Cloud Migration

How to select the right cloud solution and best practices for a successful migration

2020 saw investments in cloud infrastructure overtake on-prem spending for the first time – and according Synergy Research Group – it did so by a wide margin. So why are more enterprises moving their data and workloads to a virtual cloud-based infrastructure?

On this page we’ve identified the types of cloud infrastructure you can adopt, the benefits of moving to the cloud, and the pitfalls to navigate for a pain-free enterprise cloud migration program.

Cloud Infrastructure Models

There are several cloud models you can adopt. Choose the one that best meets the needs of your enterprise:

Public Cloud
Public Cloud

Enterprises lease resources from a cloud service provider (CSP) including equipment. Using this model - also called multi-tenancy - multiple companies could share servers.

Multi-cloud
Multi-Cloud

Many enterprises choose to spread their assets across multiple CSPs for cost or availability reasons.  Learn more about key considerations for a multi-cloud strategy.

Private Cloud
Private Cloud

All equipment used is dedicated to one company. The cloud data center could be owned and managed by the enterprise itself, or an enterprise could adopt a co-location model, where it installs its own servers within a CSP’s facility.

Hybrid Solution
Hybrid Solution

Enterprises move some workloads to the cloud, while managing others on-prem for many reasons including security and governance policies.

You will also need to decide whether to perform a shallow or deep cloud integration:

Shallow Cloud Integrations
Shallow Cloud Integrations

Also known as ‘lift and shift’ migrations, where little or no changes are made to applications except what is needed to run them in the cloud.

Deep Cloud Integrations
Deep Cloud Integrations

Occurs when you modify your applications to take advantage of cloud capabilities such as auto-scaling, dynamic load balancing and serverless computing.

Why move to the cloud?

Gartner predicts that by 2024 more than 45% of IT spending will shift from traditional solutions to cloud, with spending on the cloud accelerating following the pandemic. So, why is the cloud so attractive to enterprise?


Cost Savings:
Maintaining dedicated resources can be costly. Even when a company operates its own cloud data center cost savings can be made. By using CSP resources, companies can reduce the headcount focused on managing data centers as well as CAPEX spending on equipment and OPEX spending such as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC).

Flexibility and Scalability: By adopting the cloud, companies can scale resources up and down quickly based on usage and only pay for the resources they use, all while reducing costs associated with running data centers themselves.

Availability: With data in the cloud, it’s still available if anything happens to physical equipment and users can access it from anywhere and on any devices.

Security: Most CSPs have robust security in-built so in many cases, your enterprise data could be made more secure. And by storing data in the cloud rather than on personal devices, there is less chance of a breach if a device is lost or stolen.

Risks of cloud migration

Enterprise cloud migrations are typically complex, multi-year projects. You must be aware of interdependencies and how they change over time - interdependencies grow, and data can be shared between multiple applications. As a result, there are many pitfalls to navigate, including:

Lack of vison

What has prompted you to adopt the cloud? Do governance policies dictate that you need to maintain resources on-prem? What CSPs align with your needs and business?

As with everything you need to plan your move. That means understanding your current application and workload requirements, researching CSPs, and getting to know your company policies and goals before you make any decisions or sign agreements.

Complexity of current IT architecture

How do you make your current environment ‘fit’ for the cloud. That requires much analysis of legacy systems to work out what you can move and what needs to stay on-prem, as well as what should be retired or reworked.

Overspending

Every CSP has their own pricing structure, and you need to right-size your move, so you aren’t paying for more than you need. To avoid wasting resources, you need to:

  • Assess your applications and workloads.
  • Work out what you no longer need by talking to teams and find out if there will be any changes to requirements in the near future.
  • Decide what can be moved to the cloud.
  • If you are moving to a multi-cloud environment, you’ll need to right-size your investment with each CSP. Presumably you’ve chosen each of them because they meet a certain need, so you’ll need to understand which workloads migrate to which CSP.
  • Decide on a budget threshold once you’ve migrated your data so that you receive alerts and can take decisions based on your usage as an ongoing process.
Added Latency

By moving resources to the cloud, you could incorporate delays. To avoid this, you could adopt a multi cloud strategy or work with CSPs with a global presence to locate applications geographically closer to the teams that use them.

Business Interruption

Do you have any legacy applications that aren’t compatible with the cloud? What do you need to move simultaneously to avoid issues? Use your source information to find out what you can and cannot move to the cloud as well as interdependencies – such as which applications share data. Don’t forget to talk to managers to understand which users’ applications needs to be migrated together. And make sure you have resources available to help with any issues during the migration.

Lack of visibility post migration

CSPs may offer a single management tool but if you’ve decided to move to a multi-cloud environment, you’ll need to collate data from all of those tools so that you have a clear picture. Monitoring your cloud usage and environment is vital to optimize performance and ensure there are no data breaches.

Best Practices for Cloud Migration

Clear migration strategy

Have a clear migration strategy:

The migration of your company’s most precious asset needs careful thought. Lack of planning can scupper your project so make sure you have clear visibility of your current environment, future data needs and interdependencies at all times. Completed manually, that means returning to your tools to refresh your view of applications and workloads as you progress the project and keeping in contact with managers to understand their teams’ changing needs.

Carefully evaluate CSPs

Carefully evaluate CSPs

Carefully evaluate CSPs against your needs and your governance and security policies to understand which providers are the right fit for your different workloads.

icon-test

Develop a test plan:

Work out which applications are the most critical by looking at your source data to find out who is using those applications and what those applications represent within the business. Pre-test critical applications (those that would halt business if they failed) during trials with your CSPs and develop a validation plan for important applications (those that would cause an issue if they failed but don’t affect critical operations), making sure you work with key users to validate everything is working during the migration and once it’s complete.

You should also document your baseline performance ahead of the move so you can compare and see there is no degradation to performance post-move.

icon-validation

Have a robust project plan in place:

Detailing what workloads and applications need to be moved together. This should include a cloud migration checklist and sub-plans such as test, timeline, communications, and mitigation plans, as well as contact information for all your project team members and stakeholders. Don’t forget to include any third-party requirements and details such as your future CSP’s needs.

icon-app-test

Monitor performance:

Monitor and manage performance by compiling data from all your CSP management tools as an ongoing program.

Stages of Cloud Migration

1. Define your cloud goals:

What are you trying to achieve with this migration? Work out your needs by looking at IT requests and talking with managers and leaders to understand company objectives and any new initiatives that could be incorporated. Look at CSPs to see which ones best meet your needs.

2. Map your existing infrastructure:

Assess your application and workload requirements. This should include extensive analysis of legacy systems to understand how they interact as well as what can be migrated and what needs to stay on-prem.

3. Design your migration:

Define which workloads can be moved to the cloud and what needs to be moved simultaneously. Understand what can be phased out ahead of the migration and define if you should adopt a deep cloud migration strategy or if a shallow migration would meet your needs. Once you have this information you need to create a project timeline:

  • Use migration waves for rollout leveraging the information you know about interdependencies and what needs to be moved simultaneously as well as what team workloads need to be moved together.
  • Avoid any blackout dates for moves by talking to managers and leaders to understand critical times for the business.
  • Define your testing plans based on the level of importance you have assigned to applications.
  • Create a communications plan, including communicating with validation teams and the wider organization.
  • Develop mitigation plans in case of any issues.
4. Execute your migration plan:
  • Make sure everything is replicated in the cloud and tested before you migrate production servers.
  • Ensure everyone knows their part in the migration.
  • Maintain communications with stakeholders to make sure every phase of the integration is complete.
  • Have resources available to deal with issues including answering user queries and implementing mitigation plans.
5. Validate success and communicate progress:

Talk with project members and users identified in your validation plan and compile reports to share with key stakeholders (likely on a weekly basis).

6. Decommission equipment no longer in use

and incorporate into your E-waste or IT asset disposition (ITAD) plan.

7. Monitor performance and security:

Monitor usage and performance across all your CSPs as an ongoing process so that you can identify anomalies and any possible breaches, and ensure you are getting what you pay for.

So, how long will it take to complete an enterprise cloud migration? That will depend on your organization size and complexity and what model you decide to move to, but it could extend to multiple years. Creating a robust plan for any enterprise migration is essential. Completed manually it’s going to take a lot of work to collect and analyze your information, map workloads to cloud service providers and define a plan. There are so many complexities and dependencies and many chances that your project can be sidetracked. The longer it takes to complete, the more chances there are to make errors.

Use ReadyWorks to save time and effort of your cloud migration

ReadyWorks believes in applying automation to cut 50% of the repetitive manual tasks and reduce the time and effort associated with cloud migration projects by:

De-risk your cloud migration with ReadyWorks. Schedule a Demo.

 

  • Connecting to all your tools, systems and databases and aggregating the data from all your legacy platforms into a single, centralized view in real time.
  • Providing you with information on interdependencies and analyzing information to define candidates for migration.
  • Alerting you to missing or incorrect information.
  • Organizing systems and applications into migration waves to ensure interdependent systems are moved simultaneously.
  • Orchestrating system and team tasks and task assignments such as scheduling and communications, triggered by milestone dates and events. Technical processes such as data backup and transfer are automated, as are validation plans.
  • Providing customized dashboards that allow you to share real-time views with all your stakeholders, and to continually monitor physical and virtual systems to improve IT asset lifecycle management (ITALM) and future business decisions.

RBC Migrates Data Center in 30% less time.

“ReadyWorks made it possible for us to execute the migration ahead of schedule without major disruption. They also reduced the project management workload to the degree where we didn’t need any additional project management resources.”

Read the customer success story →