The Essentials Of An Effective Cloud Migration Strategy
Migrating your applications to the cloud offers lots of benefits, such as less operational and maintenance costs, scalability, elasticity, reliability, security, high-availability, etc. But in order to get these benefits of cloud migration, you must have an effective cloud migration strategy in place. Also, you need to execute that strategy successfully as well. Otherwise, you will fall into the cloud washing trap like many other companies, whose legacy IT systems were just moved to the cloud without considering the industry practices or making any effort to help them meet their business goals or the benefits of the cloud.
Considering the findings of a study by The Bloor Groups, which states that “the data migration projects fail 38% of the time”, and a Gartner’s 2014 study: Best Practices Mitigate Data Migration Risks and Challenges, which cites that “through 2019, over 50% of data migration projects will exceed budget and/or result in some form of business disruption due to flawed execution”, you must create an effective cloud migration strategy that focuses on the specific challenges and requirements of your business.
Your cloud migration strategy must include your ROI goals as well as the specific requirements of your existing IT systems and applications. Also, before choosing any cloud migration service provider, it is very important to make sure that cloud migration is really a necessity for your business and the solution offered by your cloud migration service provider is reliable, cost-effective, secure, and easy to scale.
The best way to determine this is by consulting your cloud migration service provider and asking them as many questions as you can to make sure that they are willing to understand your specific business requirements, their risks, and the opportunities that come along with them.
Before you approach your cloud migration service provider, make sure that your cloud migration strategy answers the following three questions.
- Why are you migrating to the cloud?
- What are the business benefits of your cloud migration strategy?
- How will you measure the success of your cloud migration strategy?
Also, it is very necessary to discuss your cloud migration strategy with all the stakeholders of the project so that you can know if they have any concerns, queries, or feedback. This will help you in avoiding unexpected challenges or issues during the execution of your cloud migration strategy.
What is the best cloud migration strategy?
The best cloud migration strategy includes the following:
– An effective cloud migration plan
– Clearly defined project milestones
– Clearly defined roles of each person involved in the migration
– A project manager to manage the entire cloud migration process
– A systematic communication strategy to keep everyone informed
– A common platform for everyone to raise the issues as they arise
What is an effective cloud migration plan?
An effective cloud migration plan contains detailed information on each and every stage of your cloud migration journey – right from beginning to end. To develop an effective cloud migration strategy, make sure it includes the following:
– A list of all the applications and data that you want to migrate
– A list of all the people working on each application
– Exact compute capacity utilized by each application
– Scope of your applications’ high availability and downtime
– The method of testing your cloud migration plan
5 Tips for Creating an Effective Cloud Migration Strategy Plan
1. While creating a list of all the applications and data that you want to migrate to the cloud, make sure that you prioritize your list of applications and data according to their significance in your business operations. The best approach is assigning a tier to each application according to its acceptable Recovery Time Objective or Recovery Point Objective (RTO/RPO). For example, you can assign tier 1 to the application which can’t be down for more than 5-15 minutes without affecting your business operations significantly. And, tier 5 to the application which can’t be down for more than 12 hours without making a significant impact on your critical business operations. Apart from identifying the RTO/RPO windows, you must also consider the regulatory, compliance (such as HIPAA, PII and PCI Compliance) and security restrictions of your applications and data before migrating them to the cloud.
2. While creating a list of people working on each application that you want to migrate to the cloud, make sure that you know who is going to manage each application and who will need access to it. Consulting the people working on each application before moving it to the cloud and keeping them informed throughout the cloud migration process is a great way to avoid any problems in the future.
3. While calculating the existing compute capacity utilized by your applications, make sure you calculate the unused capacity of the physical hardware because it will not only help you to determine the exact cloud compute requirement of your applications but also save a lot of money that you would have to pay each month for your unused cloud compute capacity.
4. Before moving your applications to the cloud, make sure that you understand the scope of your applications’ high availability and the consequences of their downtime because it will help you in identifying the applications which can be migrated with minimal to no time. Similarly, it will also help you in identifying the applications which can’t be migrated without affecting your business operations or customer experience. You can also use this information to bring down your applications’ downtime or maintenance window to keep the loss of revenue as minimum as possible.
5. While testing your cloud migration plan, make sure that you declare a maintenance window and power down all the applications before executing a test migration because this will help you not only in knowing the exact time required by your applications to come online post-migration but also the potential connectivity issues, which could not be identified earlier. The availability of real data will also help you in minimizing the unknown issues while allowing you to include the actual time in your cloud migration plan. The best way to execute a test cloud migration is moving the company’s disaster recovery environment to the cloud because this will help you in ascertaining the accuracy of your cloud migration plan and identify its potential loopholes, which you can fix before including them in your cloud migration plan to minimize the risk factor. You can also virtualize your backup environment in order to test the migration of your production environment.