What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud migration is the planning and actual moving of digital assets like applications and databases from physical or “on-premises” location(s) to servers accessed over the internet. This web-only infrastructure is also referred to as “the cloud.”
Cloud migration can also include the moving of digital assets from one cloud to another.
Benefit of Cloud Migration
Cloud-based computing saves time, money and the complexity of physical storage by creating a simulated or virtual computer. This computer acts as physical computer would. However, it provides much greater accessibility by device, employees and location. For example, international employees can access information and systems on a cloud based system anywhere in the world using their mobile devices.
Cloud Migration Strategy
Regardless of size, many companies are considering a more complete move to the cloud. Factors most often driving this activity include increased scalability, aligning usage and cost, easing compliance, and decreasing costly downtime.
Unfortunately, many that start the cloud migration don’t realize the expected benefits due to one or more of these reasons:
- Cost is greater than anticipated
- Migration of current systems is taking longer than expected
- Operational resistance to making the change.
5 Steps of Cloud Migration
From inception to realization, there are 5 primary steps for a viable cloud migration plan.
The Cloud Migration Decision
What are the reasons the company desires a move to the cloud?
Reasons range from increased scalability to the ability to use the wide range of services available on public cloud infrastructure.
Many organizations have similar goals when moving to the cloud yet have different measures of what success looks like. A resource constrained company may like the advantage of fully managed services. In contrast, a company with considerable infrastructure expertise may require the ability to manage these systems as desired.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the cloud and how to get there. Private, Public, and Hybrid cloud environments are all commonplace and employed for various reasons. TechCXO can help you understand the benefits of each type of environment and how their unique benefits will apply to your company.
Address Cloud Risk
Any new technology move creates risk. Having a clear understanding of what risks you face and where they are centered are key to a successful migration.
Being able to accurately communicate the risk will also align executives on what to expect during the migration. An executive team that better understands and agrees upon migration risk will be more supportive during the process. Our Product & Technology partners are experienced in determining risk and communicating a mitigation strategy to your C-suite.
Cloud Readiness Assessment
So you know where you want to go and what the risks are. But how ready are your employees, customers, and systems? The questions now move from goals and risk mitigation toward the concrete objectives of your strategy. From there it’s onward to those of timeline, cost, systems, and human capital.
Different resources can also be in varying states of readiness. For example, moving a database from an in-house cluster to a fully managed cluster on the cloud may be fairly straightforward. However, transitioning a monolithic application to the cloud may require several steps, including considering altering application architecture, in order to reach company goals.
Gartner’s Five R’s should be considered when thinking about readiness of internal systems:
- Rehost: Often referred to as a lift and shift
- Refactor: Re-architect and redeploy applications differently to take advantage of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) options.
- Revise: Modify existing applications to leverage IaaS or Platform as a Service (PaaS).
- Rebuild: Deconstruct and reconstruct to take advantage of PaaS offerings.
- Replace: Shift needed functionality from an in-house solution to Software as a Service (SaaS).
Migration options may be unique for each application and that could affect timeline and cost
In addition, it is important to understand if the current in-house technology team has the skills to manage systems when redeployed on the cloud. We can work with you and your team to determine training needs and future hiring criteria.
The ultimate output of the first three steps in the process is the Cloud Migration Strategy. It describes the why and the what of the cloud migration, and necessary information to inform the plan, which is how the strategy will be executed.
TechCXO partners can help your team zero in on system limitations and offer guidance on how to adapt to the variety of possibilities available in the cloud.
The Cloud Migration Plan
The base built in the first three steps provides the foundation for building out a Cloud Migration Plan. A migration plan should provide, at a minimum:
- Cloud vendor selection criteria
Specific migration steps including prioritization
- Cloud Gover, it is important to understand if the current in-house technology team has the skills to manage systems when redeployed on the cloud, and maintain compliance.
- A detailed communication plan for all stakeholders
- KPI definition, data collection, and reporting standards
- Project timeline, estimated cost, and resource allocation needed.
It is rare that a company can achieve all cloud migration goals in a single phase plan. Most are multiple phase plans that include the opportunity to assess results and make modifications with each phase.
Start Cloud Migration
At some point, action takes over. That requires leadership. Having the right leadership on board to guide you through this complex process is critical. TechCXO’s seasoned Product & Technology executives have led migration efforts multiple times and know where the gotchas are.
Cloud Migration Checklist
The beginning of understanding any strategy is understanding where you are now. The basis of that is the Cloud Migration Checklist.
The elements of a cloud migration checklist are:
Defining Key Success Criteria
At a high level, this is nothing more than a list of what you hope to achieve by moving to the cloud. Creating this list will help you understand why you’re moving to the cloud and how it will be measured once the migration is underway. Here’s a few examples:
- Take advantage of on-demand managed infrastructure to lower total data center costs by 20%
- Migrate home-grown CRM and CMS to SaaS solution to increase up-time to five ‘9’s and decrease total ongoing support costs by 15% over the next 3 years.
- Move to auto-scaling infrastructure for client facing systems in order to decrease performance related support tickets and costs by 75%.
You get the idea. Create 3 to 5 Key Success Criteria before moving to the next step. And make sure to record the current baseline for each criterion so you can easily see the change.
Map Current Infrastructure and Systems
In this step, you’ll create a list of your current infrastructure components and list which applications and systems require each component to function. This includes all networking hardware, servers, applications, etc, that would be needed to recreate the existing infrastructure in another location. At this point, you don’t need to think about the cloud so much as thinking about what it would take to recreate what you currently have in another location.
The critical piece here is developing an accurate picture of what it takes to create an environment on which the business can continue to run. Which servers host which applications? How are routers configured? Where is your storage located and is there an offsite copy?
Application Migration Impact
For this step in the checklist, determine the ideal state for each application when the migration is complete. For example, if you currently run an application on a group of servers for scalability, do you want to “lift and shift” or determine how the application can be run on a platform like Kubernetes? Do you migrate your database to a cluster using multiple cloud VMs or do you move it to a fully managed service?
Each choice you make here will have an impact on the plan and budget. If you choose to lift an shift, the migration might take less time. The trade off is you’re not really taking advantage of cloud capabilities. That might be a necessary first step due to an unforeseen circumstance. I recommend always taking a look at how to adapt applications to the cloud instead recreating an old-school data center in the cloud.
Select Cloud Model and Type
Do you need IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS for your setup? Do you want to move to a public, private, hybrid, or multi-vendor cloud environment? Understand the differences between each of these, how they affect cost, timeline, and management of the overall environment.
Create the Roadmap, Plan, and Budget
Once you have done the work above, prioritize each component of the migration and group them on a high-level roadmap. For each step in the roadmap, develop a detailed plan that lists each component, what the migration strategy is, the cloud elements that are needed to accomplish the migration, and the estimated costs. Applications that need changes to take advantage of cloud capabilities may require some changes, so don’t forget to estimate that time.
Lastly, map each of the Key Success Criteria back to each component.
Measure Against Key Success Criteria
As you begin to migrate to the cloud, have a plan in place to collect data in support of each Key Success Criteria and how the migration is performing against original targets. Having metrics that can show where things are compared to where things were is always helpful.
Cloud Migration Services
TechCXO’s seasoned Product & Technology Partners are expert in helping companies plan for and realize the benefits of moving to the cloud. Our team can help you prepare a Cloud Migration Strategy, and accompanying phased migration plan, and assist in managing one of the more complex technology migrations companies experience.
We provide clarity from inception to realization and guide our clients through each of the five steps defined here.
Having the right leadership on board to guide you through this complex process is critical. TechCXO’s seasoned Product & Technology executives have led migration efforts multiple times and know where the gotchas are.