Working in the clouds? You may eventually need to do a cloud migration.
Whether you’re a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) or a large corporation with satellite offices around the world, cloud computing is a critical driver of growth and agility. Therefore, they may need to perform a cloud migration at some point. According to RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Report, 94% of organisations use the cloud in some form or another.
And why wouldn’t they when the cloud brings so much to the table? As early as 2015, Harvard Business Review found that 71% of companies that use cloud computing believe it to be the key to streamlining their operations.
If your organisation is in the process of moving to cloud services, you’re probably in the middle of intense planning and lots of back and forth between your IT team or managed services provider.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cloud migration, there are universal requirements that you can include in your checklist to make the process smoother. Here are four to consider.
1. Develop a cloud migration strategy
Building a cloud migration strategy forces you to sit down and think hard about why you want to move to the cloud in the first place. If you’re like the CIOs that took part in Deloitte’s 2018 Global CIO Survey, it probably has to do with four things:
- Increase scalability
- Business agility
- Cost reduction
Your approach to your cloud migration ultimately depends on your specific needs. But most cloud strategies usually share some common components, such as:
- An IT audit: This involves evaluating your existing IT infrastructure to determine which applications can be migrated to the cloud. This is also the stage to consider bringing in the expertise of a cloud migration specialist.
- Picking a cloud environment: Take your pick from the public, private, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments, as well as providers like AWS, Microsoft Azure, AWS or Google.
- Migrating data and applications: This is the actual migration of your applications and data to the cloud. The speed of your cloud migration depends on the complexity of the workloads involved and whether or not you have the proper policies for security, backups and disaster recovery in place.
- Post-migration evaluation: Finally, this is where the success of your migration is tested and measured by comparing past and current performance.
2. Identify your cloud KPIs
When applications, data and resources are moved from one place to another, you’ll need to test and compare the performance of your new computing environment with your previous on-premise systems.
This involves identifying key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure your cloud performance. Examples of cloud KPIs by category include:
- Infrastructure: CPU usage, network latency and memory usage
- Application performance: Throughput, application availability, error rates
- User experience: Page load times, session duration and response times
- Customer/user engagement: Cart adds, conversion rate, conversions and bounce rate
3. List down the applications to migrate
If you’re like many businesses, your cloud migration will likely involve a select number of applications — many of them non-mission critical.
If you’re unsure which applications can be safely migrated to the cloud, here are a few questions that should help inform your decision:
- Which apps can be migrated as-is, and which ones require a complete redesign?
- If an app requires a redesign, how complex will it be, and how much time will it need?
- For apps that can be migrated to the cloud as-is, what type of cloud environment is best — private, public, hybrid, or multi-cloud?
- What is the potential ROI of moving an application to the cloud?
4. Choose a cloud services provider
A critical requirement of any cloud migration strategy is a cloud services provider (CSP) that will support your business during and after the migration. The top names in the cloud industry are:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Microsoft Azure
- Google Cloud Platform
- Oracle Cloud
- IBM Cloud
Every cloud service provider has its strengths and specialities. If you’re not sure who to go with, you can ask these questions:
- What kind of support does the provider offer and at what price point?
- What cloud environments (i.e., public, private, hybrid or multi-cloud) does the provider offer?
- What solutions does the provider offer for supporting legacy IT infrastructure?
By Todd Gifford
Todd’s world can be a detailed and complex one. As a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (or CISSP for short), with over 20 years of experience in IT and Information Security, Todd helps customers understand the risks with their information, where it is stored and processed and how best to manage those risks in our ever-evolving digital world. He writes a mean blog and prides himself in turning technical language into simple sentences we can all understand.