Plan Ahead For A Successful Cloud Migration

Plan Ahead For A Successful Cloud Migration

Migrating your information systems to the cloud can be a complex process. However, the factors most attributable to the success of the project are not. By addressing these issues well in advance, you will avoid many of the pitfalls that can derail migration projects.

Below are some questions to ask before you initiate the project. Your responses will provide a clear roadmap for the overall project and should make it easier to isolate and resolve more technical issues as they arise.

cloud-migration

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

Why are you migrating your systems to the cloud?

Identify the core reasons for migrating each of your applications to the cloud. Although there is clearly an industry trend toward cloud migration, it is not necessarily the best solution for all of your applications.

If the driving factor is cost savings, be sure that your cost analysis is accurate. While cloud deployments may well provide long term cost savings, they may not always have the immediate impact that many organizations are looking for.

What type of cloud services do you need?

Your reasons for migrating should quickly lead you to which types of cloud services you need.

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS): Generally provides only the physical or virtual servers along with the infrastructure to run them.
  • Platform as a Service (PAAS): In addition to IAAS services, an operating system and language interpreter is included.
  • Software as a Service (SAAS): In addition to PAAS services, the application software is included. This is typically a complete turn-key software solution.

Are you interested in public, private or hybrid clouds?

With public clouds, your applications are run on servers shared with other entities. Private clouds generally require dedicated servers either locally or hosted. Public clouds tend to be more flexible, scalable and affordable while private clouds tend to be more secure. As the name implies hybrid clouds employ a mix of both public and private clouds. Below are some other issues that may affect your decision.

  • Regulatory Constraints – If you are associated with the health care or financial industries, there may be privacy or control issues that preclude you from using a public cloud for some of your applications or data. Organizations subject to PCI compliance may have similar issues. Be sure to identify any that may affect you.
  • Security Concerns – Even if it is allowed, some organizations are still uncomfortable storing sensitive data in the public cloud. Assess the situation at your particular organization.
  • Performance – While the public cloud will frequently improve performance, it can also have negative impacts on some applications or databases. The potential effects on performance should be reviewed for each individual application you hope to migrate.
  • Even if limitations on some applications or data mandate a private cloud, it’s likely that you have other applications or data that are perfectly suited to the public cloud. In this case, a hybrid cloud solution may be the best for you.

Which applications should you migrate first (if any)?

The conventional wisdom is that cloud migration should be a gradual process. The easiest applications should be migrated first. These will provide good testing, comfort level and even training for the more difficult applications to come. Here’s what to look for:

  • If you are adding new applications that are conducive to the cloud, be sure to focus on these first. If these are replacing an existing system, you may be able to eliminate most of the migration tasks for the old application altogether.
  • If you are upgrading existing applications, it may make sense to go ahead and include the cloud migration in the upgrade process.
  • Software licensing is a critical issue when it comes to cloud migration. Be sure that you thoroughly review the cost implications for each software license to avoid big surprises when you go live.
  • The architecture of some applications is simply not conducive to a cloud environment, particularly when it comes to performance. Review this issue for every application you plan to migrate. Mobile apps, web apps and even some old mainframe based apps may work best. Some client–server applications, however, may be more of a challenge.
  • Stand-alone applications without many interfaces to other programs are generally better candidates for migration. Legacy systems with complex spaghetti-like linkages to other systems are the most difficult.
  • If you have already virtualized an application on a local server, it will be much easier to migrate to a cloud-based server. Some service providers have tools specifically developed to facilitate this.

Who will be your service provider?

Selecting a service provider that is a good fit for your organization is critical. Look for providers who already provide the same level of service for enterprises similar to yours. Be sure to address issues related to performance, reliability, backup and security with prospective providers.

Work with your provider to set up adequate testing environments. There is no substitution for exhaustive testing. Discuss contingency plans for rolling back the migration if unforeseen issues arise.

Drill down to the actual cost you can expect to pay for the service. Because there may be many cost variables, it might be helpful to estimate the costs associated with some hypothetical scenarios (perhaps light, medium and heavy loads).

Who will be affected by changes?

Once you have a good idea of where you are going with your project, it’s important to identify and communicate the expected impacts on the stakeholders in your organization. Migration projects can potentially change job responsibilities or eliminate positions altogether. These issues should be addressed and communicated to the affected employees on the front-end.

Try to get buy-in from all parties involved before you begin the implementation. An enthusiastic team will greatly contribute to the success of your project.

When properly done, migration to the cloud can transform your business and make you more competitive. Careful planning to develop a safe, measured approach to the project will help to ensure a successful outcome.

By Allison Rice,

Allison works for Amsterdam Printing, a leading provider of promotional products to grow your business and thank customers. Allison writes on Information Technology and marketing topics for the Small Business Know-How blog.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Report: Enterprise Cloud Computing Moves Into Mature Growth Phase

Report: Enterprise Cloud Computing Moves Into Mature Growth Phase

Verizon Cloud Report Enterprises using the cloud, even for mission-critical projects, is no longer new or unusual. It’s now firmly established as a reliable workhorse for an organization and one that can deliver great value and drive transformation. That’s according to a new report from Verizon entitled “State of the Market: Enterprise Cloud 2016.” which…

Cloud Computing Then & Now

Cloud Computing Then & Now

The Evolving Cloud  From as early as the onset of modern computing, the possibility of resource distribution has been explored. Today’s cloud computing environment goes well beyond what most could even have imagined at the birth of modern computing and innovation in the field isn’t slowing. A Brief History Matillion’s interactive timeline of cloud begins…

The Cloud Above Our Home

The Cloud Above Our Home

Our Home – Moving All Things Into The Cloud The promise of a smart home had excited the imagination of the movie makers long ago. If you have seen any TV shows in the nineties or before, the interpretation presented itself to us as a computerized personal assistant or a robot housekeeper. It was smart,…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

5 Predictions For Education Technology

5 Predictions For Education Technology

Education Technology Although technology has fast influenced most sectors of our world, education is an area that’s lagged behind. Many classrooms still employ the one-to-many lecturing model wherein the average student is catered for while a few are left behind, and others bored. Recently, there’s been a drive to uncover how to use technology successfully…

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most

The Industries That The Cloud Will Change The Most Cloud computing is rapidly revolutionizing the way we do business. Instead of being a blurry buzzword, it has become a facet of everyday life. Most people may not quite understand how the cloud works, but electricity is quite difficult to fathom as well. Anyway, regardless of…

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

Four Reasons Why CIOs Must Transform IT Into ITaaS To Survive

CIOs Must Transform IT The emergence of the Cloud and its three delivery models of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) has dramatically impacted and forever changed the delivery of IT services. Cloud services have pierced the veil of IT by challenging traditional method’s dominance…

How Data Science And Machine Learning Is Enabling Cloud Threat Protection

How Data Science And Machine Learning Is Enabling Cloud Threat Protection

Data Science and Machine Learning Security breaches have been consistently rising in the past few years. Just In 2015, companies detected 38 percent more security breaches than in the previous year, according to PwC’s Global State of Information Security Survey 2016. Those breaches are a major expense — an average of $3.79 million per company,…

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills Cloud technology has completely changed the infrastructure and internal landscape of both small businesses and large corporations alike. No professionals in any industry understand this better than IT pros. In a cutthroat field like IT, candidates have to be multi-faceted and well-versed in the cloud universe. Employers want to know that…

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

Protecting Devices From Data Breach: Identity of Things (IDoT)

How to Identify and Authenticate in the Expanding IoT Ecosystem It is a necessity to protect IoT devices and their associated data. As the IoT ecosystem continues to expand, the need to create an identity to newly-connected things is becoming increasingly crucial. These ‘things’ can include anything from basic sensors and gateways to industrial controls…