Cloud migration checklist: 5 steps to a successful journey

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As organizations undergo digital transformation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their IT environments, cloud migration is often a high priority.

Yet migrating workloads and applications can often be a challenging process. To help organizations efficiently make the move, here is a five-step cloud migration checklist gleaned from industry best practices.

1. Determine your cloud strategy

Before making the leap to the cloud, determine what you want to accomplish. This starts with capturing baseline metrics of your IT infrastructure to map workloads to your assets and applications. Having a baseline understanding of where you stand will help you establish cloud migration key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you identify issues during the migration and help determine when your migration is successfully completed.

Some cloud migration KPIs you might select include:

  • Page load times
  • Response times
  • Availability
  • CPU usage
  • Memory usage
  • Conversion rates

These types of metrics enable measurement across a number of categories such as engagement, infrastructure, application performance and user experience to determine how cloud applications are performing.

2. Evaluate which applications to migrate

Not every application belongs in the cloud. Cost and security are major components to take into consideration. Writing for Network Computing, Uptime Institute Chief Technical Officer Chris Brown encourages companies to ensure they understand the business and IT impacts of moving specific workloads and applications to the cloud well before they actually get the migration process underway.

As you evaluate which applications to move to the cloud, keep these questions in mind:

  • Which applications can be moved as-is, and which will require a redesign?
  • If a redesign is necessary, what is the level of complexity required?
  • Does the cloud provider have any services that allow migration without reconfiguring workloads?
  • What is the return on investment for each application you will be moving, and how long will it take to achieve it?
  • For applications where moving to the cloud is deemed cost-effective and secure, which type of cloud environment is best — public, private or multicloud?

An analysis of your architecture and a careful look at your applications can help determine what makes sense to migrate. Some applications that use established enterprise hardware could be more expensive to operate in the cloud, or there may be hidden network or bandwidth costs that could make the cloud more expensive than expected.

Additionally, each type of cloud environment has different benefits. Private clouds are more secure and offer more control than public clouds, but also require your organization to manage security and performance. Public clouds provide a highly scalable, pay-per-use model, but are also multitenancy and lack control. Often, a hybrid cloud option, which offers mixture of private and public cloud services, can provide a good balance between the benefits and risks of private and public.

3. Create your data migration plan

Once you’ve evaluated which applications and services make sense to migrate, determine how you want to move each asset to the cloud. Also consider how you can maintain data integrity and operational continuity while doing so. Additional considerations include understanding what dependencies there are, and, with these in mind, determining the order of migrating applications.

4. Secure the right cloud provider

A key part of your data migration will involve picking a cloud provider that can work with you throughout and after the migration process. Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate providers:

  • What tools, including third-party, does it have available to help make the process easier?
  • What is its level of experience?
  • Can it support public, private and multicloud environments at any scale?
  • How can it help you deal with complex interdependencies, inflexible architectures, or redundant and out-of-date technology?
  • What level of support can it provide throughout the migration process?

Moving to the cloud is not simple. Consequently, the service provider you select should have proven experience that it can manage the complex tasks required to manage a cloud migration at a global scale. This includes providing service-level agreements that include milestone-based progress and results.

5. Execute your cloud migration

If you’ve followed the first four steps carefully, this last step should be relatively easy. However, how you migrate to the cloud will partially depend on the complexity and architecture of your application(s) and the architecture of your data. You can move your entire application over, run a test to see that it works and then switch over your on-premises traffic. Alternatively, you can take a more piecemeal approach, slowly moving customers over, validating and then continuing this process until all customers are moved to the cloud.

Following a cloud migration checklist helps ensure that you have strategically planned for possible issues, helping you to avoid challenges and ensuring a smoother journey. Ultimately, this allows you to enjoy the benefits that attracted you to move to the cloud in the first place.

Learn more about creating a non-disruptive migration path to the public cloud, and check out our video: “What is Cloud Migration?

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