What to consider when migrating to the cloud

This year has seen an unprecedented number of businesses migrate to the cloud – either transitioning a greater volume of data than before or migrating for the first time. With remote working here to stay in one form or another, it’s clear that cloud technology will continue to play an important role in businesses’ data management as we enter 2021 and beyond.

Transitioning to the cloud can be complex – especially when there are so many options out there – so what should businesses consider when embarking on their migration journey?

There are myriad benefits in storing all or part of your data on the cloud; it enables companies to rapidly react to market opportunities and scale their data storage up and down dependent on their needs. However, it’s important to be aware of the risks and pitfalls to consider when making the move.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Cloud migration is a major business project and should be treated as such. We recommend assigning a project team dedicated to ensuring the transition is made successfully. This team should be responsible for the restructuring of the infrastructure that facilitates the migration to the cloud. Any IT changes can present challenges to an organization – with employees struggling to adapt or understand how the changes affect them. A dedicated team that can communicate clearly and openly with the organization can really help ensure the migration is completed smoothly and avoid undue stress.

What do you want from the cloud?

Cloud technology of course offers many advantages – including the ability for businesses to easily scale, flex, and not be restricted by geographical location. However, it’s important that you understand how migrating to the cloud will benefit your business and use this to inform your decision. One company’s priorities will differ greatly to another’s so whether you’re looking to migrate to ease the pressure of growing or fluctuating traffic, or you’re trying to connect remote teams more seamlessly, it’s important to be clear on the benefits and objectives.

Consider opting for private cloud

Depending on your business needs, it is worth considering whether private cloud is the best option for you. Private cloud offers greater security and total infrastructure control. Migrating to a private cloud essentially virtualizes a company’s network storage and technology and is managed in-house – meaning that additional tools and services can be easily integrated and customized. It is for this reason that more businesses are choosing to work with a software-defined datacenter (SDDC), like OVHcloud’s Hosted Private Cloud Premier – meaning they can lose the hardware but maintain control by keeping the data management in-house.

And what about cost?

How much does it cost to migrate to the cloud?

When it comes to calculating the cost of migrating to the cloud, there is far more to consider than just the recurring cloud costs vs. the investment in your own hardware. It’s important to weigh up the long- term benefits vs. the cost of the investment, and consider the running costs of using, maintaining and keeping your chosen solution up to date over 5-10 years.

Ensure you consider the following three core categories:

  • Capital expenditure (CapEx), i.e. the initial purchase of the hard and software vs. investing in a new datacenter service
  • Operating costs (OpEx) – how to keep your hard and software running including the salaries of IT personnel and maintenance costs
  • Operating costs (OpEx) – how to keep your hard and software running including the salaries of IT personnel and maintenance costs

Your dedicated project team should fully weigh up the costs of each option to ensure you make a logical choice, based on the data.

It can be hard to compare the services from provider to provider and it’s important to factor in any add-ons that may not be included in the initial quote.

In order to ensure you don’t get locked into a service that doesn’t work best for you, it’s important to:

  • Have a clear picture of your cloud requirements up front, so that you can clearly communicate this to providers and more easily compare tariffs and benefits
  • Make sure you have an exit strategy. Some providers can make it difficult for you to leave or transition your data from the cloud back to your own hardware – often incurring significant costs. Avoid the “vendor lock-in effect” by being clear on your exit strategy from the outset and having transparency with your cloud provider

Now, how to migrate?

There are three main approaches to migrating to the cloud – and you can opt for one or a combination.

Firstly, make sure your data is cleaned to save unnecessary fees when it’s stored in the cloud. Ensure the project team communicates the process clearly to all relevant stakeholders, and a detailed timeline is in place.

The three core approaches are as follows. Remember, your provider can help you work out what is best for your organization:

1. Rehosting: Hot, cold or mass migration

Also known as “lift-and-shift”, this means that all data is transferred over unchanged meaning that the code doesn’t need to be edited at all.

Cold migration means that the data is inaccessible during the transfer, whereas a hot migration means that applications and workloads remain available. As you can probably guess, mass migration is when all data is transferred at once.

2. Replatforming

This approach centers around adapting workloads to the new platform and ensuring they are optimized for scalability and increased performance, while maintaining the basic structure of the data applications.

3. Refactoring

This model involves the migrated data to be revised and rewritten during the migration. While it enables you to use “cloud-native” tools and structures, it is undoubtedly the lengthiest and most resource-intensive option.


Cloud migration can be many things – daunting, time consuming, complex and confusing. However, the benefits are plentiful. By migrating to the cloud you are investing in your business’ future, and embracing technology to enable the growth of your company to keep up with the changing global environment.

Preparation is, of course key, and you should not be afraid to call in technical experts for their advice, shop around, and quiz providers on their offerings.

If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that it’s impossible to know what’s around the next corner. Cloud migration can facilitate greater remote collaboration, reduce your reliance on one geographic location, consolidate and streamline costs, and provide much-needed data security.

Hiren Parekh, VP Northern Europe, OVHcloud

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