Now, more than ever, the cloud has become vital for businesses to achieve digital transformation. But many organizations screw up cloud adoption when migrating to the cloud.
Research shows that nearly one-third of organizations fail to do cloud migration right. Many organizations do it in a haphazard manner and address specific concerns when they arise instead of creating an overall plan. It can lead to resources being spread randomly across various systems/functions and drive up costs, among other issues.
The key to successful cloud migration is to build an effective migration strategy. This article will focus on best practices to follow for crafting the ideal cloud migration strategy for your business. Before delving into it, let’s briefly look at what cloud migration is and its benefits.
Introduction to cloud migration
It refers to the process of moving your organization’s digital assets – data, applications, services, and other IT resources – wholly or partially into the cloud. It could also refer to moving from one cloud to another.
However, it isn’t just about making the move. It impacts all organizational aspects, including people, processes, and technology. And it is an iterative process of optimizing to reap the benefits of the cloud to the fullest extent, such as cost-efficiency, business continuity, agility, high scalability, and more. Below are some more benefits and reasons for migrating to the cloud.
Why is cloud migration needed?
Considering the benefits of cloud migration before planning the move is crucial. Will they apply to your organization and change the way it functions? If done right, here’s how cloud migration will help your business:
- Allows expansion and growth of business painlessly
- Tangible increase in performance and customer satisfaction
- Lowers costs
- High scalability as cloud infrastructure is always prepared to adjust to your levels of traffic
- High availability and reliability
- Eases IT infrastructure management
- Ensures disaster recovery with automatic backups
- Gives better mobility as employees can work remotely and collaborate well
There are numerous benefits of migrating to the cloud, not limited to the list above. However, the journey to the cloud differs for every organization. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy, which makes cloud migration complicated.
Therefore, an effective strategy is one that fits the needs, capabilities, and limitations of a particular organization operating in a specific business environment. So how do you build one?
Best practices for a successful cloud migration strategy
Plan for the migration
The plan for migration outlines all aspects, including the order in which your applications will be migrated, KPIs (key performance indicators), required training for the staff, deadlines for each step of the migration, and so on.
To help make the plan, you can take clues from the data your routine operations generate. The data gives you a comprehensive inventory of applications, servers, and dependent supporting technologies. Plus, it gives visibility into connections between microservices, applications, and users. Thus, you can visualize the key metrics and evaluate a “before” picture to compare it with the “after”. It helps confirm if the migration is meeting its objectives.
Monitor application performance with the right tools
Gather and review data about the current infrastructure configuration. So once the move to the cloud is complete, you can have a deeper understanding of your infrastructure’s new state.
With the right monitoring tools, you can observe the low-level resources such as CPU, disk, storage, and network that power your applications. It gives you good insights into the health of your base system. And combining the insights with application performance monitoring helps quickly identify over or under-provisioning in your new cloud environment.
Validate cloud security
Cloud security is one of the top challenges organizations face when migrating workloads to the cloud. However, keeping data and applications secure at every step (before, during, and after) of the migration is vital. Building in security too late is a significant risk that may leave your data vulnerable to security breaches.
It is essential to ensure your staff has the training and tools to avoid security threats from day one. Proper insights from the right tools can pinpoint existing security vulnerabilities, gaps (e.g., false positives), and violations (e.g., phishing, denial of service, etc.) which you can resolve instantly while migrating.
Track the important KPIs
Remember the KPIs you defined while planning the migration? Measuring them and monitoring the process to identify and remediate performance issues during the migration is crucial. Moreover, comparing the same metrics before and after the transition helps assess whether your cloud migration was successful.
There are various indicators to track as you journey from on-premise to the cloud. However, it is vital to set up and regularly evaluate KPIs that are both technical and business-oriented indicators. Lastly, they can also guide the cost efficiency of your cloud computing initiative.
Every organization is subject to regulatory and compliance requirements of the industry it serves. Thus, simply implementing a cloud migration strategy may not be enough. You should continuously monitor and adjust the migrations for ongoing support, governance, and compliance requirements. Failing to adhere to them has serious consequences, including potential civil and even criminal penalties.
For instance, the security teams can monitor for risk and compliance issues. And they can also be up to date with what your chosen cloud provider is responsible for and what aspects of compliance and security needs to be handled internally.
Ensure data portability and interoperability
Many businesses choose to migrate some workloads to the cloud and continue to run some on-premise, keeping a broader cloud strategy in mind. While other businesses also opt for a multi-cloud strategy, running workloads in multiple public clouds. Thus, it is important to ensure workload/data portability and interoperability for reaping the full benefits of a multi-cloud or a hybrid cloud computing model.
You can capture and transform your data into real-time analytics and insights to instantly provide singular visibility across your complex, modern environments. In addition, you can have a universal data collection strategy instead of multiple disparate tools to drive data portability and interoperability.
Codify monitoring workflows
Codifying your monitoring workflows into declarative configuration files allows you to treat them as code, edit, review, and version them, and share them amongst team members easily. And if you plan to move forward with agile, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), agile release chains, or similar approaches, this can help speed up your time through the pipeline.
Other essential factors to consider for cloud migration
Here are other (bite-sized) important factors to consider when implementing cloud migration:
- Relying on an expert cloud migration services provider can help choose the right cloud vendor and carry out the transition successfully.
- Consider SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) as a possible solution for applications that do not directly generate revenue, such as email service, CRM, payrolls, etc.
- Consider outsourcing such services so your IT teams can focus on applications that give your business a competitive edge.
- Automate migration (as much as possible and if applicable) to move legacy applications effectively.
- Leverage managed services and automated tools offered by your cloud vendor wherever possible.
Drafting the right cloud migration strategy can be as challenging as the migration process itself. However, you can start with a broader migration strategy and work out the details that fit the overall strategy and your objectives. With proper planning, staff training, and partnering with a reliable cloud expert, you can ace your cloud migration smoothly!