Getting Started With Cloud Migration

So you’ve finally decided to hop aboard the proverbial airwagon and embark on a journey to the cloud. Well done! This could well be the single most important decision you have ever made for your company.

After all, as by now you will have undoubtedly heard, in addition to providing you with state-of-the-art systems, cloud computing could potentially spare your business thousands of pounds each year.

Nevertheless, without proper planning and execution, migrating to the cloud can quickly become a lot more cumbersome than originally anticipated.

And so, with this very thought in mind, we have put together a cloud migration checklist that should hopefully serve to make this process a breeze. But first, there are a few important points to consider:

Cloud computing isn’t for everyone

Despite what you’ve been told, cloud computing cannot be classified as a one-size-fits-all solution. In some cases, companies might prefer to maintain on-premise systems in place.

The first issue is a matter of security. With the cloud, your infrastructure is entrusted into the hands of a third-party provider. Of course, this implies that you trust the provider in question, but some organisations may still have serious reservations. In any case, to some extent, depending heavily on others will always represent a risk.

Secondly, even though the cloud enables cost optimisations, this does not necessarily work for everyone: in workloads where servers must be running full power at all times, optimising will not be possible, as the infrastructure cannot be downsized.

In such cases, moving to the cloud makes very little sense.

The Checklist

For everyone else, however, we are pleased to report that cloud computing is mostly all that it’s been cracked up to be. So without further ado, here goes our cloud migration checklist:

1. Choose the right provider

Because so many cloud providers exist, it is important to take the time to select the best option for your particular business. This, of course, will depend on a variety of factors.

For example, while some providers offer incredible scalability, others prioritise a more personalised experience. So do not be fooled into opting for the “best package” from the market leader when you could have easily done with a much cheaper and stripped-down alternative.

That being said, each service comes with their own specific pricing plans — and none of them are particularly straightforward — so make sure you do your homework by dissecting and comparing providers such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.

2. Prepare and plan

This is undoubtedly the most important step, because contrary to popular belief — and especially with legacy systems — migrating to the cloud is hardly ever a simple lift and shift operation.

Therefore, first and foremost, it is vital to assess the cloud readiness of your program, the preparedness of your organisation and the technical competence of your team. These will serve to help you identify the blockers which should be tackled before migration takes place.

Adequate planning will also involve determining which applications should be considered mission critical, so as to later devise an appropriate migration roadmap. Any changes made to mission critical applications will likely result in major business disruption, so it is extremely advisable to hash these details out.

Afterwards, based on the goals behind the migration, you should then be able to break down the procedure into reasonable chunks and begin to prioritise what to move and when according to your own individual needs.

3. Migrate!

The process of migration itself should not pose any serious difficulties, as long as you have spent enough time on the planning phase.

For applications of different sizes, transferring data will require different techniques. If you do not have too much data to copy over, you can simply upload the program with an internet connection. This approach, however, is not ideal for larger workloads, as you could end up with very long transfer times or even charges from the cloud provider.

A possible workaround solution could be to compress your data before sending it in. Alternatively, in order to curb bandwidth costs, you could also ship your actual physical drives.

Keep in mind, however, that the security of your data is just as important now as at any other time, so make sure any temporary storage locations you use are deemed trustworthy and safe.

4. Check it all went well

Finally, after successfully migrating all your applications and data, it is time to confirm that everything is working as it should be.

This is when you can use automated tests to answer pivotal questions such as:

  • Did everything make it?
  • Are users able to access the application?
  • Are all components communicating with each other?
  • Do the admin tools for the new cloud app work?
  • …anything else you may need to know!

With this, we reach the end of our checklist. But for you, of course, the journey has just begun. Although migrating to the cloud is by no means a small task, when done correctly, it remains true to its name — allowing your company to soar.

David Blackwood

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