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Your Full Cloud Migration Checklist

Posted by RevDeBug

Successful migration to the cloud requires a diverse skill set, an in-depth audit of your overall business and the current technology being used, and a swift change in management to ensure that your entire organization will not only benefit from the new technology but also thrive. 

There’s quite a bit to consider when planning a cloud migration. We’ve compiled a thorough checklist of the crucial steps you need to include to guarantee a successful migration. Read on to learn more.

Analyze Your Business and Technology Requirements

The first thing you need to do before migrating to the cloud is analyze your business requirements and processes, your technological requirements, and how the migration will impact them. This would include how your data governance, security protocols, disaster recovery plans, and entire infrastructure and applications would be affected. 

Additionally, it’s essential to look for any opportunity that will maximize your organization’s efficiency, which may require some structural re-engineering.

Determine How to Manage the Migration

Cloud migration and cloud monitoring are no easy feats. If you’re not technologically savvy, to begin with, it may be a good idea to bring in a professional cloud consultant that has experience taking audits and creating a plan for your organization to move to the cloud.

This could also include training your employees, who will likely be overwhelmed with the new technology and infrastructure.

Having said that, there are some businesses fully equipped and ready with everything they need in-house to pull off a successful migration to the cloud. 

If you don’t have the necessary skills or means to get the job done, then here’s a list of some professionals you’ll want to consult with:

  • Business Analysts
  • Project Managers
  • Digital Architects 
  • Infrastructure or Application Specialists
  • Subject matter experts familiar with the business processes
  • Security Specialists

Estimate the Costs

The cost of cloud migration is often a factor that holds organizations back from moving forward. Before you decide to migrate, you’ll have to make sure that you can afford the upfront and on-going costs.

To make cloud migration more cost-efficient, many organizations will migrate over specific apps or functions in batches rather than an entire shift of apps and infrastructure all at once. So, it’s a good idea to review which apps will benefit you and your team the most by being moved over to the cloud and which are the easiest to move. 

You’ll also need to account for the labor costs of the migration, as well as any on-going changes to the network and the bandwidth costs. These costs will differ among the different apps being hosted by the cloud. Any apps not initially compatible with the cloud will cost a lot more to migrate.

Choose Your Cloud Vendor

You’ll likely be choosing between Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) if you’re organizing a complete migration. Of course, there are other contenders offering cloud hosting domains such as IBM, Oracle—you get the picture. 

You’ll want to compare all of these cloud hosting services side by side to see which is the best fit for your organization’s needs.  

You can check out an in-depth review here to see what we mean.

Decide on Public, Private, or Hybrid Cloud

Each cloud solution comes with its own set of pros and cons. The solution you choose will depend entirely on the size of your organization, your industry, the type of data security you need, and of course, the costs of doing business. 

Public migration tends to be popular among smaller companies with limited IT teams and skillsets. It also requires less time to roll out and it’s fairly low maintenance. On the other hand, private cloud infrastructure is much more beneficial for organizations that are required to remain HIPAA compliant, such as a clinic.

The hybrid infrastructure allows you to leverage the best of both infrastructures, where you gain the advantage of the public space in terms of storage while also garnering the security and control of private cloud infrastructure.

Once you assess your organization’s needs, it should be fairly easy to choose your cloud infrastructure.

Plan Out Your Governance and Security Models

Cloud migrations tend to force organizations to re-evaluate their governance policies and strategies. Before moving your on-premise infrastructure to the public cloud, it’s crucial that you identify what your cloud service provider offers in terms of governance and security and what needs to be managed on your end. 

This includes assessing the impact of moving your existing apps and switching to new SaaS applications on your processes and your team.

Define Your Cloud Roadmap

Creating a legitimate cloud strategy and roadmap is another crucial step to successful cloud migration. This will require you to create an outline for the migration time frames per application, detailed with each team member’s responsibility. It should also highlight risks to avoid.

Moreover, you should prioritize which apps you want to migrate first and what to do with your old setup once the migration is finished. 

The items you’ll want to include in this roadmap are your analysis and architecture of your environment and workflow processes, data migration, testing, and the documentation surrounding the new processes.

Part of your roadmap should absolutely include a change management plan, which will involve the necessary training and workshops for your entire staff. They’ll need the best guidelines to follow as possible since new technology and workflows can become extremely cumbersome. 

One of the primary reasons why cloud migrations fail—or the adoption of new technology in general—is because organizations fail to prepare for the human element.

6 R's of the Cloud Migration Process

Defining roadmap could be challenging and there isn’t one solution suiting all needs. You could take different approaches but they should reflect the actual state of business not presumed migration scenario. 

Rehost (aka. lift and shift)

The most popular approach is to take what you have on-premise today and replicate it in the cloud. It’s an inexpensive and rather straightforward approach. You simply migrate to the cloud VM’s from your servers without adding any new functionality. It could be a useful strategy in migrating legacy applications that can’t use a cloud-native mechanism like dynamic resource allocations.

Replatform (aka. lift-shift-tinker)

With this approach, you keep the architecture of your application but use cloud service to replace part of the service to make it more efficient. For instance, you could change your MySQL, PostgreSQL or any other database you manage on your own to fully automatically managed Database as a Service. 

Repurchase

Maintaining legacy applications is very costly and another approach to migration is to retire existing on-premise solution and adopt new cloud-based. It may not suit all of your systems but if some of them are at the end of their life-cycle it could be more efficient in some cases to deprecate old system and migrate to the new build in the cloud. Having a detailed business case and evaluating all risks would be helpful to take the correct decision. 

Refactor (aka. rearchitect)

The most problematic migration approach would require additional development to adjust the applications to run smoothly in the cloud. You need to decide what you want to redesign, rewrite and what to cut off. You will need to decide what do you want to prioritize and it’s worth to put your resources into refactoring all apps.  

Retain

Not all applications are ready to take advantage of the cloud-native approach. Some of your systems probably need to be kept on-premise because they need a complete rewrite for the cloud. When migrating them to the cloud doesn’t make any business sense you should keep them on-premise until you have an alternative cloud-native solution or retire it. 

Retire

Cloud migration it’s a good time to make a decision about retiring part of your systems. Planning migration you need to be aware of all plans because engaging in applications that won’t be supported in a predictable future could be a waste of your limited resources. 

Tools for monitoring and tracing

During migration, you also need to think about monitoring tools that will help you understand what’s going on with your systems, are they working correctly and what’s the difference between performance before and after migration. In most cases even if you choose all in cloud approach you won’t be able to migrate everything at the same time and you will need monitoring tools like RevDeBug to map all dependencies between cloud and on-premise apps, monitor performance and end-to-end tracing for easy troubleshooting. You need to be able to spot issues when they happened,  diagnosis and fix issues at the spot.

Trust us, you want to have all of your bases covered.

Every cloud migration will differ based on an organization’s specific technological and business requirements. With this cloud migration checklist, you’ll be able to create a thorough guide that will help you identify areas where you’re lacking in resources, experience, or other challenges that may come up.