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May 28, 2024

Modernization or Migration: Which Approach is Right for Your Business?

Moving to the cloud marks a significant milestone for many organizations. When an established business transitions from a data center to the cloud, it often involves decisions at the C-suite and board level. The success of this transition relies on the team’s ability to plan effectively, understand the intricacies, and execute in alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives. 

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, Gartner predicts that by 2025, nearly two-thirds (65.9%) of spending on application software will go towards cloud technologies, up from 57.7% in 2022.  

However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this transition. Balancing between traditional data centers and cloud solutions can enhance scalability, foster innovation, and achieve cost savings. 

To maximize the return on investment (ROI) from a cloud transformation, your business must grasp the concepts of cloud migration and application modernization. These processes are essential for ensuring that applications operate efficiently within the cloud environment. 

Understanding Migration & Modernization 

Migration involves moving applications and data from one environment to another, often from on-premises systems to cloud-based platforms. This process typically falls into two main categories: 

  • On-premises to Cloud Migration: This involves shifting operations from local servers and data centers to cloud providers. Businesses often choose this type of migration to benefit from the cloud’s scalability, flexibility, and cost savings.  
  • Cloud-to-cloud Migration: This process involves switching between cloud providers to gain additional value in terms of innovation, functionality, cost, and partnerships. 

While migration offers significant advantages, it requires careful planning and execution to avoid potential pitfalls. 

Here are some of the key benefits of migration: 

  • Scalability and Flexibility: Cloud platforms offer unparalleled scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to quickly adapt to changing demands. 
  • Cost Savings: Migrating to the cloud can reduce capital expenditures (CapEx) by converting them into operational expenditures (OpEx). According to a study by McKinsey, organizations that migrate to the cloud can achieve cost savings of up to 30%. Amazon Web Services (AWS) claims that customers can save up to 70% by using cloud services instead of traditional infrastructure. 
  • Enhanced Security and Compliance: Cloud providers invest heavily in security and compliance, offering robust solutions to protect sensitive data. 
  • Access to Advanced Technologies: Cloud platforms provide access to cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics

Common migration strategies include Lift and Shift, which involves moving applications without altering the code or architecture; Replatforming, which makes minimal changes to optimize applications for the new environment; Repurchasing, which involves replacing existing applications with new ones, often SaaS solutions; and Refactoring/Re-architecting, which entails redesigning applications to fully leverage the capabilities of the new platform. 

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When it comes to modernization, the approach transforms existing applications, data, and infrastructure to leverage cloud computing benefits better. A unified, flexible, scalable, and cost-effective data platform is crucial for managing and analyzing data. Fully managed database services can enhance performance and scalability while reducing operational costs. Cloud-first data lakes and warehouses enable modern analytics capabilities, providing better insights into customer data. 

Businesses usually consider cloud modernization when aiming for digital transformation, leveraging advanced cloud services, supporting continuous improvement, and unlocking emerging technologies like generative AI. 

You might consider cloud modernization if you want to: 

  • Rethink and rebuild applications using cloud-native architectures like serverless data platforms, microservices, and containerization. 
  • Leverage managed services such as serverless databases, data lakes, machine learning platforms, analytics tools, and cloud operations to automate tasks, unlock new functionalities, and accelerate time-to-market. 
  • Embrace DevOps principles and CI/CD practices to continuously iterate and optimize your cloud environments. 
  • Utilize scalable data management, computing power, and pre-built AI services to develop and deploy generative AI use cases. 
  • Opt for managed offerings over self-managed databases to reduce costs, improve security and compliance, and enhance reliability and productivity. 
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Critical Factors to Consider Before Migration 

Migration decisions are critical factors for businesses. Deciding whether to migrate or modernize – and what to migrate – can be challenging and overwhelming. 

Having said that, on-premises databases are often difficult and costly to scale. Migrating and modernizing these databases to cloud-based services can improve scalability for handling large data columns. It can also ensure better performance through on-demand computing resources. Cloud solutions offer better governance and security options. Additionally, reducing operational costs can significantly impact a company. 

Developing and deploying new solutions can benefit from cloud-native CI/CD processes. A centralized cloud environment for multiple teams makes it easier to overcome data silos and limitations that hinder cross-team collaboration. This drives higher productivity and reduces errors during development and deployment cycles. 

So, how do you choose the best approach for your organization’s data workloads?  

We have identified six key factors that can be beneficial for organizations: 

1. Company Strategy 

The overall company strategy is crucial in shaping migration plans. It’s essential to consider how elements such as mergers, acquisitions, geographic expansion, and vendor lock-in affect your cloud requirements before finalizing migration decisions. 

2. Cost Considerations 

While owning and maintaining data centers involves substantial capital expenses, cloud hosting can incur unexpected costs if provisioning and resource usage are not carefully managed. Pay special attention to data egress fees, especially when transferring large volumes of data across clouds. 

3. Security and Compliance 

Security models and compliance requirements play a significant role in determining migration strategies. Regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI can greatly influence how different workloads are migrated and managed. 

4. Performance and Reliability 

Cloud migration comes with expectations for minimal downtime and high reliability. Hence, it’s important to understand the latency, scalability, and downtime requirements for the services you plan to migrate to.  

While most cloud providers offer availability SLAs of 99.9%, 99.99%, or even 99.999%, scheduled downtimes and maintenance windows must be factored in your migration planning. 

5. Features and Functionality 

As your company grows, your cloud needs may change. Over time, you might require additional features, services, or scalability to support business expansion or to stay competitive.  

It is important to evaluate the solutions and new technologies offered by cloud services when making migration decisions. 

6. Support and Customer Service 

Migrations can be complex and involve a steep learning curve. Ensuring there is ample support and guidance available during the migration process can help ensure a smooth and successful transition. 

Best Practices for Strategizing Your Modernization or Migration Initiative 

Enterprise IT has witnessed migrations for decades, making most organizations familiar with processes such as mainframe to x86 server transitions, SQL workload migrations to NoSQL, and the adoption of frameworks like Hadoop.  

When planning your own project, it’s beneficial to structure your approach around four key categories: 

  • Evaluating Opportunities: Begin by identifying and quantifying the opportunity and business case for migration or modernization. Drive stakeholder alignment through activities like due diligence and discovery, which offer insights into the IT landscape and help map out various cloud-based options. 
  • Establishing Foundations: Set a solid foundation for your cloud infrastructure, a critical element in any successful migration or modernization project. Determine and prioritize which workloads are suitable for migration and create a plan for their migration. 
  • Migrating and Validating: Execution, validation, and retiring old systems are essential migration steps. Start with workloads best suited for the cloud and plan subsequent migrations based on business value, technical priority, and cloud readiness. Analyzing and evaluating each step allows for fine-tuning of future migrations. 
  • Optimizing and Operating: After migration, focus on operating and optimizing the workloads in the new environment. Adopt cloud-based operations to monitor and understand workload performance, which is crucial for managing cloud costs and navigating complex cloud environments effectively. 
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A well-executed migration process creates a positive feedback loop, where lessons learned and experience gained from migrating workloads combine to refine the business case, strengthen the foundation, speed up subsequent migrations, and simplify workload optimization over time. 

Based on insights from the article, we highly recommend considering a modernization approach for your data workloads. Serverless technology offers compelling advantages that can significantly decrease your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and enhance the Return on Investment (ROI) of modernization endeavors. These advantages include cost reductions, improved security, enhanced performance and scalability, access to the latest technologies, and greater agility and innovation.  

By opting for modernization, you can swiftly realize these substantial benefits, similar to how one of our clients has done

The Bottom Line 

Ultimately, while cloud migration is simpler, cloud modernization delivers better long-term results. If you have the necessary time and resources for cloud modernization, it is likely to be a worthwhile endeavor. However, if your primary goal is to swiftly transition your application to the cloud, cloud migration is the quickest option. 

Regardless of your choice on legacy workloads, seeking advice from technical experts is crucial. They can evaluate your current infrastructure and recommend the most suitable plan for maximizing growth. 

Working with a partner like TechBlocks will make everything easier no matter what application or platform you’re moving.  

We’ll handle the modernization process for you, keeping downtime to a minimum and ensuring high productivity. Our team will guide you through a seamless transition to cloud-native architectures, ensuring optimal performance, scalability, and cost-efficiency.  

Additionally, our large-scale cloud migration and modernization capabilities offer potential cost savings of up to 30%, along with 100% compliance with all current regulatory standards.  

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Get in touch with one of our solution experts for your cloud journey and unlock the full potential of cloud technology for your business.