Data is doubling in size every two years, and it’s estimated that by 2020 the data we create and copy annually will reach a staggering 44 zettabytes—that’s 44 trillion gigabytes. All this data is putting a strain on the on-premise servers and legacy systems owned by organizations, resulting in slow processing, unreliable storage, outdated security, limited scalability, and more. Now, these organizations are taking to the cloud—but they’re going about it in a number of ways.
In part one of our cloud migration series, we discussed the lift and shift method of cloud migration; essentially a forklift approach. This involves replicating data and moving it to the cloud in one fell swoop. Other organizations prefer a replatforming approach or a hybrid cloud strategy. While these two approaches are different, we’re tackling them together as they do share common elements.
The Replatforming Approach to Cloud
While lift and shift simply moves assets to the cloud unchanged, replatforming involves some amount of “up-versioning” following the lifting portion. Workloads, tasks, and applications are tweaked prior to shifting, which allows them to take advantage of the new cloud infrastructure. For this reason, some in the IT world have begun to refer to replatforming as the “lift, tweak, and shift” approach. Organizations may choose to replatform some workloads, while lifting and shifting others. Ultimately, however, the goal is to get all assets into the cloud. That’s where replatforming differs from the hybrid approach.
While replatforming is a slower, more expensive, and more labor-intensive path for migration than lift and shift, it pays off for many organizations in the long-run. Some of the benefits they enjoy include: reliable storage and security, economies of scale, anytime and anywhere access to data, real-time analytics, scalability, and even new cloud technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The Hybrid Approach to Cloud
Organizations taking a hybrid approach to cloud migration like to think that they are getting the best of everything; a portion of their data remains in their own servers on-premise, their less sensitive data is lifted and shifted into a compatible public cloud, and their sensitive or mission-critical data is moved to a virtual private cloud (VPC). Unlike with replatforming, these organizations don’t intend to cutover to the cloud overnight, although in time many do, which leads those in IT to view the hybrid cloud as a mere catalyst for going full-cloud.
Part of the appeal of the hybrid approach lies in cost savings due to economies of scale. The portion of the workload an organization chooses to run in a public cloud or VPC, benefits from sharing the cost of electric, HVAC, maintenance, software updates, backups, and more with thousands or millions of other users. In addition, many large organizations already possess a number of on-premise servers, and don’t want to throw them away to watch their balance sheet take a giant hit all at once. Instead, they may choose to take advantage of certain services, such as Disaster Recovery as a Service.
While replatforming and the hybrid approach offer numerous benefits, as with anything in IT, there are always potential drawbacks. Ultimately, it’s about weighing the pros and cons of each, and doing what’s right for the organization. Be sure to check out part one of this series on lift and shift, and look for part three on re-architecturing to come soon. Want to talk about your migration strategy now? Reach out to the IT experts at DSM, Florida’s predictable cloud provider, to discuss your options.