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Cloud migration and 6R strategy

The perception of the cloud in our region is continuously shifting. It is no longer a fashion “buzzword” or a popular emerging trend. It has become a key tool - indispensable for operations of all types of companies ranging from small and medium business to international corporations. If done right, the suitable cloud adoption strategy ensures scalability of resources, reliability of infrastructure, cost-effective operations and long-term competitiveness of the company. 

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When a decision is made to move resources to a public cloud (AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure), many organizations start migrating without devoting sufficient time and attention to their strategy. Successful cloud adoption and implementation requires rigorous end-to-end cloud migration planning. Each application and dataset may have different requirements and considerations, and may require a different approach to cloud migration. The organization must have a clear business case for each workload it migrates to the cloud.

Key factors to consider

COST MANAGEMENT - In the long run, the cost of cloud migration sees returns of increased efficiency, lower admin costs, and streamlined processes. But getting there can feel like an (expensive) uphill battle. There’s the immediate cost to make the migration itself in addition to the long-term financial risks of low or slow adoption and training after the migration has occurred. Top costs of migration include:  

  • Rewriting application architecture for the cloud 
  • Investing in people and tools needed to migrate successfully 
  • Training users on the new systems 
  • Performance issues including latency, interoperability, dependencies on non-cloud apps, and downtime
  • Bandwidth costs 

Despite this intimidating list, a successful (and financially sensible) cloud migration is possible.

Solution: Focus on planning. Invest in a solid change management plan. Carefully examine your business objectives and requirements, the current state of your IT operations, and the cloud options available. Major public cloud vendors provide you with incentive programs that help you analyze, assess and plan the migration of your workloads without a need for large investments on your part. Another way to manage your financial investment is to migrate to the cloud incrementally. Batch adoption has the advantage of breaking down what can be a financially overwhelming project into more manageable pieces over time.  

ADOPTION RESISTANCE - when it comes to migration success, it is often people who pose the biggest challenge. People tend to resist change. And a cloud migration brings a lot of change and disruption - often with significantly new systems, processes, and even leadership.  

Solution: If you want to drive successful adoption at the bottom, you have to start at the top. Your executive leadership is one of the primary factors influencing employee engagement and adoption, so you need strong executive buy-in right from the start. Make sure your leadership understands the business needs and objectives for the migration and have them communicate the business case to the organization. When people understand the reason behind a change, they are more likely to get behind it. 

SKILL SHORTAGE - despite the many benefits of cloud computing, the complexity of migrating stops many organizations in their tracks. One of the primary obstacles is finding people who have the skills to manage an effective migration.  As more organizations set their sights on the cloud, competition for migration experts has intensified. Unfortunately, the demand for cloud experts exceeds the supply.

Solution: The crucial first step is a choice of your migration partner who brings the critical technological know-how. On the other hand, detailed knowledge of the IT environment remains on the customer’s side. It is therefore crucial to bring both teams together so the migration can benefit from the shared experience. The following areas are essential for selecting a suitable partner:

  • what experience does a partner have with re-architecture/transformation programs similar to yours
  • what help can a partner offer in the analysis of complex dependencies, with inflexible architecture and outdated technologies
  • what migration automation tools (including third-party products) a partner support
  • what level of support is it able to provide during migration

Effective migration to the cloud is not an easy task and the partner should have sufficient experience to manage this complex process, including clearly defined SLAs and a detailed plan that includes individual milestones and migration goals. A shortage of professionals with the appropriate skill set may be the trickiest challenge to cloud adoption today. If you don’t have the resources (or luck) to hire cloud migration talent, you’ll need to find other solutions. The best long-term plan is to cultivate cloud skills internally.

Cloud migration is a complex process that must be adapted to the needs of a given organization. Before you decide to move your workload to the cloud, you must answer a critical question: What benefits should the transformation bring to you?

  • a better time-to-market ability?
  • optimization of resource management?
  • high availability or advanced security?

Whatever the answer, it is necessary to evaluate the operational properties of the existing IT infrastructure, determine the utilization of internal resources with respect to running workloads and determine key metrics (eg. CPU and RAM usage, response time or user experience), which can be used to evaluate migrated workloads in terms of resources, performance and user comfort. These metrics are used to monitor the progress of the migration and determine when the entire process is successfully completed. The main goal of the migration strategy is the preparation of a roadmap that takes into account the set priorities and divides the migration into sub-phases - analysis, design, implementation and optimization of the operation.

6R strategy

The next stage is an assessment of the application portfolio. Not every application belongs to the cloud. Cost and security play an important role in decision making. There is a need for a detailed understanding of the business and IT implications of application-specific migration. When evaluating which applications belong in the cloud, it is advisable to use the 6R strategy:

  • Rehosting - is also known as Lift & shift
  • Replatforming - the application retains its architecture but is substantially cloud-optimized during the migration
  • Repurchasing - with the transition to the cloud, there will be a transition to another product
  • Re-architecting - design, change and rewriting of the entire application so that it is compatible with the new environment
  • Retire - remove unused applications
  • Retain - workload migration is postponed to a more convenient time

The level of integration of individual applications can be extreme in some cases. This brings a high degree of complexity to the whole situation. In extreme cases, it is necessary to come up with a strategy for migrating entire families of applications (clusters) that takes into account the tight integration dependencies.


Once the workloads are successfully evaluated, you need to decide on how to move it. The whole process must take into account data integrity and business continuity. In the case of moving a large number of applications, it is advisable to divide the whole process into several migration waves. In this case, a detailed analysis, preparation of the target design, migration and optimization of application operation in logical groups takes place in order to effectively utilize the migration team.  

Despite all efforts, migration presents a number of challenges that an organization has to deal with. One of the obvious areas is security. Especially in situations when we take into account sensitive client data, business critical data or GDPR compliance issues. But the perception of the cloud as an environment with an increased risk of security threats and underdeveloped security tools is long gone. Cloud security today allows for the highest security standard and achieves the strictest certifications and compliances across most industries.

How you migrate to the cloud depends in part on the complexity and architecture of your environment. In the case of workloads that have several non-production and production environments, it is recommended to migrate gradually from the least critical environment and to evaluate the migration process on an ongoing basis. For this, it is appropriate to prepare a detailed migration checklist, which helps prevent possible complications so that the path to the cloud is as smooth as possible.

Jan Čechura
Cloud Solution Architect