Frunză advises you to embrace the same attitude when it comes to choosing a cloud provider. “Always research various services and experiments. Don’t stop at the first option.”

Each cloud product has technical limitations and tradeoffs. Look for:

  • Quotas such as timeouts, request sizes, and maximum concurrent instances
  • Tradeoffs between pay-as-you-go versus dedicated instances in terms of cost savings versus performance.
  • Variations in metrics related to specific programming languages.

In the end, a new house must fit and serve you above all considerations. For the cloud, take Teodor’s advice: “Choose what best fits the business case”.