A Preparatory Guide to Cloud Migration

Flexibility is the most vital quality of an effective cloud migration solution

Speed, simplicity, and scalability – these are only a few of the many benefits of migrating your enterprise on-premise applications to the cloud. However, the road leading to the cloud is not without hurdles. Here is a checklist that can help make you plan correctly and make your cloud migration journey a whole lot smoother. And of course, having an experienced partner in cloud migration services by your side makes the entire process seamless.

Step 1: List & Survey

The first step involves assessment and evaluation of all your applications. Start off by creating a list – with specific details of all applications, including its users and their various levels of access.

Remember to use this activity as an opportunity to identify and involve key stakeholders at this stage, to ensure that nothing is missed in the process of migration.

Once this is done, create and send out a survey to application owners to define requirements, including eligibility of the applications for cloud migration, application interdependencies, challenges and network configurations, security and compliance requirements, SLA validation and high availability requirements.

Step 2: Strategize Your Moves

The next step is to strategize and make some important decisions. For each application, decide whether you would have to re-host, re-platform, re-factor, re-purchase, retire or retain.

Re-hosting

Re-hosting, or the ‘lift-and-shift’, is a forklift approach to migrating applications to the cloud, essentially moving them without any modification.  This is an efficient, non-resource intensive migration process. This process is best-suited when an application needs to be moved, without loss of continuity.

Re-platforming

Re-platforming is a ‘lift-adjust-and-shift’ method which involves making minor optimizations or tweaks to basic elements of the application so that it can be made operational in the cloud.

Re-factoring

This involves redeveloping an application to be made compatible in order to ensure that is is capable of leveraging the cloud – in terms of features, scalability and performance. This is a time-consuming and resource-intensive task, but also one that assures maximized operational cost efficiency.

Re-purchasing

A number of enterprise software vendors also have a newer, cloud-based version of their application available. By simply repurchasing this, you could easily migrate to the cloud. If you are unable to find a cloud-based version, then you can look to switch to a similar application.

Retiring

Strategizing your cloud migration may help you realize that you have no need for some of your legacy applications anymore if they can be replaced or entirely removed. In such cases, simply retiring some applications can save significant time and effort.

Retaining

While cloud migration sounds like a great idea, you may find out that some applications are best left the way they are, where they are. In this case, you could either opt out, or choose a hybrid cloud model where some of the applications reside on-premise while enjoying the benefits of the cloud.

While strategizing, you will also need to find answers to these important questions:

  • Are you opting for an architecture with agents or one that is agent-less?
  • What kind of support is needed for complex, multi-tier applications?
  • How do you plan rollback of on-premise applications?

Step 3: Test, Measure, Evaluate for Quality

For quality assurance, it is important to carry out pre-migration testing in the following ways:

Verifying:

  • Scope of source systems and data, both to be included and excluded
  • Destination system data requirements and field-level validation checks

Defining:

  • Category-wise source to target high-level mappings of data
  • Source to destination mappings

Testing

  • Fields that link source and target records
  • Source and target system connections from the migration platform
  • Tool configuration against the migration specification
  • Source data against the requirements of the destination system.

Step 4: Evaluate Costs

One of the major reasons for migrating to the cloud is cost reduction. However, if not done correctly, it can end up becoming an expensive affair. Therefore, it is important to evaluate costs before you take the plunge. One of the basic ways to go about this is to use cloud cost calculators and estimation tools like Google Cloud Platform Pricing Calculator, AWS Total Cost of Ownership Calculator or Microsoft Azure Pricing Calculator. Or you can choose to work with a data migration service provider who will perform the migration for you.

However, for a more detailed and customized cost estimate, you may require support from a cloud migration solution provider who can guide with you with more specific details on upfront and ongoing costs, in addition to providing cost-effective solutions and renegotiating software licensing agreements on your behalf.

Other Points to Remember

Migrate in Phases

Once the above steps are addressed, your applications are ready to migrate. The best way to go about it is with a phased approach rather than an all-in approach. This will help you implement, review, adjust and apply lessons learned as you go forward.

Don’t Miss out on Ongoing Operations

Monitoring of applications and cloud usage, implementation of burst or scaled-usage to optimize user experience, and empowering the IT team to successfully manage ongoing operations – these are important steps that cannot be ignored during the migration process.

As you can see, there is a whole lot of planning required before migrating your applications to the cloud. And if there is a large volume of data in your on-premise applications, it is important to be aware that the process will be time-consuming and must be undertaken with great care to mitigate the risk of losing data.

This is where a cloud consultancy company like CloudNow can play a major role. We can take over the entire migration process to make your move faster, more efficient and more secure through the execution of migration best practices and use of supporting migration technology.

Need professional help in migrating your applications to the cloud? Get in touch with CloudNow today!