Migrating a computing environment or selective workloads to the cloud is a major undertaking. Success requires effective planning before the move and efficient execution during the migration. A lack of preparation will end up complicating the migration and may deliver inferior results.

While every cloud migration has unique aspects, some common activities should be performed in virtually all instances. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when preparing for a cloud migration.

Planning a Cloud Migration

Before initiating a cloud migration plan, a company should evaluate its current environment and determine the scope of the move. It may be that the organization wants to eliminate an on-premises data center and go with a fully cloud-based infrastructure. In other cases, companies may opt to move selective workloads to the cloud and maintain a hybrid environment that includes onsite resources.

Once the decision has been made regarding what will be moved, planning the migration can begin. Steps that should be included in the planning phase include:

  • Target analysis – This step identifies the cloud provider and delivery model that is most applicable for your workloads. Through this analysis, a consensus should be reached on whether a public, private cloud, or hybrid environment makes the most sense for your organization.
  • Capacity planning – One of the attractive features of the cloud is its flexibility and ability to meet fluctuating demands. Pre-migration planning should include setting minimum capacity baselines and realistic expectations for growth.
  • Application profiling – Each application that will be migrated needs to be profiled to ensure all dependencies are met in the new environment. During this profiling, it may become evident that complementary applications or workloads need to be incorporated into the overall migration plan to efficiently meet all dependencies.
  • Compliance profiling – Compliance with regulatory privacy and security standards is becoming increasingly important in all industries. At a minimum, companies operating in the ecommerce space have sensitive customer credit card information that needs to be protected according to the PCI-DSS guidelines. A thorough examination of the intended cloud platform should be conducted to ensure that all compliance requirements are addressed and can be maintained going forward.
  • Financial modeling – Analysis should be performed on the expected ROI of the cloud migration when compared to the customer’s legacy environment. In-depth TCO comparisons should be conducted to compare the various platforms and providers being considered for the migration.
  • Migration roadmap modeling – Detailed planning regarding how the designated workloads will be migrated will result in a more efficient migration. Some applications or workloads may be easier to move and make attractive targets to be migrated early in the process. If possible, identify workloads that have a high potential for a successful migration to set a positive note and encourage support for the project.
  • Resource mapping – Identify the organization’s current resources and competencies to ensure they effectively transfer to the new cloud environment. It may be determined that employees need additional training or that the company would benefit from the inclusion of consultants to perform the migration.

Executing the Cloud Migration

After the initial planning is complete, it’s time to perform the migration. As with the preparation phase, multiple steps need to be performed to ensure the project’s success.

  • Migration timeline – A schedule needs to be defined that indicates the order in which workloads and applications will be migrated. Based on the roadmaps developed in the planning stage, easy targets should be chosen to lead the migration. This fosters a feeling of success and avoids getting bogged down at the beginning of the process.
  • Run books and workflows – Migration procedures should be documented to provide a standard process that can be repeated for multiple workflows. These procedures can include manual and automated functions that facilitate the migration.
  • Provisioning of new systems and services – New systems and services will need to be provisioned as the migration proceeds. This step requires knowledge of cloud computing infrastructure and is a logical place to engage experienced consultants. Incorrectly provisioned systems can impact the migration’s success and negatively impact its timeline.
  • Data capture – Data resources need to be captured and transferred to the newly provisioned systems. If possible, live data should be used to avoid unnecessary downtime. This can be a complex process, the ramifications of which need to be fully understood to avoid putting data at risk or incurring extended outages.
  • Data synchronization – After all data has been transferred to the cloud, it needs to be synchronized and validated against the organization’s legacy systems. Discrepancies need to be remediated before committing to a cutover.
  • Production cutover – When everyone is comfortable with the functionality of the new environment and all data has been synchronized and validated, it’s time to cut over the production systems. From this point forward, users should access the migrated systems through the cloud interface rather than using legacy procedures. Companies may want to maintain their legacy systems for some time as insurance against unexpected issues that arise with the new computing environment.

Expert Assistance from VAST

VAST has extensive experience performing migrations to AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. They can help you determine which platform offers the best support for your business objectives. It may be that your company’s investment in Microsoft products makes Azure a more suitable choice or its use of diverse platforms mesh better with the offerings of AWS.

VAST offers assistance with planning and executing the migration to ensure the process runs smoothly. They’ll help you move to the cloud with a minimum of problems. VAST also provides cloud management services that let companies concentrate on running their business rather than worrying about their IT infrastructure. VAST can help get your business to the cloud and help it thrive in its new home.

Download VAST’s Ultimate Guide to Cloud Migration for an in-depth look at the steps and processes required to ensure a successful migration. Get in touch with VAST to learn how they can help you maximize the value of the cloud for your business.