The cloud and cloud computing in general have played and continue to play a revolutionary role in the way businesses, enterprises and companies around the world work and function.
The cloud computing world is definitely one that is wonderful and beneficial, and it comes as little surprise that many enterprises strive to take the advantage of many possibilities that the cloud allows by actively and enthusiastically migrating to the cloud.
Now, if you are one of these companies that is thinking about migrating to the cloud, we urge you to read on, as we have clearly explained the various steps and stages your company will have to go through on your path to migration.
So let’s get started!
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Here are the 5 steps for successful cloud migration
Step #1: Getting ready to migrate to the cloud
Getting ready to migrate to the cloud: I’m sure as a company or a manager, you are thrilled at the prospect of moving to the cloud, but before you do this there is some general housekeeping to be performed on your part. That is…
- First up, carefully carry out a complete inventory of your current applications and infrastructure. This step is very important, as it can help prevent setbacks, while also allowing for a smooth migration process. Besides this, it gives you the opportunity to take a closer look at the impact of the cloud after migration.
- Next up, documenting the processes that concern each application will help you and your employees keep an eye out for certain scenarios that may occur during and/or after the migration process. Doing this beforehand, lets your company be prepared for such situations, and also allows them to have ready remedies to counter such scenarios – this step could save your company valuable time, funds and resources.
- At this stage, it’s also important that all concerned parties are clear about the goals that are to be achieved as a result of the migration. Once this is done, your strategies and plans must be streamlined to work towards this ultimate goal and objective.
Step #2: Picking the ‘perfect’ cloud service provider
If you look around there are many cloud computing service providers, and there are many big players and reputable names in the game as well.
That said, you would be doing your company or enterprise a disservice by simply signing up as a partner with any one of them. Take note of the following points as well, as you choose a right cloud service provider that’s perfect for your company.
- Each company, as we’re sure yours as well, will have its own particular or specific needs and requirements, and as a manager, you should take a close look to find out which of the cloud service providers can offer the specific services that your company needs.
- Next, do take the time to study the different levels of service that the provider offers, and choose one that suits your needs perfectly. This will ensure that you do not pick a service level that is unnecessarily expensive, or on the flipside, choose one that doesn’t adequately cover your requirements.
- The next thing to keep in mind is the cost involved. Often a mere glance at qoutes provided by competitors may be misleading – here again, you will have to dig deeper and look out for any hidden or additional costs. Besides this, since your company will have specific needs, take a look at your applications as well as your company’s and employees needs, and keep an eye out for any specific or extra needs that you will require as an enterprise.
Step #3: Migration planning
Now that you’ve got a clear understanding of your applications and other processes, as well as having chosen a service provider that’s perfect for you, it’s almost time to actually migrate to the cloud!
But hang on, before you actually take the leap, do carry out some planning first.
Here are the main points to consider:
- While choosing which applications to migrate right at the start, do always choose the applications that are low-risk and less critical – this way, you ensure that there is no drastic impact to your activities and functions.
- It also makes sense to move applications and data that are better suited to the cloud environment first.
- The computing environments on the cloud and your current computing environment may be drastically different. Now, you will need to update your system to adequately suit this change.
- Make sure your staff members are primed and ready for this change. If training programmes need to be carried out, do make sure they are complete before the migration process begins. This will ensure that everyone is on board and on the same page when the migration begins.
- After this, some further application related planning needs to be carried out, which should ideally be executed at this stage. This might include, but is not limited to, the updation of code, the troubleshooting of any issues that may crop up, as well as parameters for the measurement of performance (after migration).
- Despite all the best laid plans in the world, there is always the possibility of some downtime or disruption to your services or products during the migration process. Given all this, it makes perfect sense to draw up a strategy or plan which addresses this in the best way possible, allowing for smoother transition.
- The cloud is almost a completely different environment, when compared to your current set-up, and this element is particularly significant when you consider the security side of things. This is of particular importance, considering the fact that the hardware and infrastructure is owned and operated by a third-party (the cloud computing service provider). Therefore, you will need to revisit your security strategies and procedures and make the necessary changes at this stage.
- Studies have shown that a significant amount of security related problems occur due to authorised employees or partners. With this mind, you might want to carefully consider that only the right persons are granted the required permissions. Even better, grant authorisations that are specific to the role played by each individual employee or partner.
- As you might expect, your employees will not be familiar with the migration tools that the cloud service provider provides for the smooth migration of data. Therefore, it’s important that your employees get a chance to familiarise themselves with these tools, and test them out before the migration process begins.
Step #4: Set migration in motion
This is probably the most exciting part of transitioning to the cloud – the part where it actually looks like a migration is taking place.
Now, if your enterprise has planned and executed properly during the previous three stages, this will mean that this stage should go as smoothly as anticipated.
However, as previously cited, there can always be some unforeseen issues, so brace yourself for them. Here are the things to look out for in this stage.
- The first thing to keep in mind at this stage is the quantum or amount of data and applications you wish to move over to the cloud. Now, if the amount of data and applications isn’t too large, then you could consider sending it over an internet connection. However, if there is a significant amount of applications and data that needs to transitioned over to the cloud, then other steps need to be undertaken, since transferring data over an internet connection could attract extra charges from the service provider, and more importantly, will be more time consuming. Instead at this stage, you should consider compressing your data before transitioning it over, or to ship your servers over to the cloud service provider’s site for the easy transfer of data.
- As with all other times, security is a key concern during the migration process. Furthermore, as temporary storage locations are frequently employed during the migration process, steps must be taken to ensure that these locations are as secure as the final destination of the data and applications.
- Once the migration has begun with your less critical assets and applications, it is important to test for any early failures and to collect any new information that can be gained from this initial migration process. Things that have been learned from this limited migration process can then be fed into the process for the more critical assets. This step could be crucial in the long run.
Step #5: Check, check and re-check!
So you’ve finally gone through with the migration process, and this is definitely a joyous event!
But before you begin to relax again, it’s time to perform some checks. Checks of this nature are important at this stage to ensure that everything is working, and working as it is intended to.
There are two ways to do this, the automated method and the manual method. The automated method will seek to answer questions such as:
- Did the migration process work?
- How much of the data transitioned over?
- Did it all the data and applications migrate successfully?
- Is the right data accessible to the right stakeholders?
- Are the right authorisations in place to limit access to data?
- Do the internal components communicate as planned with each other?
- Do your admin tools monitor the new cloud app as planned?
- Any industry specific checks that need to be carried out?
If no automated method is available, you will have to resort to carrying these checks out manually.
Now, if there are things that do not perform as they should be, you should take additional steps to ensure that they are addressed immediately.
After they are corrected you are done, and now you can take advantage of the cloud!
So there you have it, these are the steps you will have to go through while migrating to the cloud!
We do hope you found this guide useful, and we also hope that this piece convinces you to take the leap to migrate to the cloud.
Besides this, we would like to inform you that the varying level of complexities and complications largely associated with migration to the cloud have largely reduced, and this in itself should not stop or deter you from exploring the cloud as an option for your enterprise.
Furthermore to this point, this guide would be incomplete if we didn’t hasten to add the importance of integrating the services of a cloud migration expert to help you with the migration process.
There are many regrettable stories of enterprises who have resorted to carry out the process themselves in order to save costs, but unfortunately these efforts have resulted in many disasters.
What’s more, many companies also think that their IT department are equipped to adequately and smoothly carry out the migration process, and have also met with similarly disastrous results.
Therefore, we most sincerely urge you to employ a cloud migration expert to carry out the migration process as smoothly as possible.