How to build an infallible cloud migration strategy in 2019
Migrating an organization’s on-premise IT infrastructure to the cloud ranks as one most crucial business decisions that a company can make. However, the first step in the direction is still a small one. The critical thing to understand is that the overall process of migration is what will take up the most significant chunk of your efforts as transition.
The migration process starts with the collection of data related to the existing infrastructure, environments, and applications. This is followed closely by the use of a series of analytical methods across different dimensions like network connections, workload architecture, operational costs, feasibility, potential migration impacts, etc. The results from this analysis will be used to translate the organization’s business goals into workable solutions which will provide clarity on the value propositions that the organization’s stakeholders will understand.
Establish the migration-architect role
Before an organization starts their cloud migration process, it is essential to establish the migration architect that is tasked with leading the effort. The migration architect is an individual at a system architect-level position who is responsible for completing every aspect of the migration.
When in the midst of a significant migration task, some decisions, as well as technical plans, need to be made and executed. Here is where a migration architect comes into play by being responsible for each aspect of the migration process that is critical to the project’s success.
Choose a single cloud or go multi-cloud
Before embarking on a cloud migration process, organizations need to answer the question – ‘Is there a need to select a single cloud service provider to migrate their infrastructure and would it be best optimized to run on a single environment, or whether multiple cloud providers would be a better bet?’
It is a relatively simple task to work with a selected cloud provider. The organization’s development teams need just a single set of cloud APIs to understand, and its application is free to take advantage of everything that the chosen cloud provider offers.
That said, the disadvantage to this approach is the vendor lock-in clause. Once an application has been updated to work with a single provider, the task of moving the application to a separate provider mostly requires almost as much effort as the initial cloud migration. Secondly, a standalone cloud migration may also have a negative impact on the organization’s ability to discuss critical terms with a cloud service provider, ex- SLAs and pricing.
There are many different models for using multiple cloud providers –
One Application in One Cloud, Another in a Different Cloud
This is perhaps the most simple of multi-cloud approaches that run a single set of applications in a single cloud service provider and a different set in another.
The advantage of this approach is that it gives the organization or user an added business leverage that comes with multiple service providers along with the flexibility of deciding where to locate each application going forward. It also allows the user to optimize each application based on the provider on which it runs.
Splitting an Application Across Multiple Cloud Providers
Companies may also opt to execute part of an application on a specific cloud provider while executing other parts of the application on another provider. The advantage of this approach is that it allows for the utilization of the critical advantages that each provides offers (ex- advanced AI capabilities vs. better database speeds, etc.). However, the risk is that the application may become restricted to the performance of both providers and a problem with either service provider can impact the application’s performance and customer experience.
For instance, you could use Azure’s compute engines because they are relatively cheaper and use an entirely different cloud service provider for the storage like Firebase for object storage or AWS Elastic File System for scalable file storage. Furthermore, you can use Google Cloud’s AI without getting fully involved in their ecosystem.
Build the Application to be Cloud Agnostic
A number of organizations develop the application to run anywhere regardless of the underlying cloud provider. The advantage of this method is that organizations have the option to execute their application simultaneously across multiple service providers or to split their application load across each of them. The flexibility that this model provides is the basis with which organizations enter into vendor negotiations as they can shift loads between cloud service providers.
The disadvantage though is that organizations may find it difficult to leverage the core capabilities of each of the cloud service providers they engage with. This drastically reduces the benefits that may be had when hosting their application on the cloud. This approach can also complicate the process of application development and validation.
Selecting Your Cloud Solutions Provider
In case your organization is new to the cloud it is critical to think about entering into a partnership with cloud specialists who have developed a range of expertise in the field your organization requires. These specialists will be able to focus on developing a connection between organizations and the matching cloud solution providers. They can also then create, deploy and at times operate the company’s IT infrastructure through the cloud.
The team you choose to support your organization’s migration process should be able to assist you in selecting an appropriate public cloud solution that will successfully bring your business goals to fruition.
The team will be able to identify opportunities in the cloud migration process and help chart out a detailed plan of migration that includes –
This will prove to be critical when it comes to defining the scope of the migration and building a business case for stakeholders.
Define the Scope of Your Migration
At the initial stage of migrating to the cloud, organizations need to determine their goals from the process and clearly define the scope of the engagement. This is where the organization will have the opportunity to define the desired outcome as well as focus on developing an assessment of the migration to the cloud.
The migration team will be tasked with outlining the resource requirements, the methodology for data collection and a process to assess the cloud. Cloud assessment will include the discovery and assessment of the existing on-premise IT infrastructure and prioritize them for migration.
Collect Critical Infrastructure Data
If an organization is working in tandem with cloud specialists, data collection will most likely include a direct collaboration with the team of specialists and the organization’s own internal IT team. Together, the two teams will execute a comprehensive data collection effort and create a detailed application inventory
You should begin with an agentless data collection tool and conduct a base scan of existing servers. Once done, the scan is reviewed to pinpoint failures, if any, and evaluate gaps that may need to be plugged before the migration process kicks off.
In most cases, this will involve a couple of weeks of performance assessment with regards to resources used for computing, storage, and networking. As the analysis proceeds, the organization or task force will be able to build a case for capacity provisioning, ensuring that the solution proposed is efficient and cost-effective.
Conduct a Deep Analysis for Your Migration Plan
Once the data collection process concludes, the next stage is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the proposed migration plan. Among other aspects, this can include –
1. Core organization goals
- Application identification, classification, and workload
- Hardware infrastructure, storage, facility as well as maintenance costs
- Requirements for disaster recovery
Here is where an actionable migration plan is determined which can begin with the analysis of workload readiness. Especially, the prioritization of workloads that can help the organization achieve the main goals as has been outlined in the assessment.
Deliver Your Business Case and Solution
Finally, it is time to deliver the business case and the proposed solution. The earlier efforts of data collection would have lead to the creation of an inventory of applications. Cloud specialists should be able to assist your team in developing a business case, understand the list of workloads that have been prioritized, and present the corresponding migration costs for each.
The final stages include the creation of a systematic workload migration plan. Once a clear picture of the migration process has been prepared and presented, all concerned teams will have a clear idea of the detailed architecture and the organization’s migration team will be able to migrate critical production applications to the new cloud environment.
When it comes to cloud migrations, it is imperative to get it right at the start. Corrective measures cannot take place at a later stage. Organizations and migration teams can make use of this broad road map for the cloud migration tasks while they ensure that they identify and locate the appropriate level of expertise when it comes to design and deployment right at the beginning.