Are you thinking of moving your IT infrastructure to the cloud? Or are you struggling with how to go about it?
In order to move successfully from your current IT infrastructure to the cloud, thorough research and a thoughtful approach are needed. Your business can benefit tremendously from moving to the cloud, if done right, in terms of speed, efficiency and cost. But it can be a difficult process. This article aims at providing the key steps to follow to ensure a successful migration.
The steps might not apply to your company’s infrastructure and environment or your procedures and future requirements. So you may want to customize the steps per your company’s needs. Or you can hire an experienced cloud solutions provider to do the migration.
Here are the 10 steps to ensure a successful cloud migration.
- Determine why you want to move to the cloud
- SWOT analysis
- Assess your environment
- Selecting the right cloud partner
- Select the cloud environment needed
- Determine the architecture
- Select the right cloud provider (not to be mistaken with partner)
- Plan the migration
- Execute (read BACKUP first)
Determine why you want to move to the cloud
The first question to ask yourself is why your business needs to move to the cloud. You need to determine if you really need to invest the time and resources to move your infrastructure to the cloud. Will moving to the cloud offer any advantages to your business?
Moving to the cloud is a big undertaking. While it improves your operations, it can be highly disruptive if not done right. Once you’ve identified why you need to move, perform an objective analysis of the benefits AND possible disadvantages of moving to the cloud.
The best way to do this is a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis.
Any drawbacks of the process should be listed, including costs.
Assess your environment
You need to assess your existing IT infrastructure, the applications you use, the resources, cost and other details. This will help you make decisions later in the process of moving to the cloud. Here are the key points to assess
Which applications should be migrated
While cloud computing is great, it is not ideal for all businesses and scenarios. There might be cases where some of your apps would be best left on your servers rather than moving to the cloud – a legacy app (which cannot be ported) or a performance-intensive app might not be the best for moving to the cloud.
Hence it is a good idea to identify your apps which can be moved to the cloud.
Assess your current infrastructure (for costs and resources)
Once you have identified the apps to move, the next step is to analyze them for the following
- Infrastructure used by these apps. This includes the amount of storage needed and data generated, analytics, networking, expected SLA
- Money spent on physical servers and server management
- Hidden costs involved
A thorough analysis of the infrastructure and costs will help you identify how to migrate the apps and optimize them for better efficiency
Selecting the right cloud partner
If you have the technical know-how in your organization to move to the cloud, that is great and an ideal situation. But if at any point you feel you do not have the resources or the availability to complete any of the 10 steps, then is the right time to select a cloud partner.
The things you should be looking for in a partner are their past experience working on similar projects, with clients that are comparable in size and industry to you. Having a certified team also helps. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and other cloud providers provide certifications. We are certified partners with both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.
Selecting the cloud environment
So you have by now decided to make the move and also have the team to help you do this. The next thing that you need to identify is the cloud environment which will help you achieve your goals.
The first decision you need to make is which type of cloud is suited for your applications. This blog post gives the comparison for each along with their pros and cons. You can also go through this blog post to see if your apps fall under the criteria best suited for hybrid cloud.
Determine the architecture
Once you’ve selected the type of cloud you will use, you need to determine the architecture you’ll need for the migration. List down the apps you will migrate. Based on the analysis done in step 3 (Assess your environment), determine the components you will need.
Think about the storage needs, computing power, content delivery etc
Select the right cloud provider
Once you’ve identified the architecture, you need to select the cloud provider that will meet these needs. Select a provider which meets your architecture needs and also stays close to the objectives you want to achieve (Step 1)
Apart from this, you also need to look at other factors while selecting the provider – like the promised SLA, prompt customer service, great feedback etc.
Plan the migration
Now that you have everything ready for the migration, the next step is to plan how it will take place. It is important that the plan takes into consideration the following
- Minimal disruption time
- Order of migration of applications
- Deadlines and tracking of key metrics to define a successful migration
- Changes to end-user processes because of the migration and any training required
You might come across other potential issues which you need to plan for before beginning the migration and to follow during/after the process
Execute the plan
- Planning – check
- Strategy and timings – check
- Now comes the real deal – the execution. Here are the steps you need to follow for a successful execution
- BACKUP Your Data – we cannot emphasize this point more. The first thing to do before migration is backup your existing servers and data to ensure you do not lose anything. Make sure your data is safe and easily retrievable. Also ensure your processes do not fail during the migration
- Deployment – Next is setting up the cloud environment. This includes provisioning, connections and testing all the individual components and testing them in totality
- Migrating the data – once the deployment is done, it is important to migrate the existing data to this new cloud solution so that business continuity is maintained. The first data load will take time and might also need changes to the data to fit the new cloud setup. Once you have moved all the data, all connections should be tested fully – this is Important.
- Testing – the final step to the migration is testing and tweaking. Once the data has been moved, you need to ensure that everything works as expected. Make sure your data is present and correct and the environment is secure. End users should not come across any issues while using the app and if any tweaks are to be made, they should be done as a part of this phase (with regression testing of course)
Monitor the implementation
Once your migration is completed successfully, it is important to implement monitoring to help identify and fix any issues that might come up with the cloud environment.
If you’d like to talk to an experienced team about your cloud computing needs, get in touch for an expert consultation.