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Decoding Cloud Database Migration: Benefits, Challenges, and Best Practices

Embarking on the journey of Cloud database migration that helps enterprises modernize applications and control operational costs.

cloud database migration

As the technology ecosystem rapidly grows, technocrats must stay ahead of the curve to become top-notch digital transformation leaders. For leaders looking to take advantage of this dynamic landscape, Cloud is the key. With Cloud computing, digital pioneers can leverage remote internet-hosted servers to store, organize, and process data, which can be retrieved on demand. It encompasses various utilities like storage, software applications, and computing power.

When leaders shift enterprise computing to the Cloud, the necessity for database migration intensifies. However, this migration initiative comes with inherent challenges and the requirement to plan. Migrating a database to the Cloud can come with more risks and complications than a typical on-premises server to data center transition. The ability to overcome challenges and maximize the Cloud database potential requires leaders to embrace best practices and strategies.

Potential Complexities of Cloud Database Migration

Cloud-based database transition is rapidly becoming a hot topic among business leaders. As per a survey, around 58% of enterprise leaders shifted their workloads into the Cloud, and 39% of startups are working toward Cloud-first execution.

While it may seem that migration is a simple sailing journey, it is not the same for all tech leaders. Since global investment in Cloud computing has risen, enterprises face various migration hindrances despite complete planning. Here are a few potential challenges that leaders should be aware of:

  • Prioritization Concerns - It is one of the most significant phases of Cloud migration. During this stage, project managers identify critical components and services that they need to move first or prioritize to ensure no downtime. Most tech leaders find it hard to align their datasets with the imperative technical drivers. However, such alignment can allow experts to gather data elements and assign a status for each application to prioritize when done right.
  • Slow Upskilling & User Adoption – Another significant challenge is that leaders need to train their employees and customers on the new platform, and this can hold up the Cloud adoption process. Apart from the skill up-gradation, some Cloud skillsets may require more time to master, which might ultimately become a costly endeavor. For instance, Cloud monitoring skills require months of training and the highest shortage of skills among internal staff and organizations.
  • Easy to Go Beyond Expenses - Though the wide range of software and upgrade preferences are benefits of Cloud database migration, they can also make it easy to exceed budget limitations. To remain under control, leaders must embrace spend management mechanisms based on their data needs. It’s also important to re-evaluate needs at steady, scheduled intervals to understand whether the budget management practices need to be attuned.
  • Data Security & Risk Valuation - To alleviate preventable risks like data theft and leaks during Cloud migration, an integrated security policy is essential. It involves implementing compliance and infrastructure-wide security access processes, thereby minimizing sensitive data loss. However, producing such a policy requires knowledge of risk types, authentication techniques, and crucial access points.

5 Best Strategies to Consider During Cloud Database Migration

1. Inter-dependency Mapping

Data-generating applications don’t function in an isolated way. That’s why, leaders should map which applications are reliant on one another so they can all be shifted together. Co-dependent applications won’t work appropriately when migrated distinctly. For instance, when an application extracts data from a particular database, it has to be moved along with that database.

Unsuitable migrated applications might have to be transferred over again, which impacts the whole process and reduces efficiency. To eliminate this, produce an application dependency map so leaders can perceive which applications are interacting with each other and then shift them into groups.

The dependency mapping structure varies based on the existing database services that enterprises use. Here’s the case study of Sematext, a US-based tech agency that benefitted from application mapping. With a mapping framework, they were able to visualize application groups and their connected databases. They were able to move their applications to the “MYSQL” group along with the MYSQL database. Planning application dependencies this way has improved their applications’ productivity by up to 96%.

2. Detailed Timetable Creation

Building a detailed timetable at the start of Cloud migrations will keep leaders on course and realize when they fall behind. The length of the timetable will depend on aspects like the volume of information intended to migrate.

If leaders are planning to move 1 or 2 small data servers to Cloud, it could take less than two weeks. Whereas, large on-premise data servers take much longer time. In the case of Netflix, it took eight years for them to completely move to the Cloud ecosystem.

During timetable creation, tech leaders should set date for:

  • Transferring each set of data
  • When the project should be accomplished
  • When to shut down the old on-premise setup and exclusively use the Cloud

Only the IaaS Cloud migration strategy won’t require the shutdown of the old on-premise system. When leaders have a clear timeline, they don’t need to constantly regulate and push back dates during an issue with the migration. They can address the problem instantly and get back on track as fast as possible.

3. Categorize Cybersecurity Needs

Cloud services are decentralized inherently, which means they’re more protected and there’s no single point that can disrupt and bring down the entire system. However, security needs to be the sole focus of leaders during the migration process.

Before commencing the Cloud database migration, leaders need to rank their data sets in means of security level needed. Transfer low-security information first so that leaders can eliminate security gaps without unveiling sensitive data. Consider whether information needs to be encrypted on both sides of the transfer. Once a data set is moved, leaders need to set up robust Cloud firewalls to safeguard the migrated data.

Tech managers also need to apprehend compliance requirements for information and set security consequently. For instance, healthcare systems and the stakeholders that work with them have to stick with HIPAA compliance needs. HIPAA security necessitates decryption and encryption of sensitive patient data, so leaders would have to incorporate appropriate security processes to remain compliant.

4. Start With Smaller Transition

Planning to migrate small sets of data at a time is highly beneficial rather than trying to move it all at once. Migrating data in small groups gives leaders more opportunities for testing to make sure there are no security gaps.

Start with minor, autonomous applications that don’t possess a lot of dependencies. Once leaders are sure those were transferred effectively, move on to large-sized server groups. After each shift, ensure the applications can effectively function in the Cloud before transferring the next data set. Migrating data in pieces makes sure that if there are concerns, experts only have to recreate small amounts of information rather than entirely start over.

5. Constantly Track Migration Progress

Lastly, the on-premises to Cloud migration strategy should include constant monitoring. After every step in the migration process, check data for issues. Evaluate each application within the new Cloud ecosystem to make sure complete availability, data integrity, retrievability, and security.

When leaders are sure a data set or an application is secure, functional, and easily accessible by users, then they can move to the next set. Consistent monitoring will indicate functionality and migration issues at the beginning, so leaders can pause the migration and resolve the issue before it impacts a larger subset.

Common Technical Strengths of Cloud Migration

  • Ability to Scale: By hosting applications and data centers on the Cloud, business leaders can experience exceptional scalability. In addition, scaling within the Cloud doesn’t necessitate setting up separate physical servers or apparatus. Based on the rising technical demands, experts can quickly purchase more software resources and storage capacity.
  • Cost-effective: Flexible scaling also makes Cloud transition more cost-effective. Leaders can maintain a nominal set of nodes during low-traffic times and scale when required. This way, enterprise resources don’t run at peak volume unless they have high traffic. On average, the on-premise storage maintenance will cost around $30 per TB per month. In contrast, Cloud storage only costs around $18 per TB per month, and this cost can even drop when enterprises purchase additional storage. When tech managers have a fairly balanced workload they can save even better by implementing Reserved Instances using Cloud migration solutions. With these instances, managers can access a specific amount of computing power for a defined period and can save resources based on the contract length.
  • Highly Secure: Another benefit of Cloud database migration is that it tends to be highly secure because of its decentralized nature. Various applications and categories of data are managed under different sections of the Cloud service provider, hence there’s no single point of failure.
  • Accessible Anywhere: Lastly, migrating the database to the Cloud makes it easier to organize and coordinate with end-users and employees across diverse geographic locations. Applications or data can be accessed from any place without having to send requests or files.

Closing Thoughts

Cloud database migration allows a firm to transfer its legacy infrastructure to a Cloud ecosystem. Besides, it is helpful in redefining the digital experience and provides significant benefits to enterprises and their end-users. It is essential to comprehend its complexities, best practices, as well as advantages before moving ahead with Cloud migration. Better understanding makes sure that tech managers can harness complete potential.

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