Moving data to the cloud, also commonly known as cloud migration, is a process that involves moving a company’s data residing in the personal or physical servers to a cloud computing environment. Cloud migration also involves moving workloads, IT resources, and applications to the cloud. For larger enterprises, we have witnessed how migrating to the cloud securely stores a large amount of data, allowing for seamless data integration for their business operations. Likewise, smaller businesses relocating their data to the cloud has immense benefits, such as a secure way to maintain a data backup and improve data accessibility for their business, employees, and customers worldwide.
Today, enterprises worldwide are rapidly migrating to cloud platforms. The critical question is why migrate to the cloud, and how do you migrate? Is there any significant advantage over conventional data storage methods?
Let’s dive deep and explore further.
Indeed, cloud technology has been a game changer for most businesses, as organizations are keen on the benefits of the cloud platform;. But the critical consideration is moving small businesses to the cloud cost-effectively and quickly.
There are organizations with very few IT resources, and moving such companies to the cloud is relatively more straightforward as very few on-premise components require shifting. However, moving small or medium-sized businesses to the cloud is a challenge. The reason is that these organizations have legacy IT solutions and infrastructures, and migrating them to the cloud is difficult, time-consuming, and costly. However, this relocation process can be straightforward if cloud migration strategies are well laid out, which makes the entire process more precise and cost-effective for the organization. In addition, the organizations willing to migrate to the cloud have ample support from software vendors, infrastructure providers, and even managed service providers (MSPs) that allow businesses to be helped by professionals to offload the entire process of shifting to the cloud for a fee.
While that may seem simple, specific considerations must be evaluated before cloud migration. For instance, companies may entirely shift to the cloud or have a hybrid approach that eases the workload on the on-premise infrastructure by having specific resources on the cloud, so it’s essential to consider the critical questions before making the switch to the cloud.
At first, companies must assess the end-user requirements and understand how moving to the cloud can help meet them. Then, based on the assessment, companies can strike a balance by moving entirely or part of their server-side architecture to the cloud and ensuring on-site components have cloud compatibility for more efficiency.
As small businesses have essential server functions, it is crucial to plan about virtualizing their backend. If small companies have applications that don’t require much storage or servers with lesser workloads, they could be kept on-site. Thus, prioritizing offers greater flexibility and helps achieve hybrid cloud environments that can benefit companies by dividing the workloads leading to higher productivity
Once the basic requirements are evaluated, pricing is the next important aspect of the cloud migration procedure. This helps narrow down the right cloud service provider for an organization’s requirements. The best part of cloud services is that you can easily upgrade should a need arise in the future.
Scalability is the focal point for most businesses today. However, some critical factors to consider are how much growth and data are generated from the traffic, which is anticipated to determine how the server in the cloud should be set up. Additionally, organizations may prefer to expand their server space by virtualizing some of the smaller servers at a later stage.
Now that some of the primary goals are set for the cloud migration, it is critical to investigate how to ensure security for the data on the cloud. Service providers offer various security measures, but companies must evaluate how they manage sensitive data. For example, companies can opt to have less sensitive information on the cloud while keeping highly sensitive information on-site to maximize the hybrid cloud environment setup and maintain more security and control over their data.
Considering that the data landscape is evolving rapidly, we know that data is generated from various applications and stored across on-premise and cloud platforms. As such, gaining insights may pose challenges. This area is addressed with the help of data virtualization to gain insights cost-effectively.
Data virtualization is a process that helps achieve real-time insights from different sources and systems without replicating source data in an additional repository. Data virtualization is the centralized layer that allows one to perform logical functions virtually, from accessing data to managing the data generated from disparate systems in multiple formats across locations.
This centralized data layer enables the unification of heterogeneous data, thus creating a data catalog to search, discover and access data and identify their relationships to gain insights in real-time to both the applications and the business owners and users. It is a practical approach to retrieving data and plays a key role in maintaining optimal security and enabling governance.
With data virtualization, organizations have overcome the challenges of holistic data while aiming for real-time insights. Unlike contemporary approaches such as ETL solutions, which necessitate data replication, data virtualization keeps the data in the source systems, allowing faster data retrieval in real-time and quicker queries. Data virtualization has been gaining traction in the past several years. Gartner Market Guide for Data Virtualization report reveals that through 2022, about 60% of organizations are likely to implement data virtualization as a critical component of their data integration architectures, and data integration tools are immensely sought to provide better flexibility and agility in data integration and is a vital component of the data management strategies. Moreover, data virtualization offers immense benefits from simplifying data management by breaking down data siloes and allowing multiple queries to data management and governance. Additionally, due to faster availability of data in real-time improves collaboration, reducing data migration costs by eliminating data duplication requirements and providing centralized access to data repositories for adequate control
While data migration provides many benefits for enterprises, there are challenges mainly associated with data synchronization. When organizations move to the cloud, the biggest issue is integrating data that resides both on the cloud and on-premises. Furthermore, it is more challenging when some data resides with partner organizations outside the concerned enterprise. Thus organizations have started implementing cloud data synchronization processes when moving data to the cloud. This enables synchronizing and mapping data between disparate sources and applications to ensure data consistency in the systems.
However, the same approach applies to the enterprise’s new and existing data. Synchronizing cloud data ensure accuracy, consistency, security, and compliance and improving the end-user experience. Today, data synchronization tools maintain consistency between different databases by automatically copying the changes between source databases and the targeted databases.
Likewise, modern data synchronization tools offer automation in replicating end-to-end changes, allowing better configuration, control, and monitoring when data is uploaded to the cloud. Given the importance of data synchronization, data architects in organizations can create and modify different data synchronization, mapping data between the sources and targets, and viewing the log activities of various synchronizations. Indeed, the adoption of data synchronization grows, as it is rightly considered the future of data with increased accessibility and is the key to attaining trusted data within the enterprise and reducing any data conflicts and errors in decision-making.
Businesses of all sizes are continuously relying on the cloud, but it is the small businesses that have witnessed an immediate impact. Before the emergence of cloud technology, small businesses require significant investment in setting up their on-premise IT infrastructure and in-house professionals resulting in an additional burden on them. Some of the most essential benefits of migrating to the cloud are:
Organizations have the opportunity to shift entirely to the cloud, which means the expense of maintaining on-premise computing resources is reduced significantly. This approach is not only cost-effective but saves a lot of time and reduces the efforts and costs incurred to maintain hardware and software upgrades over time.
Recently, several advances have been witnessed in the field of cloud computing. However, a critical factor that has evolved alongside these advancements is security. Nowadays, cloud service providers implement standard security measures and authentications for data, access control, and encryption that bolster the cloud computing environment for their clients
One of the key advantages of moving to the cloud is the ease of accommodating bandwidth and storage demands. If the business is on the rise, organizations can simply increase their subscription and scale as per the requirements without the need to for investing in any additional physical infrastructure.
Cloud services provide companies to improve the accessibility aspects of their data. With cloud migration, data can be accessed from smartphones or other computing devices. Not only is it beneficial for the customers, but various team members can take advantage of the availability of data and improve their collaborative efforts and business outcomes.
Cloud platforms offer better visibility and control of the data as organizations can select to partially share specific data while keeping complete control over the customers’ sensitive data. Additionally, various options exist for deciding on user access and control while maintaining complete transparency among teams to streamline their work as each member is aware of their responsibilities.
Organizations can prevent losses from disasters or damages leading to data loss by using cloud services. In the event of natural disasters or system failures, organizations do not have to worry about device and data recovery as the cloud provides instant backup and recovery solutions in emergencies and helps minimize the losses associated with data recovery
Now that you know the goals and understand the critical factors for your cloud migration strategies, you will need to investigate the cloud providers according to your criteria. In fact, there is no shortage of cloud solutions and providers; unfortunately, there are also vendors that do not live up to your expectations. In such cases, it is best advised to conduct thorough research before identifying the right cloud solutions for your organization.
With that said, let’s explore a case study that can help provide more insights.
A well-known US-based financial services company that provides reinvestment fund solutions with products and services that increase capital flow for historically underinvested communities required a unified analytics solution that could act as a one-stop platform for delivering actionable insights for historical data. Additionally, the company requires predictive analytics solutions integrated into its platform, developed per its long-term strategy and goals.
Considering the business requirements, this company necessitates designing a data platform for reporting, including analytical solutions. Likewise, keeping up with their needs requires streamlining 15 years of historical data ( structured, semi-structured, and unstructured) to be available for reporting. Another critical aspect of their requirements is developing over 500 existing reports using Power BI that can allow us to measure current performance and business metrics.
At Indium Software, we have streamlined and centralized the structured, unstructured, and semi-structured data (including logs, files, and media) using Azure Synapse Analytics Pipeline to Azure Data Lake. From the Azure Synapse pipeline, copy data activity was implemented to stage the data copied from relational databases and semi-structured and non-structured data format into the landing zone.
Spark tools are leveraged to clean and transform datasets from the landing zone to ensure clean data is available for analytics. Meanwhile, a dimensional data model is developed to present data in a standard and intuitive framework that allows for high and optimal performance access. The solutions were extended further by utilizing the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model to build data assets and achieve operational efficiency that drives analytics and KPIs. Finally, data visualization and report generation are offered with the help of Power BI for seamless integration with Azure Synapse.
With our solutions, the financial service company achieved 2x faster migration of data sources from on-premise to Azure data lake. Consequently, it helped in achieving stability and solving their security concerns. In addition, 30% of cost savings were reported due to the availability of the right choice of tools to handle large volumes of data. These solutions further simplified their business operations as refined and highly accurate data from the past 15 years were available at their disposal per their business needs, with highly interactive features such as dashboards for making the best business decisions.
Modern businesses require swift approaches to achieve data decisions in real time. While moving data to the cloud is only one aspect of migration, the critical factor is achieving data integration in real-time. Data is required continuously to create instant digital experiences for customers, resulting in minimizing customer churn. Indium provides a modern, new-age, real-time data integration platform that enables reliable data integration across the private and public cloud in real-time. With this state-of-the-art data integration solution, organizations can be assured of monitoring changes to data streams.
Indium’s Striim is a unified data integration and streaming platform that connects to clouds, data, and applications with high speed across multiple environments and helps achieve real-time analytics to provide a superior digital experience to its customers. Enterprises can leverage an intelligent data pipeline with the Striim data integration platform, enabling continuous data streaming between multiple data sources and targets. From achieving real-time data ingestion to monitoring data delivery validation to increase visibility, and enriching the processing of correlating and mapping data to gain superior data insights, it is now possible with our solution. Whether you are looking for better real-time analytics to personalize experince of the customers, or simply an option for robust solutions capable of transitioning your operations into a modern distributed architecture and achieving an enhanced agile data environment, we are here for you.
This is the time to make your journey to the cloud platform, and we want to equip you with the right solutions, services, and tools to capture unique opportunities and gain a competitive edge. So, if you are still wondering about your choice, contact us today and let our professionals do the heavy lifting so that you can focus solely on your business while we ease your transition to the cloud.
By Uma Raj
By Uma Raj
By Abishek Balakumar
Sangeetha Govardhan is AVP- Cloud Services at Indium Software.