Azure File Storage

The Complete Guide to Cloud Transformation

What is Cloud Transformation?

Cloud transformation processes help organizations move their information to cloud environments. This process can be scaled according to business needs. For example, you can migrate only certain applications and software programs, move specific desktops and data, or shift the entire infrastructure to the cloud.

Cloud transformation provides many benefits, including more efficient data sharing and storage, accelerated time to market (TTM), improved organizational scalability and flexibility. Additionally, cloud transformation can help unify network security.

This article is part of our series on Azure NetApp Files.

In this article, you will learn:

Stages of Cloud Transformation

Cloud transformation is typically performed in three stages—application transformation, network transformation, and security transformation.

Application Transformation

The purpose of application transformation is to ensure existing applications can be moved to the new cloud environment. There are several approaches to achieving this goal, each depends on the amount of work required to introduce compatibility between the migrated application and its new environment.

Lift and shift
In some cases, the process of migrating the application does not require a lot of work. These migrations are called “lift and shift” because all you need to do is take the application and move it to the cloud, no changes required.

Partial refactoring
Not all applications can be simply lifted from one environment to another. In these cases, you might need to modify some components of the application stack, such as the front end, to ensure compatibility with the new cloud host.

Refactoring (also known as re-architecting)
Sometimes, partial refactoring is not enough to ensure compatibility, or the organization’s goal is to migrate all processes to the cloud. This process requires refactoring everything—from front end, to middleware, and data storage and processing.

Related content: read our guide to batch processing

Network Transformation

The purpose of network transformation is to move networking components to the cloud. Traditional hub-and-spoke networks were (and still are) hosted in on-premise data centers.

To access traditional networks, users need to connect to the corporate network, which is confined to a perimeter-based firewall. To establish this connection, users need the help of a VPN, which is connected to a VPN concentrator located on-premise. Today, this process (which takes time) is considered obsolete.

Cloud computing, on the other hand, provides much faster and simpler connectivity, which usually translates into a better user experience. With cloud computing, users gain access to resources by using an Internet connection, rather than a VPN.

Software-defined networking (SDN) technology enables you to create and leverage dynamic and programmatically-efficient network configurations. Using SDN models, organizations can remotely deploy infrastructure components, like virtual desktops, using Internet connectivity. Additionally, SDN can help scalable and complex hybrid and multi-cloud networks, which can orchestrate both on-premise and cloud resources.

Security Transformation

The purpose of security transformation is to ensure that cloud migration processes account for security concerns before, during and after the migration period. Different environments often require different approaches to security. The security policies that worked for a traditional on-premise environment typically don’t translate when workloads shift to the cloud.

To ensure the security of data during migration, there are certain practices that should be implemented. Data encryption for data at rest and data in transit, for example. You should also backup your data and set up recovery strategies in place, to ensure business continuity during disasters, if any occur.

In addition to securing your data, you need to set up network security policies. You can, for example, establish Zero-Trust networking strategies. Since you are migrating to the cloud, you should also establish dynamic and continuous processes for threat monitoring and mitigation.

Tips for a Successful Cloud Transformation Strategy

Cloud transformation is a complex operation, but there are certain practices that can help you ensure a successful implementation.

Develop a Robust Governance Strategy

The cloud enables you to dynamically provision infrastructure workloads and services. To ensure provisioning is maintained efficiently and in a cost effective manner, you can introduce comprehensive strategies that define how, when, where, and what is provisioned. You should also specify access rules.

Here are some principles that can help guide you through the process of creating your own enterprise cloud governance strategy:

  • Group and organize—subscriptions using logical hierarchies. For example, you can organize according to domains or functions.
  • Define and apply—standards to your resources. For example, prevent the creation of unneeded resources.
  • Audit and remediate—resources, preferably using automated processes.
  • Enforce policies—for all resources, using organizational standards and compliance policies.
  • Continuous monitoring—of all resources. You should also audit resource policies.

Build as Enterprise Cloud Landing Zone

A cloud landing zone serves as the foundation of the cloud adoption environment. The landing zone enables you to use code to provision host workloads in public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid environments. An enterprise cloud landing zone should continuously evolve, taking into account business needs and changing demands. Your landing zone should account for all your foundational needs, including operations, governance, security, and access management.

Related content: read our guide to SMB environment

Reference Patterns

Reference patterns enable you to create collections of data, which you can leverage when you migrate to the cloud. Typically this works by designing target reference patterns for the cloud. You should ensure the patterns are based on existing applications and workloads, such as web services, analytics, CMS, and enterprise integration. When creating target reference patterns, take into account non-functional requirements of your applications, like availability, scalability, cost, security, disaster recovery, portability, and performance.

Multi-Cloud Strategy

A multi-cloud strategy enables organizations to leverage cloud resources of more than one vendor. This provides organizations with extended control and ownership over their resources and data. multi-cloud strategies also eliminate vendor lock-in and reduce risks during vendor outages.

Cloud Transformation with NetApp Azure NetApp Files

Azure NetApp Files is a Microsoft Azure file storage service built on NetApp technology, giving you the file capabilities in Azure even your core business applications require.

Get enterprise-grade data management and storage to Azure so you can manage your workloads and applications with ease, and move all of your file-based applications to the cloud.

Azure NetApp Files solves availability and performance challenges for enterprises that want to move mission-critical applications to the cloud, including workloads like HPC, SAP, Linux, Oracle and SQL Server workloads, Windows Virtual Desktop, and more.

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