What Is Cloud Migration?
Simply stated, cloud migration is the process of relocating your applications, workloads, and data to cloud infrastructure. You may relocate all of your systems & assets to a cloud, or most likely, you’ll choose to keep some applications and services on-premise. Your cloud infrastructure may be public (shared), private (dedicated), or a hybrid blending public and private.
Cloud Migration Strategy
We’ve prepared our Cloud Migration Checklist because migration is an intricate process that requires extensive planning. A structured approach is mandatory for an effective and safe migration. Your strategy should define migration goals, set a timeline, and outline potential problems. You should discuss which existing workloads should move to the cloud and which should remain on-premise. You may also want to perform a gap analysis to identify new workloads or applications to build in the cloud. You should clearly define roles and responsibilities in the project. And a smart cloud migration strategy should also outline risk, budget, operations, security, and communication with stakeholders.
1. Set the Stage
- Define the project’s primary objective(s)
- List all known assumptions about the project
- Describe the organization’s readiness
- Research a suitable cloud provider
- Select a suitable cloud provider
- Determine need for single or multi-cloud approach
- Determine need for public, private, or hybrid approach
- Cost estimate for migration
- Cost analysis for overall project
2. Outline Roles & Responsibilities
- Sponsor: The sponsor owns it. Responsible for migration strategy, IT organization, and change management. Should be respected, visionary, and transformative to manage the cultural shift. Should be fluent in cloud concepts.
- Solution Architect: The architect designs it. Responsible for designing and managing the cloud architecture. Should be an engineer with cloud technology and cloud migration experience.
- Cloud Administrator: The administrator runs it. Responsible for making sure you have the required cloud resources. Should have strong knowledge of cloud networking, virtual machines, application development, IaaS and PaaS.
- Cloud Security Manager: The security manager locks it down. Responsible for setting and maintaining security rules in your cloud environment, including access to cloud resources by groups, accounts, and users. Should be certified in cloud security management and familiar with your cloud policy needs.
- Compliance Manager: The compliance manager verifies you’re following the rules. Responsible for compliance certifications and compliance standards. Works closely with legal team and Cloud Security Manager.
- Project Manager: The project manager keeps everything moving. Responsible for overall task management, status reporting, and project documentation. Should ideally be familiar with cloud migration projects and adept in agile methodology. If outside vendors are used, the project manager must liaise.
- IT Manager: The IT manager understands the legacy systems. Responsible for guiding the migration of workloads, systems, and data. Should be helpful in addressing functionality requirements during transition. Ideally can help with development and quality assurance to verify functionality operates properly in the new environment.
- Training Manager: The training manager maps old to new so the organization can transition smoothly. Responsible for related documentation and knowledge transfer to the end users of the organization. As an example, the training manager should share best practices for security with cloud materials.
- Third Party Vendors: One or more of these roles may involve a third party vendor such as a consultant. Should be certified, vetted, and experienced with whatever role is engaged.
3. Determine Workloads to Migrate
- Classify your workloads.
- Business area(s) like Company, Sales, Marketing, Finance
- Application “size” — number of users, complexity of processing, data requirements
- Effort to migrate
- Review needs of public vs. private cloud environments for each workload.
- Review your application source code where possible — migration feasibility.
- Review your database requirements.
- Platform (SQL Server, MySQL, Postgres, MongoDB, Oracle, etc.)
4. Define Migration Priorities
- Rehost: “Lift & Shift”, moving applications to the cloud as-is.
- Replatform: Move applications to the cloud without major changes — just tweaking to take advantage of the cloud.
- Retire: Replace the application with a cloud-native application.
- Refactor: Modify applications so they work in the new cloud environment.
- Rebuild: Rewrite the application completely to leverage the cloud.
- Repurchase: Switch to a different product, like from network license to SaaS.
- Retain: Keep mission-critical business applications “as is” and revisit later.
5. List Migration Dependencies
- Workloads: A critical factor in cloud migration, especially as it relates to coniguration and budgeting, is the workloads. You must have a grasp of the amount of computing power (number of machines, processors, memory, storage) required to even begin. In addition, you’ll need to know what type of infrastructure (load balancers, databases, storage) is required.
- Security: When you move to the cloud some security responsibilities transfer to your cloud provider, and others fall upon you (a shared responsibility model). For all cloud deployment, you are responsible for protecting the security of your data and identities, on-premises resources, and the cloud components you control. Do not underestimate the requirements for security in your systems.
- Compliance: If your systems must follow industry guidelines (e.g., HIPAA, PCI), you should factor the requirements and costs into your planning. Compliance is always an ongoing practice, so regular audits are needed.
6. Schedule the Migration Timeline
- Prepare Your Roadmap: Each cloud migration has a series of steps. Steps often have dependencies. Your roadmap should indicate what the sequences are. What must happen first? Can you run tasks in parallel? How do you test?
- Calendar: Using your roadmap, look at the calendar. Keep an eye on holidays, including key employee vacations, in planning. Are there conflicts or risks? Do you have enough time to test? Did you consider delays?
7. Create a Contingency Plan
- Infrastructure: Include sufficient overlapping time with your existing infrastructure in the event of delays or problems.
- Human Resources: Plan for staff to be unavailable occasionally. Your migration may be on top of someone’s regular work.
- Assets: Backup, backup, backup. And then backup. Ensure your assets, such as applications & data, are protected.
- Communication: Have a plan for how issues are communicated. With pressure on, the team needs to maintain its communication cool.
8. Build a Communication Plan
- Daily Progress Check-ins
- Weekly Progress Check-ins
- Milestone Progress Check-ins
9. Specify Key Performance Metrics
- Page loading speed
- Response time
- Session length
- Number of errors
- Disc performance
- Memory usage
- Customer experience/satisfaction
- Customer experience
- Perform retrospective on best practices, lessons learned.
- Performance monitoring
- Compare with pre-migration for uptime, responsiveness, errors.
- Monitor & audit security and compliance. Address omissions & errors.
- Factor in migration and operating costs to measure investment vs. original budget.
- Outline areas to improve and future expansion (wish list) plans.
- Share results with stakeholders.
Prepare Your Cloud Migration Checklist
Understanding what cloud migration is and what is involved in making it happen will help you prepare the best strategy to achieve a smooth transition to the cloud. You can choose from a number of migration approaches, from a “simple” lift & shift to an entirely new cloud application setup. Our cloud migration checklist should provide a framework for your plans. After all, our work in the cloud over the past decade has given us quite a few lessons to share…
If you have additional questions about cloud migration or our AWS Cloud Migration Checklist, please contact us.