How to Streamline the Process of Migration to the Cloud?
12 Feb 2024
In a world driven by innovation, the statistics surrounding cloud migration highlight its crucial role in reshaping the modern business landscape. According to recent industry reports provided by Gartner, 85% of organizations will employ a cloud-first principle by 2025. Furthermore, over 95% of all the new digital workloads will be implemented on cloud-native platforms, increasing from 30% in 2021, once again highlighting the widespread recognition of cloud technology as a cornerstone for organizational growth.
As businesses increasingly invest in the cloud, understanding the nuances of a structured cloud migration process becomes paramount. To help you navigate the whole thing, we have made a cloud migration checklist which displays the main steps and strategies you need to implement in order to have a smooth and painless migration.
So, let’s dive right in.
Cloud Migration Steps Checklist
Stage 1: Pre-Migration Preparations
You can’t dive head-first into the cloud migration process. The latter requires a lot of careful planning and solid preparation. Here is what you need to include in your agenda at this stage:
1. Gain Buy-In and Secure Approval
To ensure an effective cloud migration process, you need to gain the approval of everyone in responsible positions in your company. If you have an in-house tech team, don’t just burden them with this task because it’s not going to be merely a technological change. Make sure that senior staff members and C-level executives are all involved in the whole process. This is important because cloud migration can also come with changes in the functional roles and business operations.
Those in leadership will need to train employees, change their roles, or have them reskilled in order to meet the business goals. Often, the in-house tech teams of organizations already have a lot on their plate and might not be able to handle another complex and completely new process. This is why you may also need to consider outsourcing your cloud migration needs to a third-party software vendor. In any case, the decision should be made with the guidance and approval of all the leading staff members.
2. Create a Financial Plan
Cloud migration requires funds and financial investments. Plan your finances ahead of time in order to avoid issues later when you are already halfway through the migration process. Such factors as data storage, tools for testing and monitoring, processing power, security services, and employee training or recruitment can affect the cost of the overall cloud migration for your company.
3. Assign a Specialist in the Cloud Migration Architect Role
The migration architect is in charge of all the planning and execution of the migration process. They will define the refactoring for a seamless migration, design the cloud migration strategies, determine the cloud requirements, and migration priorities. You can either hire an in-house migration architect or outsource to a third-party provider.
4. Evaluate Your Current Infrastructure
Thoroughly map out your current infrastructure, which entails a comprehensive assessment of your current systems, applications, and data. This will help you understand their compatibility with cloud environments. Once you know the functionalities and dependencies of your existing infrastructure, you will be able to plan an effective cloud transfer strategy. This way you will have every detail at hand whenever needed and always know precisely where your migration strategy is headed.
5. Set Migration KPIs
Having measurable goals and objectives will guide your migration process in the right direction. Ultimately, what you expect from cloud migration comes down to operational benefits and/or cost reduction. Whether it is improved user experience and business engagement or reduced infrastructure costs, your KPIs should clearly reflect those both pre- and post-migration.
Here are some sample KPIs to help you set your own:
- Page load time
- Response time
- Session duration
- Error rates
- Apdex (application performance index)
- CPU usage (%)
- Disk performance
- Memory usage
- Network throughput
- Cart adds
- Conversions and conversion rate
- Engagement rates
6. Devise a Risk Mitigation Plan
Identify the potential risks and build strategies to address them when the migration is underway. Consider the possibility of such issues as data loss, system downtime, or security vulnerabilities. Having a solid risk mitigation plan in place will help you carry out the cloud migration process with the least amount of disruptions and difficulties.
7. Select the Cloud Provider
Next in your cloud migration strategy planning is the selection of your cloud provider. There are multiple cloud providers but the big players in the market, and the most reliable ones, for that matter, are the following:
- Microsoft Azure: First introduced in 2008, Microsoft Azure is now one of the most demanded cloud platforms out there. It comes with open-source software packages, solutions for big data, IoT, ML, and AI, as well as a robust security system.
- Google Cloud: Launched in 2008 and available to a limited number of users back then, Google Cloud is now a big fish in the cloud market as well, offering a wide range of cloud services that are backed by well-established security practices.
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): Established in 2006 and being the pioneer in cloud computing, AWS offers over 200 fully featured services, covering all aspects of modern technology, from AI, ML, and IoT to compute and storage.
Choosing between Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS comes down to your organization’s specific needs, your existing software infrastructure, the workload type, etc. However, we have a few tips that might help you make the right decision:
- If your company runs on Windows and uses a lot of Microsoft software, Azure can be a good choice for you.
- If you are on a tight budget, Google Cloud is probably what you need.
8. Choose the Cloud Environment
Choosing the cloud environment again depends on the type of your organization and the specifications of your cloud migration strategy. Many businesses, though, use a combination of the four main types of cloud environments:
- Public Cloud: Being the most affordable one, a public cloud is a server that you will share with other companies. There are no maintenance costs involved. Public clouds are quite flexible when it comes to the pricing and scalability. The main disadvantage of a public cloud is that you will have very little control over it and the security is also not that reliable.
- Private Cloud: In this case, you have a private server which you can use for your organization only. Private clouds are highly secure with all the right security measures in place and they are also quite customizable. The only issue here is the price - private clouds come with quite high maintenance costs.
- Hybrid Cloud: A hybrid cloud is an amalgam of both private and public clouds, combining the features of each - the security of a private cloud and the scalability of a public cloud. The drawbacks of a hybrid cloud are its complexity and sometimes hidden costs.
- Multi-Cloud: It is also possible for a business to use more than one cloud environment at a time. Multi-cloud infrastructure comes with higher operational speed and has more innovative features. However, it can also have security vulnerabilities which is the result of poor visibility across different clouds.
9. Pick the Cloud Migration Strategy
There are several main strategies for the migration of your applications to the cloud. Let’s have a quick overview of each:
- Rehosting (Lift & Shift): This means moving your applications to the cloud without significant modifications and changes. Both, your on-premises server and the cloud system will be kept running until the new environment is ready to be used.
- Replatforming: More complex systems use refactoring through which the tech team changes the configuration of legacy apps in order to make them more suitable for the cloud environment. In other words, you add an additional modernization phase to your migration process to make the most of the cloud’s benefits.
- Repurchasing: As the name suggests, repurchasing involves discarding the existing application and purchasing a new cloud-native one.
- Refactoring (Re-architecting): This strategy involves restructuring or rewriting the application to leverage cloud-native features. Refactoring brings a lot of benefits to the table - enhanced scalability, increased efficiency, and agility, helping you get the best possible features of the cloud. However, it can be quite time-consuming, requiring an essential amount of resources that can pose potential business risks.
- Rebuilding: In this case, you develop the application from scratch using cloud-native services. Rebuilding can be costly and time-consuming.
- Retiring: In case of this strategy, you decommission or eliminate certain applications or services that are no longer needed in the cloud environment.
- Retaining: With this method, you do a partial transfer of your digital infrastructure to the cloud, while preserving the locality of certain applications.
Choosing the right strategy for your cloud migration process can be tough. Here are some factors to consider before making a final decision: architecture, workload, pricing, risks, security, functionality, and complexity. Assess your business goals and plans and determine the amount of time you are willing to invest in cloud migration because it can sometimes put your business operations on hold for a while. Consult a specialist if you don’t know which way to go.
Stage 2: The Cloud Migration is Underway
Now that you have done all the preparations, it’s high time to put them into practice. The steps included at this stage are as follows:
1. Do Schema Conversion
During the cloud migration process, particularly in database migrations, schema conversion involves adapting the database schema to be compatible with the target cloud environment. This step ensures that the database structure is optimized for the specific features and requirements of the chosen cloud platform. Schema conversion is crucial for maintaining data integrity and application functionality in the new cloud setting. Such tasks as modifying data types, tables, views, and stored procedures are carried out so as to match the new database system.
2. Execute the Data Migration
This step involves implementing the migration plan via transferring data and applications to the cloud. Such critical information as customer records, transactions, and business files are to be effectively and safely moved to the cloud without any compromise to data integrity and security.
3. Carry out Monitoring and Updating
Monitoring means continuously tracking performance, security, and potential issues during the migration process. It is also important to update your applications based on the demands of the new infrastructure - this involves adjusting the code, reconfiguring the settings, or adapting interfaces to acquire the benefits of cloud services.
Validate migrated components to ensure functionality and identify any post-migration issues through testing. Migration testing ensures that the data has been moved accurately, the applications operate properly, and there are no other issues in the new cloud infrastructure hindering your business processes. Migration testing should be done before the final implementation.
5. Make the Final Switch
After you have fine-tuned configurations for efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, you can freely switch to the new database and cloud infrastructure.
6. Train Your Staff
Stage 3: Post-Migration Checklist
The cloud migration process does not end once your data and applications are on the new cloud infrastructure. Here is a short post-migration to-do list for you and your tech team:
1. Perform Continuous Maintenance
Once you complete the migration, you need to ensure that data integrity and security are properly maintained. This includes continuous monitoring and implementation of the required security measures and best practices in order to keep your data safe from potential attacks and breaches.
You should also keep an eye on the system’s performance, detect inefficiencies, and act accordingly to enhance a better cloud operation.
Establish solid disaster recovery and backup mechanisms through setting up regular data backups and deploying recovery procedures that will safeguard your business’ continuity even in case of an unexpected failure.
2. Focus on Cost Optimization and Resource Scaling
Always be informed of the resources spent on your cloud infrastructure. This way you will be able to easily identify areas for cost savings and deploy strategies that will optimize spending and resource allocation.
Take advantage of the flexibility and agility of cloud infrastructure and scale your resources up or down based on your needs and demands. To reach the best results, we recommend that you regularly assess your resource requirements to ensure that all resources are used according to your changing needs and nothing goes to waste.
3. Measure the Ongoing Benefits and Results Against Your KPIs
A good way to see if your cloud adoption strategy is going right is to look at the results and benefits that you are receiving and compare them to your initially set KPIs. Test your apps in this new environment to see if the new programs are functioning properly and if you are reaping the benefits of the new features and functionalities. You might not hit your KPIs right away but in the long run, the results have to become visible.
Caught up in the Maze of Cloud Migration? Let VOLO Team Help You
We know that cloud migration is not an easy endeavor, especially for those who are not familiar with it. You can find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance of information that is available on the digital web of wonders and end up delaying your cloud migration until it’s too late.
If your in-house tech team is too busy to be burdened with a new and complex task such as cloud migration, our experienced specialists would be happy to guide you through the whole process. We will closely assess and examine your existing software infrastructure and recommend you the right cloud migration strategy that fits your business goals and needs the best.
More helpful resources:
- Does My Enterprise Need Digital Transformation?
- VOLO Earned the Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure Specialization
- Microsoft Azure vs. AWS vs. Google Cloud: Which One to Choose?
- 7 Benefits of Azure Cloud Migration from On-Premises Data Centers
- 7 Strategies for Modernizing Your Business Apps