When you’re preparing to move your mission-critical databases and applications to the cloud, your main goal is to move as quickly as possible without incurring any risk to the business by impacting the business logic and functionality of the applications in question. And, of course, to complete this process at the lowest possible cost.

There are three generally accepted paths to moving workloads to the cloud. All three make it possible to move your databases from a capital expense (CAPEX) model to an operating expense (OPEX) model. This shift gives you more financial agility by linking infrastructure costs with revenue for greater scalability — without a major upfront investment. And all three allow you to completely move out of your on-prem datacenters. But choosing which path is right for your workloads depends on their complexity, and how much time, money, and resources you have.

Option 1: Lift and Shift to IaaS

The first path to the cloud is through lift and shift to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The lift and shift approach means you don’t need to rearchitect your applications, so it takes the least amount of time, money, and resources to complete but also requires the same high level of hands-on management as you experienced on-prem. Unfortunately for most database products, IaaS doesn’t usually provide the seamless scalability of options 2 and 3 on this list, making the agility of the cloud a bit less… agile than you’d like.

Option 2: Move to a Managed Service

Moving your databases to a managed Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering usually requires some level of rearchitecting or refactoring your applications, which can take a decent amount of time, money, and resources. But it removes the administrative tasks, such as upgrades, which are handled by the cloud provider. From a database licensing standpoint, moving to a PaaS solution can allow you to adopt a simpler license model where you pay based on usage, or you can simply move to an open-source database option. However, a PaaS solution can be a pretty expensive option – you are paying for someone to manage your cloud infrastructure after all. It’s also a less suitable option for complex systems or where business logic is deeply embedded in database code. And finally, both scale and performance are limited to the maximums that the cloud provider offers.

Option 3: Refactor to Cloud Native

The final, and most desirable, path to the cloud is to refactor to be cloud native. Refactoring allows you to use open-source PaaS databases and containerized applications with your cloud vendor of choice. It offers you a fully scalable architecture with virtually no performance limits. And by refactoring to be cloud native, you can opt for open-source databases, helping to eliminate database licensing costs. But refactoring isn’t perfect. The process of refactoring is just a fancy way of saying you completely rewrite your applications. It’s a complex and time-consuming process. Of all the options listed in this post, it is the one that presents the most risk, takes the most time, and carries the highest costs. For example, successfully refactoring applications to be cloud native requires a specialized skill set that you may not already have within the organization – meaning you’ll have to hire expensive external consultants to get you through the development process. These complications make refactoring really only suitable for applications that you anticipate using for a very long time (compared to ones you’ll be retiring in the near or midterm).

So What’s the Best Solution?

There is no perfect journey to the cloud. Each of the above options has its benefits but also its drawbacks. One thing you need to remember is that it is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Every application and database has different needs. Therefore, each needs to be evaluated independently to determine the best path into the cloud. It should be noted that you can also leverage each separate path together as one overall plan to “level up” into the cloud, step by step – from IaaS to PaaS and then even from PaaS to refactoring to cloud native.

For those looking to quickly adopt the public cloud for their mission-critical database workloads, the Silk Platform supercharges lift and shift into an IaaS option, providing a fast, resilient and feature-rich data platform for your databases to flourish in the cloud. By adding all of the scalability typically missing in IaaS – without the need to change a single line of application code – Silk can breathe life into aging applications and turn your database estate into a cloud powerhouse.

Ready to get started? Visit www.silk.us to learn more and to start your 30-day free trial of the Silk Platform.