Cloud Migration Checklist: 10 Steps You Need to Follow

April 26, 2021 - by Synoptek

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Organizations looking to accelerate their digital transformation efforts have cloud computing on top of their minds and on their technology roadmaps. Cloud adoption numbers have incessantly shot up post 2020, with reports suggesting that the pandemic contributed to a $1.5 billion boost in cloud, software, and platform-as-a-service during the third quarter of 2020 alone. But migrating to the cloud is not just about moving a handful of workloads; it requires careful planning and scheduling and can certainly not be achieved overnight. Organizations must devote substantial time and energy in understanding the various nuances of migration, plan for budget and resources, have the right teams in place, as well as ensure users are trained properly for maximum results.

If you are looking to make the most of cloud’s enterprise-grade security, uptime, scalability, and availability capabilities, it is critical to have a cloud migration checklist in place. The right checklist can not only help you successfully embark on the migration journey, it can also help in future-proofing your business, boosting team productivity, and delivering value faster. Here are 10 steps you need to follow:

1. Understand Your Cloud Migration Goals

The first step in the cloud migration journey is to be well-aware of your goals and objectives. Understanding where your business is currently and how it will benefit from migrating to the cloud is critical for cloud success. Make sure to list down the goals you are trying to achieve from this migration: speed of operations, better scalability of operations, better access to resources, digital transformation, financial savings, business agility, and better customer service.

2. Carry Out Detailed Assessment of Existing Infrastructure

Once you have clarity on your cloud migration goals, evaluate your existing infrastructure. This includes reviewing current lease and support agreements, evaluating application architecture, assessing current workloads, understanding the data available and what portion of it needs to be moved to the cloud. It is also advisable to rank the infrastructure, platforms, and services you intend to move to the cloud in order of expected savings, risks, and improvements. This can be beneficial when there are roadblocks in the migration and tasks need to be prioritized. Make sure to also identify practices and teams that would be affected by the migration and carry out a detailed a cost-benefit analysis.

3. Define a Migration Roadmap

Next, define a migration roadmap that is unique to your IT infrastructure and your business goals. Having a roadmap in place can aid in finalizing the migration methods and tools, prioritizing workloads, ascertaining bandwidth requirements, setting deadlines, putting a cap on the budget, as well as being ready for bottlenecks and downtime. It will also help identifying what changes will need to be made to your internal processes and how you will ensure business continuity during the migration.

4. Be Realistic about Budgets and Timeline

Cloud migration can be extremely time- and cost-intensive. To make sure you get maximum returns from your cloud migration efforts, you need to be aware of the various costs at each phase of the migration. This includes legacy application modernization costs, data migration costs, licensing costs, vendor fees, implementation and support costs, and training costs. Having clarity on the various costs can not only help in allocating the right budget, it can also help in taking the right steps in case you overshoot the budget. Also make sure to be flexible with your costs and be ready to pay for contingencies like issue management, change management, and other overhead costs.

5. Choose the Right Cloud Hosting Environment

Another important step in the cloud migration journey is choosing the right cloud hosting environment. Since a one-size-fits-all strategy will not work, you need to opt for an environment that best fits the needs of your business. The decision will depend on the size and type of your organization as well as the data you deal with, the geography you operate in, your security requirements, and your budget. Based on your requirements, you can choose from a public, private, or hybrid cloud and enjoy multiple benefits across security, privacy, and transparency.

6. Check Compatibility of Existing Apps and Systems

Moving your apps and systems from traditional, on-premises networks to the cloud also requires you to check the cloud-readiness of your existing apps and systems. Since a lot of your application landscape might be proprietary, such compatibility helps identify how well these apps will work in the cloud. It will also allow you to drive efforts in refactoring or rewriting some apps through application modernization as well as take the tough decision of retiring those which cannot be tweaked for the cloud.

7. Plan for Data Migration

Data migration constitutes a massive portion of the cloud migration journey. Therefore, to ensure your efforts pay dividends, it is important to efficiently plan for data migration. Instead of migrating all your existing data, take the time to review, analyze, and cleanse it. Discard data that is no longer required or relevant and then plan for migrating data in a phased manner: move data that is extremely critical first and then go about migrating the not-so-critical data.

8. Carry Out a Test Migration

Since migrating from on-premises infrastructure to cloud infrastructure is a complex undertaking, if your business deals with critical data, it also makes sense to carry out a test migration. A test migration not only showcases the long-term benefits of moving to the cloud; it also provides insight into possible challenges and risks, so you can take out time to plan for workarounds in advance and make sure every phase of your migration process goes as smoothly as possible and with minimal interruptions.

9. Educate and Train Users

Educating and training users who are accustomed to traditional ways of working is also important to ensure the money and efforts you put in reap the benefits. To familiarize users with the cloud, provide sufficient practical training as well as access to documentation, so they can work their way around. Also provide them with tips and best practices that enable them to make the most of cloud features and capabilities.

10. Monitor and Optimize

Unlike most enterprise projects, cloud migration is not a one-time project. For long-term growth and success, you need to monitor the new environment on a regular basis and drive efforts in optimizing it. This includes understanding usage, tracking trends, and detecting anomalies, so the required steps can be taken to right-size instances, delete unattached volumes, and keep cost costs under control.

As the global cloud computing market size grows from $371.4 billion in 2020 to $832.1 billion by 2025, organizations of all sizes are preparing for the big move. But migrating to the cloud is a massive undertaking and requires organizations to embark on the journey with extreme planning and precision. To get best returns from your efforts, make sure to follow these steps and allow your business to transform, operate, and succeed in a modern world.