First Steps into Cloud Migration

Whether you are planning to migrate a single critical application, or a major portion of your infrastructure, thorough research and a mindful approach are needed before transitioning to the cloud. Many IT groups have struggled moving key enterprise applications to the public cloud, learning from their mistakes, they used these lessons learned for greater success in subsequent migrations.

If you’re one of the many thinking of moving your IT infrastructure to the public cloud or have committed to the idea, but are struggling how to go about it, you don’t want to be the one caught trying to re-create the wheel only to fail miserably. Using the lessons learned from those that have gone before you, helps to maximize your chances of a successful cloud migration on the first attempt. If done right some of the benefits to be realized are reduced cost, streamlined day-to-day operations, IT team expansion, flexibility, and scalability, just to name a few.

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While all the steps might not apply to your company, or you feel that you’re not ready to handle such a daunting task on your own, step 3 could be the most important step you need to consider ensuring greater chances of success with your migration to the cloud. I suggest using the following list more as guideline, retooling as needed, to fit your companies current and future needs.

  1. Determine why your business is moving to the cloud

You need to determine if you really need to invest the time and resources required to move your infrastructure to the cloud. Will you be able to realize all the benefits cloud has to offer to make the cost, and business cycles needed for the migration, a positive ROI?

  1. Assess your environment and choose workloads

You need to assess your existing IT infrastructure. This is to include close analysis of your entire application environment and the underlying systems that support those applications. Understanding precisely how your applications interact with and depend on one another can guide your cloud implementation by providing visibility into where you may need network updates. This will also help to identify the best workloads for migration, and to better understand performance-sensitive applications, ensuring proper attention is given where needed.

  1. Selecting the right cloud partner

If your group possesses the technical knowledge to perform a move to the cloud, then you are one step ahead of most organizations venturing into the cloud space for the first time, and kudos to you. But if this is not the case and you feel you do not have the resources or the competency to complete any of this list, then this is the perfect time to select a cloud partner. The right cloud partner can mean the difference between a successful cloud migration and a miserable failure.

When selecting a partner, ensure they have experience in performing similar migrations to your current project, with companies of similar size and similar industry.

Also, verifying the partner is multi-cloud partner affiliated, ensures that you are getting a certified team, knowledgeable about multi cloud environments. CCSI is both an AWS and Azure partner.

  1. Selecting the cloud architecture, and cloud provider

So now that you have determined which applications are moving, you need to determine the needs of those applications at this time. This is the time to determine storage needs, compute power, etc. This is the same exercise you would use as if building the app on prem, but you aren’t locked in if you need to adjust down the road, which is a major draw of the cloud. You only need to determine immediate need as you can add, or reduce, resources as required on the fly. All with no waste or waiting for parts to arrive, as is the case with traditional infrastructure.

Once you have determined the architecture, you need to select the cloud provider(s) that can best deliver on your objectives. Ensure that the cloud provider(s) is in-line with your SLAs for availability and dependability.

Another factor to consider is cloud environment administration. At some point, you may want to navigate your cloud environment, build out new deployments, and move more of your on prem environment to the cloud. When that day comes, you will want to know that the services provided are user friendly and don’t need a degree in astrophysics to navigate.

  1. Create KPIs and establish baselines for each KPI to be measured

You may already have defined KPIs for your applications that are being migrated, but you need to ensure they are still valid once this application is placed in the cloud. The best KPIs for a cloud migration show how your in-progress migration is going, highlighting visible or invisible problems that may be lurking within your application. More importantly, cloud migration KPIs can help you determine when the migration is complete and successful.

Baselining is the process of measuring the current (on prem) performance of your application or service in order to determine if its post-migration (on cloud) performance is acceptable. Baselines can help you determine when your migration is complete and provide validation of application performance in the cloud.

  1. Create a migration plan

Now that you have everything ready for the application migration, your next steps are to plan how the migration will proceed. Data migration remains one of the trickiest parts of cloud migration. If you have large amounts of data that must move to the cloud, attempting this via the internet might not be the best course of action. Use of cloud data migration services, such as those available from major cloud vendors, can aid in a smoother migration. Plan your data migration before you begin a cloud migration, or risk migration failure, or at least fail to meet expectations. Your cloud partner, or vendor if not using a partner, should be very involved in the data migration planning process.

  1. Measure your migration success from day one

After your initial migration effort, it is important to plan ways to demonstrate the benefits of the cloud both pre- and post-move. From a technical perspective, show the new application architecture and that Service Level Agreements are being adhered to.

Continuously monitor your new cloud environment. Ensure that the user experience is still at, or above, acceptable levels. Identify and fix any issues within the environment to ensure optimal performance.

In Conclusion, cloud computing typically only delivers value to the extent that an organization commits to it. Moving a few apps to the cloud may not lead to much ROI, but a large-scale transition can lead to considerable value creation. Essentially, the cloud is unable to deliver widespread value if it isn’t used at a large enough scale to impact the whole organization. However, demonstrating that cloud plans should advance hinges on demonstrating the value the cloud creates, so business leaders will be ready to take the next steps.


George Chanady

Author Bio: George Chanady is a Sr. Solutions Architect for CCSI. Experienced Senior Solutions Architect with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Strong Technical professional skilled in Storage Area Network (SAN), Domain Name System (DNS), Data Center, BladeCenter, and Cloud Applications. Currently held certifications include MCSA and AWS Certified Solutions Architect.

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