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Navigating the Move to the Cloud: Tips for Success
By: John Tsuetaki on January 27, 2023
The Covid-19 outbreak has led to a shift in which many businesses have adopted the cloud as a way to enhance their operations. The cloud enables increased agility, addressing inefficiencies, and delivering improved customer experiences.
With the growing understanding of the benefits of cloud migration, organizations of all sizes are continuing to move their operations to the cloud.
If you are new to the concept of cloud migration, this article will provide an overview of:
- What cloud migration is
- Factors to consider before migrating to the cloud
- Cloud migration approaches
- The cloud migration process
- The benefits of migrating to the cloud
What is Cloud Migration
Cloud migration is defined as the process of moving digital assets — including workloads, databases, IT resources, and applications either partially or wholly from an on premises environment to a public or private cloud environment such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.
The goal is to take advantage of the benefits that cloud computing can provide, such as scalability, cost-effectiveness, and improved disaster recovery.
Factors to consider before Migrating to the Cloud
For organizations to successfully migrate to the cloud, it is crucial for them to have a comprehensive understanding of the migration process. This knowledge will also assist in identifying the necessary capabilities and activities required to execute a successful migration.
To prepare for a successful cloud migration, organizations should:
- Clearly define the business goals for the migration
- Evaluate the costs and needs associated with the migration
- Assess the current environment and applications
- Decide on a single or multi-cloud environment
- Select a deployment model (IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS)
- Partner with a reputable cloud provider
- Select the appropriate architecture for the new cloud infrastructure
- Prioritize which components to migrate first
- Establish performance baselines for critical systems
- Develop a comprehensive data migration plan
Cloud Migration Approaches
Once a migration plan has been established and the workloads to be migrated have been identified, it is important to select the most appropriate method for transitioning to the cloud. There are various paths to choose from, depending on factors such as the level of engineering effort required, time constraints, and resource needs.
Gartner has identified five cloud migration paths, referred to as the "5 Rs", which include:
- Refactoring - This path requires significant forethought, engineering effort, planning, and time to implement, but it is considered one of the most stable options.
- Repurchasing - This path involves using automated processes and pre-built infrastructure templates.
- Replatforming - This path is partially automated and typically employs Infrastructure as Code methods, but also requires manual intervention from system administrators.
- Rehosting - This traditional "lift and shift" method involves migrating the existing infrastructure as-is to the cloud.
- Rebuilding - This path involves completely replacing the existing codebase with a new one, but it is time-consuming and only considered when the current solutions no longer meet business needs.
The Cloud Migration Process
Every business has unique requirements, and the migration process can vary based on factors such as the maturity of applications, the level of infrastructure complexity, and the skill level of the IT team. As a general rule, however, all migrations will typically involve the following five steps.
It is essential to ensure that these steps are taken to avoid making the wrong choices in terms of methodology and technology, which can lead to failures during the migration process.
Step 1 - Plan and Assess
Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your current environment, including dependencies, applications, services, and physical and virtual server configurations. Capture all relevant information, including any shadow IT implementations and third-party resources that may impact the migration if not properly addressed.
Step 2 - Design
Identify and evaluate applications, databases, storage, and physical and virtual servers that are suitable for migration to the cloud. Develop service level agreements (SLAs), consider user needs, compliance requirements, dependencies, and security considerations.
Create contingency plans and rollback options to address potential issues or the ability to undo the migration if necessary. Gather necessary resources for migration and ongoing maintenance. Document a detailed migration plan for selected elements.
Step 3 - Pilot Migration
Address any issues identified during the design phase. Assemble the migration team, including both technical and business members and establish communication and training plans. Using the migration plan developed in the design phase, schedule a pilot migration in a non-production environment to test and address any issues that may arise.
Develop a comprehensive runbook that documents the pre-migration requirements, production environment needs, post-migration testing protocols, and guidelines for determining when to proceed and when to halt the migration.Scale horizontally to increase aggregate workload availability.
Step 4 - Migrate
Schedule the migration at a time that will minimize disruptions to business operations, such as weekends, overnight, or during holiday breaks. Be sure to follow the plan and procedures outlined in the migration runbook to ensure a smooth and successful migration.
Step 5 - Validate the Migration
To ensure a successful migration and avoid potential issues such as troubleshooting failures, service disruptions, data inconsistencies, or performance issues, it is important to conduct security testing and perform post-migration validation through thorough planning and pilot projects prior to the migration. This will allow for prompt resolution of any major issues that may arise.
Additionally, it is important to maintain updated contact information for both internal IT staff and the cloud provider's technical support team in case of any unexpected problems.
Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud
Migrating to the cloud can provide a variety of advantages for your business, such as:
- Increased agility and flexibility
- Improved performance
- Easing the demands of growing resources
- Ability to innovate faster
- Reduction in costs
- Deliver immediate business results
- Simplify IT
- Managing customer expectations more effectively
- Effective management of consumption
- Shift to everything-as-a-service
By considering the steps mentioned above during your cloud migration process, you can ensure a successful transition to the cloud.
If you have decided to move your business to the cloud, please contact us.
Global Technology Solutions Inc. (GTS) is an AWS advanced consulting partner. Our cloud migration experts will be with you every step of the way, from selecting which workloads to migrate to managing and optimizing your new cloud platform.