Many organizations interested in making the most of their IT investment consider migrating to a new environment. They may want to move part or all of their existing systems to address new business objectives or take advantage of emerging opportunities. The migration may be from an outdated on-premises data center to a public cloud solution. It might also involve moving a cloud infrastructure to a new cloud provider.

Planning is essential regardless of the reasons behind the migration. A well-planned and executed migration stands a much greater chance of attaining the desired business results. Lack of planning is a recipe for almost certain failure and will often lead to cost overruns and inferior performance. Cloud migration should never be undertaken haphazardly.

Companies will benefit by adopting a methodical approach to cloud migration. We are going to look at how to begin planning the cloud migration for your small and medium-sized business (SMB). We’ll take a look at the initial steps that can spell the difference between a successful migration and one that fails miserably.

Essential Initial Steps in Migration Planning

Cloud migration requires a company to take several steps to ensure the process gets off to a good start and is positioned for success. It is important to execute these steps sequentially to lay a strong foundation and build momentum for the migration. Each step provides significant information necessary to facilitate subsequent migration activities.

Define the migration objectives

The first step is to define the objectives and reasons for the migration. Simply because it is the popular thing to do is not sufficient incentive to initiate the migration of an IT environment. There should be compelling business reasons to move from on-premises solutions to the cloud or to change cloud providers.

A company’s objectives for a cloud migration can vary widely and may be based on factors outside of its control. Issues that may motivate an organization to consider a migration include:

  • Updating their technology to maintain competitiveness and address emerging business trends;
  • Modernizing their IT environment to take advantage of new technological solutions such as advanced analytics or artificial intelligence;
  • Enhancing performance and productivity by implementing cloud-based software solutions;
  • Improving security by taking advantage of the industry-standard solutions deployed by cloud providers;
  • Facilitating universal data access to support a mobile workforce;
  • Reducing the responsibility of maintaining and supporting an on-premises environment;
  • Reducing the cost of running business-critical IT processes.

Assess the existing environment

This step may overlap with defining the objectives to some extent. It also provides essential input for determining a migration strategy. Companies need to conduct a thorough and objective assessment of the existing environment. The focus should be on how aspects and elements of the current environment address the migration’s objectives.

The assessment should include a complete inventory of the environment’s hardware and software components. Network dependencies need to be considered when migrating to a new infrastructure. Organizations should collect performance and resource usage metrics for comparison with the proposed cloud solutions. This exercise offers an opportunity to evaluate the potential for existing systems and components to address business requirements.

Determine the migration strategy

The preceding information is crucial when determining the right migration strategy. The following strategies, commonly known as the 6 Rs of cloud migration, may all be appropriate for part or all of the systems and infrastructure components that will be migrated.

  • Re-host – This strategy simply moves the existing environment to the public cloud without making any changes to workflows. It is a fast solution but does not take full advantage of the cloud.
  • Re-platform – Systems are optimized where possible to make best use of the cloud. Systems need to be thoroughly tested when using this strategy and evaluated against metrics gathered before the migration.
  • Repurchase – Companies replace existing applications with new ones purchased from cloud providers in this strategy.
  • Retain – The migration assessment may have identified infrastructure components that can be retained such as databases that store regulated data.
  • Retire – The assessment might also point out systems that no longer serve a business purpose and can be retired.
  • Re-factor – This strategy rearchitects systems or applications so they take full advantage of cloud capabilities. While this is the most time-consuming strategy, it has the potential to obtain the maximum value from the cloud.

In many cases, a combination of strategies is employed for various components to optimize their post-migration performance. The most cost-effective strategy may involve using more than one cloud provider. Working with an experienced partner can help an SMB make the correct migration strategy decisions and get the most value from its cloud investment.

Getting an Expert Perspective on Your Cloud Migration

It can be challenging for SMBs to effectively plan a cloud migration. In many cases, this is the first time an organization has gone through this exercise. Many potential pitfalls can negatively impact the migration and reduce or eliminate any expected benefits. A poorly planned migration can result in cost overruns, unexpected outages of mission-critical systems, and an inefficient and ill-performing cloud environment.

The best way to get started on the right foot with your cloud migration is to engage experts who are familiar with the process. VAST IT Services can provide your business with knowledge and expertise to help you plan a successful migration. They will help you steer clear of expensive and performance-impacting mistakes while meeting the business objectives driving the move.

VAST has your back with a wide range of services related to planning and executing a cloud migration. Start by leveraging VAST’s comprehensive discovery and assessment service to collect in-depth data on your existing infrastructure. The automated discovery process creates an inventory of systems, applications, and metrics that is an essential element of a successful cloud migration.

Our experts can help guide you when selecting your migration strategy and the platform on which to implement it. Their experience with multiple cloud providers ensures that the right solution is chosen for your business.

Talk to VAST today and take the first steps toward a successful cloud migration.