If You're Having a Hard Time Migrating to the Cloud, You're Doing It Wrong

If You're Having a Hard Time Migrating to the Cloud, You're Doing It Wrong

Cloud migration is a strategic imperative for businesses of all sizes. However, many organizations struggle to successfully migrate their applications and data to the cloud. Part of the reason for this struggle is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the cloud is. Too many believe that it is a physical location – you sign up for a public cloud provider and like magic all your software becomes cloud-native. The result? They find themselves locked into inappropriate infrastructures and stuck with sky-high bills.

In reality, the cloud should be viewed not as a location, but as a set of processes and procedures for how you want your technology to work. This operating model consists of guiding principles that empower businesses to build and operate simple, standards-compliant, automatable, portable data tools and services. The cloud operating model is open and standards-based, and at first, it may be difficult for enterprise technologists to step outside the age-old paradigm of being sold expensive, locked-down, restrictive ecosystems that only partially meet their needs.

It should not be that hard and the benefits are immense. When you change your mindset, you open multiple paths forward creating valuable optionality for your company.

Redefining the Cloud: An Operating Model

The key to a successful cloud migration is to design systems that can be deployed anywhere - any public clouds, but also private clouds, bare-mental or on edge. It’s been said that if your entire infrastructure can’t be deployed with a single Kubernetes YAML multiple times a day in different locations you haven’t truly migrated to the cloud. 

Relying on proprietary services, hardware, or software dependencies is counterproductive as it limits flexibility and control. The key to a successful cloud migration is demanding portable data solutions that unlock the full potential of the cloud through enhanced flexibility and adaptability.

The Role of Tools in Successful Cloud Migration

Your choice of tools can make or break your cloud migration. It's not an overstatement to say that this decision is a determining factor in your project's success. Luckily, with this updated view of the cloud as a set of principles, it becomes easier to make these critical decisions – if only through the power of elimination. When tools and platforms are held to the standard of a successful cloud operating model, the field dramatically narrows with only a few able to meet expectations and survive the culling. When new tools and services enter the field, it’s easy to assess their value: they either represent your cloud operating model or they don’t. The best part is that all the pieces of this model work together by design.

Your stack should have the following characteristics:

  • Cloud-Native: Your tools should embrace cloud-native practices, not just be in the cloud. Meaning, they have to be purpose built for scale and resilience
  • Modular: Pick and choose best-of-breed tools to meet your requirements instead of being locked in to subpar vendor offerings just because they happen to be bundled together.
  • Performant: Speed and efficiency are paramount. Choose tools that take a software-first approach and prioritize performance and developer experience.
  • Compatibility with RESTful APIs: Interoperability is non-negotiable. Your tools must speak the same language, and this language is S3 for cloud storage.
  • Decoupled Compute and Storage: Decoupling these elements gives you more flexibility and scalability and allows the services and tools you use to focus on what they do best. 
  • Embracing Open Standards: Open standards promote interoperability and future-proof your investments. This means not only open-source, but open table formats like Apache Iceberg.

Only tools that survive these rigorous tests deserve to be part of a successful cloud strategy. 

The cloud operating model is even more important for organizations seeking to deploy applications in multi-cloud environments. A multi-cloud environment is one in which applications are deployed across multiple cloud providers - public and private. This can give organizations more flexibility and choice, but it can also make management more complex.

When you have true ownership over your data and your tools, navigating multi-cloud environments becomes infinitely more manageable. You are free to move tools and services around to suit your budget and requirements. For example, applications that use MinIO as a backend just need to have their S3 endpoint reconfigured when they move. Remember the cloud is a mindset, not a location, and multi-cloud deployments test and prove this axiom true every day. 

The Future of Cloud Migration

The logical progression of this mindset has driven organizations to embrace object storage as their primary storage solution. This choice is primarily motivated by object storage's remarkable capacity to deliver exceptional performance at scale, in perfect harmony with the prevailing cloud operating model detailed earlier. Recent research underscores this shift, with an astounding 80% of respondents recognizing object storage as capable of supporting their most critical IT initiatives. This trend has even infiltrated the traditionally dominant domains of SAN-based block storage and NAS-based file storage: databases. Today, the only innovation in software we see is cloud-native. Innovation cannot exist without adhering to the cloud operating principles described above.


The evolution of thinking about cloud migration from a location-centric mindset to an operating model is shaping a new future for organizations where they are free to innovate and collaborate. This paradigm shift emphasizes principles that simplify operations and foster portability, enabling cloud systems to be deployed across various environments, including multi-cloud setups. A vital aspect of this transformation is the adoption of object storage as the primary storage solution. Object storage's scalability, performance, and alignment with the cloud operating model make it a pivotal choice and showcases a promising path forward in cloud migration.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your cloud migration strategy with MinIO, feel free to contact us at hello@min.io or join our Slack community for support.

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